Today is a day for change. Instead of writing a usual topical blog post, I am writing a personal blog post. This a blog about my big, tall, mostly blonde family in the picture above. I want to take you inside my personal life and help you get to know us just a little bit better.
Side note: You can see inside our personal lives on our family blog. Check it out for all the latest.
Get to know who we are outside of GirlDefined.
This is a picture of my immediate family. Two parents. Eight kids and two extras who married in.
We are one tall, fun, crazy, weird homeschoolin’ family, and we love every minute of it.
Let me put this picture into perspective for you. Kristen and I are both exactly 6’1. We are in the middle of this picture. Notice how much taller our brothers are. Yep, they are close to giant status. Michael and Stephen are both 6’8. Tim is considered the shorty in our family at 6’4. Slightly humorous I know.
Going to dinner as a family can be quite the experience. We constantly get asked questions like,
“Are you all Swedish or Norwegian?”
“Are the girls twins? Triplets?”
“Wow! Did all of you come from the same marriage? The same parents?”
It’s one thing to walk around as a family of twelve. It’s a whole new experience to walk around as a family of twelve, with ten of us being over 6’ ft tall. Yeah. It’s crazy, but we love it.
I love my big family.
Here is one question I frequently get asked, “Did you like growing up in a big family?” My answer is a resounding “YES!”
My family wasn’t (isn’t) perfect. We are actually far from it. We have more people in the family, which means more sinners, which means more arguments and disagreements.
All eight of us grew up in a small house, in the city, with a small backyard. We didn’t have a mansion. We couldn’t afford the latest and greatest of everything. We were just your regular homeschool family who occasionally had the police show up at our door because us kids “weren’t in school.”
And that’s exactly why I loved it.
Our family was real. My parents were real. We didn’t pretend to have it all together. We didn’t pretend to look a certain way to please those around us. My parents raised us to the best of their ability and trusted God with the outcome. They pointed us to Jesus. They encouraged us to build a personal relationship with Him.
Fast forward to today and we are mostly grown adults.
The two little younger girls in the picture are the only two under eighteen. The rest of us our nineteen and up. Thankfully we are past the stage of having to hide inside the house until the rest of the world got out of school. Any homeschoolers know what I’m talking about?!?
Now that I am a grown adult, I am beyond grateful for my big family. They truly are my best friends and closest companions. I’m not just saying that because it’s the right answer. I really mean it. If I had to pick a group of friends to hang out with on the weekend, it would be the peeps in the picture above.
The relationships between my siblings and me isn’t always a breeze.
These family relationships have taken a lot of work. We have normal disagreements, arguments, offenses and annoyances like most of you. But, we don’t let that come between us. We always seek to resolve our differences and work out any conflicts. We prioritize our family relationships and fight against the attacks to break those up.
We view our family as a group of people who God intentionally chose to make family. We consider our family the only “permanents” in our life. No matter what happens we will always be family. Friends will come and go but our family will always be there. Whether it’s a wedding, funeral, birthday or anniversary something will always be in place to bring us together.
Good family relationships don’t accidentally happen.
Having good family relationships takes intentional effort. We intentionally spend time together and talk on a regular basis. Just the other night my little *gigantically tall* brother sat on the edge of my bed and we talked about his romantic interest. How cool is that? Brothers don’t typically share their hearts with older sisters.
It’s only because we’ve maintained a relationship over the years that we now have this special bond. We don’t expect to have these close relationships in our family unless we put the hard work of investing time into them.
The results of time, love, discussions and tears, have led to moments like the one I just shared.
This isn’t about bragging on my family.
I don’t tell you this to brag on my family. I tell you this to encourage you to think about the family that God has placed you in. I tell you this to encourage you to think ahead to the way you will raise your own kids one day.
Our culture is shedding a terrible light on family. There is zero priority on building those relationships and there is zero priority on encouraging young women to excitedly look forward to raising their own children.
We as young women so often buy into this worldly mindset. Instead of looking at our families as specifically chosen by God, we look at them with annoyance and disgust. Instead of working hard to invest into those relationships, we “endure” them and wait for the day when we can leave.
Instead of excitedly looking forward to raising our own children as “arrows” to shoot out into the world, we embrace our freedom and enjoy it while it lasts.
I would love to see a massive swing in our culture. I would love to see girls loving the idea of family. I would love to see girls excitedly looking forward to children. I would love to see girls desiring large families. I would love to see girls desiring to raise their children to advance the kingdom of God.
Think ahead to your future.
I know that my growing up experience is very unique in this modern age. Not many families truly get along. Not many girls who grew up in big families want big families of their own. Not many girls are looking forward to motherhood.
Let me emphasize this again. No family is perfect. No family will just accidentally have amazing relationships. Think about it. You don’t accidentally become a pro at a job or a sport. It takes hours of practice and work. Relationships are the same way. Your current family relationships and your future family relationships will only be as strong as you invest into them.
I would love to hear what you girls are thinking.
Do you look forward to motherhood? Do you desire to be a mother? What about home schooling. Is that a maybe, yes, or no for you? Why or why not?
When you think ahead to motherhood, what are your thoughts? Will you copy your parents or take a different route? Why?
I would love to hear more about your family. Let’s continue this conversation and exchange stories in the comments section below.