Growing Up in a Close Knit Family
The word family can be defined so differently according to whom you ask. For some “family” means deep relationships with their dad, mom and siblings who get them at all times. For some “family” is painful because of different circumstances that have happened. And for others “family” just is _______________(fill in the blank). For me my “family” is everything to me. My parents have done an amazing job of creating our family (at least I think they have) as a tight-knit supportive family even though right now we find ourselves oceans apart and spread throughout the world. As a family we always know that we are just a phone call, an email or prayer away from supporting each other. I know without a doubt that my family has my back in every situation that I face and most importantly no matter what I face in life they always point me back to our heavenly Father.
My parents have created and fostered this “tight-knit supportive family” by making prayer, serving, and living life together a family thing. These practices are still in place even through my parents are empty-nester now and we are spread around the world as a family.
If you would ask me the question “What is one thing that your parents have taught you the most?” I would say prayer. I so appreciate how my parents continue to foster prayer into our family. Growing up they created an atmosphere of prayer through many different practices:
My parents pray together each morning in bed with a cup of coffee before they get up to start the day and do their own quiet times. (I remember as a child sometimes listening into their prayers. I just love that my parents do this. What a great example)
Prayer times as family. We never had a set-time for prayer as a family, but would come together and pray when needed. I love these times of prayer. My parents really encouraged us as kids to listen to God’s voice and would always ask us with eagerness what we heard from God during our prayer times.
Pray about everything. My dad is especially good at this. He commits everything to prayer even sometimes when others think it might be “silly” to pray about it. He always points me to prayer.
Prayer as a community. As a family we always engaged in our community prayer times. Even when my siblings and I were young we didn’t go to childcare or have a babysitter. We were just right there worshipping and praying with the “adults”.
Serving as family is something that has always been normal to me and when I was young I thought everyone served together as a family. My parents just involved my siblings and I in everything they did. We were never really “forced” to serve with them in local or everyday serving but we always had the option to. It allowed for my siblings and I to be involved in our parent’s ministry serving when we felt our gifting could be used. When we did choose to serve we served with the right attitude because we were never forced. As a family we also have served together overseas going on mission trips. If you would ask my family I am 99% sure everyone would say these are some of our favorite memories as a family. Serving as a family helped create our “tight-knit family” because it created space to really depend on one another. As children we always felt involved and never left out. We loved being involved where the “adults” were and hated being in “child-care”.
Living Life Together
"Living life together", I would say this is my parents motto. The above two examples are two ways that my parents have felt God place on their heart to lead our family in growing in our faith. We love to live life together whether that means going on adventures, mission trips, everyday life, praying over decisions, having our home filled with others, practicing hospitality and even now oceans apart taking the time to FaceTime and making sure that at least once a year we all get together in one place. Living life together as a family has kept us close. When we were all in one house my parents made it a priority to always have dinner together no matter what our schedules were and sometimes it was difficulty with all the extra activities we had going on, but it was a time to come together and talk about what was going on in our life and a time where we could all be together as a family.
You may be asking: Are they a perfect family? No! We are not. We struggle. We miscommunicate. We can go weeks without talking to each other, but we all know that we love each other more than words can say. We know that we are praying for each other. And we have awesome memories of family times together were we have served, prayed and live life! I am greatly anticipating this summer when we get to spend a few days "Living life together" again!
Questions to think about:
How is your family living life together?
How can your family serve together?
What is most important to your family?
I would love to challenge you as parents to create space for serving, praying and living life together as a family. *Parents are huge examples of how to live life for your children. What do you want your children to carry out in their life with them? Whatever your answer is is, it starts in the family first.
Its beautiful to live life with your family with Christ in the center of it all!
Daniella Rottier is a daughter, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a coach and a lover of Jesus. She grew up as a missionary kid with Youth With A Mission. She loves spending time with those that mean the most to her, being active (when she can find the time), baking, and soaking in the sun. She also loves drinking earl grey tea and reading a good book. Check out her personal blog, Simply Beautiful