“Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)
When you grow up in a single-family home, you look longingly at the families with two parents. At least I did. You picture them like the characters in Father Knows Best. (If you are under 55 years old, look it up on YouTube.) I idealized their lives. Only later, when I was a little older, did I come to realize that no one’s home was perfect. Some kids struggled with normal adolescent angst. Others had horrible lives and could only wait until they had the opportunity to run far away, hopefully to somewhere better. Sadly, I know some of them ran into even worse situations.
This realization made me realize how blessed I was to have the life I had. While our home had wheels, it was warm and dry. My mother was loving and not abusive. We didn’t have extra money, and the last week of every month consisted of a lot of macaroni, but we never went hungry. Dish soap was also cheaper than shampoo. But probably the best blessing was I never felt unworthy or unacceptable. In many ways, my church gave me the confidence and affirmation that I was capable of living any life as I chose.
The Apostle Paul knew the importance of affirming and nurturing family. Families are the way we provide for children and their future. Paul understood the value of the family. We can make or mar our children for a lifetime. It is a Christian imperative for adults who have children to form a family unit and make their child or children one’s first priority, and to raise them in the faith. Doing so will be difficult, at times, but will also bring moments of great joy. Parents will also never raise their children alone, but with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. In baptism, the parents ask the Holy Spirit to join their family and help raise their child.
Today, remember your own upbringing. I am willing to bet it wasn’t all “Ozzie and Harriet.” (Again, YouTube it if necessary.) What joys and challenges did you experience? What opportunities or gifts provided blessings in your life? What people did God bring as a support? How have they influenced the way you live out family in your life? Then pray the Spirit will bring you the wisdom and emotional strength to be a blessing to your family. It is never too late to start being a blessing to your family.