This post by kathylarkman was originally published at GRACE PLACE


VICKY STEPHENSON, Contributor for today’s blog post

We are about to begin a new study series. But I have been reflecting on our study last year in “One Anothering.” What an amazing year we had! It has been a real privilege to grow together as sisters in Christ; one anothering each other and being held together in love. Friendships have deepened and new ones have been made. There has been tears and laughter; food shared and journeys taken together.

BUT what now! How do we continue to take it forward? Holding each other accountable and taking hard honest looks at our relationships with our girl friends is a great start. But is there even more?

What would it look like if we took all we had learnt about one anothering and applied it to our families!! Seriously having deep supportive honest relationships with our sisters in Christ is tough but how about living out the one anothering aspect with our whole family, accepting one another! bearing with one another!

How would this fit with the goals Kathy set out for us?

1. PERSONAL: as God matures our character into Christ’s likeness more every day;
2.CHURCH: building each other up in the body of Christ;
3.WITNESS: as the world around us sees the light of Christ in our lives together.

Well I would say having children has definitely been the most character building thing that has happened in my life. The joy, the stress, the constant pressures, the never ending washing and the rewards of hugs! I have shouted, cried, and laughed since we were blessed by children in levels not seen since hormonal teenage years. So how much more could God grow me if I took seriously the command to encourage one another. If instead of nagging and shouting about room tidying and not fighting with one another; I looked at ways to encourage them; to build them up to be the amazing people God has made.
Would the body of Christ be strengthened if I worked on praying for one another with in my family? Would my husband be built up and supported to enable him to do the work in the church God has for him if I committed to faithfully praying for him and the work he is doing? Some of you are privileged to worship along side members of your wider family; fathers, mother, sisters, cousins- through bearing with one another and committing to biblically grow those relationships, the whole fellowship would be built up.
This I think is the area where committing to one anothering in our wider family would have most impact. Every day I see the effect that broken family relationships can have on peoples physical, mental and spiritual health. By modelling accepting our children even when they make different choices to us, we send a powerful message to the world- that it is all held by God’s love. Carrying one another’s burdens. Giving time or money to family members shows how we can be generous because God provides all we need. Forgiving one another, the people who are closest to us often hurt us the most so this can be really tough. I think the first step is letting go of the anger, it may still hurt but by releasing the anger you are on the right path. In today’s rights and retribution demanding society this is radially counter cultural and will shine God’s light into the world.

So I think that taking one anothering out into our wider families would definitely fit with the goals Kathy had for the year and beyond so lets give it a try