Siblings: The Good and the Bad – Part 1

From where I do my back exercises upstairs, I can listen to my three girls exercising in the basement. Their ages are currently sixteen, twenty, and thirty. I can hear lots of laughter and happy chattering. Next comes silence when they are working hard, and it starts all over again.

On Anna’s twentieth birthday, they decided they wanted to have a sewing day. They dug through the sewing cupboards for fabric that needed to be used, picked out patterns, and brought their sewing machines, cutting mats, and ironing board to the dining room so they could be together while they worked on their projects.

These three girls spend hours with each other doing kitchen work, and I still hear them talking when they go to bed at night. My heart rejoices with these kinds of interactions between the girls because it proves that they enjoy each other, they choose to be together, and they will maintain those relationships throughout their lives even when they are married with families of their own.

Right now our boys who aren’t married and live at home are eighteen, twenty-one, and twenty-three. They are the same way as the girls are in their relationships although maybe they don’t talk quite as much, but that could be debatable. They exercise together. When there is a work project at our house, Nathan’s house, or Joseph’s house, they tackle it as a team for hours and hours. They have their offices in their bedroom so there is talk and communication that goes on throughout the day in addition to accomplishing their vocational work. Then somehow there are still words leftover for the nighttime talks that they have as well.

Not only do the girls have good relationships and the boys, but they also have great relationships with each other. From the main floor of our house, I can hear them practicing an hour or two each day in preparation for doing Christmas music at a local church and also at a community Christmas concert our family is having this month. They do kitchen cleanup together after each meal with much talking as they work. They love to sit in the living room before and after family Bible time—talking! They encourage each other. They challenge each other. They help each other. They pray for each other. They laugh with each other. They weep with each other.

Are they perfect in their relationships? No. There are times when one hurts or offends another. When that happens, though, there is a desire for restoration so they ask forgiveness of each other. There are times when they have different opinions that spark lively discussions. Those discussions can move into what can seem like an attack on one person. Sometimes, they are selfish. However, when those situations occur, they don’t want them to continue. They move toward dealing with the problem. Do you know that blesses my heart almost as much as seeing the positive side of their interactions? That is because it shows me that they don’t want to hurt, offend, or be selfish when interacting with one of their siblings. It grows out of a heart of love. They are learning how to deal with the problems that will surface in a marriage relationship and when they are parents.

I am so grateful to the Lord for the relationships He has allowed and built between our children. I know that there are things He led Steve and I to do when the children were younger that has had a positive outcome on those relationships. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore” (Psalm 133:1-3).

Regularly, when I talk to a mom, she either bemoans the fact that her children share a bedroom or she’s excited that they are moving to a home where each child will have his own space. The Lord showed us as our family grew the benefits of our girls sharing a room and our boys sharing a room. Room-sharing helped the children develop hearts of love toward each other rather than the selfish focus that generally comes when a child has his own room.

As the boys share a bedroom and the girls share another one, they have the ability to talk with each other when they are going to sleep at night and when they are waking up.

What Kind of Steward? – Part 1

To listen to this Corner as a podcast, please see this link.

Years ago I knew a man who had a number of rental properties in our town. I was often amazed when he would tell me about the condition of the house when the tenants moved. He generally had to spend significant time and money repairing the damage that had been done to his house in order to prepare it for those who would live there next. Teri and I rented homes early in our marriage, and if I were to compare how I treated the rental house versus how I treated houses we have owned, sadly, I would have to confess that I was not as careful of a tenant as I could have been.

In the past, some of my jobs required a fair amount of air travel which usually meant a rental car at the destination. I still shudder at the memory of how those rental cars were driven by my coworkers when I traveled with others. In fairness, I know I was not as careful with the rented vehicles as I was with my own.

As I have grown in the Lord, I have come to see clearly how it was not right for me to be less concerned about another’s property than I was about my own property. I should have been even more careful with their possessions than I was with my own. “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth” (1 Corinthians 10:24). I am called to look out for and be careful with property or interests especially when they belong to someone else. It is an attitude of laziness and selfishness when I’m not as careful with another’s possessions as I am with my own.

Have you considered the matter of stewardship with regard to your body? Even to call it “your body” is a misnomer assuming you have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Since the first of this year, our family has repeated these verses at each meal before we eat. It hasn’t taken us this long to memorize those verses (smile), but we wanted to cement them as a priority of our hearts.

It is easy to go through life without the awareness that we are not our own. Look at 1 Corinthians 7:23. “Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” The Greek word for “bought” used here is defined in this way: “primarily, ‘to frequent the market-place,’ the agora, hence ‘to do business there, to buy or sell,’ is used lit., e.g., in Matt. 14:15. Figuratively Christ is spoken of as having bought His redeemed, making them His property at the price of His blood (i.e., His death through the shedding of His blood in expiation for their sins)” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words). Those who have repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus are owned by Him. Therefore I am His property, and my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

At the end of 2011, following a family discussion and unanimous agreement, we decided to make 2012 a year of special health focus. One aspect was that we would pay particular attention to how we treated the temple of the Holy Ghost, also known as “our bodies.” We asked ourselves if we were treating God’s temple with great care and consideration because our bodies were owned by Him. What about you? What type of tenant are you? Are you a good steward or a bad steward?