Help for Dysfunctional Families
by Drenda Keesee
So much dysfunction happens in families, hidden away in the secrecy of their homes. The effect of that dysfunction doesn’t appear publicly until the children begin to act it out as they grow older. We are appalled by the shocking statistics of teen suicide, drug use, and pregnancy out of wedlock, but the root of those dysfunctional issues is planted early in young people’s lives.
When parents are busy with their things and unwilling to make the necessary sacrifices for their family, their children adopt that mindset. The kids emulate what their parents do, and now we have a culture of entertainment-addicted children raised to seek their pleasure above anything else. The culture is in a dark place, and families can either be the light that rises or the very unraveling of our culture.
This became evident to me during a counseling session Gary and I had with a couple having marital issues.
The wife was…
…working three jobs and raising the two children, while the husband spent all of their money buying a boat, a sports car, and other major purchases. He acted as though he was God’s gift to the world, a big shot with nothing to show for it besides mounds of debt and a devastated family.
In their counseling appointment, the wife pled, “I’m so weary! I am working all of these jobs and trying to take care of the family, and it’s too much.”
When Gary confronted the husband about his out-of-control spending and how his wife felt, he simply retorted, “Well, at least I’m not seeing another woman.”
“Is that all your responsibility is in this marriage?” Gary asked, clearly frustrated with this man. “You think she should carry all of the finances, the kids, and the whole weight of everything while you’re this little boy who pitches temper tantrums and does what he wants?”
The husband proceeded to push the blame onto his wife and justify himself. He was comfortable looking down on the world from his throne of debt. Pride made him deaf to wisdom, and he walked out with the same poisoned thoughts he brought into our session. My heart went out to the children when I considered the turmoil and hurt to which they were being subjected.
Gary and I own a financial services business that helps people get out of debt and invest securely. Years ago, Gary went on an appointment to a Christian home, where he sat down with the husband and wife to discuss their finances at a table facing their living room. He was shocked to see two small children in the living room watching television; but not just television—porn.
Gary assumed this couple must not know what the kids were watching, so he said, “Do you realize what is on your TV?”
The father glanced at his children and remarked nonchalantly, “They’re going to learn about it eventually.”
Gary was blown away with disgust. “Sorry, I’m not doing this appointment. I’m not going to watch this. If you let your children watch this, you’re sending them down a road of destruction.” And he left.
We have seen these types of dysfunctional situations in hundreds of families on appointments. I’ve watched so many parents who have given up hope of controlling their children and allow them to control the family instead. These situations are not anomalies. The truth is that the bar for families has reached a pivotally low point, but there is hope.
It’s because of situations such as these that I have such a passion for families. It angers me when I see young girls trying to care for siblings so their mom can date an abusive boyfriend. And when that boyfriend is aggressive toward that young girl, the mom takes the boyfriend’s side over the safety of her children because she is so desperate for love. This all too common scenario saddens my heart.
As parents, this is why we should be passionate about families. Stories such as that should upset us and make us rise up to protect families because that’s how God feels about His young children in these circumstances. God needs people to get frustrated with the current broken system so we declare, “Hey, there’s a better way! We don’t have to have this dysfunction here.”
ps…Are you looking for a good church? Be sure and listen on Saturday evening or catch the 3 services on Sunday for Faith Life Church!
*Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional, and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesee’s have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then the irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.