Category Archives: Family Relationships

Am I Trustworthy?

by Andrea Nymeyer

“The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.”
(Proverbs 31:11)

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “Why won’t they trust me?”

I sure have. Usually I’m speaking of my parents or some other authority.

When we ask, “Why won’t they trust me?” we don’t realize that we have it all backward. The true question is, “Am I trustworthy?” Dwight L. Moody said, “If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.” Instead of griping that others do not trust us, we should be caring for our character and making sure we are worthy of trust.

Proverbs 31 describes the model virtuous woman. The very first attribute of this woman is this: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her” (Proverbs 31:11).  What is it about the Proverbs 31 woman that makes her worthy of her husband’s trust? She loves him enough to earn that trust, putting his interests before her own. Our heavenly Father sets us the most beautiful example of trustworthiness. Only because we know the character of the Lord as revealed in Scripture can we rest with such confidence in the Name of Jesus. “How excellent is Thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Thy wings” (Psalm 36:7). Thus our longing to be trusted is the outpouring of a desire to be more like Jesus. Trustworthiness is a valuable and essential character trait that must be cultivated diligently. How then do we become trustworthy?

My pastor preached a message several years ago with an acrostic about building and keeping trust. Following is his outline with my own Bible verses, comments, and illustrations.

T – Tell the Truth.

The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.”                                                                                                     (Proverbs 12:19)

Truth is the core of the Gospel and therefore, the core of the Christian life. It is what has set us free from the clutches of sin (John 8:32). So let us not pass by or treat as trivial what is one of the most powerful testimonies of our faith. Speaking truth is yet another form of the overflow of that love we see Christ exemplifying for us. “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour; for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:25). Let us hold up the truth as the light by which we walk on a daily basis so that others might trust us even in the smallest of matters. A person who does not consistently tell the truth cannot be trusted.

Every morning when my siblings and I come in from the barn, someone in our family will ask one of the younger children, “Did you wash your hands?” Often when the child responds, “Yes,” the older sibling will respond, “Are you sure?”

Why do we ask them this? Because the child is not yet trustworthy. This is expected from a five-year-old, but you and I are no longer five. We must develop a habit of telling the truth every time if we want to build our parents’ trust in us. How can we develop this habit when we have already caught ourselves speaking lies? “Think before you speak.” We should not allow a word to pass from our lips before discerning our motive for speaking.

When our hearts desire to please the Lord, our words will be a powerful testament to that desire. “Teach me Thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name” (Psalm 86:11). 

R – Remember Your Words and Promises.

“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.”                                                                                                                     (Proverbs 25:14)

This one really gets me. I’m an incredibly scatterbrained person, and it’s easy to prove myself untrustworthy simply because I forgot what I said ten minutes ago. If we want to be trustworthy, we must put a high priority on accomplishing the things we promise to do.

Taking the time to write things down can be extremely helpful. Prayer lists and to-do lists and lists of all sorts might be some of the most helpful tools in encouraging us to remember the promises we have made. The more faithfulness we apply in recalling commitments to mind and performing that which we have promised, the more those in our lives will feel just how loved and treasured they truly are. 

U – Understand the Challenge.

“Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?”
(Proverbs 6:28)

I know well that if I walk on hot coals from a fire, my feet will be burned. I have no trust in those coals not to burn my feet. Trustworthiness is not an easy character trait to develop. Messing up just once causes others to lose trust in me. Trust cannot be demanded; it is earned. Letting someone down repeatedly causes an even greater lack of trust.

When I do the accounting for my dad’s company, I have a reputation for making mistakes while my sister Dee rarely makes mistakes. It is not uncommon for my dad to say, “Let’s leave this project for Dee to complete.” Just as I would never trust hot coals on my feet, my family has been “burned” often enough and badly enough by my work that they do not trust me. Building trust is incredibly difficult, especially if the person has been hurt repeatedly.

Recognizing the challenge that is set before us to earn the trust of others should help us in not being impatient or angry when they may still find trusting us difficult. The way we love and serve them through the challenges will only increase our growing trustworthiness. The refining and pruning will feel that much more worth the pains as those pains also yield deeper and more fruitful relationships.

S – Stay Steady.

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.”         (Luke 16:10)

My life is not “exciting” by many standards. I live at home, do schoolwork, and help my parents. But do you know what? Trust is not built on the big and extraordinary. Trust is built on faithfulness in little things. Do I wash the dishes with a good attitude? Are my chores done without my having to be reminded? Am I attentive to my family member’s needs? Faithfulness in these seemingly small areas builds trust. These seemingly small areas are in fact treasures from heaven that have been entrusted to us. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights…” (James 1:17a).

