Many of you are familiar with the popular television show, This Is Us. It is an absorbing, emotional saga that portrays a modern family, moving back and forth from the present to scenes from the past and future. Each family member has a story to tell and issues to face. I can’t even begin to explain how all this works—and if you haven’t watched This Is Us yet, be sure to start from the very beginning.

I watch this show and think, Wow, I’m glad I don’t have a family with all these problems. But then I realize that my life has been touched with issues similar to what is portrayed on this TV drama. In my extended family, we have seen divorce, alcohol and drug addiction, children born out of wedlock, extramarital affairs, sexual molestation … the list goes on and on.

Once I was at a Christmas party, and we were talking about “our worst Christmas.” I told about the time in my childhood when a cousin, who was living with us at the time, got in an argument with a drunk uncle. He ended up knocking her into our Christmas tree, and the tree broke in half. It wasn’t exactly a Norman Rockwell Christmas moment.

My guess is that most of you could list issues like this in your own family. As a result, we struggle to build the type of family we want—our past makes it difficult to experience what God intended for us. And as we raise our children, we pray that they will make the right decisions so their lives won’t follow a path that leads to heartache and destruction.

I think of the verse in John 10:10 where Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” So why are so many people living a life of destruction?

One reason is that we are sinners. Our basic nature is to follow the path of self-destruction. Only when you give your life totally to Christ can you break the cycle of sin patterns in your life.

I look at my own life and thank God that as an 18-year-old I chose to follow Christ. As a result, I was able to break a chain of what I call “generational sins.” Does it mean I don’t have issues? Well, if you know me, you know perfection is not a word to describe me. But I’ve have had a marriage that has lasted since 1979 because both my husband and I have dedicated our lives to following God.

As a result, my children grew up in a home that was far different from the home of destruction and chaos that I knew as a child. I thank God daily for the grace He has shown me in my imperfect life.

So when I watch This Is Us, I realize that the show really does paint what life is like today in so many of our families. I also know that a lot of destructive issues can be avoided simply by walking with God daily and following the principles taught in the Bible.

As I look back over the years, I see that God has allowed me to paint a new picture of family. As we commit our lives daily to God, we begin to paint a new picture of “This is us.”

Copyright © 2018 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.