A Note from Chris Adams: July 4th is so much fun with BBQ, watermelon, homemade ice cream, and family gatherings! Of course, some family gatherings come with the risk of fireworks. One little spark can cause the entire day to erupt into explosions of arguing, hurt feelings, and the resurfacing of old wounds. Sometimes things do not go according to our perfect plans. Read today’s helpful post by Dr. Deb Douglas, the Minister to Women, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA , and see how you can help moms as they find their perfect plans have fizzled.
How do we as women’s ministers help moms whose family dynamics turn family events and holidays into emotionally hurtful happenings? There are a few things we can do to help before and after the family fireworks are over and disappointment hits:
- Offer prayer support before family gatherings. Enlist prayer warriors to pray.
- Share personal experiences. Or invite someone else to share who has a story about how God has worked through difficult family dynamics.
- Remind moms that God can work through conflict to get everyone to where they need to be.
- Meet with women struggling with family conflict one on one.
- Teach conflict management. While the oohing and aahing at fireworks may come naturally, knowing how to handle conflict does not. You might consider hosting an evening workshop on handling conflict. Keep it small. Include a simple dinner to make it easy for moms to attend. Include plenty of conversation time in the schedule. End with a prayer time for families.
- Manage expectations. Not every family is picture perfect. Continual, unrealistic expectations of a loving, happy, encouraging family means continually disappointment.
- Be honest. At times, the only way to deal with family conflict in a godly way is to put space between family members. Screaming matches, physical fights, and passive aggressive behaviors are not healthy for anyone—especially for children watching. Sometimes, moms just need permission to put healthy space between family members. Prayerfully consider when that type of encouragement is needed.
- Prepare and prevent. Offer a small group study using Mary Kassian’s Conversation Peace. It’s a great resource for learning to control the tongue. We cannot control the words or actions of others, but we can be prepared to control our own.
- Keep learning. Training ourselves in conflict resolution keeps us ready to help moms. My favorite book on conflict is Caring Enough to Confront by David Augsburger. It’s an older book but is filled with wisdom. Another is Crazymakers by Dr. Paul Meier. I read everything I can find on conflict and relationships!
Get ready for fireworks this July 4th and be ready to minister to moms who experience family fireworks!
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline and Lincoln.