Session Six: Painful Family Experiences
Session Six: Painful Family Experiences
Families bring much joy but also can bring much pain as we worry about them. How do we let God help us with painful family experiences?


Place a pack of cards or a game in front of everyone; who is the first person to take control and make the first move? If you have time you can play the game.


You know what they say about a control freak who loses control? – you are left with just a freak!

When we feel stressed and out of control we often react in one of two ways – either we try to control everything, even the tiniest detail, or we just give up and let it all slide.

Where, along a scale of 1-10 would you put yourself in terms of having a comfortable amount of control over events and people around you? (A score of 1 being ‘very happy to let others take control’ and 10 being ‘need to
control everything’.)

Share your reasons for your answer and reflect on times when you have been pushed out of your comfort zone as the place of control has not been just where you would have liked it to be.


When families are young we have some control over them but from day one the power begins to move from parent to child increasingly as the years go by, although I am sure we have seen children that have been in control since day one! It is hard as we have to stand back and let them make their own choices, hard to watch them wear clothes that really do them no favours, choose friends that are not the ones we would have chosen for them, follow their dreams instead of ours. It is hard not to become a control
freak at times when we just know that it will end in ‘tears before bedtime’. As they become adults and move into more mature years it is so hard when we are unable to ‘kiss it better’. In today’s society so many things are acceptable that we were taught would bring unhappiness or harm but they have become part of everyday life for many. How we wish sometimes we
could send them to bed and know that it would all be forgotten in the morning, or confiscate their favourite toy to bring about an apology.

Families bring much joy but also can bring much pain as we worry about them, if only we were back in charge! How our Heavenly Father must identify with our pain. His children, having been given control, free
will, choose the wrong path so often, how he must long for them to go his way. It would have been so easy for God to stay in control, making sure we did only what is best for us, but he knew we needed to make our own mistakes in the hope that we would choose his way for ourselves. When hard stuff is going on in our families we have to remember that our role was to give them a good grounding in life, then to give them freedom to choose their way in life and support them when it goes right or wrong. We can daily offer them to God in prayer to help us never to be a control freak,
just a loving, caring support whenever we can be. For those times when it is impossible to maintain a close relationship, prayer could be the only connection. It may be possible for you to share something of your own experiences on this theme or just to reflect yourself.

Read 1 Timothy 2:1-4

How God must long for us to turn to him and live this ideal life, but how often we go our own way. Similarly, how often do we want others to do things our way, but they just do their own thing? Sometimes this causes us and the wider family real pain. We must make ‘supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings’ regularly and constantly for our families,
even when things go out of our control, or maybe especially when things go out of our control. As you read this verse over a few times let God speak to you about your role as a prayer warrior and about your need to let go and let God take control. Then ponder on this verse from the psalmist and listen to what God has to say about control through this verse.

‘Let go of your concerns!
Then you will know that I am God.’
Psalm 46:10 (GW)

With grateful thanks to Major Wendy Knott (Rtd)


All I once held dear, build my life upon,
All this world reveres, and wars to own,
All I once thought gain I have counted loss,
Spent and worthless now, compared to this:
Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you,
There is no greater thing,
You’re my all, you’re the best,
You’re my joy and righteousness,
And I love you, Lord