Welcome Family is my number one priority, second only to my faith. I mean, that’s pretty much the whole foundation of this site–faith first, family second, and then food, meaning all the other fun stuff that makes life so enjoyable. But if I’m honest, my actions have not always reflected my priorities. After a look at some scripture in Colossians, I decided we needed to work on becoming a Colossians 3 family.
Today’s Scripture Colossians 3:18-21 (ESV) “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Father, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
Food For Thought In the years before I was married, I envisioned how my future family would look. I saw a wonderful husband, a whole gaggle of children, and a modest suburban home. I saw us sitting in “our” church pew, with perfectly behaved, perfectly dressed children, arms around each other or holding hands. I saw me staying home from my teaching career to be a mom first, yet finances wouldn’t be an issue because, you know, this is a fantasy. Kids would go to bed in their own bed, on time, allowing my husband and I to still spend quality time together. We would take fun family road trips and have warm and cozy holiday dinners. Since I’d be home, I’d always have the house cleaned and the laundry washed, folded, and put away (all in the same day, no less!) Home cooked meals on the table every evening, at a reasonable hour. Oh, and my husband and I would never fight, not just because we love each other, but also because we agree that the other handles everything exactly right. Come on, please say you’ve had this dream at least once or twice!
But guess what? The first 13 years of our marriage required both of us to work outside the home. Even with those two incomes, there were times our spending outpaced our income. At least once a week I would get home really late from work, and even on the other nights I would have lesson plans and prep to take care of for my kindergarten class. We only have one child, due to reproductive health issues, but what a blessing, and handful she is! I wish I could say she always came before my job, but that just hasn’t always been the case, I’m sad to say. When she was young, I would be so tired, that as I was reading to her at bedtime, I often fell asleep on the floor beside her bed or we’d lay in the bed in our guest room and fall asleep together, leaving my husband on his own for many nights at a stretch. With my work, master’s degree courses, and her activities and care, I’d go a couple of months without vacuuming or dusting. I could barely keep up with laundry, dishes and grocery shopping. We weren’t even attending church regularly. I became discouraged. This was not the perfect family I had envisioned all those years ago!
So we needed a change. I needed a change. We needed to remind ourselves that God was the firm rock and foundation our home would be built on. Colossians Three was a good place to start. Verse 18 was a great place for me to start, personally. In the previous years of our marriage, I was not great at submitting. I know modern feminists, and even women in the Church, have such a hard time with the word “submission.” Submitting to my husband does not make me a doormat to be taken advantage of. It means I respect his leadership. It means I respect his authority in decision making for our home and household. It means I trust him to make smart decisions. After all, I chose to marry him. Wouldn’t I believe he’s smart, capable, and worthy of my respect? It means I am his wife, not his mother. It means I help him achieve his goals and dreams, because I love him and I want him to be happy. It’s an act of service out of love. In this process I have had to learn that my way is not always the right way, or even the only way, things can be accomplished. I have learned to ease up on my expectations, in everything from how he puts his laundry away (or doesn’t) to his view of a date night (okay, a movie, again). (Read more at I Know I’m Not in Charge in this House and My Husband’s Combative Words.)
We also see in verse 19 that husbands are to love their wives and not be harsh. I view my husband as doing a pretty good job with this, mostly because I know he loves me, both through his words and actions. He also has a calm and gentle spirit, so he rarely acts harshly in any situation. Except traffic, traffic jams are his weakness, but he’s working on it. I know some of the things I have said and done in our marriage could easily have deserved a harsh reaction. Only on a very few occasions has he spoke harshly, when I was not being respectful, but rather suspicious and accusatory. I used to say I would prefer my husband get mad, than not show any emotion at all, but I now realize that his more even-tempered approach was better for our marriage, more Biblical, and great example of his leadership and example to me. He has stated that becoming upset or mad about small things are a waste of time, anyway. So, as I see it, if we are working together, each following our commands, it makes things go much smoother.
