“When I grow up, I want to be a teacher.” “When I grow, up I want to be a fireman.” “When I grow up, I want to be an astronaut.” “When I grow up, I want to travel the world.” After 40 years of ministry and more than two decades of overseeing a Christian school, I’ve heard children communicate multiple different career choices, but rarely have I heard anyone say, “When I grow up, I want to be a great father,” or “I want to be a great mother, and have a great family.” You may wonder, why would a child say or think that? They only would think that way if someone demonstrated to them the vision of being a great father or mother and having a great family. Families are extremely important to God. He said to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “in you shall all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed.”(Amp.).
Galatians 3:13 says, “If you belong to Christ (are in Him, Who is Abraham’s Seed), then you are Abraham’s offspring and (spiritual) heirs according to the promise.” These Scriptures simply mean that His promise to Abraham is your promise today. God’s intention is for your family to live a blessed life as a result of His Word and His plan for your life. Following God’s plan for our lives truly leads us to a good life!
How does one develop a vision for their family?
First, go to the Creator of the family and see what He has to say.
Find all the Scriptures you can that pertain to marriage, children, and family. Write them in a notebook, make scripture cards, and put them on your computer and PDAs. Begin saturating yourself with God’s Word, His will for you, and you will begin to get a different picture in your heart. You’ll start to see the amazing plan God has for your family and you won’t settle for anything less than what He has prepared specifically for you.
Second, spend time with those who have good, solid marriages and families.
You’ll be able to watch firsthand what a loving relationship looks like, how to resolve conflict, and how to raise your children in the ways of God.
During the late 1980's, my husband and I had the privilege of being mentored by one of the most wonderful couples we have ever met: Bob and Cindy Harrison of Harrison International Ministries (Cindy went home to be with the Lord many years ago). This amazing couple took us under their wing and we gleaned everything we could from them. They were a living epistle of the Word of God, maintaining a healthy, Godly, marriage and family. We bought every teaching they had and we listened to those tapes over and over and over again for years. We went to their conferences and had them minister at our church multiple times for years. There is a price to pay for a great family and we both wanted and needed it more than anything else at that time. They discipled us in family life and we have been going after greatness ever since, and have worked diligently at passing it on to our children.
Third, there has to be a vision for the future of your family that includes generations to come.
Have you noticed that throughout the Scriptures, God is always talking about generations? He wants His Word and His will perpetuated throughout generations. He doesn’t just have you in mind, He has your children, your children’s children, and their children in mind! The decisions you make today regarding your family life will affect future generations to come. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call Heaven and earth to witness this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life that you and your descendants may live.” Your choices today will impact generations to come. Choose life so that you and your descendants may continue to live out the Godly heritage prepared for you.
Fourth, be willing to change the way you think.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” We are all a product of the environment we were brought up in, but we don’t have to stay that way! We are transformed (changed) by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). When we change the way we think, we change the way we act. The more of God’s Word we have in our heart, the more we will act like Him. Imagine a husband and wife both choosing to act like Jesus—that would be a home filled with a lot of love with children who feel loved and wanted!
Finally, next to God, make your family your #1 priority.
There are a lot of things pulling on our time these days, but things will stay in balance if our priorities are in the right place. Your family needs you. Whether you are a mother or father, your family needs you. They need your guidance, protection, love and affirmation. We all tend to gravitate toward those who affirm us. The greatest affirmation our families should receive is right there in the home. There should be no reason to look elsewhere for love, acceptance and celebration.
Spend time together as a family and make mealtime an important part of your day. Sitting around the table talking, connecting, communicating and laughing is vital to a healthy family. I know there are seasons when it seems like everyone is going in separate directions, but it should be temporary – very temporary. Ask the Lord to help you be creative in spending time together as a family. Don’t make it complicated and it doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as simple as a board game. No matter what age your children are, they want to be with you. That is the greatest compliment any parent could ever receive – knowing that their spouse and children want to be home with them.
Successful families are successful because of the choices they make. Anyone can have a successful family no matter what the history of your family has been. God can and will heal you of all pain, rejection and past failures. It is never too late to do the right thing!
Choose life so that you and your descendants can truly live the good life!