Being a history maker is seemingly legendary, right? Oh, there are great bragging rights attached to being the first. The first man to walk on the moon, the first self-made millionaire, or the first person in your family to go to college. While all of these feats are extraordinary, there are untold stories of what happened behind the scenes to make it possible; the toil that came with being the first. I know this all too well because I too, am a first.
I am the first of my immediate family to know Jesus intimately and that came with a big responsibility. A responsibility to set the right example, to be the light in darkness. However, during my early years of salvation I didn’t get it right all the time with my family. Sometimes I asked God, Why did I have to be the first? Why didn’t you simply connect me to a family that had a little more Jesus, a family that could give ME the guidance?” Please don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love my family soooo very much. They mean everything to me. Nonetheless, I still felt that having a family rooted in Jesus, giving a sister a little more guidance would have been ideal. I do not ask God those questions anymore because now I can understand. Living with my (unsaved) family has taught me what it means to love unconditionally. The lessons I have learned throughout the years are valuable and they have added to my maturity. Maybe you’re like me, longing to win your unsaved family members over to Jesus or you may be struggling with letting light shine among them. I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned along the way.
1. Accept and Love Them As They Are
In my early years of salvation, I sat on a self-righteous horse. Allow me to explain. I understood how good Jesus was, I knew the mess that He took me out of when He saved me and how much that changed my life. I also could not understand how anyone would live without Him. I loved God, I really did; however, I was extremely judgmental to those closest to me, my family. I preached to them with a tone of, “you need to stop being messy and accept Jesus NOW!” rather than, “Jesus loves you and so do I – I am not your judge and I will not make you feel guilty for what you are doing”. Well, chileeee, to put it very mildly, the judgmental approach and THAT posture did not work at all, not even in the slightest way.
Despite my good intentions, my family did not need my judgment, which is God’s job. Instead, without a doubt, I needed to learn to love my family unconditionally, beyond their faults and drama. My family needed to feel that I accepted them. They needed to feel the love of Jesus Christ through me. No one wants to be around someone that looks down on them; in fact, everyone wants to be in an environment they can feel love.
2. Pray for Wisdom
I prayed for my family nonstop. I would literally warfare until my throat got sore. There was not a demon that I did not call out and slay while praying for them. There are times when prayers can be aggressive; however, I also needed to have an understanding heart. I needed to be more open to God’s direction on how to pray for them rather than just praying demons away. God knows, intimately, each member of my family. He truly knows which areas in their lives that they are struggling in. Since God knows everything, of course, He can offer strategies and solutions while you are in prayer. Eventually, as I opened my heart to God more and more, He would download nuggets that helped me daily. These nuggets particularly helped me to understand the areas I needed to work on personally and how I needed to treat my family. From these moments in prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed me to myself and I learned to trust Him with changing me. I found great comfort in knowing that God loved my family more than I could ever imagine. Because His love for my family is so deep, His investment in their salvation far exceeds mine. All I needed to do was pray. I had to trust that if I continued to pray, follow His direction, and leave my family in His hands, He would do the rest. He would bring them into relationship with Him.
3. Allow Change to Take Place in Your Heart
Dare I say it? While God wants to change your unsaved family members, God also wants to change you. Every single test that we go through is with the intent of our faith and character being matured. There is so much that you can learn while in this experience. Rather than constantly pointing the finger at those around you, talk to God. Ask Him, “What are you trying to teach me in this?”. Then, be open to change, learn about your weaknesses, and how this experience can stretch and mature you. Often times, we can be so anxious for our situation to change, that we end up overlooking the fact that God really wants to change us.
Being the first Christian in my family came with its share of discomfort; however, I look back fondly. I see beauty in the story that God is writing – He isn’t done yet! I may not have the cookie cutter or the ideal background. Still, I do know that God is revealing Himself through this experience and it is working for my good. I say the same to you! There is so much beauty in your story. Imagine, God is using you to plant seeds to change your generation. It does not matter how it looks to you, God is in the middle of it all. He will make it work together for your good. Continue to love your family, pray with an open heart, and allow this experience to bring out the best in you. Remember, you were born for such a time as this
Be Strong, Be Courageous, Serve God Wholeheartedly
- Keep up to date with me and be encouraged by signing up for the email list.
- If you want to learn more about God and overcoming, grab a copy of “I’m 25, Now What?” here.