April 30, 2009 
How to Enjoy Your Family 
Part 3 
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth 
Proverbs 31:26 “When she speaks, her words are wise, and kindness is the rule for everything she says.”

Friend To Friend 
Family is important to God. He created it before He created the church and, as with each of His creations, He made a plan for it to succeed.  At the heart of that plan is love!  To be part of a family is to be loved.  Over the last two days, we have examined the first steps to loving your family; to build trust, to serve them with joy, to plan well and to work hard.  We can also love and enjoy our family by guarding our tongue.

The power of the spoken word is great.  Words are like seeds.  What we plant will grow.  If we plant negative, critical words, we will reap a family that is negative and critical.  Look for the good in your family then speak it.  Be their cheerleader.  Everyone needs a cheerleader!

A little girl was eating breakfast with her Daddy. They were “on a date”, spending some special time together.  He was telling her how wonderful she was and how proud he was of her.  What he thought was a sufficient job he picked up his fork and began to eat. His daughter put her hand on his arm and stopped him with these words, “Longer, Daddy, longer.”  He didn’t eat much food that day but a little girl’s hungry heart got fed. Do you have any hearts like that in your family?

CBS released a movie about Karen Carpenter, the great singer who rose to stardom singing with her brother, Richard.  At the age of 32, she died unexpectedly of heart failure due to many years of abuse caused by Anorexia.  But what brought on Karen's fatal obsession with weight control? It seems that a reporter once called her "Richard's chubby little sister."

Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD: keep watch over the door of my lips.”  

Ask yourself these questions before speaking.

   T       is it true? 

   H       Is it helpful? 

    I       is it inspiring? 

   N       is it necessary? 

   K       is it kind?

Think before you speak!  Use the five to one ratio when correcting anyone - five positive remarks to one negative. The harder the truth, the greater the love we should use to say it.  It is our responsibility to use our words to train and instruct our family about the daily things in life, but more importantly, to instruct them about eternal things.  We are very concerned about providing for our children when we need to be more concerned about caring for our children.  The greatest care we can give is to disciple them by speaking words of truth.  Guard your tongue!

The sixth way to enjoy our family is to take care of ourselves.  The Proverbs 31 woman certainly did.  “She is energetic.  Her own clothing is beautifully made--a purple gown of pure linen.  She is a woman of strength and dignity and has no fear of old age.”  (Proverbs 31:17; 22; 25 LB) 

Families are hard work. In order to make our family relationships replenishing we must be replenished.  Psalm 46:10 instructs us to “Be still and know that I am God.”  Let’s apply this verse specifically.

Be still, MY MUSCLES, and know God’s RELAXATION. 

Be still, MY NERVES, and know God’s REST.

Be still, MY HEART, and know God’s QUIETNESS.

Be still, MY BODY, and know God’s RENEWAL.

Be still, MY MIND, and know God’s PEACE.

In order to be all that we can be to our families, we must be all that we can be mentally,             physically, spiritually and emotionally.  We must be balanced.  The Proverbs 31 woman was energetic and hard working for the tasks she was gifted and called to do.  Proverbs 31:25 tells us this woman could laugh “at the days to come.”  The picture here is of a woman who enjoyed her life.  She worked hard, but she knew how to stop and plant a vineyard.  She liked to shop and watched for bargains.  She liked to look beautiful, dressing in purple fine linen. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”

We cannot give our heart to God and keep our body for ourselves.  When you take care of yourself, you are honoring God and loving your family.

The final way to enjoy and love your family is to remember your audience.

Proverbs 31:28-31 “Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

It’s so easy to have the wrong audience and the truth is that our audience determines how we run the race.  Our audience should be God, our mate, our children and then others.  One day we will stand before God as keeper of the family He has loaned to us

for a short time.  Will He be pleased?  Will He say “Well done”?  Will our family stand and bless us?  Will others say this woman loved and enjoyed her family?

Let’s Pray 
"Lord, You know my inadequacies.  You know my weaknesses, not only in parenting, but in every area of my life.  As You broke the fishes and the loaves to feed the five thousand, now take my meager effort and use it to bless my family. Please make up for the things I did wrong.  Satisfy the needs that I have not satisfied.  Wrap Your great arms around my family and draw them close to You. And be there when they stand at the great crossroads between right and wrong.  All I can give is my best, and I, today, choose to do that!  Therefore, I submit to You my family and myself and the job I have done and will do as a wife and mother.  The outcome belongs to You." (Author unknown)

Now It’s Your Turn 
I truly believe our greatest opportunity to impact the world is the way we love and enjoy family.  I pray that you have been blessed by this study.  I encourage you to examine your family in light of these principles.  Identify one principle that needs some work and get started.  It is never too late to start and it is always too early to give up, girlfriend.  And know that Gwen, Sharon and I are right there with you on this journey.  Blessings!

More from the Girlfriends 
Family is complex and wonderful.  I encourage you to make a new commitment to your family – no matter what “family” looks like to you.  Choose to love those you call family in a new way.  Determine to daily illustrate God’s very character in your home.  Be the thermostat – not the thermometer – of your home.  We pray that your home is a place of peace, love and joy and that it honors God. 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Drop by Mary’s online store where you can find a unique gift, a beautifully laminated bookmark for Mom, or a book or CD as a lasting gift for someone you love.  You can even enroll your mom, sister or friend in Mary’s weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey.  Blessings! 

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