Sunday, January 16, 2011

Yours, Mine and Ours

I first heard this phrase in 1968 when the movie Yours, Mine and Ours came out the first time. Starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball it told the story of a widower with 10 children and a widow with 8 children who, after getting married, try to navigate the stormy waters of a blended (very large) family. The movie was remade in 2005 with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo.

In the years since, this phrase has become synonymous with blended families where each parent brings children from previous relationships into the new family and then decide to have children together. However, real life tends to be less humorous than those depicted in the two versions of Yours, Mine and Ours. For every family that survives and thrives, many more fall apart and the repercussions remain for a lifetime.

The central issue in many disagreements is which parent controls the discipline of the children. It can be difficult for a parent when their biological child is disciplined by their spouse in a way they do not agree with. On the other hand, children often use this very same emotional tie with their biological parent to try to drive a wedge between their parent and the step-parent. At the heart of the matter, it is a battle for control.

While I relate yours, mine and ours most often to such blended families, I find it describes the battle within my own heart when it comes to surrendering control of my life to God. I divide my life into categories. Some I readily give to God without question of His control and guidance (Yours). Others I want to share control with Him (ours) as though He needs my help. In reality I simply want to give input and suggestions, taking control back when I don't think He is going fast enough or in the right direction. Still others I cling to so tightly that they are all mine. At least I have deluded myself into believing that. Actually, He is in complete control of all of my life. He sometimes simply chooses to let me have my headstrong way until I make such a complete mess of things that I have no choice but surrender. I know I still have a way to go before I can honestly say to Him it is all Yours.

Thankfully, I am a work in progress and He is the Master Engineer. After all, He created me and knows me intimately. He knows exactly what life circumstances are needed to loosen my grip, to willingly surrender control. Some come easily, others with much pain and struggle. However, with each step it gets easier and on the other side? Peace. Contentment. A more pliable vessel that He can use to fulfill His purpose. A common life that He transforms into an Uncommon life.

The journey (and story) continues.


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