There is something so important about childhood and our parents’ relationship with each other and our relationship with each parent. God designed families to function in a specific way to be healthy for everyone.
- The parents are supposed to love God first with all their hearts, knowing they will answer to Him for everything they think, do, and say.
- The marriage relationship is supposed to demonstrate a healthy marriage and healthy interaction for the children as they grow up. It teaches boys what to expect from women and girls what to expect from men. It is supposed to teach girls what it means to be a godly woman, wife, and mom from their mom and boys what it means to be a godly man, husband, and dad from their dad’s example.
- Parents teach children what is “normal” and what love is. It is supposed to be a place where children learn to love, trust, and feel safe.
Unfortunately, all parents fail to some degree – and there are wounds created as a child discovers that he/she is not perfectly loved and cared for.
The greater the dysfunction in the family and marriage, the greater the wounds and scars the child will have and the harder time the child will generally have in his/her own marriage and family in the future.
You learned a lot of things from your mom. You may have absorbed a lot of her mindset and her self-talk without you even realizing that, as well. If she thought things like, “I’m worthless. I’m a waste of time to everyone. No one could love me. I have nothing good to offer anyone. I’m unlovable…” You will probably pick up on those thoughts, even if she never says them out loud – and you will probably have that same voice saying the same destructive lies in your own mind as an adult.
If your mom was really busy, or very spiritually/emotionally wounded herself – she may not have been able to help you with destructive ideas of your own as you were growing up. You may have begun to think things that were not true but maybe were not ever corrected – so you continued to believe things that you started believing as a small girl. Or, your parents may have tried to correct your wrong thinking, but you may not have been able to “hear” them and continued on believing destructive and warped lies.
Spiritually, our family of origin is SUPER critical.
Fathers – We learn our perception of who God is from our dads. We tend to believe that God is the same way our father was. If he was cold and distant and uninterested – it will be easy to think that is how God is, too – even though God is actually the perfect Father who loves and disciplines His children without ever making a mistake. You may end up believing that God is not good if you perceived that your father was not good to you or to your mom.
Mothers – From our moms, we learn what the Holy Spirit is like. A godly mom will love, nurture, hug, kiss, and care for her children and be there when they need her as much as possible. She will talk with them through their fears and wrong thinking. She will pray over them and for them and with them continually. She will teach them the Word of God and instruct them how to live godly lives and how to love God and love people.
Our Parents’ Marriage – We also learn from our parents the relationship between Christ and His church. The husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. He is supposed to be gentle, humble, selfless, wise, forgiving, kind, and involved in his family emotionally and spiritually. He is supposed to put Christ first, then his wife, then his children. The wife is supposed to honor her husband and respect him – to show the way that God’s people are to reverence Him and honor His leadership. She is supposed to esteem her husband highly and speak well of him to her children. She is supposed to put Christ first, then her husband, then her children. The children are supposed to see how much she trusts her husband and follows his leadership joyfully – as she trusts even more in Christ.
The way your mom honors your dad’s leadership teaches you how to respect all God-given authority figures in your life – your dad, your teacher, the police, the government, the president, your boss, the leaders at church, and your husband.
When a family is really messed up – Children grow up really messed up and then they come into their own marriage – set their baggage down on the living room floor – and open all of that hurt and pain and confusion and it contaminates every part of the new marriage. Of course, your future husband will have some degree of baggage, too. That will also contribute to the potential dysfunction.
Family is where children are supposed to learn to be loved and to love with God’s kind of love which is described in I Corinthians 13:4-8
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
These things above were God’s intent and plan for each of us. If parents were living in obedience to Him – these are the things we would have learned.
Then, the plan of God is that children will grow up to be godly young men and women – marry other healthy godly young men and women – and repeat the blessing of a godly marriage and family for their children. That is God’s plan – but He gave us free will so that we are not robots. He wanted us to be able to choose Him or reject Him. He valued our free will so much, even though He knew the price tag would be astronomical and He knew the devastation that sin would cause – but to Him, it was worth it to be able to have us be able to choose freely to love and obey Him or to reject Him.
Love that is forced or where there is no free will – is not real love. And God is real love. So He wants us to be able to truly love Him and love people.
God is waiting for you to desire a relationship with Him. He will not force you into it. He is a Gentleman.
Then God’s plan is that families will demonstrate God’s love in marriages and in the family relationships and that the world will see Christ in the family – and this will draw many to the Gospel and to salvation. When believers have messed up marriages, it repels people from Christ and from salvation (Titus 2:5).
So if we are believers – our greatest job is to glorify God and please Him – out of thanksgiving and joy for all He has done for us. And then we will care more about His glory in our lives and marriages than anything else – so we will seek to obey Him – not to get what we want, but to get what He wants – His glory. And when He is glorified in our lives, many people will come to know Christ! We will be very fruitful in His Kingdom!
Why look back?
It is important to look back to our parents’ marriage and our childhood wounds in order to see God’s design and compare it to what we experienced or to our perception of what we experienced. Not that we are going to blame our parents. They did the best they could with what they knew at the time. But we need to be able to compare what we experienced to God’s design for families so that we can chose to consciously reject anything that was not of God and anything that was sick and destructive and then choose to receive God’s healing and right way of thinking as we move forward in our own lives and relationships with God and with others.
We can recognize that we have abandonment issues, fear issues, trust issues, a warped view of God, a warped view of masculinity/femininity/marriage/family. We can recognize our problems with how we see God, ourselves, or others and relationships. We can ask God to help strip away everything that is not of Him and help us rebuild on Christ and His Word alone. ALL of us need this kind of healing and self-awareness as God transforms and renews our hearts and minds for His glory.
In the next several posts, we will talk about finding God’s healing from our childhood wounds.