But let’s not forget about the kiddies! Children obey your parents. Period. Oh, boy, my teaching job would have been so much easier if more people believed this. It was amazing how many children had never encountered being told “no” until they met me as their kindergarten teacher. But we’re not talking about other people’s children, we’re talking about my own child. She’s a good kid and we are very proud of her. She’s obedient most of the time. But she is 11 and pre-teen syndrome has set in with hurricane force. She’s starting to push the independence boundaries. She drags her feet a little more when told to do something, or at least makes verbal protests. Her “terrible twos” weren’t so bad, but I have a feeling “twelve” might be a different story! But here’s the advantage I have on my side…God! Not only am I praying for my child on a daily basis, including her behavior and choices, but my daughter is beginning to have a better understanding of what it means to be obedient to God and His word. I’m not saying it will always go smoothly, but having verse 20 in my parenting toolbox can’t hurt!
That doesn’t leave us parents off the hook, though. Verse 21 reminds us not to provoke our children. This does not mean we shouldn’t correct them or we have to walk on eggshells to spare their feelings. But I should honor my child and her choices when it comes to personal style and interests, as long as they don’t interfere with other commandments of holy living, such as modesty and morality. My daughter can be a tomboy and ride horses and play video games, even though these things don’t interest me. While I’m at it, though, I probably need to stop making faces and groaning while she talks about Pokémon or Ninjago. I also need to avoid harshly reprimanding her in front of her friends or embarrassing her by pointing out mistakes in unnecessary settings. It’s easy to forget, when we just want to see our child be successful and behave well, but the best teachable moments are often behind the scenes when they don’t feel so vulnerable to their friends’ stares. I had a hard conversation with my daughter about not laughing at someone’s mistakes, but I waited until the car ride home. She was crushed when she realized her behavior could have hurt their feelings, but I was able to get the point across without also hurting her feelings in front of her peers.
Are we always going to be perfect wives and husbands? Are we always going to be perfect parents with perfect children? Despite my younger self dreaming of the perfect life, perfection is impossible and we cannot guarantee mistakes won’t happen, no matter what role we play in the family circle. But checking back with Colossians, chapter 3, every so often, will keep God’s expectations fresh in our mind.
Additional reading Cross reference today’s scriptures with the following verses
Ephesians 5:21-33; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Peter 3:1-7
Today’s Prayer My Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today lifting up your earthly families. I ask that families, including my own, will once again determine priorities, putting faith first and family second. I ask that you bless families with more time together, more patience with one another, more kind words to be spoken, more service, more laughter, more good memories. May we understand how the structure of our earthly families are representative of Your church, as we are the children and You are our Father. I ask for those who are struggling with their families right now, that a reconciliation may be reached so that peace and joy may be present again.. I ask You to heal hurting marriages and hurting relationships between children and parents. I ask that I conduct myself as a wife and mother that is pleasing to You. I lift up my own family to You, for blessings according to Your will. I pray these things in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
Today’s Recipe Gather ’round the family table for the Pinterest-popular Million Dollar Chicken Spaghetti Bake. I found this recipe at The Salty Marshmallow. Please take some time and check out that amazing recipe site! For my version, I subbed in canned chicken to make it quicker and cheaper. I also used less bacon, but more butter, egg, and parmesan. If you like Chicken Carbonara, you will love this dish! A couple of notes, though. This is a time-consuming recipe with quite a bit of prep, plus baking time. Also, NOT a healthy option. If you want to try to health it up, go ahead, but it will lose a little something…okay, a lot…of flavor! But for a special, once-in-a-while dinner, this is hearty and delicious. We serve it with a big tossed garden salad and garlic bread.
Million Dollar Chicken Spaghetti Bake (the faith-family-food version)
- 1 lb. spaghetti noodles (I used angel hair for my dish.)
- 8-10 strips bacon
- 3 cans cooked chicken
- 1 8-oz pkg cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- 1 stick butter
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 packet Italian dressing and seasoning mix
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. When water is boiling, drop in pasta and reduce heat to medium and continue to cook 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside. Fry bacon until crisp and set aside on paper towels to drain. Open and drain chicken. Shred the chicken with a fork.
Place butter in large, microwave-safe bowl. Melt on high, about one minute, and cool slightly. Add parmesan cheese and eggs, whisking quickly. Fold in pasta to coat.
In a second large bowl, add softened cream cheese, sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and Italian seasoning. Stir until combined. Add chicken, mozzarella, and crumbled bacon. Give another good stir.
Spray a deep 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Layer half the spaghetti mixture, followed by the chicken and cheese mixture. Top with remaining spaghetti and then the rest of the chicken mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 45 minutes. Allow to stand about 10 minutes before serving.