The following is a seven day devotional series on dealing with family drama. There were many people in the Bible dealing with their own family drama - some in good ways and some in negative ways. I pray that this series allows you to seek more of the Lord's grace and wisdom as you deal with your own family and perhaps seek more family members.
Day 1 - Stand By Me
Following God's Commands Regardless of Family Drama
The next morning, Joseph followed God’s command and married Mary. Doing this in society at that time would be the same as admitting his guilt. Chances are, Joseph was judged harshly by others for his decision. He may have lost the support of family and friends.
Sometimes, God calls us to stand by a loved one even though others don’t understand what we’re doing. Maybe God called you to forgive a spouse that was unfaithful or continue to believe in a child who’s abusing drugs or choosing other self-destructive paths. It doesn’t matter what others think or do. What matters is that like Joseph, you are faithful. If God has called you to continue to support a family member or relative, do so with joy, knowing that you are creating a wonderful legacy of love.
Prayer for Wisdom
God, grant me the wisdom to discern Your voice and the strength to ignore what others say. Help me to stand faithful and love the ones You’ve entrusted to my care. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Who has God called you to support? How has God spoken to you recently? Who do you know who needs to hear the voice of God today? How can you pray for them?
Day 2 - Legacy
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1, NIV
Matthew West has a song called Family Tree. It’s about the painful legacies and family drama that parents can hand down to their children without realizing their impact. As he wrote the song, Matthew was inspired by a story from one his listeners. Rebekah had grown up in a dysfunctional home filled with illness and sin. At the end of her father’s life someone turned to her and said, “I guess this will be your legacy.”
But Family Drama is Not our Legacy
Rebekah responded, “I guess so.” But instantly, the Spirit of God spoke to her, reminding her that her legacy doesn’t come from her earthly family but from her relationship with Him.
It’s easy to think that we’re doomed to carry out what our parents or grandparents did. But God can break the chains that bind you. Their story doesn’t have to become your story thanks to the power of grace.
Prayer for Help
God, help me! Sometimes, the enemy tries to convince me that I must repeat the past sins and mistakes of my family. But I am a member of Your family. I don’t have to live in dysfunction and sin. I can be free. Please help me to walk in this truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What lies does the enemy tell you about your family? Have you ever felt “destined” to live out a legacy from your parents? How are you changing the course of your family history? What are you doing differently from your parents or grandparents?
Day 3 - Painful Paths
“But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.” – 1 Samuel 8:3, NIV
When John’s son was arrested for drunk driving, he was distraught. He bailed his son out of jail but he was so troubled that night that he couldn’t sleep. So he called up a good mentor and poured out his pain.
“What have I done wrong?” John asked. “Where did I fail my child? What sin did I commit that made him think he could drink and drive?”
John’s mentor pointed to the family drama of Samuel, explaining that sometimes children don’t follow their parents’ example.
Free from Condemnation
“You can be a godly parent who does everything right and your child still makes their choices. All you’re responsible for is to show them God’s path. You can’t make them walk it.”
Even amazing parents who have excellent reputations like Samuel (see 1 Samuel 12:4) can sometimes discover their kids are deep into sin. But you aren’t responsible and you don’t have to hang onto guilt. As a child of God (the perfect Parent!), you are free from all condemnation.
Prayer for Children
God, help me! My child is sinning. They’ve gone astray despite my attempts to show them the right path. Please, please, call my beloved child back to You. Do whatever it takes to get their attention. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Did you ever defy your parents and do something foolish? How did that turn out?Is there a young person in your life that you could pray for and mentor? How do you handle it when you see someone else walking a path that is clearly sinful? Do you confront it or ignore the problem?
Day 4 - Untangled Knots
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13, NIV
Missy was a young girl when her grandmother taught her to knit. She had no interest in the craft at first but after a snowstorm stranded her indoors one afternoon, she became mesmerized by the sound of the needles clacking together.
But being a new knitter, she sometimes ran into problems and tangled her yarn. In frustration, she’d hand over her project to her grandmother. The older woman would patiently fix the young girl’s mistakes, repeating, “Patience and time untangle most knots in life.”
Patience and Time
It was a phrase that came back to Missy later on in her life when she was trying to parent an unruly teenager and living with far too much family drama.
