Circling the Wagons

Sometimes you just need to step back from the mess and reassess. Life is messy. Relationship is messy. Family is messy. We’ve just moved to north Georgia and are living with my sister until we sign on our new house. Things are getting messier in this unique situation and chaos has ensued.

Our five children have had varying reactions to moving. Some were thrilled, some don’t care but will be excited when we get to our own house, and some are struggling. Day after day is filled with a busy schedule of school, work, gaming, eating, cleaning, watching TV, sibling spats, shopping, and more. But when the kids start fighting more than usual, we know we need to bring them together.

“Family meeting!”

The kids come from all directions in the house. There are offenses going untended. There are bad attitudes creating more bad attitudes. Everything seems to be toppling out of control.

When we call a family meeting, we never do the same thing, except one major detail—pry open the lines of communication. We talk about all the negativity floating around. Oldest girl keeps bossing around the younger kids. Son keeps calling sister names. Middle sister hit the other middle sister. The usual family stuff.

But the offenses and attitudes are not really the issue. It’s a heart issue. Under the surface of their behavior, there is something painful hiding. It is their motivation for fighting or bossing or name-calling.

I wish we could have figured it out sooner that these unseen wounds were hiding. Physical wounds are much easier to see and tend to. Wounds deep in their spirit are unspoken but are more real than the physical. They dictate whether they feel safe, whether a bossy sister will bother them, and whether being called a jerk will hurt.

We lay our children in the Father’s arms and ask him to guide us toward the hidden wounds. We talk about it, bringing light to it. We acknowledge how much it hurts. We invite the Holy Spirit into those painful places.

When it seems things are out of control and chaotic, don’t hide and ignore it. The chaos may stop temporarily but will surely return—sometimes in more painful ways. Press into your family, circle the wagons and unite your family in defense against the wounds that rule their hearts—and yours. Bring the healing presence of the Holy Spirit into the core of your home.