Finding Peace and Healing Within a Broken Family

Guest Post by Rebecca L. MatthewsThe Light Within By Rebecca L. Matthews

As if the pressures of life as a teenager aren’t enough, try adding the weight of a broken family. The hurt and disruption are too deep to heal from, or are they? Peace isn’t possible, or is it? When fighting rules the household, trusts are broken, and key family relationships dissolve, the very foundation of what home, security, and family stand for is shaken.

As young women, the crumbling parental union brings our own insecurities to the forefront. The circumstances matter, the overheard attacks have relevance, the failures stand strong in our minds as we focus keenly on every detail of our parents’ struggles. We form deep-rooted beliefs that now make us cautious and guarded in life – afraid to trust, afraid to be hurt.

Regardless of why our parents’ marriages dissolve, we find ourselves judging their actions, angry at their reactions, and suffering from their consequences. We now question our own friendships, we question others’ motives, and we find reason to believe we’re being continuously hurt by life. Trust and hope teeter on the brink, ever threatening to slip over the edge and shatter.

Experiencing life in a broken family highlights reality in a way we’re often not ready to face. Life is tough. When one family morphs into two homes, two sets of rules, and parents who are transforming as they adjust to life anew, we feel overwhelmed. It’s apparent that we’re helpless to stop the tide of change. Adjustment isn’t easy, and it’s frightening to realize that we don’t have control of the outcomes of our own lives.

Oddly enough, this awareness causes us to grasp at control more frantically. We hunger for acceptance…somewhere, anywhere. Unfortunately, we can seek for and find it in the wrong places. We look for love, often in relationships that aren’t good for us. We long for security, committing to friendships that are toxic. We join in behaviors that we know are wrong but allow us to feel accepted by others. The costs can be high though, and we seek to find a source to blame…the broken family. We harbor anger and hurt at such intense levels that it makes the simplest of tasks, like school or work, difficult to focus on. Therefore, we falter and fall behind, ever more frustrated.

Don’t despair! Hope and joy can be experienced in brokenness. It can be experienced even in the worst of circumstances. Peace does not come from escaping the curse of difficulties (we’ll always have difficulties of varying degrees), God’s peace comes to us during them. When we seek Christ and choose to trust His will for our lives, when we give Him control, realizing we don’t have it anyway, we have license to let go. There’s peace in that, a peace that truly does pass all understanding. A peace that doesn’t really make sense to our human minds. It’s not meant to. It’s a Spiritual peace that only comes from believing and trusting God.

Peace does not come from escaping the curse of difficulties, God’s peace comes to us during them.

When our focus is on others’ failures, their unacceptable decisions, and the troubles they’ve brought to our lives, we inevitably struggle. When we change our focus to be on Christ, placing Him at our center, a shift that can move mountains takes place. It may seem subtle, quiet, and unnoticed by others at first, it’s personal, after all, but it will be intense and life-changing for the better as it heals us.

It might be helpful to look at our family members as separate people who are trying to deal with life in this difficult world, just as we are. Pray for them. Though our parents are adults and we’ve held them to a higher standard for which, in our eyes, they’ve failed, they’re people just the same. Pray for them. Remember, Jesus died for them, as well.

We can choose to leave the struggles we’re experiencing in our broken family to Him. We can trust that He’ll bring about the peace and healing that we so desperately desire, and then we’re able to watch as He works. God will astound!

Sides aren’t necessary to be taken. Choose not to be caught in the middle. We can leave the drama behind and separate from the brokenness…just enough to simply be. Be ourselves. Be free. Be peaceful. Be healed…by Christ who loves and strengthens us.

Born Again

I am intrigued by the work of so many of the musicians that we feature in the pages of niNe. magazine. Each artist has a unique story to tell and each song carries that story to the world.

Manafest Reborn Album Cover As we were reviewing new album releases to promote in the publication, I was really drawn to a quote made by Manafest about one of his songs. “To me, being reborn is starting over and having a second chance,” says Manafest. “It’s like hitting restart, but without having to go back in time and start from the very beginning. This song is a confession that it’s not easy, and that we can all have doubts, but just don’t give into them. I fall down, but I rise and go!”