There were moments when she felt like she was at the end of her rope as the two seemed to fight over everything. But after each argument, she would hear her late grandmother’s voice and remember to give the relationship time and patience.
Today, Missy has a wonderful friendship with her now grown daughter. She’s thankful she didn’t give up on her years ago.
Prayer for Patience
God, help me to be patient in my relationships. Let me remember that You can untangle any situation, no matter how I’ve managed to knot it up. Please work in my life—I need Your patient hand and steady guidance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Who in your life do you struggle to have patience with?
When you’re struggling to be patient, what do you think about? What would you like your relationship with your person to look like? What’s one thing you could do today to make that relationship a reality?
Day 5 - Known by Love
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35, NIV
Then he went and designed t-shirts for the event. As a graphic designer, he took care to make a beautiful design that would make it easy for relatives who hadn’t been in touch to recognize one another. All of the relatives expressed how much they loved them at the reunion and Carl felt delighted seeing the shirts in photos later.
Carl create shirts so his family would know one another. Likewise, Jesus gave the gift of love to His family—Christians everywhere. In fact, this love is meant to be how Christians are identified in the world.
Prayer for Sacrificial Love
God, I want to be known as someone who loves fiercely. But deep, sacrificial love isn’t in me. I need Your strength and Your grace to love others. I can only love by resting in Your love so help me to do that today. Remind me when I fall short of how deep and how wide Your love is! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever been identified because you wore a special uniform or shirt? If there were a t-shirt that honestly described your family, what would it look like?How do you show love to others? Is there someone you could reach out to today to bless with your presence?
Day 6 - Family Traditions
He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” – Luke 8:21, NIV
As the months passed and November arrived, Sarah felt deep sadness. Thanksgiving had always been her favorite holiday but now, she had no one to celebrate with. She longed to surround herself with family.
Family May Not be Who you Pictured
Then she had an idea. She put an ad in her local paper and made one online. She invited strangers to celebrate Thanksgiving with her at a local church. She made it clear that everyone was welcome regardless of their age, marital status, or faith.
To her delight, ten people showed up to Sarah’s Thanksgiving dinner. She enjoyed it so much that she hosted it the next year and the next. Many of the attendees became friends, some even becoming like family. Now it’s been decades and Sarah still looks forward to the annual event.
Family may not always look like you picture it. But God can surround you with kind, loving souls who embrace you right where you are.
Prayer for New Family Members
God, I need family! I know You didn’t intend for life to be a solo journey. Send good-hearted people my way and let me remember Sarah’s example. Help me to welcome in those who are “family”-less right in my community. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever felt like you didn’t have a family? How could you show love to your community? Do you invite others who may not have loved ones to join you during annual celebrations like Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Day 7 - Special Adoptions
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, "Woman, here is your son…” – John 19:26, NIV
When Tyler was in first grade, he met his best friend, Dylan. The two boys instantly bonded over their love of superheroes and they quickly became inseparable. Even in high school the two remained friends.
Shortly after graduating college, Dylan was killed in a car accident. Tyler was overwhelmed with grief. Although he knew he’d see his friend again since they were both Christians, he still struggled with the pain.
New Family - by Adoption
The one thing that helped was talking with Dylan’s mom. From the day of his friend’s funeral, Tyler began to look after the older woman as if she was his own mom. He mowed her grass, cleaned the gutters to her house, and handled any task she needed.
When Jesus was dying on the Cross, he turned to John and “gave” her his mother. He was asking John, his beloved disciple, to treat His mom as he would his own mother. John fulfilled this request and from that day forward, he looked out for Jesus’ mom.
There are many in your community today who need to be “adopted” by a loving Christian. Perhaps you could bless the elderly man on your street, treating him as you would a beloved grandfather. Maybe you could befriend the lonely girl at work, blessing her as you would your sister.
Prayer to Bless Others
God, please show me someone I could bless. Send me to be a (brother/sister/parent/child) to someone in need. My hands and my heart are open to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you ever had someone adopt you or take you under their wing?Who would you love to “adopt” and treat as a beloved family member? How could you pour love into the person you mentioned? What kind words could you speak over them?
Other blog posts on Family Drama:
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