In my discussions with my friends and in the different Bible studies I've been a part of, I've realized that my husband and I have a unique and wonderful gift from the Lord: our two sets of parents (I know Carrie can say the same about her in-laws--and of course the same about her parents!). My husband and I grew up with very similar home lives in many respects--that has been such a blessing in and of itself as we attempt to parent our own children and establish our own family. What are some of the specific legacies our parents, collectively, have given us?
1. Dymanic spiritual lives: All four of our parents know and love the Lord deeply. There is no other greater legacy they could have passed on to us. Neither of us has known a day when we did not know the name of Jesus, trust in His work on the cross for our salvation, and hear Biblical truth. What a rich, rich heritage to pass on!!! I remember seeing my dad flip through his memory verse cards in the morning or watching my Mom read her Bible after breakfast. All four of our parents are still tremendous models of loving and serving the Lord in the different areas He's placed them.
2. Faithful church involvement: Collectively, our parents have served in the following areas in their local churches: pastor, elder, Sunday school teacher, VBS director, VBS teacher, VBS curriculum writer, children's ministry director, graphic design work/help (think: bulletins and other printed materials), preaching/teaching, counseling, leading choirs, participating in choirs, missions work.... Because of their examples in their support of local churches, my husband and I have been involved in our own churches--even working with kids' programs before we had kids!
3. Good stewardship: Our parents have made every effort to be responsible with what the Lord has entrusted them. They take care of their homes, they faithfully pay bills, they don't buy tons of random things they don't need, they balance their budgets, etc. In this day and age, that's a terrific example to set.
4. Generous giving: Our parents have faithfully tithed--so faithfully that neither my husband nor I have ever questioned whether we should or not. We just do it--even when we were struggling on much smaller incomes in a much more expensive city. Our parents also have always given above and beyond the tithe--particularly to missions. This giving has been both financial support as well as time-support (like sending out newsletters for missionaries behind the Iron Curtain).
5. Solid marriages: Our parents are still married and still love each other very much! Another, increasingly rare, legacy they have passed on. Many of my friends did not grow up in homes with two parents who lived out the biblical pattern of marriage (think: wives respecting their husbands, husbands loving wives, husbands leading the home, etc.).
6. Responsibility: We both grew up with parents who stressed responsibility. We finish what we start/commit to. We show up for work on time. We take care of what we have.
7. Family is important: We both have great memories of family trips and still place a big priority on seeing our families--especially at holidays and birthdays. This is because it was a priority for our parents as we were growing up; they took us to see grandparents, they made a big deal over staying in touch with extended family, they still make a big deal over being in touch with extended family. Incidentally, my dad is visiting his siblings right now while my mom is on a missions trip. My mother goes to the beach every year with her mother and two sisters. My husband's family has a big reunion every 2 years.
8. Education is important: Because of our parents' sacrifice, my husband and I both went to Christian schools and a wonderful Christian college. Getting a good education was always a priority; as such, it's a priority for us as we consider our own children's opportunities.
9. World view is important: How you view the world is crucial to your life! Our parents made sure we were trained in evaluating the world from a Christian perspective--really thinking things through and discerning issues behind a big decision. We still often have discussions with our parents on current issues and cultural ideas floating around.
10. Prayer: I could have listed a bunch of other things in this list (good citizenship, good values, etc.), but the consistent prayer that has been a part of our parents' lives--on our behalf--is huge. They prayed for us to get married, in fact, and we're thankful that prayer was answered! (they are, too, I believe!)
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