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Choosing Daily

Choosing Daily

Neither of us grew up in Christian homes so we are very much first-generation Christian parents. It also happens to give us an interesting perspective on the Church and the way it often seems to try and communicate to the culture.

One of the myths that seems to have wormed its way into American Christianity is this: If you become a Christian, everything will be better.

It’s true in some ways, but very untrue in others, and very often, the cause of people who “try out” church then drift back away because it doesn’t work—because the God of the Bible is one who sometimes gives a gift, only to ask for it back.

We love giving gifts at Christmas and watching our kids light up at the surprises under the tree. Most people do. But it would be a far different celebration if we did all of that, and then the next morning told them, “We are going to take that one back now.”

Many have read the story of Abraham in Genesis 22, where God asks him to sacrifice his long waited-for son. But do we really think about the fact that God never changes? That the same God who asked that of His beloved Abraham is the same one we follow?

God doesn’t ask people to kill their children (let’s make that clear), the point of the story is that nothing, absolutely nothing, can be more important than our relationship with God. Not another person, not a dream, not a job, not a child. Nothing. Sometimes things are taken away from us. Christians are not immune to this. We can never hang on to anything tighter than we hang on to God.

Jobs. Homes. Dreams. People.

Will we trust and follow God even when we don’t get to keep something we loved? Or if things don’t go the way we want?

But even harder is when God chooses not to take something away, and instead asks you to part with it on your own. I think many, many people miss out on tremendous blessings because they don’t listen to that still, small voice that says, “Not this.” It could be a job, a person, a dream, anything at all. We can’t see the tentacles that wrap around our hearts, but God does, and He is gracious enough to point to that thing and say, “Let that go.”

We’ve walked this in a number of ways over the past few years in our family. And we’ve learned that faith doesn’t always look like the person who stands up and smiles and says “Everything is wonderful!” Sometimes faith looks like people who are just hanging on, but unwilling to let go of God, no matter what. Our family has been physically split apart this year as we follow God in a very unexpected direction. Even blessings can sometimes have a cost. But we have chosen to dig in tight and try to learn and grow in the midst of a challenging year. We’ve all had to trust in new, and sometimes painful, ways. Here are some things our family has learned that might be helpful for your family as well.

The road isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

The road sometimes is daunting.

But we aren’t walking it alone.

And it’s always worth it.

So in the new year ahead for your family, embrace change, listen closely and hang on.

By: Jeff and Sarah Sumpolec have been married for 19 years and Jeff has been a therapist in private practice for more than 10 years. They have three daughters together and Sarah writes for and speaks to teens. Visit them at www.sarahannesumpolec.com.

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