Family Fun


There are 4 siblings in my family. Each of us has one sibling with whom we don’t speak. It’s not even the holidays yet, and we’ve already had our first holiday drama. My back is starting to seize, and my eye twitch has returned. I really just want to send a loaded email and let someone have it! They are treating people horribly, and they just need to know that I don’t really want to see them. Even while writing this my head starts to hurt and tears start to form. How do they get away with such behavior?

How do I get away with such behavior?

The sweet words of a brother and another darling friend reminded me of the reason Jesus came so long ago. He came to restore the broken and redefine families. Most long to have the large, welcoming, no issue, ever gracious, not bringing up sore subjects, and actually wanting to be together family. We were made that way. But, when Jesus was born he inaugurated a better family.

Jesus’ life told us that it didn’t matter what family you came from, what family you got into, or what family you made. For the first time all that mattered was being part of the family, which he created from the beginning of time, full of broken, fallen, redeemed people – God’s family. And from that family we gain value. Your value isn’t based anymore on your extended family getting along or even who they are. My value isn’t based anymore on whether or not I’m married. Our value isn’t based anymore on if we have children or on how those children turn out to be. Our value is based on Jesus’ life, pursuits, and love.

Truth is, Christmas is difficult for families. The old wounds surface, the simmering tensions boil, and the endless frustrations rear their heads. In the midst of it – remember that baby. That baby who came to redefine families as Jesus is our most perfect older brother. He gave his life for us. He gave his place for us. He gives us value.

Ps 68:6a – God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.

P.S. Email not sent. Family will get together, and we still need Jesus. We know He is in the midst. Praying we can act like it!

Debby Sutton


Fighting to be Broken


There’s a blog I like to read by a woman named Kara. Kara has had cancer for some time now and while the reason she writes is to tell of her struggle, her message is not of cancer-it’s of grace. I hope you join me in reading and praying for her-I’m sure you will after reading just one post.

In an interview that Kara gave on the radio recently she was asked how she responded to the anger that most feel when they’re faced with pain like hers. Her response struck me:

She said eveyday she fights to be broken, not angry.

I don’t have cancer, but I don’t need it to understand anger that comes from the pain of a broken world. I struggle with anger all the time. I’m ashamed to admit that anger can often be my go-to defense when I feel cornered, when I feel pain, when I feel like I’m not enough. I don’t have the hard of cancer in my story, but I have other hard, and have often felt anger in response to it.

Which is why Kara’s response struck me. Fighting to be broken, not angry. I’ve come to like my anger-it’s comfortable, and assures me of how right I think I am. It’s so easy to be angry, isn’t it? We don’t even need to look at our own hard to find it-simply looking at the injustices and the pain around us can bring the anger. Anger at the people who cause it, anger at the God who allows it.

But oh how much sweeter it is to be broken. To acknowledge the pain that caused the anger and ask Him to meet you in it. To honestly ask Him what pain you might have caused another and seek forgiveness. To admit that this is all wrong, and to rejoice because He came to make it all right again. To know that we were never right, but loved and cherished in spite of our wrong.

So this Christmas, will you fight to be broken with me? Will you turn from the anger at your family for not being what you them to be, from your boss who doesn’t notice how much you do, from the guy who cut you off in the Target parking lot and instead remember that in spite of the ugly pain of this world Jesus came as a sweet baby to shine grace on our anger?

Fighting to be broken, not angry,

Jess Bates