Sisters, we can find the beauty in the soap and water washing dishes clean, in the messy, laughing face of a little brother, and in the laundry piled high. Seeing God’s grace in everything small and mundane allows us to walk more faithfully because we are living in the light of the glorious grace of the cross and purpose of our Lord in every detail of life. By His grace, we can look forward to hearing, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21).

T – Take the Time.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”                                                                                              (Galatians 6:9)

What if I said, “I’ve been trustworthy to my parents for a whole week! I should have earned their trust by now!” Would you think I was crazy? Yes! We know that it takes faithfulness and time to build trust – much longer than a week.

If you’ve ever tried to tame an animal, you know that one quick move of your hand can destroy the progress that you’ve made in building its trust. It takes hours and even days to gain an animal’s trust, and it takes years of faithfulness to earn the trust of a person – especially your parents who know your imperfections.

Do you need to built trust? Don’t get discouraged!

God’s loving mercy surrounds us, never leaving us alone in our efforts to follow His Son. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). As we strive to walk faithfully, earning the trust of our parents and others in our lives, we must find ourselves abiding in the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of Thine own hands” (Psalm 138:8). He will help you to build and keep trust so that it can be said of you, too, that the heart of your authority trusts in you!

– Andrea Nymeyer

In what ways do you strive to build trust with your parents? Leave a comment below!


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Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Faithful Stewardship

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The Law of Kindness

by Ashley Spies

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”
(Proverbs 31:26)

The woman described in Proverbs chapter 31 is a wonderful example for all women.

In this verse, we learn that her words are full of wisdom and kindness. First let’s ask the question, “Where does wisdom come from?” We know it comes from God.

“For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.”
(Proverbs 2:6)

The word “law” is the Hebrew word “torah,” which refers to the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy). That put a whole new light on that verse for me. In Exodus there are chapters filled with miscellaneous laws about how the Israelites were supposed to treat one another. As I thought about it, I realized these books may not talk about kindness, but instead tell how to show kindness. Let’s look at a few examples.

“If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.”
(Exodus 22:1)

“And if a man borrow ought of his neighbor, and it be hurt, or die, the owner thereof being not with it, he shall surely make it good.”
(Exodus 22:14)

In the first example, we see that if a man steals another person’s animal, that man has to give the person he stole from four or five times what he stole, depending on the animal. That’s kindness…being compassionate and caring. The second example talks about if a man borrows something, and it gets hurt or dies while the borrower is not around, the borrower will have to make it good, make it right, make restitution.

I think all the laws that God made for His people to follow about personal conduct boil down to one word: love. One of the evidences of love is showing kindness to somebody. As John 14:15 states, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
(Mark 12:30-31)

If we love God first with all of our heart, we will love our neighbor. And love fulfills the law. “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).

As a lady, either young or old, single or married, we can all fulfill the law by loving God with all of our being, and then loving our neighbor. This will flow forth from our lips in words of kindness and love.

Here are some practical ways you can speak with the law of kindness:

  1. If you are living at home with siblings, practice being kind to them. Practice showing compassion. It doesn’t have to be anything big. If a sibling receives a good grade or accomplishes something “big” or important, encourage them, even if it doesn’t seem that important to you.
  2. Memorize God’s Word. If you have God’s words hidden in your heart, wisdom, His law, and righteous words will be able to flow out of your heart, out of your mouth, and touch those around you.  “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).
  3. Write God’s words out on cards or paper, and put them around your house, workplace, car, or pocket. When you’re tempted to say or do something unkind, read the card and use God’s Word to battle temptation.
  4. Ask God to help you love Him first and foremost, and then love those around you.

“Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.”
(Joshua 23:11)

May we purpose to speak words of kindness, as sisters and daughters!

-Ashley Spies

In what ways do you strive to speak kindly to your siblings? Leave a comment below!


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Faithful Stewardship

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Loving Siblings When It’s Hard

by Sarah W.

“I don’t think it’s possible for me to have a good relationship with my siblings.”

Is this your reaction when you hear about sibling relationships?
It was mine for many years. As my younger siblings are adopted, they had behavioral problems that caused tension in our family. Yet God showed me, over time, that I couldn’t run away from the problems; in fact, He wanted me to persevere in loving my siblings. These relationships are special – so worth investing in and cultivating!

I’d like to share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way.

