How Childhood Forms Your Ideas of Family

Recently I was asked, “How did your childhood help you to form your ideas of marriage and what you needed to look for in a husband and father of your children?” My honest reply was, “It didn’t.”

Unfortunately, having grown up in a single parent home and primarily female dominated environment, “husband” and “father” were not vocabulary that I experienced personally.

As a little girl I did not know the benefits of having a husband, nor did I fully understand the effects of not having a father. All I knew was that I desperately wanted a husband and a father, and I would surely have a husband one day.

To me, my life was “normal” and I was happy. My family loved God and I was surrounded by people that loved and cared for me deeply. My mother exemplified forgiveness, my grandmother was a testimony of sacrifice and my aunts and uncles all played their parts in creating a safe, secure and nurturing environment. Their collective presence allowed me to blossom into what I thought was the woman that God created me to be.

I graduated from high school, went on to college, married a great guy and began my family.

Within five years, I had become a mother to four daughters and my husband and I had created a happy home centered on grace. Suddenly my “normal” childhood was becoming increasingly abnormal in light of the life I was creating for my family. I was beginning to see that the woman I had blossomed into was just a shell of the woman God had actually intended for me to be.

I now know that the term “normal” is only relative to the fundamental beliefs and experiences of an individual and that my “blossoming” would be proportionate to my knowledge, understanding and application of who God says that I am.

I needed more. My normal was not good enough.

How could I give my children more than I had and more than I even knew they needed?

I found myself raising my daughters while simultaneously searching for myself. I longed for a deeper understanding of what God wanted for me as a wife, as a mother and for my family.

I thought I had it. I knew God as a child and walked with him as an adult but somehow my true journey began when I began to lead my children.

If we only parent within the realm of our limited and flawed experience, we deprive our children of true potential–what my children see and accept as normal, can not be solely based on what I show them.

I am grateful for my childhood; however, God is not asking us to give our children our incomplete versions of a normal life. He is calling us to lead them on a search for more. Our goal as moms is to give our children a life that rests on His fundamental truth regardless of our past and present experiences.

A single parent household or two parents and a dog, homeschooled or publicly educated, stay-at-home mom or international business executive–regardless of the details, if all we give our kids and our families is our definition of normal, it will never be enough to sustain them.

Raising good children is not our final destination. Raising children who forever have a heart to seek and chase after more of Him is our goal.

Raising children in Christ is a journey to go further than you’ve been and to dig deeper than you know–learning as you lead.

Has God used mothering to challenge you to dig deeper and to want more of him?

What creative and practical ways has God shown you to cultivate a desire for more of Him in your children?

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6 thoughts on “How Childhood Forms Your Ideas of Family

  1. Wow. Thank you for this article. This is exactly where I am right now. I grew up as an only child with single mom, surrounded by female relatives. I have known Jesus for nearly 20 years, but now, with 2 children at home (and a wonderful man of God by my side), I feel like my eyes are opening! It is both amazing and scary.

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  2. Wynter,
    Wow!! I totally could have written the first half of that (minus 2 of the 4 girls). This is a great quote: “Our goal as moms is to give our children a life that rests on His fundamental truth regardless of our past and present experiences” – Amen sister!!! Thanks for the great post and I will be checking out For Girls Like You.

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