On balancing family and community

Target date with this beauty, finally spending her Christmas money! This girl.

The dialogue plays out almost every day...

"Mom, what are we doing for dinner?"

"You mean what are we having?" {I say this, knowing full-well what she means.}

"No, what are we doing?"

"We're eating, at home, with our family." {I wait for the response I know is coming.}

"Are friends coming over?"

~~~~~

In a family that highly values living life in community, I'm coming to a place where I feel like our little family unit needs some reconstruction on its foundation.

While we don't want our nuclear family to become an idol, I'm struggling with finding the balance between being community-minded, while also forming a tightly bonded connection in the hearts of the five people (and specifically the three little people) that live in our home.

IMG_3310

As Gigi approaches six years old, this is becoming something that weighs on my heart more and more. I love her social personality, her loyalty and love of friends, but honestly? I feel pangs of jealousy that she's not content with just being with our family on the occasions when we don't have friends or extended family around.Β 

This is just real talk. And maybe it's just my pride.

But maybe the Lord is impressing on me more and more what it means to shape these little hearts He's entrusted to me on a daily basis. They are just so darn impressionable (and I love that).

So I'm weighing out whether in the last couple of years we've been too focused on living in community (but on the other hand, is that really possible in a gospel-centered life?) at this foundational stage in our children's life.

IMG_3123

I don't at all want to back out of community life. Because I know that is what the Lord has called us to.Β Sometimes community is hard. And it would be easier to just isolate ourselves and focus more inwardly. Of course it is also beautiful, and I am beyond grateful for those the Lord has put in our life in the last couple of years.

And I wholeheartedly want to raise kids who value living out the gospel wherever that takes them.

But practically, now, as our kids become more and more aware and involved in what we're doing (i.e. not just napping in the Ergo, along for the ride), I want to explore how to balance the foundation of family with the goal of then inviting others in to experience that life of community.

What is family, after all, if not our "first" community?

It's our most basic place where we can live out the gospel in real time with one another.

I don't have the answers here; I'm just sort of processing what's been on my heart. But I hope to explore it more here on the blog as we go about life.

Right now, I think it's going to look like more boundaries... more structure (Gigi thrives on that anyway)... sometimes saying no... celebrating the blessing of family, and sibling friendship... but also continuing to embrace community when the Holy Spirit prompts it and when it shows up on the doorstep (the door is always open here still).

I'd love to hear how if any of you have struggled over this balance? Any suggestions for building up that foundation while also engaging in community?