Where would we be without them? Who would we be without them? Speaking for myself, I know I’d be completely different if I was an only child. I have an older brother and seven younger siblings, one who went to be with Jesus before we could meet him or her. People commented on our large family when the fifth of us was born. As you can imagine those comments have multiplied as we have. We’re almost double what we were back then! As the oldest sister in a large family I have a particularly special role to play. And it’s hard! I recall a certain arachnid hero being told “With great power comes great responsibility.” From personal experience I can say that Uncle Ben was right! I have a certain powers over my younger siblings that I earned through loving them, and that my parents gave to me for the smooth functioning of our family. Because of that I have a huge responsibility laid on me. My siblings look up to me. They listen to my advice (willingly and unwillingly) and trust that I’m telling them what is right. They follow my example and mimic me, the good stuff and the bad stuff. This is why I need God’s guidance and wisdom constantly in my life. My bad attitudes, decisions, and actions effect many more than just myself. As do my good attitudes, decisions, and actions. I’ve seen myself lay down my family’s mood for the day, and it’s scary sometimes!
For example, one morning I woke up and was instantly put in a bad mood because my mom asked me to change my baby sisters yucky cloth diaper. I made sure everyone knew I was displeased by speaking with a cold tone and wearing a frown on my face. That day was hard for everyone, and when it came to the end of it I realized that it was probably my own fault. My stinky attitude and disrespectful manner towards my moms decision effected the demeanor of my entire family. If I had only just had a good attitude, smiled and spoke gently to my mom and siblings, and changed the diaper cheerfully (it really wasn’t a big deal anyway), our day could’ve been a lot better.
I was convicted this morning by a blog post I read about what I need to be before I am a wife (http://www.moreradiance.com/things-to-become-before-marriage/). I realized that I am not practicing enough where I am right now, with the people who are my only family right now. I realized I am not giving all the respect my family (brothers and dad especially) needs from me, and I’m not giving all the love that my family needs from me. God requires these things! He commanded me to love and honor the people in my life! It is not optional. It is not ruled on the basis of how much love and honor I am receiving, but by how much my Savior has given me. When I think like that, I realize that I deserve nothing, and what I have been given by the grace of God I need to share with the people around me. It’s not complicated, though it can be hard. “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)
I’m learning still, I am constantly growing. I want to share the ways I am nourishing my relationships with my family and my Heavenly Abba, so that I can encourage others, and that’s why I’m breaking this into more than one post. Maybe I’ll write the next part tomorrow, maybe next week. I’m not sure. If you’re struggling and growing in this too don’t hesitate to share the things you do to strengthen your relationships! I’d love to hear from you!