When I was a young girl, I was a part of a very unhealthy family. However, I did not know that it was unhealthy. I always assumed my parents were right and how they ran the family was normal. I thought that we were the same as every other family. When I asked Jesus into my heart at age nine, I began to realize that the screaming, emotional outbursts, and violent anger in our home was not healthy. It was not a safe, healthy place. I began going to a Bible-believing church and met other families who did not live the way my family did. I remember praying to Jesus to help me love my family because I loved them, but I did not know what love was. My family had not modeled love to me because no one taught them how to love. I thought all the problems in our family were my fault. I thought I was the problem.
Sadly, many families have not learned how to live in harmony with one another because many of us were not taught how to be parents or how to communicate together in a healthy way. As a result, each family creates a system and we become a part of that system. Some family systems are great and some family systems need to change in order to function in a healthy way. Those of us may have family members, like our mom or dad, who drink too much alcohol, who smoke or do illicit drugs, or who abuse or wound us regularly. I want you to know it is not your fault they act the way they do. They need help. I want you to know that Jesus is our Hope. He can lead us to safe people who can help our family. It’s important that you find safe relationships in or outside your family. Your church or school community may have safe people available to help you. It’s important that you share with someone you can trust and learn skills to be safe. I know what it is like to live in an unsafe home.
You may think you have the best family you could ever dream of. Yet, even if a family looks perfect, no family is. We are human and we all struggle, and we create unhealthy patterns. Though we do not get to choose the kind of family we are born in to, God knows exactly where we are. All families can have hope because of God’s love for us. He can teach us how to love one another through His love for us. He showed us all the greatest love by sending His Son. Jesus died for all our sins. He died in our place because we are human and we do not always make the wisest choices. God and His great love for His son! He loved His son so much that He sent Him to rescue us from all our yucky sins and forgives us for everything we do that we should not do! We can have Him in our life forever! God knew that we needed a Saviour because we need help to love others, so He gave His one and only Son to us. His Son died for us. He was our Saviour who took our place. Guess what? You can ask Jesus to help you love your family, too. You can choose to receive Jesus Christ. Did you know that when you ask Jesus into your heart, you join God’s family and you are His child first? You are someone who is very precious to Jesus and He wants to get to know you and develop an intimate safe relationship with you. God did not say life would be easy for us, but He did say He would journey with us through everything we go through.
We can choose to place safe people in our life. Safe people are people whom we can trust. Unfortunately, we cannot trust everyone and that may include someone in the family. Some of us have two different homes because our parents are no longer together. Some of us have people in our family who have hurt us emotionally, physically, or sexually – which is not right. Yet, Jesus promises to journey with us through all our experiences and circumstances. He promises that if we trust Him, He will eventually bring good out of everything according to His plan. We can learn through every positive or negative experience we have on earth.
It is important that we all learn to be safe, trusting people. Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, author of the great book Boundaries, showed me how to be a safe person to all the people in my life, especially my family members. I also learned what kinds of relationships are good for me and what kind of relationships to avoid. If we desire to be a safe, trustworthy person then we need to be in relationships with people who draw us closer to God, who draw us closer to others, and who help us become the unique person God created us to be. Jesus is the best example of a safe person. Jesus connected with people. He was safe. Unsafe people avoid closeness instead of connecting. Jesus was relationship-centred whereas unsafe people are self-centred. Jesus cares about our thoughts. He also understands how we feel and think. He showed empathy when others’ needed it, He gave His time to others, but unsafe people seem to be chronic takers; they do not have genuine concern for others’ needs. Safe people respect others’ boundaries and choices, whereas unsafe people manipulate, withdraw emotionally, try to make you feel guilty and do not encourage or value your separateness. Unsafe people may judge, control, or condemn you instead of forgiving and relating in a mature gracious way. They may gossip, negatively influence you and show emotional immaturity. Unsafety finds its origin in sin. Sin is everyone’s problem (Romans 3:23).
We can all learn to become safe people. Perhaps we never learned the way to be safe. Remember most parents have not raised kids before having you, therefore, we do not have all the answers on how to raise you. But, we as parents can turn to our Heavenly Father for guidance. There are many ways you can show love to others. Some people think love is just a feeling, but feelings can come and go. Love is a choice that we commit to. Loving someone can be hard work sometimes because we don’t always respond in nice ways to one another. Did you know that Jesus loves you no matter what you do or don’t do? He loves your mom and dad too. He wants to help us learn to love one another. Mom and Dad can feel tired, stressed, angry, and overwhelmed, just like you can. Your parents are human and try their best,. They need Jesus to help them love others, too. You can start by asking Jesus to help you. When Jesus went back to Heaven, He sent us His Holy Spirit so we could stay connected to Him. We can talk to Jesus, and get to know how He asks us to live by reading the Bible. When we talk to Jesus we pray either in our head or out loud to Him. I like to use a journal and share my thoughts by writing them down while I spend time with Jesus.
Why don’t you start loving by telling your Mom and Dad what you love about them? You can write them a letter or do something loving to show them how special they are. Additionally, you can start praying for your parents to be the best parents they can be and for you to be the best child you can be. Parents, you can also show your love to your children through acts of love. Give them affirmation, a loving hug, a special gift or spend some quality time just with them. Most parents regret how little time they spend with their children. Take time to love your family.
Did you know that God will NEVER let you down and that He can turn around ANY situation? Jesus wants us to trust Him. If you need someone to trust and talk with, you can email me.
Hugs and Prayers,
APC, MACP, CELC, BEd, Psych/Music