The term “born again” is a Christian term that outsiders may not fully understand. Honestly, a lot of Christians themselves may not entirely understand the meaning of this term. It’s a term that can be overused in some settings and not used enough in others, but it’s a term that speaks deeply and intimately to each one of our lives because it opens the door to our relationship with the Lord.

But, today, I don’t want to talk about the term “Born Again.” Instead, I want to embrace this idea that we truly are born again every day. Manafest says it’s like having a second chance. When we truly look at our lives, we need a second chance every day. We may not have screwed up big time, but every decision we make impacts our lives and the lives of those we love. Unless we’re fully engaged with God, then we may unknowingly be in the wrong. That isn’t a discouragement; instead, the idea of being born again is a great encouragement. We don’t need to look at the pain we may have caused, but rather, we can focus on the blossoming power that comes from deciding to pursue everything fresh and new. We become so tainted and tired over time, but by “hitting restart” we have a daily opportunity to see the world with a revived and vibrant perspective.

We don’t have the time or energy to go back and fix everything, but we do have the ability to forgive, forget and move forward in honor of our Lord. He said to “pick up the cross daily” and we must choose to do so! We must give our lives over to Him constantly. Our conversion to Christianity isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a constant journey. How awesome! We live in a society full of instant gratification, but often times, once we’re gratified, we quickly become unsatisfied, regretting what we just engaged in. But, our life with Christ is never satisfied; yet it is completely satisfying.

We will all fall. Some of us will crash and burn. We will all run out of steam. But, we cannot let that define us. Because, no matter what situation we face, we will rise from it. We will overcome and we will be filled with glory.

Soul Fest Experiences

Soul Fest ExperienceNot only does niNe. magazine offer fun content for teen girls online, but we also have passionate speakers who go out and meet with teenagers in a more personal and intimate setting. Our primary speaker, Alicia Hayes, recently traveled to New Hampshire for Soul Fest Music Festival. Alicia spoke to teen girls about…. and youth pastors about.  She also ran a booth about the magazine and our speakers. It was a very fun time for her, and definitely a highlight of our summer. Alicia wanted to share a few things about her experience and the fun of summer music festivals.

By Alicia Hayes:

The Soul Fest was located in the mountains of New Hampshire. I wish I had realized it was ON a mountain not at the base of the mountain because it got cold at night! Despite the cold at night and the dust of the day, it was a beautiful area to spend three days. Our niNe.magazine volunteer, Rachel and I arrived at The Soul Fest the night before and we were a little stressed. We had been driving for 5 hours, had to finish setting up our table and put up our campsite when neither of us had done much camping. After everything was set up, Rachel looked up at the sky and said, “Well. At least this is cool.” The sky was filled with stars. God’s beautiful creation was all around us.

I love food. I love food so much that the main reason why I stopped drinking Diet Coke was because I read that it dulls your taste pallet and I was not about to miss out on good-tasting food. I don’t even know if that’s true, but I’m not risking it and I probably shouldn’t be drinking Diet Coke anyway. But I digress. The food at the Soul Fest was a lot of fun. Not only the quality of the food, but it was interesting to see how people utilized food and drink for a greater good. For instance, there were a few coffee tents/shops that used their proceeds as a way to support missions. Coffee is not only a huge staple in our culture, but in cultures around the world, so it would make sense to utilize this drink as a way to support and bring people together. It was encouraging to see people use the tool of food not just to please themselves but to think outside of themselves. It was also interesting for me to remember that food is a gift from God. One of the easiest, best ways that I connected with the people around me was with food recommendations. Food nourishes our bodies, is pleasurable and brings people together.

Really, the people that we connected with was the best part of Soul Fest. I could have dedicated this entire post to the people we met and worked with. The people who stopped by our booth were incredibly encouraging, promising to pass along information and affirming us that we were running a ministry that was desperately needed. Our vendor neighbors adopted our ministry, read our resources, and followed us on social media. There was a great support system and love at the festival that I often take for granted in the Christian community. We are so excited to see where these new connections lead us.

There’s a lot more I could say about Soul Fest. It was exhausting but encouraging. I hope that the ministry can continue doing things like this and build up more momentum and connections. The best way that the ministry can do that, is for you to get involved. Click on “9 Ways to Get Involved” to find out the varying ways that you can help this ministry grow and provide more opportunities like The Soul Fest.