First, pray for your siblings (Ephesians 6:18). Your siblings have very deep needs. Prayer helps them, as well as your attitude toward them! I remember one day in particular when one sibling had been particularly troublesome. That evening during family devotions, when it was my turn to pray, I began to pray for each of my siblings by name. As I was doing this, this particular sibling started crying! He became genuinely sorry for the problems he’d caused that day. God is so faithful to work through prayer.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance
and supplication for all saints.”
(Ephesians 6:18)

Pray for your siblings daily during your quiet time, or when you wake up in the night, or when they are having a difficult time. Colossians 1:9-12 and Ephesians 3:14-21 are passages you can pray for them.

Evaluate yourself. Do you have right relationships with God and with your parents? Are you walking humbly with the Lord, confessing your own sins (1 John 1:9)? Are you honoring your parents? Are you following Biblical commands in relating to your siblings (Ephesians 4:31)? Our siblings watch our lives, and they sense whether we are genuine or hypocritical about our walk with the Lord.

Break down walls. Is there something that you can do to remove something that is hindering your fellowship with a sibling? An unconfessed sin, a misunderstanding, a past hurt? Be willing to open the conversation with them and discuss these things, repent if needed, and express your desire to rebuild the relationship. It can be painful, but communication is so important.

Have compassion on your siblings. Learn to be sensitive to what your siblings are feeling or going through, and listen to them. My attitude towards my younger adopted sister, in particular, changed when I stopped to think about what she had gone through in the past. She experienced more pain and instability in her first three years (before coming home) than I have ever known. It took me years to realize this. Jesus Christ had incredible compassion on people during His earthly ministry, and we are His hands and feet on earth now for our siblings!

“Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to Me.”
(Matthew 25:45)

Persevere. There will be days when you feel overwhelmed and don’t want to keep loving, keep investing, or keep trying…but don’t give up. Seek God’s strength to press on, asking for His love to share with your siblings.  There was a point when I wanted to give up and I felt like my siblings would never change, but God has worked in our relationships and they have changed so much. I am watching God work in their hearts and it’s really exciting (Galatians 6:9)!

“And let us not be weary in well doing:
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
(Galatians 6:9)

Most importantly: be faithful to God.

The Lord knows you and your needs; He knows your siblings, and He has a reason for putting you together! He is using these relationships to sanctify you and give you opportunities to grow in Christ-like character – so embrace them and trust God to bring forth amazing, wonderfully impossible results – as you obey Him! It’s not always easy, but God’s grace is sufficient!

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
(Matthew 19:26)

We would like to hear your ideas for how to work through difficulties in sibling relationships. How has God answered prayer as you have prayed and persevered? Share in a comment below!

-Sarah W.

P.S. Here are more articles on sibling relationships:

Let’s Encourage Our Siblings! (April)

Showing Our Siblings Love (April Challenge)

Ways to Encourage Our Siblings (April Challenge)

 


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Current Issue of KBR Magazine: Cultivating a Heart at Home

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5 Ways to Invest in Your Siblings (September)

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“The forthcoming issue of KBR Magazine will be focusing on Treasuring Sibling Relationships. It is brimming with practical advice on this important topic. To whet your appetite for what it will contain, here are some thoughts on how you can love and bless your siblings.”

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”
(Psalm 133:1)

Guest Post by Acacia T.

Siblings are a special gift from God, yet in so many homes, relationships between brothers and sisters are strained. God wants us to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1). How can we promote peace and joy in the home?

Be humble.

Pride is the cause of most relationship struggles. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” Be willing to be “wrong,” let your siblings make decisions, and put them first. You will be amazed at how quickly this will bless your relationship with them. As they see you genuinely care about them enough to put aside your own desires, they will respect you more.

Serve your siblings.

Paul goes on to say that Jesus, the Lord and Creator of all things, took upon Himself the form of a servant. How much more should we who are nothing without God, willingly serve our brothers and sisters? It is encouraging to keep in mind that when we do so, we are ultimate serving Jesus. Not even the smallest act of service done for the Lord will be overlooked by Him!

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
(Matthew 25:40)

Invest in their lives.

Our little brothers and sisters look up to us and follow our example. When we do our chores cheerfully, speak kindly, and honor our parents, our siblings will be encouraged to do the same. Psalm 127 says that children are a heritage from the Lord. May we be like Christ who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me” (Mark 10:14). We can also invest in our siblings by spending time with them and doing things with them that they enjoy doing.

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Respect them.

We should show respect to our siblings, accepting instruction meekly. Remember that the older ones often have more responsibilities, and look for ways to lighten their load. Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” We should esteem our siblings, whether they are younger or older, better than ourselves.

