Life is hard.
For all of us. (Of course it could be harder or other people might have it harder… but let’s just agree that life is subjectively hard, complicated, and different for everyone). So anyway, you’re there and it’s hard and sometimes it’s just one more thing on top of one more thing on top of one more thing until it all adds up to a tidy pile of ice cream eaten, resources you wish you had, and minutes spent reminiscing/dreaming. Delicious. ;)
But. These things happen, and life is life, and it keeps happening no matter what.
And it’s still good.
And always under God’s control, but not necessarily under mine.
And even though I know God’s got it, it’s easy to fall into a helpless attitude, instead of remembering my ability to change seemingly small things that can shape a more lasting better in the midst of everything else.
“I can control how I respond to situations out of my control. I don’t have to make things worse. I can be an example of a soft attitude when offended or hurt. I can be unshockable and shockingly graceful. I can show that I believe this family place is safe by being vulnerable myself. Grace and vulnerability are contagious.”
Gary Morland, A Family Shaped by Grace – How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most, page 82
Our little life at home is one of those things. I can choose how I treat my family and how much grace and love I’m allowing into my (and our) story each day. I can be present in these little things that make a big difference.
This book, A Family Shaped by Grace, gives so many helpful stories and arrows pointing in the direction of presence, grace, and love.
I really appreciated how it is just real life. Gary Morland was addicted to alcohol. His girls were just about grown up by the time he quit. It may have seemed like he’d missed the chance to influence his family for the better, but then this story happened.
Of grace, redemption, Jesus, family, and lessons learned along the way.
I love it even more because his daughters, Emily P. Freeman and Myquillan Smith, have influenced my life for the better. Emily freed me up from being perfect and her blog is always a deep soul-breath of calming fresh air. And Myquillan Smith, AKA The Nester, is my home-beautifying hero. Her book, online course and her blog have changed my house and how I think about decorating.
It was really eye-opening to be able to attach the back story of their family, and the grace practices that now go alongside, with these people that have blessed me with their creativity and wisdom.
Because the story of a family doesn’t stop when the kids are grown. It keeps going. And giving. And creating new things out of the old. And changing old things to make them better.
And grace, grace, grace.
“Always assume there’s more to the story.” p. 79
This book is full of honest stories and simple ideas to change how you’re interacting with the people in your life so they can live well and whole and full of grace, too.
It’s not about changing other people. It’s about leaning into grace and letting God do the work in you.
And after that, things happen.
And it’s never too late.
“You’ll look back and know you didn’t just survive, you didn’t just provide nurture and direction; you deeply influenced the people God created them to be. And in doing that you influenced all the people they influence, now and later. You will have dented the world with grace. All because of your family.”
What is your favorite family-focused book? How do you want to influence your family? What’s the first/most simple step you can take?
Find me on Instagram!
(I was given a free copy of this book as part of book launch team. All opinions are my own, of course.)