Fragile Families, and Why You Should Fight for Those You Love

My suitcase held a strange comfort as it lay open on my bedroom floor.  I wasn’t going anywhere…But something about a filled case brought peace and comfort…

Luggage waiting made me feel like I had an option of not staying…Even though I was morally obligated, and staying.

A little girl lay curled up in an outlined drawing of her parent; not breathing, surrounded by no real comfort…

Iraqi-orphan-seeking-comfort-Facebook-233x450But sometimes little girls just need their mamas…even if they are not there.

She found her place, up near her heart, where infants are created, and souls forever reside…

Yet, this child never knew her parent. Her mom just a chalk outline someone had drawn across the floor.

And in this world mothers are running, detached, non-existent, or have just left their homes altogether.

Children becoming abandoned by moms more than dads statistics say.  Discontentment worming its way into the hearts of developing nations…like our first mother Eve, who disobeyed, listening to the serpents in hopes to get her way.

And even unto this day, the lies fill us saying, “this work is too hard”, “marriage is too strenuous”, “family is more difficult than taking your suitcase and running”

So, we leave our perceptions of family. We flea from the pressures of Pinterest perfect parenting. We hide in the lies that we are weak, useless, not enough, or somehow insignificant or replace-able…

All the while, we live in a society increasingly starving for Mothers.

They call, late at night during days when their hearts feel like they are going to explode from the pressures I remember well. Aching with hollow abandonment, saying, “No one can save me now”, “No one would ever love me after they have heard my story”.

I remember echoing that same pain when I was their age.

And though the urge to flee has dissipated….I take their calls, hear their stories, relating to the pressures of being a young woman, in a world that has little or simply no regard for family…

And why is it the world wants to remold, redefine, and re-create family? Why are we surrounded by the lie that people just don’t need each other?

Every society from the beginning of time has valued family, children…the more they had, the bigger the blessing.  But, in the last twenty years, somehow we sit here with our suitcases open….thinking their is an easier way to wholeness….

Replacing humble servant-hood with confusion and escapism….

We have devalued mothers, like we have de-humanized unborn 20150510_151624children, taking “family” and twisting it to look like we want…instead of molding our worlds into God’s image.

Have we forgotten, we were not made for us, but for God and others…most specifically our families?

As I write this, just know, there are some of you that wonder, “Is it worth it?”, “Is this daily battle to maintain what we have even going to make a difference in years to come?”

And I can assure all of you questioning…family is always worth the sacrifice and commitment.

Family is God’s design to multiply and bless us.  Generations beckoning us to go on, keep holding on for those looking for stability and hope.

And I admit…there is a brewing storm coming against the entity of family…but God whispers, “What you invest in now, will have visible rewards”….

So, let’s carry on.  Let’s put away a few more toys, tenderly talk to those we love, wait for His redemption to be seen and made known in our families.

For you will see your world blossom if you just don’t give up.

I put away my suitcase. It’s luring strangely has drawn silent.

We walk trails with my kids ages twenty-one to two, journeying up the hills, around the bend, opening up to this grassy cliff that screams His wonderful praises.

And it is as if, there on the cliff of expectancy, I had forgotten the dark trails, the rocky roads, the times wondering if maybe we should turn back….wondering if this long, windy journey, just wasn’t worth it.

20150510_153037But now, I hold His hand, the one I have wrestled through marriage with.  I hear their laughter and thank God for the years we purposefully invested in them. And the entire journey was worth it.

Beauty radiating now from our once fragile marriage and parenting.

And I encourage you friends…don’t give up on your family.  Don’t give up on your spouse.  Don’t give up on your children.

The world needs you.  We all need examples of the work of God’s hand; represented in the image of our perfect and wonderfully flawed families.

Yes, we can feel weak, we can want to give up, we can think we might not be able to go on…

But bruised reeds are never broken.  It is at our wits end where grace blows in and carries us when we seem helpless.  It is His beauty from imperfections, His testimony the world needs…

So, will you join me today in not giving up on family?  Family being one of the greatest example American needs right now.

Holding on…trusting the trail will open up, shining beauty in open spaces….

Even if the trail now seems bendy and the blessing is not yet seen.

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. Thank you, Jen, for this beautiful and touching tribute to mothers and families. Amen and Amen.

    As a teacher, I see the deep hurt that is caused by broken families and abandoned children. Of course, I don’t know all of the details, but I, too, pick up the pieces of the broken hearts of the children who are longing for mom and for family.

    May we all rise up in His strength and persevere knowing that the struggles we face today pale in comparison with the glory that awaits us.

    May He continue to fill your cup to overflowing!

    1. Heather – Awe, a teacher? What a wonderful profession, molding and shaping the next generation! I cannot imagine how hard it must be now days teaching this generation. Praying His equipping, His grace, His strength every day over every little face you see!

  2. I love how you took that picture that so moved OUR hearts and wove a beautiful post around it….. YES family is worth fighting for as hard as the enemy is fighting to destroy it !!!

    Love having you in my family dear Jen, and love how you and your adopted sister Amy are getting to know each other.

    God made family cos we all need family !!


  3. Jen, a most beautiful, powerful & needed reminder. Family is so worth every sacrifice. May we all be infused with the strength & grit & resolve to fight for our families. Blessings!

  4. I am touched so deeply here. I have never had children and never adopted. I know family though and the beauty of it. I was a daughter and cared for my mother. I would NEVER exchange those 15 years for anything else…EVER! Hard, yes, beautiful, yes…Mothers are a special one who loves…used to cherish family.
    I am saddened to read this and realize just how many women walk away. It seems unbelievable to me, but I know that it is happening. Our world has made far too many things, ways of life, too easy to walk away from and hardly look back. Oh, LORD, bring Your love to those who have left families and remind them that they, themselves, are loved by You unconditionally, that they can turn around and love their children in the ways that You love them. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  5. My hubs often says, “if you don’t quit, you win” and so, in lifes ups and downs, we’ve not quit, though we’ve wanted to many a time! Looking back, we can see how simply putting one foot in front of the other and keeping on walking, is one of the greatest keys to victory.

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