I just want to share what a very wise woman reminded me of today. I had sent out a prayer request to my homeschool support group and so much of what she said in her reply were things I had forgotten or didn't think were valid enough reasons to guard and protect our family life. My heart's desire is to help people when I see a need and I often go overboard in this...my husband is often very good at keeping me grounded, except in this case. God placed in our hearts a desire to live in community and we thought we knew what that meant and that it was something we were to start doing immediately! Whooops....we invited our housegroup leader to move in with us, thinking this was the first step to living in community...she couldn't afford rent and we wanted to help her get out of debt. But we failed to communicate well, what was expected of her in leiu of rent, and there were tons of other issues as well that we're now dealing with, that could have been completely avoided, had we heard/remembered what my friend wrote below....
Anyhow, this is what she had to say about Family.....
"I know you meant well by this - you really wanted to help someone out. But sometimes we have to know how best to help.
I would strongly urge you to study the Word and what God says about family. The family is God's idea and it is an hugely important institution. (that word sounds so important!) and it is. Family groups also have a chain of command system and this whole thing helps to build strong healthy societies. You and Jamie are a family. You can ADOPT someone into your family, and they in turn, will come under Jamie's authority, but you cannot have two families live side by side in the same territory. This roommate - lady - sounds like she has not come under the authority of you and Jamie - and in a way, is establishing her own house in your territory. You mentioned that she is the leader of your house church. Again, what does the Bible say about church, and church leadership and qualifications of church leadership and rules for church organization. Check out Timothy, Titus and Peter. All of the teaching on the order of family and the order of church, when followed, helps to build an orderly society.
Years ago we had a similar situation. My husband was very involved in evanglism. In the course of his work, an lady came to know Jesus. She needed much discipleship and so we became friends with her. She often visited our home. And slowly things changed. She started to clean and rearrange our home. She started to cook and alter our diet. She wanted to give advice about child raising. We had wanted to "adopt" her into our family/home, and take her under our wing. She had other plans. And so we had a talk about told her that hubby was the authority in our home and that hubby and myself ran this home - and she was a welcome guest but had no authority in the home... Around that time, God transfered us to a different city and she also moved away to another city. I think any time you allow someone into your home like this you need to set very clear and distinct boundaries about authority and responsibilities.
I grew up in a tight intact family - two parents and siblings.
My husband grew up with a more open home - two parents, one of whom lived away from home at times, and siblings. But the mom in the home also freely adopted children from the block. She was very willing to feed other people's kids, give home and shelter to other people's kids. She even took in a Bible school student (male) at a time when her husband was off working in another province. What a horrible horrible mistake. This male student soon took over the role of father and gave out spankings!! it was an absolute nightmare. My husband has told me all these things and felt his home was not protected and it was not a safe place. His parents were far to free to help and reach out to others that they forgot that they had their own children to protect and teach and mentor. My husband says he feels neglected. His mom also took in stray cats as quickly as stray kids.....it's interesting to hear what the kids say about it all. None of them speak honorably about their mom's tendencies. There is a spiritual gift called mercy. I have a SIL and a neice who both have the spiritual gift of mercy. My dh's mother had the gift of mercy. I have talked about this with my SIL who is my good friend. People who have the gift of mercy can get themselves in trouble quite easily because they have trouble setting boundaries about who or how much to help. They tend to want to reach out to "those out there" who are hurting, and tend to overlook those right in their own homes and families who need mercy and help. My SIL knows that for her to excercise her spiritual gift, she needs to work along side a person who has the gift of discernment and wisdom. She knows she can easily get unbalanced in this area and bring much harm into their family.
The family unit is sacred. Guard it carefully. The family unit (mom and dad and their kids) is God's perfect plan for living in this world. Sadly, our world is fallen and there are people who do not have a family to belong to. That is where adoption comes in. I'm not talking about legal adoption. I'm talking about taking a person into your life to help them feel like their belong to a family group. It might be a lonely senior that you invite for supper from time to time, or pick up and take out for grocery shopping.
I would caution anyone about taking a person into your home - think very clearly before you do that - it's like breaching the dike. If you do, have very clear defined boundaries about length of stay, responsibilities and lines of authority.
Lori-Dawn, I'm sorry this has turned out so badly for you. I know you meant to do well and good. But I have been concerned even since you announced your pregnancy. Something very sacred is happening in your home - God is bringing a new member into this family. A new sibling and a new child. In a way, an enlarging of your tent. God is placing another little one into your care and mentorship. This is a special time as a family, and I don't know how you make these changes and work on these expanding bonds with a non-family member in the nest. I know I would find it very hard.I will pray that God will help you resolve this issue."
Wow, eh? So full of wisdom...now why couldn't she have sent that email to me BEFORE we had the roomate...lol We have learned a lot though...we DIDN'T have set boundaries before. And we didn't put our family first...we saw a need and wanted to help...it's neat to see this as a gift of mercy. I really have wondered often where my giftings are...I certainly don't see them, but I do recognize the gift of mercy as one of my gifts...and discernment is one of my husbands!
When we DO get to the point of living in community we now know that families need to be living in seperate dwelling places, in order to protect our individual families and live according to what God has put in place. I'm sure I'll have more thoughts on all of this once we talk with our pastor about all the issues we've been having...yes, it's gotten bad enough, that we really don't know what to do and have asked him for counsel...even HE said it's pretty bad and is seeking counsel with another pastor in the church...lol I know this isn't a failure, because we HAVE learned lots! For starters, we learned that family comes before "helping others so you feel good", we learned that we somehow allowed a slumbering spirit into our home and it has been having it's way for the past couple of months...we are ready to get back on track and start praying together again as a couple and do some major spiritual house cleaning in our home and doing some heavy duty battle against all wrong attitudes that have arisen since our roomate issues began.
Anyhow, that's where I'm at this week....I feel peace today after spending some time at the piano and just worshipping the Lord and submitting to His will in my life. My biggest cry right now, is Your will be done in all this Lord, not mine! Lead us, whether it's comfortable or not! Mould us into who You've called us to be! Prune us, even though it really sucks and hurts sometimes! We DO want this!! I've always wondered if I was doing any growing spiritually when I'm satisfied with life...when I'm happy and completely content...I think it's possible, but I KNOW that I KNOW I'm in a growth spurt when things get shaky and uncomfortable and I'm being challenged in what I believed to be true...because our beliefs and God's truth are NOT always the same!!!