Choosing Family

November 10, 2014LaBreeska Ingles

I was single for 30 years. Anyone who knew me during that time knew how I longed to be a wife and mother. Five years ago, I acquired a husband and in March I will have three children under the age of four. I am a thankful lady- most days. Even though I am living the dream I begged God for, there are still days that I feel overwhelmed and frustrated. When you receive your dream the real work begins.

My cousin lived in Brazil for several years with her family. When she returned to the states, she told me that the most difficult part about re-acclimating to the U.S. was how segregated the American church and society seemed to be. In Brazil, her family was together 24/7, but in America we sent our kids to Children’s Church, our teenagers to youth group, and had separate organizations and events for the men and women. There seemed to be no avenue for families to be together. This is not just in worship services, but in activities that built friendship and community.

Now that I am a wife and mom, I have noticed the same trend. I get invited to at least 2 events a week that are just for women. Mary Kay parties, girl’s night out, and women’s home groups are just a few types of women’s gatherings I am invited to regularly. Although I whole-heartedly believe that I need time alone occasionally, I do not need a night away from my family every week. What I really need is time with my family to grow in community together.

I don’t want our family to hide in our house all of the time and never associate with others. Actually, I’m an extravert and that kind of behavior makes me crazy. What I need is time for my family to visit with other families, learning how to do life together. We need family home groups, family parties, and family outings with our friends.

Most of my best friends have an average of 3-4 kids, so when we get together, the adults are outnumbered by very loud and messy children under the age of 5. It can be hard to have conversations with my adult friends, while kids are fussing or pulling on our pant legs. I understand how getting away from our kids seems like the best answer, but what does that say to our kids? Why can’t we learn to co-exist in family environments with our children?

I don’t know the answer to society’s individualistic approach to life, but being an active member of my family is a good start. Sometimes, I would rather leave my husband to feed the kids dinner, bathe them, and put them to bed, while I go out for the night alone. I am learning to sacrifice my personal desires for the purpose of family.  This is the first step towards rejecting an individualistic approach to life and embracing what is best for the people I love most in this world.

When I was single, I could go out by myself every night. It was lonely. I’m thankful for my sweet little family, even when they stress me out. I need a break every now and then. Everyone does, but I will always choose my family first cause I remember what life was like without them.