Your family is exactly like every other family right? You all look the same, act the same, have the same values, do the same things, eat dinner at the same time, and celebrate the same holidays. Right?
No! That isn’t right! We are all different. We are different people so why wouldn’t our families be different?
There are so many things that make us think that we shouldn’t be different or that it might be a bad thing if we aren’t keeping up with the Jones next door or down the street. If we don’t have the same number of kids or if our kids don’t do cheer, soccer, or football then we must be missing something.
But here is the truth, every family has its own DNA makeup. We have our own origin stories, if you will, that set us apart from every other family. Each family decides what its culture is and its values. What they will spend their time, money, and energy on.
Of course, there will always be families who closely align with your family. They will be similar in some ways but even the families who seem to be twinning with you will still be different. For example, there is a family we are close to. Our oldest sons are best friends and do so many things together. We align on many things. We want our children to love Jesus, be good friends to others, grow in kindness, understand what community is, be willing to give to others, and in general be humans who image God.
Our families have things in common. However, we make different choices about what our kids can watch movie-wise and what video games they can play. We also have a different pace of life. They love being busy and being involved in all of the sports and activities while we limit what our kids can do and we choose to be less busy. Some of that is necessity because we have a special needs child and it is limiting in some ways. My family also still has younger kids while their youngest kids are in 2nd grade.
But you know what? We are still friends. We respect and accept each other’s families as they are and don’t push our preferences on each other. That is how it is supposed to be!
So we have covered the fact that families are different but why does it matter and what do we do with this information? Great question! I’m glad you asked.
You EMBRACE IT!
Being different isn’t a bad thing. It is a wonderful thing. God’s word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Each one of us is different and that means our families are wonderfully different as well. And I, for one, think that is the best news ever!
Differences make the world beautiful. Wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same? If we all liked vanilla, the color blue, dogs, and hot tea there would be no variety, nothing to keep things interesting.
That is the same with families. For example, my family is different in a few big ways. We are a bigger family. There are 7 of us. That is different right off the bat. While big families are more common now, the average family size is still 4-5 people. So 7 is different.
We are also an adoptive family. That is different from many other families we know. Our family is also a special needs family. So there are limitations on where we can go and what we can do just because of accessibility. We also have a teen, preteens, elementary-aged, and preschool kids. We have a span of ages and phases in our home so sometimes we have to decide between doing something fun and getting the younger kids to bed on time so we don’t all suffer the next day!
Honestly, for a while, I was frustrated by our differences as a family. I wanted to do all of the things everyone else was doing. Vacationing without thinking about whether or not a wheelchair could fit into the AirBNB bathroom, staying out a little later in the summer for a movie in the park without having meltdowns the next day, going to the grocery store without wondering how I would get everyone through the store without looking crazy, etc.
But then I realized that none of that really mattered. God put our family together in the way it was supposed to be put together. We are different. Beautifully different with all of the complications and chaos. We are on purpose. And if that means we stay in and play monopoly or have a just dance battle or watch a movie and eat take out then that is what we do. That all sounds better to me anyway because I am an introvert and would rather be home most of the time.
So here is my question: What makes your family different from all of the other families you know? What is your unique mark? How did God make you stand out?
And here is my challenge: I want you to embrace those differences. Thank God for making your family unique and choose gratitude over comparison.
Are you looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marthe Durosier email@example.com
Molly Pontius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Kirby: email@example.com