My husband and I are a little pathetic…lately we have been watching old reruns of the show Family Ties. For those of you who know Michael J. Fox – you might also remember him as Alex P. Keaton. Alex is an ultra-conservative Republican and Meredith Baxter Birney and Michael Gross play his ex-hippie, ultra-liberal parents. You may also remember his ditsy sister Mallory (Justine Batemen), his common sense, tomboy sister Jennifer (Tina Yothers) and his little brother and protege Andrew (Brian Bonsell). Ahhh….I loved that show.
We were recently watching a show where the Dad, Steven, had just recovered from a heart attack. When he returned home from the hospital he was a little bit edgy and grumpy. His wife, Elyse, was offering him encouragement and asking gentle questions. Steven admitted that being in his living room reminded him of his collapse and it made him feel vulnerable and terrified. It bothered him that he now associated his precious home with a negative event. He looked Elyse in the eyes and said, “Everything that matters to me is in this house.”
There I sat watching Family Ties episode from 1988 and I bawled. What a beautiful statement. Everything that matters to me is in this house. Family. Siblings. Parents. Love. The people in our home are those whom God intended that we would journey through life with. The good. The bad. The challenges. The differences. The laughs. The shared memories.
My kids no longer live in this house. That ship sailed. But the members of my family live in my heart and they are still everything that matters to me.
Last Friday I had a perfect day. The morning brought the pleasure of sharing a rare moment with my two sons and my husband as we talked about deep things that were going on in our lives. After that I went to Mama’s Happy with my son’s wife, Nikki. (If you live in Minnesota you really must go to Mama’s Happy) We shopped, bought caramels and candles, and barely got out of the parking lot without sliding into a car because of the glare ice.
Eventually we drove off and continued on to meet my daughter Taylor and Steven’s wife, Ashley, for lunch. We talked about life, parenting, marriage, faith, and careers as we sipped wine and ate good food. After that, the grandkids came for a sleepover. Everything that mattered to me was in that day.
That night, after we tucked the kids in bed, my husband and I came across another oldie but goodie – and watched the 1988 movie Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. (Life has clearly taken quite a turn from diapers, dance, and hockey games. We really need to take up skiing, or painting or something!!?) There is a scene where Sandra Bullock says to her daughter, “There is nothing special about me. But YOU make me special.” I cried again.
Those kids who exhausted me, tried me, tested me, grew me, challenged me, stumped me, and exhausted me – made me who I am today. They are the only thing that is good about me. They love me even though I screwed up hundreds of times and their spouses are kind to us even though we probably drive them crazy.
And their babies… ohhhh, those babies – they think we’re great. There is nothing sweeter than waking up in the morning to their little voices, the pitter-pattering of little feet, and doors slamming as they call out, “Nana?? Papa???” The children that grew from my children were in my house.
This morning I was doing my Bible Study and I came across a passage found in Luke 19:1-10. It’s a story about a short little man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and the guys in his profession were known for being dishonest in their dealings. They were very unpopular.
Zacchaeus had learned that Jesus was passing through his town so he decided to find out what this Jesus was all about. As the crowd passed by, Zacchaeus, being short, could not see Jesus so he found a sycamore tree and shimmied up. To Zacchaeus’ surprise… Jesus noticed him, called out his name, and decided to go to his house.
Zacchaeus eagerly welcomed Jesus into his home and quickly made the commitment to become a follower of Jesus. (Click on the above link to read the story) Zacchaeus wanted more of God. He made the effort to find Jesus, he decided to seek the truth about who He really was, and he changed his entire life. But here is the part that stood out to me today.
“…and salvation came to this house.” – verse 9.
His entire family – in his house – was saved because Zacchaeus wanted more of God. Oh, I know it doesn’t always work out that way. I know families where the parents are followers of Jesus and the children are not. God blesses all of us in different ways.
At the same time, how might it affect our families if we had more of Jesus in our lives? What if we made the extra effort to spend time with Him and invited Him into our homes? What if Jesus caused us to change our ways? What if our kids took notice? What if we had more joy? More patience? More creativity in our parenting? More wisdom?
What if we included Him in our conversation around the dinner table and our prayers at night? What if we spent more time praying to the Lord on behalf of those in our homes? How might that impact their lives? Their careers? Their marriages? Their children? Their experiences at school? Their friendships? And their faith?
How might our families be impacted if we had the courage to announce that we were going to climb the tree – learn more about Jesus – and follow Him? How might their lives be changed – if we became changed?
The most important thing that we can do for those in our house is to have more of God in our own personal life. As we grow in our walk with the Lord, it will spill into our families. It will affect the things that matter the most to us.
Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Figure out your faith and follow your Lord.
Bless your family.