Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Have you ever thought of the influence you have on your family? I've been pondering this for the past two weeks. I guess it started when we were spending a lovely week with the New England contingent. Knowing the next generation... and the next generation after that... were as passionate about living a Christian life as my husband and I... perhaps even more so. (Yesterday's high school graduation brought even more ponderings but I'll share about them later this week.)

I remembered the decision I made in my youth to not only accept the salvation offered but the desire to live my life for Him. (If anyone asks me why I believe Jesus is real, I tell them because of the change in me.) I knew I was not going to do this entire "Christian walk thing" half-heartedly. It was all or nothing and was to cost me relationships with friends and family.

However, If I had not decided to become a disciple of the living God, I'd never have married my husband since we met in a Christian coffeehouse where I was ministering. My children would not have been born and thus... my grandchildren would not be walking beside me as we toured the Amish home and farm.

If my son-in-law's parents hadn't made the same decision, long after they were married, then he and Stephanie would not have met as part of a campus ministry group. If they had not chosen to live a life reflecting Christ, (as with us... imperfect parents following a perfect Saviour), history would be entirely different. We influenced our children day by day... week by week... year by year. Never perfectly, far from it. As Christopher has told me, living in our family teaches one how to forgive a lot. :)

I believe our children will live out their days on this planet by doing the best they can to instill the importance of following Jesus each and every day. Not a set of do's and don'ts, never with legalism and a lack of love... but teaching them how He will live in them and through them to be a beacon of light in the darkness of this world, to give Hope to the hopeless... to be the troubadours who bring His Word to their own generation. Just like their parents and grandparents, imperfect people following a perfect Saviour the best they can.

How did we reach this point, were there five easy steps to follow or ten rules of parenting which guarantee kids who turn out well? Never... For one thing, I know wonderful Christian parents who were far better than I ever was at instilling Christian values who are bewildered as their children leave the Faith and turn their backs on all they have been taught. Those parents who spend hours praying for the Prodigal to return.

No, we do the best we can each day from the moment we thank God we made it through their birth, the time we teach them how to put tiny hands together to give thanks for their meals, the nighttime Bible stories as we teach them about the imperfect saints of old and improbable heroes... until the day they no longer return to our house each evening after school or work.

Influence... imperfect influence... doing our best but falling as we find ourselves not living up to what we teach, or showing fear when we've taught faith, realizing we have not shown the love of Christ in our own home that day and having to apologize and repent to the family. Letting our influence be one of living the best we can as Christians but also showing our kids we are "but dust" on this sod and preparing them for their own imperfect walk with Christ.

Generations... perhaps I will go back and look at all those "begats" in an entirely different light.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

This post is so filled with meat that I will have to reread it a few times. I loved the line "imperfect people following a perfect Savior."

Thank you for sharing your story and for being as transparent as you are. You are allowing us a window to your soul.

Have a great Sunday!

freetobeme said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us again over tea. I look forward to these visits. I wish I could go back and reraise my children. They have turned out good inspite of my failings! God is so good!

Misc. Muse said...

Wow, Brenda- I've been ponder this about our children too. It was a joy as I was sitting with my son having a conversation about being pulled into the world, staying close to the Lord, standing on alone on issues as he is leaving for Marine Boot Camp tomorrow. He assured me that he knew times were coming he would be standing a lone on certain issues. But know he knows his strength comes from the Lord as he leaves gives me such a peace.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this Brenda..I too must reread this over because it is so full of treasures.
I was so very, very blessed.
Blessings, Patty

Anonymous said...

Thank you. You are such a wise woman. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to share your weakness. I have a young girl of 9 and a little boy of 4... I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and feel so blessed...Thank you for sharing your heart.. you fears... your hopes... your spirit lead wisdom... I am inspired!

Thank you...

Dyana in Boise Idaho...

Adrienne said...

Thank you for this wonderful post. So much food for thought.

Abounding Treasures said...

Thanks for sharing your heart in this post and how I can identify with your phrase "imperfect people following a Perfect Saviour" :o)


Terra Hangen said...

These stories you share are beautiful examples of God's plans.