Be sensitive to their struggles and needs.

When your sibling is having a hard day, be loving and kind. There could be more to their struggles that you see. Pray for them and be willing to listen. One thing I want to work on is asking my brothers and sisters how they are doing and being willing to share my heart also. When we are sensitive to our siblings, they will learn to trust us and share their burdens.

Most importantly, we need to keep our eyes on the Lord, Who makes all things possible (Matthew 19:26). Pray that He would fill your heart with love for your brothers and sisters and seek to be a blessing. These relationships are precious, and will last a lifetime, so let’s treasure the time we have together!

“…by love serve one another.”
(Galatians 5:13)


If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


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A Letter from a Mother (June)

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by Guest Writer Mrs. Ryan

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment
with promise;)
 That it may be well with thee,
and thou mayest live long on the earth.”
(Ephesians 6:1-3)

Dear Daughters,

My mother passed away two years ago. Getting older and having my own children has given me a different perspective on the relationship I had with my mother. I would like to share some thoughts on my heart with you.

To be honest, my relationship with my mother was often strained. As I look back on our almost 50 years of a mother-daughter relationship, there are many things that I am glad of, but I have regrets, too. I want to share these with you and perhaps you will be spared of some regrets after your own mother passes.

Moms are people, too. I suppose I had very high expectations of my mom as a girl. I expected her to know everything and make no mistakes. But Mom was human. Mom had her own struggles and hurts and challenges. It was easy to focus on my needs and not consider hers. My mom didn’t complain about her challenges. One of her difficulties was arthritis. I remember her taking the stairs slowly, one at a time, because of pain. I know I probably complained when she asked for help, so she didn’t ask much. I was a pretty compliant child and did what I was told. But I didn’t go above and beyond what was asked or expected of me. I wish I had run up and down those steps for her and sought to make her life easier.

God choses our parents for us. Growing up, I had no concept of God having chosen my parents for me. Imperfect as they were, my parents were God’s vehicle for my growing up years. I wish I had been grateful for His Providence for me.

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Tell your mom “I love you.” After I had a couple of children, I remember telling a friend of mine that my parents never said “I love you,” to me. She put it right back in my court. “Do you tell them?” And I had to admit, “No, I did not.” I was convicted then and there. After that, I made a point of telling my parents, “I love you,” at the end of phone conversations. At first they didn’t say it back. But over time, they were able to tell me they loved me. I am glad to have no regrets about that. After Mom died, at times I wish I could tell her again that I loved her.

By the grace of God, I do not live with “only regrets” in my role as a daughter. There are things in my life that I am glad I persevered in, even when they were hard.

Mom developed Alzheimer’s Disease at the end of her life. It is a slow, sad disease. Mom had always been so very strong in mind. It was hard for her. The time came that Mom basically stopped speaking except for an occasional “No.” In the last couple of years of her life, when I took a couple of children to visit with her, we would take instruments and hymnals. Dad liked the old Gospel hymns. We would sing and the kids would play their instruments. One visit, my son observed that mom smiled during the singing. Mom didn’t smile much otherwise. When it seemed that Mom’s time was to be measured in hours, I drove the 7 hours to be with her and Dad and my siblings. Mom lasted two weeks more, however. And I was able to stay and spend time with my parents with my two siblings. It was a quiet time but a very special one. I had opportunity to read the Bible to Mom, sing hymns with Dad at Mom’s bedside and serve in little ways. The only word Mom ever said was, “No.” But I asked Mom if she knew that Jesus loved her and she said “Yes.” I asked Mom if she knew He had died for her sins and she said, “Yes.” I have reason to hope that Mom did know Jesus in the end. Those last two weeks of her life were the best I ever had with Mom. God restored the years that the locust had eaten.

So, dear girls, I challenge you, as a mother looking back over my own relationship with my mother: seek to live with no regrets in your relationship with your mother. Love her. Forgive her. Invest in your relationship with her. Look for ways to lighten her load. Pray for her. Be Jesus’ hands and feet to her.

As a mother myself, I know how imperfect mothers are. I know how many times I fail God, my children, and others. And God forgives me, loves me, gives grace, and shows mercy. And that is what He wants me to do for others. I wish I had had more grace for my mother; I wish I had sought to understand her better when I was younger.

You have that opportunity today, to show your mother honor and respect and love. Do that with joy, and have no regrets!

This guest post was written by Mrs. Ryan who has been blessed with 26 years of marriage and 9 children. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for KBR Ministries, click here.


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