Digging Up Roots

tractor running over roots

I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately.  Mostly I’ve been asking God what He thinks of family.  And I’m asking Him because it sure seems like family is the primary battleground for everything in this life – and always has been.

I’ve started my reading in Genesis, and as I’m working my way through the Old Testament, I see a pattern emerging.  One, families have been seriously messed up since the beginning.  I mean, seriously messed up!  And two, the spiritual giants were usually separated from their families.  They were either called to leave them (Abraham and Sarah), kicked out of them (Joseph), forcibly removed from them (Esther), abandoned by them (David), ran away from them (Jacob) or voluntarily walked away from them (Jesus, the disciples, Paul, etc.).

I don’t really like where God seems to be taking me with this.

This is such a primal battle in my heart, so I asked God why my idolatry of family goes so deep.  What am I really looking to them to give me?  He had me write down what family means to me.  Here’s what I wrote:

Love – and all that means.  I want to know that there’s a place where I belong, no matter what happens.  I want to know that there are people who know me and love me anyway.  I want to know that when a crisis comes, I have someone who will take my call and drop everything to be there beside me.  I want to know that when something wonderful happens, I have people who will celebrate with me.  Family – to me – is a place of belonging, a sanctuary in a loveless world.  Family is love.

Well, that was an enlightening exercise.  “Family is love.”  You know, I can’t find that anywhere in the Bible.  Not even close.  GOD is love.  NOT family.  Family, by my own admission, is my god.

Reading what I wrote smashed my heart.  I don’t know where to go from here except to heed my life verse, Joel 2:12 in the Amplified.  God already knew my heart, and He knew just how to expose it so that I would see it, too.  What started as strong curiosity resulted in the Cross.  It’s not the first time the Cross is coming for my idol, and it won’t be the last, but I’ll continue to share as He allows on this one.

From Martha’s booklet, The Separator:

“Jesus came for the purpose of separating and dividing.
He did not come to bring families together.  He came to divide them.
He came to make a chasm between the one who wants Him –
and the one who does not. 
Sooner or later your loyalty to Him will be sorely tested
and you will have to decide whose side you are on.”

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    • Leigh

      Dear Jennifer, When I read ‘the separator’ for the first time, I was totally messed up. I’ve asked the Lord for years to ‘draw me away’…Somehow, the separation I had in my mind was a tearing at my very being in the worst possible way. Then one day the Lord revealed that this ‘separation’ was not so much FROM others (although it is) but is a separation UNTO Him. He’s separating us UNTO HIMSELF. Seeing it this way brought me a peace I didn’t walk in until then.

    • Sandy

      I hear you… When Love means family to us, it is bondage. When love is Jesus, there is freedom! My prayer is that God would guide me to bring our kids up in this vision of a family – that I would not take God’s place in their lives, neither theirs in mine. This is what I get from children being an inheritance of the Lord.

    • Tina

      There is great peace to be found after the cross in being able to trust and rest in His Sovereignty. His “perfect love cast our all fear”. I can release my children and family to this all knowing, loving God. He just wants my heart to know and trust that He is God. No matter what He asks us to be willing to lose and give up. His heart is for restoration. Especially once His Order is established. Our surrender of those we love is like forgiveness it frees both parties for the truth of His Kingdom to rule in our lives. As a mother I gladly surrender it is my greatest comfort.

    • Pauline

      Thanks for sharing that, Jen…You’re a lot closer to God’s heart in this than I am…still trying to sort it out. After I listened to “The Separator,” I kind of wished that I hadn’t (nothing personal with Martha; just my own inward dilemma). I didn’t know what to do with this matter: do I turn my back on them? Ignore them? How does that show Christ? And what about honoring your parents – the first commandment with promise? Just throw that out? I believe in the Amplified, when referring to “hating your father and mother…” it says, “in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with your attitude toward God.” So, I think: “Well, it seems to just be a heart issue.” BUT, if this “leaving” business is to be taken literally, I want to be obedient; I can see where they can be idols…our source of security and it’s going to have to be them or Jesus, plain and simple (for me, plain but not that simple). We only see my parents about every 3 years; I call each week because they’re in another state and not in good health – am I making excuses? Yeah, I think I am…really need God to work this in me and make Himself my “All and Only.” Phil 2:13 is a favorite…can’t be my own strength (I have none), but He knows my desire and am trusting Him to work in me to will and to do. How wonderful it is, Jen, that He is causing you to search, to see and to allow Him to rule you! He, in you, is causing me to be thirsty for Him and HIS ways.

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