The Next Time I Look at you, you’ll be in a Pine Box

I first heard those words as a child during a family dispute in the small Pennsylvania town where most of my relatives lived. I didn’t understand their literal meaning, but I definitely experienced their aftermath: no more Christmas dinners together, no more vacations with extended family, and especially the sense of loss I felt at age six, walking away from my aunt and uncle’s home after they refused to let us play with our cousins. A deep, permanent break had occurred.

Although I’ve never made a “pine box” declaration, I learned other ways to cut off people when I feel hurt or angry: attack first, declare them at fault, make them responsible for reconciling with me. My family’s pattern is to stop talking, leave the room, and shut the person out. It’s taken a lot of work in our marriage and in our own personal journeys to overcome these destructive tendencies.

Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we do not give up.” We’re called to persevere in doing good, and we’ve seen many reap that “harvest of blessing” in our EvFree relationship classes:

– One woman said she learned tools “to not only cope, but to thrive.” Individuals have reconnected with difficult friends, contentious siblings, wayward adult children and other family members by learning how to relate in healthier ways.

– One husband was sure his marriage wouldn’t make it. Yet a few months later, as he and his wife stood together in front of The Third Option class, he said, “This class opened my eyes to realize a marriage is work; there will be good days and bad days. Never give up. Fight for it. That’s what we’re here for.”

None of these folks would say it’s easy – it takes time, it takes hard work, but they’ve experienced the joy of growth and the satisfaction of pleasing Jesus by not becoming weary in doing good.

We are offering another opportunity to reap that “harvest of blessing” at the upcoming THRIVE! classes beginning October 13:

— Parents will find support and guidance in “Cultivating a Christ-Centered Home in a Confusing Culture”

— Single moms longing for community can join the “Single Moms Book Club”

— Individuals and couples will learn biblical ways of “Dealing with Difficult People” in their lives

— Couples have two choices: Gary Chapman’s small group study, “The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted,” and “Foundation for a Healthy Marriage – Part 1”

Join us for five weeks as we learn skills and encourage each other to “not give up” so that we can also reap that “harvest of blessing” in our relationships!

Visit for more information!


Alex and Don Flecky

Directors, Thriving Relationships, the Marriage Ministry of EvFree Fullerton

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