Here is the second one I wrote and the one I modified….
I hope y’all are having great time and relaxing. What I want to talk to you all about today is a statement we use in our home…”In our family we…”.
Our scripture for this retreat is Joshua 24:15 “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua challenged the children of Israel to confirm the covenant they had with God through a public declaration.
Let me give you a little background.
My husband and I got married a little “later” in life…in other words, we were both in our 30s (he was barely 30). Before we married we discussed starting a family. We both wanted children and we both wanted to adopt. Our plan was that we would wait a few months and start “trying” to get pregnant and down the road we would adopt. How many of you know that sometimes “our plan” isn’t God’s plan? We were surprised when we didn’t get pregnant right away. About two years later, when we finally did get pregnant and at about 13 weeks in, I miscarried. Despite miscarrying, 7 months after that miscarriage, right about the time I would given birth, a family asked us if we would take in their grandson who was going to be placed in fostercare. God prepared my heart to be a mom and then provided the child.
Psalm 145:16 says, “You open Your hand
And satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
We did take him in. The situation was crazy…oh, the stories I could tell you. This is when we met 22 month old, Nicholas.
We have good friends, the Branhams who had fostered for a while and Suzy encouraged me to consider becoming an official foster parent. We eventually did. Later down the road, we adopted our son, Nicholas through fostercare. We have some great adoption stories. Which I love sharing so if you want to hear more about adoption or fostercare, please ask. Keeping to this topic, when you become a fosterparent, there is yearly training involved. Through one of our trainings and reading online about fostercare and basically being mentored by the Branhams and another family from our church, the Padrons, I read about establishing or defining who your family is and what your family does. When you foster, having guidelines helps the children who come into your home to transition and begin to “fit in”. Every family is different and every family has an identity. Many children in foster care come from a family who has a negative identity. Most of these families are barely surviving. These are children whose parents are in trouble with the authorities, may be using drugs, or may have neglected or abused them. Most cases these days have to do with drug use. They often consider normal what we define as an outrageous way for a child to live.
“In our family, we….”
I loved this idea of having it in writing, “In our family, we…” because making declarations is Biblical and declarations define a thing and establish identity.
You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. Job 22:28
You get to decide some things about who your family is and what they do. Yes, you can even do this when you are single.
Here are some examples…this one has been huge in our family. “In our family, we tell the truth.” “In our family, we pray.” “In our family, we go to church.” “In our family, we are kind.” “In our family, we are generous”. “In our family, we share.”
Keep in mind, some of these things are things we are “working on”. We have little ones. There are times when I have said to my 6 year old, “Your last name is Chavez. In our family, we tell each other the truth.”
Why is it important?
What you think about who you are is important.
When my husband and I were first married, he would often say, “I’m the black sheep in my family” (even though at the time he was one of the only practicing Christians, a minister, and a worship leader). At first, I let it slide but one evening we were driving home and something had happened at church. He said, “I’m the black sheep of this church…”. I looked at him and said, “No you aren’t. I break that off of our family, in Jesus name. I’m not the black sheep of anything. You have to stop saying that. It’s not true but because you expect it, everything seems that way.” Basically, I rebuked what he had said. He was a little offended with me but later that night told me that the whole “black sheep” thing was something his dad would always say. He agreed this was not our family’s identity. His dad never expected to be to be loved and accepted…he always expected to be on the outside, with his family, at work and even at church.
Don’t get me wrong…I’m NOT a super positive or “name it claim it” person. I’m not even very good at seeing the best around me sometimes. But I’m going to speak life and not death because “in our family, we speak life”.
It’s about establishing expectation. It is also about establishing identity. This is who we are and this is what we do.
Back in my single days, I had an identity crisis of sorts. I had been single for a while and I knew deep down I wanted to get married. I was in my early 30s. I had many single friends and kept busy. I also had a job that had me on the road about 80% of the time. Most Sundays I was on an airplane flying somewhere. During this time, I had a friend, who is a very nice man. He is a Christian, not just in word but he is a Christ follower. We were pretty much best friends. We would travel together. We would go have dinner, see movies. We weren’t dating each other. We spent a lot of time together, so much so that my dating life dried up completely. Which led to me losing hope in getting married. While he was a great guy, he was not positive about things. In fact, he was so negative that he would say things about my character and my identity that were death to my spirit. I can tell you all the reasons why he was a mess the bottom line is, he needed to allow God to heal his past. We all need God to heal our past….that is how we find true freedom. When the person in your life speaks negative things over you, after a while you believe those things. I knew this. In my early twenties I had been in a relationship that would have eventually been physically abusive. Verbal abuse sneaks up on us sometimes. Since I wasn’t going to church regularly, I wasn’t hearing God’s truth about who I am. I became isolated. And then I started fighting my way out but I did it my way instead of God’s way. My way was to start dating someone who was not really a Christian. I ended up becoming someone I didn’t recognize. The new guy brought out my crazy. I had never been the girl to stalk a man or put up with being disrespected. This guy wouldn’t answer my calls so I would drive out to his house in the middle of the night to see if he was home or out. I allowed him to stand me up and I found out he was looking at porn on my computer. All of this happened in six short months. In only 3 months I lost myself. By month 5, I found myself in an identity crisis. I had moments of thinking “this isn’t me”. All of this because I had gotten away from what God said about me and who He says I am.
It took a healing conference and almost a year for me to consider dating again. Why? because dating isn’t for the faint of heart and you should know who you are and what you are about before you start dating. That’s why “in our family dating is for people who have completed college” (hopefully that will stick. Haha)
How do I do it?
God communicates with everyone. Some people hear His voice. Some people feel Him. Some people have an impression inside them. Maybe you don’t feel like you do but consider asking Him to speak with you and see what happens.
I want you to consider today what God says about you and your family.
If the voice you hear is saying something like, “You are no good and will not amount to anything.” That is not God. God sees all of you. He sees who you were, who you are and who He wants you to be. The past doesn’t define who He says you are.
His thoughts toward you are not confusing. They do not cause fear. His thoughts toward you bring hope and establish a future for you. (Jeremiah 29:11).
Let’s take a few minutes to write down what God is saying about who we are.