Freedom in Harmonious Living

Dear Sandy:  Our family life can be so helter-skelter.  Is there anything you do to help keep your family “together” not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually?

On Sunday our family gathered in the living room to talk about business.

Not work-related business but family business.

We came to do business with our leader. Yes, my husband led the discussion but the One who led the spirit of the half-hour discussion was God.

I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer …

I looked around our cozy living room, as I often do, and found myself dreaming and gazing at things I’d like to change, like a color on the wall. How foolish of me to get my mind off-track like that.  But it’s true – we invite many people into our home for dinner parties, and I do have an eye for decorating. Then my attention was diverted back to our business. Our business was discussion of John 15 (verses taken from The Message).

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you.

As we’ve been working on outdoor projects, gardening, mowing, blowing, wheel barrowing loads and loads of decomposed granite, putting up a new inexpensive greenhouse, cleaning the pool, picking strawberries, making jam, and cleaning our garage – and planning our kitchen remodel as well – I realized that the face-lift jobs and constant chores that need to be done around our house are just peripheral. There’s always a project and there’s always a job to do.

Yes, they need to be done and I will say that we always find ourselves prioritizing and rallying up the troops, and pitching in as a family to get these projects done.

I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.

What really will make our family stronger–and we only have a few years left–is what happened in our living room. It’s not how our house looks on the outside, or even the inside. It’s not about my updated wall-color or new flower arrangement, or what the neighbors will think of my front porch.  It’s not about what I’ll be cooking for the next dinner party or frugal meal planning for my family. It’s not even how our family looks when you peek into our front window.

If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love.

We were not able to attend church on Sunday. But the discussion about God and the deciphering of Scriptures brought peace to my mind. The fact that my children can think for themselves and can contribute to the discussion, I appreciate. They can call things bluff as they see through legalism – because they’ve encountered the real and true. They do know God’s Word, even though they sometimes live imperfect lives.

The lessons they are learning, even as I write this, are about experiencing God’s grace and that is a beautiful thing.

The house duties can wait, the dream kitchen will happen in due time. Our garden is growing and eventually we’ll be harvesting it.  Eventually our kitchen will get done. But if I don’t focus today – on living for Him, and making my home in Him, then my efforts are in vain.

We talk about change – and change I do believe in. We live in this world and we want to make it a better place. But where do we start?

For me, it starts in my home. In the living room or around the dinner table, together as a family – discussing and living life.

I call this Harmonious Living!

It’s good for the family; it’s good for the soul.

And it’s good for reviving and giving freedom to families once torn apart.

©2009, Sandy Coughlin

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