Monday, August 4, 2008

At the Well - Family Vision


The featured speaker "At The Well" this week is
Natalie of I Am (Not). When you finish here,
be sure to go over and take a look at her
post and those of other ladies "At the Well."

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I hope I don't upset the water bucket here, but I believe the first thing we must consider regarding a family vision is that God's vision for our family and our vision may be two different things.
A man's heart deviseth his way:
but the LORD directeth his steps.
Proverbs 16:9
King David had a vision to build a temple, a magnificent edifice whereby he might glorify the Lord. It was a noble vision, and one which his own spiritual father, Nathan the prophet, thought was an excellent goal to pursue. However, the Lord had other plans.

...[T]he king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying, go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? . . . [W]hen thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee . . and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I willstablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. (II Samuel 7:2-5; 12, 13)

Though David was not allowed to realize his vision, he was still a valuable contributor to its fulfillment.

So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated; even the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, did he put among the treasures of the house of the LORD. (I Kings 7:51)

It is imperative that we have a vision for our family, but we must not get discouraged if things don't turn out exactly as we had envisioned. For instance, many home schooling families have a vision of working with their children in a home business or at the same place of employment as their father. However, when there are many little ones under foot, it may be difficult for mom to contribute to the business, or dad may have to work in an environment where children under eighteen are not allowed. Other folks dream of living in the country with a flock of chickens and a milk cow. (Me, me, me!!!! I do! I do!) Yet, the cost of living on one income in order for mom to be at home with the children may warrant living in town where it's closer to dad's work and where the housing is less expensive.

We lived on two different rental farms from 1989 to 1994. We never had any animals, but the children were free to roam and play and the air was fresh and clean. It was so peaceful for me, a recluse by nature. So you may imagine my devastation when we were forced by finances to move to the inner city. When Les brought up the idea, I called my sister and proclaimed, I will never move to the city! We lived there for seven years (my Great Tribulation), the longest we've ever lived anywhere during our 20+ years of marriage. Never say never.

Looking back, I realize that God had us live there during the key formative years of our children's lives. You say, that's a good reason not to live in the inner city! Yet, consider these benefits:

1. Dad could be home an average of 15 more hours per week because he didn't have to commute.
2. We saved a lot of money, not only on gas, but on housing as well.
3. We were able to purchase our first home for cheaper than rent, a brand-new-from-the-basement-to-the-roof house.
4. We were close to all the best home school activities including a teaching co-op, home school library (had it in our own home for awhile - Cool!), field trips, and Christian-based sports programs.
5. There were more opportunities for ministry among our poorer neighbors and with Dad at the local rescue ministry.
6. The children learned to see people as people, regardless of their color or ethnic background. They learned to judge people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin (Hm, sounds like someone else who had a dream).

It was no picnic. The neighborhood could go from Mr. Hyde to Dr. Jekyll in no time depending on who lived in the rental properties on the block. We had to get a fence, lock our doors, and keep an eagle eye on the children when they played in the yard. However, though we could not see it at the time, the Lord's vision for our family was being perfectly fulfilled even during those days of trial and longing for a better life in the country.

It was never my vision to move to the city. That was my Dearly Beloved's idea. I can't really say it was his vision to live in the inner city. In fact, I think he really regretted it once we were moved in. Les is not one to sit and contemplate the future. He is not a visionary, he is a Mr. Steady.[1] Yet, there are things he says and does, especially regarding the children, which give me clues to what his vision would be for our family if he ever sat down and really thought it out:

* To have a steady, loving, life-lasting marriage
* To rear children who love the Lord and His Word
* To walk honestly, as a family, toward all men
* To work hard and stay out of debt at all costs
* To be in good health in order to be a help and not a burden to others
* To be a witness of the Gospel wherever the Lord plants us

By the grace of God in answer to prayer, I hope to maintain a proper attitude regarding this vision and to work each and every day to do my part in bringing it to pass for the glory of God and the good of others.

The story of David and his temple vision encourages us that, even if we don't see the fulfillment of our vision within our own family, it will most likely come out in one or more of our children. It is a matter of putting up a little gold here, a little silver there, even a lowly vessel or two that finally adds up to all our family will be in the will of God. Your gold may be sacrificing in order to live on one income. Your silver could be staying up a little later or getting up a little earlier in order for Dad to have family devotions. The vessels of settling for a late-model car, squeezing your family into a smaller house, and eating more beans are all contributions to the family vision when they are consecrated to the glory of God.