What I’ve Learned about Family
By Kinsey Rings
I was born into a broken family. My parents divorced when I was 9 months old. As a child, I had a deep desire to see my parents get along, to work out their problems, and to be a family again. As I got older, I used to see couples arguing in the grocery store, and I was so deeply hurt, begging God that they would not treat each other that way. I knew at a young age that family could not exist without a true love and respect for each other. I just did not know how that was possible. As I grew up, a deep anger grew in me watching families be completely busted apart, to hear my friends at school confide in me that their parents were getting a divorce, or that one of their parents was having an affair, that their sibling had become an addict, etc. I became angry. I hated seeing families torn apart. I hated that the enemy was trying to take something God so carefully and preciously created. I decided I didn’t really want to get married, or have a “family” because all I saw around me was brokenness and hurt.
A few years later, God transformed that anger and edge in me and gave me his heart for restoration. HIS heart for families. His heart for the brokenness I saw around me. He healed parts of me that I never knew could be healed. He told me that my family did not have to stay broken, that He was a healer and redeemer of the deepest brokenness and even sin.
I listened to him 2 years ago when He called me away from school to learn more intently about Him and his heart. And I followed him when he called me to work for the restoration of families here in Akron, at The Nest.
I have worked at the Nest for a year now, wow! Going from an intern to now the assistant director was a big step in my understanding of the family and what God is doing in the realm of family. I have recently gotten married (like really recently- we celebrate a month of marriage in 10 days!), and through the engagement process, and our wedding day,and the few short weeks we have been married, I have learned more than I can write here about family and God’s redemption and goodness. He took two very different and broken people and made them whole through His healing and redemption, and gave us each other as a gift, our marriage as an outlet to the world to scream “God is good and he can redeem anything, he can radically change your heart and your family, just come to Him and ask!!!” I have watched the relationship between mother and child and marveled at the ways God so carefully has established that bond. I have wept over the children in my care at the Nest who do not have a dad present in their life. I have recently watched our building and organization become a home away from home for moms, dads and children on Monday nights, when every floor of our building is bustling with moms group, dads group, and tons of kids running around upstairs laughing (okay crying too…) I have worked many hours behind the scenes putting on events, cleaning rooms, preparing children’s activities, and praying so hard. Because of the love I have for every person who walks through the door at the Nest, every tear, every prayer, every hour spent scrubbing toilets, vacuuming up goldfish that have been smooshed in the carpet, and cutting out tiny bits of paper for crafts at story time has been so worth it.
I love the family unit because God loved it first, and set it up.
God so intricately designed the conception and birth of every human on the planet. I rejoice over his care for every baby. For every mother. Every dad. Every marriage, every relationship. And I count it an honor to get to care for the families we have represented at the Nest, by pointing them to their Father, to the source of life and healing and restoration.
God has shown me so many things about Family. That he is the author of every redemptive story, and that every “broken” or hard family situation can be made right only in him. The things that wreak havoc on families: addiction, sickness, infidelity, abandonment, poverty, even wealth...do not have to define the outcome of a child’s life, or a mother’s life, or a dad’s life. I have seen God heal marriages. I have seen him heal sickness. I have seen him restore what the enemy has tried to steal, and I won’t ever doubt what He can do with someone’s “mess” ever again.
I’ve learned that there is no family situation or dynamic too difficult for God to breakthrough. That the only way any brokenness can be made whole, any family hurt healed, is through the restoration and healing only God provides.
I have learned that in Him, we have access to a PERFECT Father. For the ones who never had a dad, or whose dad was never able to care for them, or even who hurt them badly, this is the best news ever. He is a dad who will never abandon, who will never disappoint, who will never change His mind about You.
I’ve learned that family is certainly not only just the people who you are related to. I have loved getting to know our foster and adoptive families. Those who have taken a step into the unknown, purposefully exposing their heart to pain and possibly heartbreak, to love those that need love the most. To take a child that is not theirs biologically, and love them and raise them as their own- is one of the most beautiful reflections of the heart of God. I have loved watching family expressed this way. I have loved seeing this same love through step-parents who love kids who are not their own, who take on the task of raising them and loving them.
I have seen a family form at The Nest for anyone who comes through the door to be a part of, by working through hard things, praying for one another, listening to one another in some of the most vulnerable moments of life, speaking TRUTH over each other, going over to each other’s house simply just to clean, bring them dinner, or watch their kids.
At the Nest, we love every person just as they are. We love them enough to show them the family that is there for them, and the healing and redemption that can be brought to their lives and the lives of their families, in many big and small ways. We walk alongside of them through the hills and valleys of their life, just as family was created to do.
It is an honor to be apart of the work the nest is doing in the lives of families