The Alford Crew is learning day by day the importance of unity, of being one. A goal Chris and I hold is to stay in community with our boys and one another other all fueled by communion in God…this is something that is a constant goal in our lives, not something we achieve and then pat ourselves on the back, and say, “good job” then go about doing something else. No, it is key to have those expected family times-safe havens of conversation either around the dinner table or on a walk in the park-sometimes a ride in the car offers the opportunity to share where each of us are in life. We have worked a lot through the years to keep open to each other no matter how rough our situations… to include one another in the cool stuff happening in our lives in addition to what would otherwise be hidden emotions and concerns if we didn’t share.
I remember when Connor, our oldest was just two years old-we observed as parents of a preschooler the importance of getting down on his level physically and looking him in the eye, holding his gaze as long as he would allow it, sharing with him we love him and we wanted to know how he was feeling. We even teamed up with his preschool and Sunday School teachers and asked them to go over general faces we all have which reflect certain emotions until Connor understood how to communicate his feelings For example, if we’re happy-we smile or sad or feeling tired we may frown-etc. (please note-this didn’t happen in a more preferred time of over night-no it took weeks of time together) What joy when it became fairly constant for him to share what he needed or wanted w/out whining, crying or reservation. It was nice to know what he was feeling so we were not in a guessing game! If you have or have had small children i know you are smiling right now! 😉 Before, when an emotion of frustration or anger would sweep over Connor as a little guy-he handled it by whining, fussing or fighting. He would act out frustrations and either hit or swing is arms around in despair or he would run over in a corner and sulk and dare anyone to come near-he may just grump and groan…”why?” may be your thought…he didn’t have a vocabulary to describe his feelings, he was immature, he hadn’t been taught how to confront life situations in a positive way yet. All he had was instinct…
Why did i just share that family truth with you? Maybe to shed light on a larger Family issue we have been reminded of.
As God’s family or Kingdom, we are called to a life of communion with God and community with one another…when that is lacking either individually, in our personal family unit or within the part of the church family we are placed in, there is often a developmental arrest in our spiritual growth-often accompanied with physical and emotional side effects. It is then inevitable that someone is gonna get hurt from the adult child , whining, fussing, flailing their arms or their tongue in anger and confusion.
Confrontation of self is a nasty and “un-fun” act of discipline…after all, who wants to be accountable and responsible like that? Sometimes it is as simple as a lack of knowledge/education and one just hasn’t been taught how to share their feelings in a productive way. A healthy confrontation with others is a good thing when handled appropriately and in love.
We are so thankful to be part of a family bigger than ours, the church in general is our extended family. We have not only given a lot to the Church through the years, but have gained much—unable to measure it all. God consistently reveals His love and heart to us by getting eye to eye with us through the letters and truths He left us in His word or through close friends/ mentors. Do you have that person in your church who loves to hug? Several people share that you can’t physically feel, see or hear God. from experience, i beg to differ. God is very tangible, just look around. That hug, a prayer, a smile, and encouraging word from a friend, rain, sunshine, peace-all are reflections of God and His character. Allow your heart to be open to take He and His family in with all of our quirks and beauty we are each a masterpiece — a brush stroke reflecting community and communion with God (when we allow Him in).
Do we have it all figured out? No, but we are loving the fact that we have a community of faith who love God and love us, who stick it out with us, walk with us, hold us accountable and not bail out when we or they mess up…Cayden inspired the mommy memory in this story of Connor our oldest, as we are going through similar emotions and recognizing the signs of how he feels and why as a little guy with limited vocabulary-it just got me to thinking about how even as adults we can learn how to project our feelings and emotions in a way that is revealing but without hurt being intended. So thankful we lived through this with Connor so we weren’t so clueless, but we are learning so much new in going through this with Cayden! Goodness! Having to stay on my toes these days!