We believe that the nuclear family unit is very special to God. As God is in community, the Trinity, so too we are to be placed into community that shapes and challenges us, that nurtures and respects us, that provides security and identity. It is one of the reasons that it is not possible to call yourself a Christian without living in a community of believers – we most often call this church. At it’s highest level of function the family unit replicates what is found within the Trinity relationship. Mutual love and affection; an outpouring of service to see the needs of the other recognised and met; and distinction in role and function to meet the goals of the unit.

We have also been included in marriages and families that are still working towards this level of health. It is a brave step to acknowledge the need for help, and then to seek that help and pursue healthy relationships. It has been such a privilege for us to be employed by God in this area of social need within Rustenburg, and an equal privilege to be so accepted by the families and couples with whom we’ve journeyed.

During this year we have seen this happening in marriages and families. This is not an economic reality – this is evident across all economic strata. From the wealthy to the poor, we have witnessed healthy marriages and families. The marriages providing for the needs of the individuals, which flows over into providing the foundational requirements of safety and growth for the identity of children.

The road has been hard at times, but we’ve witnessed great strength and resilience in individuals and relationships that have fought for better health for themselves.

My greatest reflection on this would be twofold: firstly, the trauma of the collapse of the family unit is evident across the length and breadth of our society, and Rustenburg is no stranger to this collapse. Secondly, the church has much work ahead of itself to better serve this need. This is not an easy critique to deliver, but the church has to recognise it’s mandate to share and to be honest with society. Within many church communities there are great examples of healthy marriages and families, and this resource needs to be shared willingly with our cities. I do not see that God wishes us to shut up our experience and resources behind closed doors for our own benefit. The church is not a country club that exists solely for it’s members benefit. Secondly, the church has many families and marriages that are suffering in unhealthy relationships. We need to recognise and acknowledge our own vulnerabilities and be willing to seek our own restoration. Without this we live in hypocrisy; hypocrisy that greatly undermines the credibility of our mission to reach those in need.

We believe in family, but we know that family is hard work. We have lived, and continue to live, both of these realities – the importance and the hard work to maintain health. We are hardly experts, and still have much to learn, but we’re excited at what God has already done in us and what He still has for us. We believe God is on our side, may we all hold fast to this belief and spend ourselves to see it become more and more the current reality.

May God bless you in your marriage or family, no matter what that looks like currently. And may He fill you with the Holy Spirit to take courage and walk beside Him towards the glorious future He has in store for us all.