I have often been asked how I have managed my family, home, relationships and life in general. A verse from Proverbs 14:1 comes to mind – “Homes are made by the wisdom of women, but are destroyed by foolishness”
I believe wisdom here lies in having the right tools of the trade. My tools have consisted of Faith, Love, Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Humor. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have these tools and to use them.
Faith has been my bedrock. I know whatever may happen and however rough times may be, my Lord and my God will be there to guide, protect, and carry us through. My faith has been put to the test many a time and I have turned and put my Lord to the test and He has never failed. Faith has taught me patience. It has taught me to trust and wait for His timing. Faith has shown me how to cast my cares on God. When my family was in need He provided for us. His grace keeps restoring our hope and faith.
Love has always acted as an all-purpose tool. When everything fails, pull out love; it never fails. It will not only transform the home but will also transform you. When I say ‘love’ I mean the kind of love as is written in 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
I sincerely believe love makes you calmer, reasonable, sensitive and definitely more approachable. Love is the best beauty treatment you can ever have, inside out, it makes you radiant.
Forgiveness is an important thread that holds families together. If we must survive the hurts that we cause to one another we must have forgiveness. Much as we don’t want to be hurt we do get hurt, disappointed or offended. People hurt people. It is a flaw of human nature that we tend to hurt the ones we love the most. This is because of the ill-placed expectations we have of them and when they do not come up to our expectations we tend to deride them, be angry, take offense and blame them, thus adding insult to injury.
Forgiveness lightens the distress on both sides. It isn’t easy, but the good news is that it is possible to forgive. We need to forgive ourselves too. Often our guilt or anger at ourselves builds up walls of bitterness and resentment. We can’t face ourselves. To forgive others we must first be able to forgive ourselves. Sometimes we may have to work harder at it, especially when we have been deeply injured. Turn to Faith. Turn to love. Turn to Forgiveness. Forgiving families are happy and united families.
Humor is one tool that can never be used too much. It is a wonderful tool and can lighten gloomy days and chase away the blues. It should be readily available and used liberally. “Laughter disarms, relaxes, distracts, enhances, and connects us to one another. There is no sweeter melody than when our families laugh together and sharing joy causes us to bond at the heart,” says Patsy Clairmont, and I couldn’t agree more. Seeing a funny side to a situation, helps us to be more positive and cheerful. Laughter acts as a safety valve to release repressed emotions or stress. It improves mental health and lends an amiable disposition.
Gratitude, simply put, is thanking God for everything He gives. A grateful heart acknowledges even the tiniest help rendered. Thank God in good times, thank God in bad times. A thankful heart will let us look beyond our difficulty and see the lesson. The message comes from our ‘messes’ – a learning point.
There is a fable about a man who was miserable and couldn’t stop bemoaning his fate. He was forever focussing on all his problems and felt life had been very unfair to him. He looked around and found that his family members were more fortunate, his colleagues were lucky, his neighbors were better off. He declared that God was not just and it was no use worshipping him.
Finally, God appeared to him in a dream and told him that he could put all his problems into a sack and take it to the Tree of Destiny and dump it in exchange for any other sack over there. The man happily lugged his sack to the tree. There were many other sacks there and he found many belonging to some of the people he had envied. As he started opening the sacks, one by one, he found he didn’t want any because what he saw there did not appeal to him. So he gathered up his bag and walked home. The morning saw him as a changed man. He had developed a grateful heart and he thanked God for his lot. Be a family that is thankful for God’s mercies. Be a family that appreciates anyone who has done anything good for you.
Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!
Stack up your tool kit with the right tools.