Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Must I Continue?

Selfishness, self-love, self-righteousness, jealousy, strife, conflict, rivalry, competition, resentment, anger, hurtful teasing, harassment, intolerance of fault in others, quarreling, backbiting, impatience, self-pride, degradation of others, sarcasm, disunity, obstinacy, narcissism, autonomy, selfish ambition, bitterness, grudges, hatred, discontentment, cruel remarks, rebellion, temper outbursts, rudeness...

Must I continue?

There are many reason why I have decided to write this book, the first and foremost being for the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom.  Secondly, I write this book for my seven siblings (nope, seven isn't lucky for me because I still have to deal with the same problems that everyone else has to deal with).  They are a rather lively and unique group of kids, with many different talents and personalities and characteristics and gifts.  Grace (16), Kirstie (14), Katie (12), Maggie (11), Reb (9), Clara (7), and Liberty (2) are all very intelligent and clever, but you know me: highly prejudiced when it comes to my family.  I will defend them to the death...even if we aren't exactly getting along very well at the moment.  I want to give them an inheritance from their oldest sister, a legacy of love that can be passed down to offer guidance, edification, and sanctification amidst a crooked and perverse generation (Phil.2:5).  I want them to know what it means to struggle, yet overcome those struggles and move on toward success.  This is my prayer.

I also write this book for my children in the future.  Being a kid once myself [humor inserted], I know what it's like to go through sibling rivalry, and I don't want my children wasting years of their lives as bitter enemies with their [many] brothers and sisters.  I want this book to be a part of the heritage that I pass on to my children in future years as a part of their mother's love to them.  I'm trying to keep a multigenerational viewpoint in mind as I write as a vision of hope for my children.
This book is furthermore for other struggling siblings.  I know that my siblings and I are not the only ones who struggle, for rivalry is a common problem.  Why?  Well, you'll just have to wait and read my book.

Must I continue?

My heart beats with intense delight.  I do not know how long or when, but I do know, and I can't tell you how joyous that makes me feel.  It will be a dream come true when I am finally able to hold a freshly-printed copy of my book in my hands.  Then I will read it all the way through and count how many mistakes I made.  Oh dear...

Maybe I won't.  It may be too much of a painful project.  Then you can read it all the way through and tell me how many mistakes I made.

As I continue on my journey, my quest-like answering-all-of-the-problems (well, not really; I don't have all of the answers), I have to remember that it is not all my siblings' fault that we don't get along as best friends.  Ultimately, I am to blame.  We each individually are to blame.  If we are the oldest then we have an even greater responsibility, but no matter our sibling station—whether we are the oldest, the youngest, or one in between—we are to be accountable for our actions.  We can't simply throw all the blame on our siblings' shoulders and get away with it, because that proves our selfishness, self-love, and immaturity.  Do we really love ourselves so much that we can't admit when we are wrong?

I don't want to dishearten you, I want to encourage you!  I have seen examples of siblings who rose above the standard "just get along and don't kill each other" mentality, and become the best of best friends.  As a matter of fact, they become best friends forever.  Those stories stimulate me.  I want my relationship with my siblings to become just like that, and then in turn, encourage others so that they want the same outcome.

You can be an incredible help to me, with your prayers, your encouragement, and even your input.  Everyone has questions that they want answered, and while I am not the best qualified, I know the best place to look (John 5:39)—a place that we all can access, thanks to the blood and sweat of martyrs and Church fathers.

Any daughter at home has great potential to advance the kingdom of Christ.  I want to use the rest of my unmarried years to the fullest extent possible, doing everything I can to further my father's vision, be a help to my mother, and become the best friend of my siblings.  Surprisingly, I think that I have lost my vehement desire to get married as soon as possible.  Like I have any control over that anyway.  I won't kid you, I still want to get married...someday, believe me.  But right now I have an obligation to fulfill, and it cannot be fulfilled unless I focus on it completely, without the interruption of sighs, longings, and dreams that distract and hinder me.  Dreams I will keep dreaming, but for now I am excited about being a daughter and a siblings.  With the glasses that I wear, the grass looks greener here than it does on the other side.

I don't think I need continue.

With summer almost gone and school almost beginning, my days will be very busy.  Plus finishing pocket college, I'll be doing more work for Daddy, HTML, lots of reading, and working with my younger-schooled siblings.  I won't officially graduate so to speak until this school year ends so that we can do things right for the formal proclamation, but I'm thankful for one more chance to study hard and learn all that I can.  One more year, then I will no longer be a schoolgirl.  I wonder how that will feel...


Joy said...

Dear Rachel,
Thank you for sharing more about your book. It is looking to be very good and the issues so real! How all those inner sins that lay hidden in us truly do affect our relationship with our siblings! I am looking forward to reading the book when it is finished :).

Have you heard of the book, "The Shaping of a Christian Family" by Elisabeth Elliot? That is a really good book to read concerning the issues of family that might be helpful to you while writing this book.

It looks like you are pretty busy... I pray that the Lord will give you guidance and the words to write, Rachel, as you continue on great this journey.

It can be hard to patient and I know what you mean by wanting to "get married as soon as possible", but His will and being in it during the right time is the best thing to be in, isn't it? I have found that one of the things that have truly helped me when I just seem to sigh, long and dream for 'that day' is praying, praying for the Lord's will and even praying for my future-husband asking God to bless him and keep Him. Yes, the calling we have now is so important, and it is just terrible how often we resent that call when we can actually be advancing Christ's kingdom in our own family at home! May the Lord give us this grace to be content where we are, in the work that He has given us.
In His love,

Rachel said...

Wow, a fan already. I'm thrilled! :-)

I've heard of Elizabeth Elliot but I've never read the book. I'll have to look into it!

It is indeed the "best thing to be in"! Although there have been many times that I wished I was someone else living a different life and married happily to a dashing young man, I am realizing more and more that God's timing is totally best, and when I realize that, then I find true joy in my homelife (even on the days when I feel like everything is so insipid). I am extremely humbled when I realize how patient God is with my incompetence in life, AND I am extremely humbled when I realize how much mercy and grace He gives me daily.