My family is sometimes an idol for me.
Yes, sometimes I place my family above God. It’s never a good plan because families are made up of imperfect humans. Families should be safe places, which means emotions and words spill over when maybe they shouldn’t.
This book reminded me — and challenged me — to take all my hopes and expectations regarding my family to the cross. There they are reshaped and God draws me to him.
Sure, my family is the result of God’s faithfulness to knit people together. Yes, our becoming a family is a testimony of brokenness turned to beauty. I’m free to enjoy my family.
But I’m created to worship the One who made my family rather than bow to my ideas and images of what my family should be. Turns out what family should be is also what the church should be.
“The Storm-Tossed Family: How the Cross Reshapes the Home” by Russell Moore wasn’t what I expected but was full of truths I needed to hear. In this book, Moore talks about family crisis, church family, marriage, sexuality, divorce, children, big-picture parenting, family tensions, and aging.
This was a book I had to read slower than I usually read because I wanted to digest all the content, which included scriptures, practical lessons, encouragement, and tales from Moore’s own life. I marked long paragraphs I suspect I’ll reference for years to come.
Navigating that tension between what the world says and what the cross means requires me to forgive past misunderstandings with my childhood family, recognize that God is always working in my life and in my family (both the immediate and extended), and let go of some of the control I want.
“Knowing how to apply the cross-shaped nature of our gospel to our often confusing family lives and situations, though, can be difficult, especially when what troubles us can range sometimes from mild tension to real trauma. How do we know how to walk toward the future God has for us in the gospel when what ought to be the most secure element of our identities – our families – fractures or even falls? Some of this will mean walking through ordinary tensions of the family, and some of it will be about looking backward and forward at the very real traumas we face. As Jesus moved toward the cross, he had many who knew something of what he was about, and were actively seeking to kill him. There were others, though, who just did not yet understand, failing to see who he was and what he was saying. Neither derailed Jesus’ trek to the cross, nor did confuse the one with the other.”
– Russell Moore in “The Storm-Tossed Family”
About the book
Why do our families have so much power over us? In “The Storm-Tossed Family,” bestselling author Russell Moore teaches readers whether you are married or single, whether you long for a child or shepherding a full house, you are part of a family. Family is difficult because family — every family — is an echo of the gospel.
Family can be the source of some of the most transcendent human joy, and family can leave us crumpled up on the side of the road. Family can make us who we are, and family can break our hearts. Why would this social arrangement have that much power, for good or for ill, over us?
This 320-page hardback book is published by B&H Books (Sept. 18, 2018).
About the author
Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. The Wall Street Journal called him “vigorous, cheerful, and fiercely articulate.” He is the author of several books, including, “Onward: Engaging Culture without Losing the Gospel” and “Adopted for Life.” He and his wife Maria are the parents of five sons. Visit RussellMoore.com to learn more.
I received a free copy of this book from the B&H/LifeWay Blogger Team, but these opinions and confessions are my own.