We all have the “threads” that make up the fabric of who we are. Some of those threads are beautiful and sparkly, but some are the ugliest you can imagine. The reality is that both make up who we are. Sometimes we don’t realize how those threads have impacted us until we are forced to look at them. This seems to happen in times of crisis, which is never fun.
A few years ago, I was lucky to be meeting regularly with three others who had a passion for serving families. After about a year, the vision of a parenting ministry came about. The goal was to support and equip parents/families involved with Department of Child Safety (DCS), foster families, and other families in general. Through this time two of us, myself and Chris Garcia, felt lead to develop a curriculum that would help parents take a look at their family history, experiences and the impact on them as individuals and as parents. We believe it is essential to understand where we came from and how that affects how we parent our own children. We have done our own work in this area which involved a Christ-Centered 12-step recovery program. This work transformed us. Part of it meant looking at ourselves and all of our “stuff”—good, bad, and ugly. It was hard, but well worth it. We learned not to blame, but to look inward to understand ourselves better so we could be the best we were meant to be.
The study is called “Our Family Fabric”. Each chapter identifies a “thread” to explore. The fabric is us and the “threads” are the people and experiences that have influenced our lives. Our goal in the study is for you to identify all of the threads that make up your fabric, determine the ones that have strengthened you and made you better, as well as the ones that have taken from you, pained you, and fueled your struggles. Through this, we hope to help you create a different fabric for your children. Wouldn’t it be great if we could “just do it differently?” Unfortunately, to do so, we need to understand the “what, how, who, when” of our experiences in order to do things different.
This might sound scary and it can be, but the outcome can be freeing. When we don’t deal with our “stuff” it will ALWAYS come out sideways. This can look like anxiety/depression, anger, substance use/addiction, avoidance, blaming, perfectionism, and on and on. It is empowering to understand why we do what we do. When that happens, we can make change.
Another significant part of the study is that it is faith based. We believe when God is at the center anything is possible. We also understand that many of us may have bad experiences from our past when it comes to God. We start the study looking at this too. We come from the belief:
“Everybody matters to God. No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, not matter what has been done to you, God loves you. Just as you are. Not as you should be. God demonstrated this by meeting us right where we are at through the person of Jesus and giving His life on the cross to pay the debt of sin that we couldn’t pay ourselves. When we couldn’t work our way to God, God worked His way to us through the person of Jesus. This is great news for all of us.” (Sun Valley Community Church)
Michelle Lacy, MA, LPC