I did not grow up easy, I lived in a lot of active rebellion against my parents – mostly because I was a strong willed child. I grew up feeling very misunderstood and at times I could not understand why things happened in my life the way they did.
Though we rarely attended church when I was growing up. A hand full of churches were scattered across my young years, including Baptist, Church of Christ, Non-Denominational Bible churches and some very deep exegetical focus churches. I came to Christ at the age of 12 and do not recall a time in my life when God did not exist.
But still, with the years I spent growing up in rebellion or confusion over our family dynamics – I developed strongholds of fear and judgment against my dad and lack of trust and bitterness toward my mother. It was something I chose – because I failed to honor them as my parents as the Lord insists we do. In recent years our relationship has grown stronger and closer. That is mostly due to the changes that God has brought into my life. He has helped me to see that I may have been misunderstood as a child, but I was given good parents, who loved me and introduced me to the Lord from a very early age. They gave me a good home and though things were not perfect (I have yet to find a perfect family or set of parents – Have you?) I have had the benefit of parents who were greatly concerned for my well being, loved me to a fault and provided well for me. These parents prayed me through the most difficult years of my life, offering me support and at times consequences as an adult. They largely ended up allowing me to find my own way through life, because I would not have it any other way. They are the best parents I could have ever hoped or longed for, and thankfully in recent months God has finally broken those strongholds I built as a confused hurt child. I love my parents with all my heart and as I reflect on my life and my story I must confess that it sometimes sounds as if they did wrong by me… but that is not my intent at all – they loved me to a fault, they were perfectly given to me by a perfect God who knew they would raise me to be who I am today – flaws, experiences – good and bad – and all to be the young woman who took a strong will and turned it into a strong faith.
I will never forget a few years ago when my mother attended a banquet where I spoke publicly in teaching others about God for the first time. She was beaming with pride and she shared later that her sisters who also attended were very blessed by the experience. I love my mom, she taught me how to take care of my children, to cook the best meals for an army of people, she cares deeply for her children which is all anyone could hope for and she is the best Grandma a family could ask for. My dad was my childhood hero – as is common for most girls – and as I grew up things would change, but today I respect and honor my dad so much. He retired a few years ago from more than three decades of service to the Federal Government both in the Army and as an Air Traffic Controller. He has more honor and integrity than anyone I have ever known in my life. His reputation and His values are timelessly respectable. He teaches me always and loves me as I am. He gives me good gifts and takes care of me still. I am honored to be their daughter. He has told me in the last decade how proud he and my mother are of me. They see the changes in my life. He admitted that for a number of years they weren’t sure I would turn it around, but are so grateful I did.
It is these things that are the makings of a legacy of faith. Until even a few months ago, I would still have occasion to try to hash out the past with them until I realized that holding onto it only hurt me and my relationship with them. It is the future and the right here and the now that matters – we are all human and prone to sin. I am to forgive and be reconciled as God has forgiven and reconciled Himself to me. My parents deserve my love, my honor and my respect more than anyone on this earth. I do love them so and am so grateful for the life they have given to me.
These are the things of a legacy of faith… not just the victories with God but the things we choose to embrace from our parents and our family that make us better people – stronger and more able to testify to the glory and greatness of our God!