Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

10.02.2009

The Art of Family: The Big Picture


100% of us have (or had at one point) families. Profound, I know. The point of the matter, though, is that 100% of us likewise have the same shortcomings—conflict, pride, or feeling closer to a friend rather than family. Though some may have more difficult situations than others, we all are imperfect with imperfect families. Mikaela and I rarely fight, but I remember a few ones from when we were still in our first decade that were humdingers. Specifically, a vision of chasing each other around the room and over beds, noses stuck up in the air, with the goal of grabbing the Bible from the other person wafts through my memory. That’s all I recall about the strange fight, but I also remember the remorse afterwards, slowly walking up to her, and whispering my penitent apology. Then there was a hug and we were back to, “Do you want to ask Mama if we can share a Popsicle together?”
I love each person God has put into my family, and I rejoice at every tiny step towards further closeness, but each day I stumble in that journey. In the “Art of Family” this would be akin to dropping a huge paint splotch on the Mona Lisa—not pretty. Whether it’s an impatient, rude answer to the billionth question in a row, a purposely ignored opportunity for service, or a choice to elevate a friend or stranger over my family, I find myself constantly messing up. Thank God for His forgiveness and the forgiveness of my family!
The victories are precious too. Recently we were asked to perform as a family at a local retirement home in front of the residents as well as a local church’s senior group. In the past, some of our quartet practices have been tragically unproductive. “So-and-so, stop playing on the piano while we’re talking. Stop jumping up and down on the couch, and—no don’t go get a drink of water. Yes, we need to play it again. No—don’t loosen all the pegs…Aagh! Too late! All right, let’s try it again now. Instruments up, AND-A-ONE-AND-A-TWO…OK (sigh), go to the bathroom. YES, we ARE going to play this again. Stop playing Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire! It’s not even Christmas!”
We learned many necessary skills for getting along and working together, and it suddenly paid off with these latest rehearsals—they were actually fun! We laughed at our mistakes, worked hard to improve, and felt a little sad when we were done. I am not ready to suppose that I have mastered the art of family, but we are all maturing (slowly) and it was sweet to see that we could work together, have fun, and produce beautiful music that brought joy to others.
By way of personal application, Jonah might at this point offer up his favorite verse which he loves to quote at opportune moments: “And the older shall serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23b)" ( :
I would like to consider another passage, though, that is not too much different. Philippians 2:3-4 and14 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others….Do all things without complaining and disputing.”
That is the crux of the matter, the paintbrush that you use for the art of family. This is the fifth installment, and now I am finally getting to the life-changing part. Here’s one more revelation of a verse, the one that directly follows the command to never complain or argue. I have heard this verse hundreds of times, memorized it, and admired it, but never before today had I connected it with the command to serve with humility and love, especially in one’s family. Why is this so important? You are to perfect this art of family “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world. (Philippians 2:15)”
Isn’t that thought-provoking? Isn’t it a revelation? Our shining light doesn’t come from deeds of greatness, from writing a great blog, or from showing love when it is easy. Tirelessly serving our families, loving them in spite of their flaws, helping them be the men and women God designed them to be, answering that billionth question with love, and using their accountability to mature ourselves—that is how we can be children of God, the only lights in our dark and increasingly cobwebby corners of the world. That is God’s ultimate design to pierce the black blackness of the world. And so I wonder—is your light switch on?

3 comments:

  1. Wow, this was very good. I appreciated your transparency, the scriptural insights and the application, too. And, needless to say, I was convicted (which, of course, is a good thing).
    So good about connecting the verses in the Philippians passage. I believe that deserves some meditating.
    I so wish I could have heard you all sing and play! So good to see each one developing their skills and gifts for the blessing of others. Keep it up! : )

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  2. Thanks Lauren! I had never thought of that verse in specific application to family either...a very humbling command, isn't it? Reminds me once again why I need a Savior...

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  3. Thank you Ruthie, I know that all of us have stories of failings, and I hoped that mine might encourage you in some way! (-; Conviction is definitely good, and I myself have been finding many shortcomings I need to change since writing this series!
    Sarah--Yes, we definitely need that Savior! I wanted to include the rest of that passage, which was quite long, but it's the "Let this mind be in you" part which then gives Christ's example. All He went through without one word of complaint--wow! When I really want to stop complaining, it's almost like when I try to stop using the word "like"! (-:

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