- - Sunday, August 19, 2018


For all the moms and dads reading the paper in the quiet of the morning as you sip that first cup of coffee, let this be the day.

Yes, let this be the day that you reboot your marriage, that you refocus your heart and mind, and that you plant your sights squarely on your family.

Perhaps your life seems consumed by stress and turmoil. And why wouldn’t it be? Our nation is in the midst of a political war unlike anything else in our lifetime. Friends and family members are at odds with each other over things none of us can change.

Outside your door awaits another traffic jam and more of your time wasted just sitting in a stinking clog of bumper to bumper cars. Maybe you slog through the morning commute only to land in an office where you feel as if the very life is being sucked out of you. Another stupid meeting; another co-worker conflict. More hours wasted doing “stuff” that won’t even matter this time next year, let alone in five or 10 years.

And after spending all day running in circles or shuffling paper, your reward is to crawl with the masses down that crummy highway, yet again.

You finally arrive home and are met by an anxious spouse and children who are as equally stressed out as you are. Dinner is rushed, with each person doing their own thing. Competing interests, homework and deadlines consume what’s left of the evening, and by the time your head hits the pillow, you realize that haven’t had a truly meaningful conversation with a single person in your family.

But maybe your life is a bit different. You don’t mind the traffic; in fact, the commute gives you time to focus your thoughts on the tasks that await you at work. You have a tight bond with people at the office and view them as fellow warriors for a shared cause. You feel like opportunity is around every corner, so you eagerly pour yourself into projects and meetings.

Before you know it, you realize that the office has cleared out for the day, your evening commute is a breeze — and it seems as if the entire working world went home hours ago. Because it did. So you also end up in that same sad place at home. Your family is stressed and fractured, everyone is rushed and silent. There’s no real conversation. No spiritual connection. And no joy.

Regardless of your circumstances, make this the day you start changing your family — starting with you.

Purpose in your heart — right now — to begin creating a home atmosphere that wraps each family member in a warm embrace. Your spouse and children might ask a million things of you, but what they need more than anything else is your love and undivided attention. Give it to them.

Love purposefully without expecting anything in return; stick with it, and you eventually will begin to experience the attention and love that you crave too.

If we continue to allow each day to spin at the command of the outside world, it will. But when we stop the robotic obedience to the cultural swirl, we can bring our family lives into focus.

Creating a household of peace and strength starts with spending time in the presence of your Creator. Your capacity to show unconditional love to your family members starts with accepting God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, with allowing your heart to soak up His unconditional love for you.

The forces of evil would have you believe that it’s too late, that your mistakes and failures cannot be undone. These are lies straight from the pit of Hell, and conquering the evil begins with rejecting its vile condemnation.

As long as there is breath in you, there is opportunity to reclaim your family. It starts by deciding to walk humbly with your God, by accepting His mercy and forgiveness, by allowing His strength to be your own, by seeking His wisdom to inform your decisions.

My father went through some pretty tough times in his life, but he never ceased to trust God to bring him through. When I need to be reminded that all good things are possible through Christ, I recall the words Dad had scrawled on a scrap of paper and taped to his refrigerator door. I spotted it when visiting him in his older years as he found his life engulfed in trauma and destruction caused by the severe mental illness that gripped my mother, his beloved wife of 40 years.

The truth of those words can be the foundation for peace upon which you can rebuild your home too. They come from Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

Dad never forgot that his help came from the God of all creation. Dad knew that strength could be found in Christ, as the Apostle Paul said in Acts 17: “For in Christ we live and move and have our being.”

On this day, lift up your eyes to the Maker of Heaven and Earth; establish your being in Christ. Ask Him to guide your movements to build your home, and He will.

Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at [email protected]

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