Our Greatest Contribution

Today, an amazing quote from Andy Stanley struck me. “Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.”

During the first three months my husband and I were married, he almost died twice and I almost died once. All three near death experiences were on the miracle level. And this was before either of us had decided to follow Jesus.

Since that time, I have frequently wondered why God saved us – both physically and spiritually. And while I believe our lives have value and contribute to God’s Kingdom, I cannot help but feel that us being saved had more to do with our daughter or our daughter’s children to-be, or even her children’s children.

We just cannot know how our lives will impact the generations to come. It does highlight, for me, the importance of teaching our children to have a relationship with Jesus. And I also believe it is just as important to pray, repeatedly, that our children will be able to pass their love for Jesus on to their children – for generations to come, unending.

Start children off on the way they should go, And even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 NIVUK

Sunflower with blue sky

The Madness Ends Here!

So much hurt in the world is created by our families. We pass our disappointment, regrets, jealousy, shame and anger from one generation to the next. Now this is not the intention. Most people are completely unaware that they are passing on their hurt. However, misery breeds misery.

I have watched the effects of this generational passing in my own family. I have a limited view of everything that happened in my family since I come from “good German stock” so nothing is shared. Nothing. My great grandmother married a middle-class gentleman, together they had two children – a daughter and a son. My grandmother was the first born. Unfortunately, my great grandfather died in his twenties. To add sorrow to sorrow, his family felt that my great grandmother was beneath his station in life so they rejected her and her children. Great grandmother did remarry and together they had many more children. I am certain that she carried through her life the sorrow of losing her first love and the sting of rejection from his family, as did my grandmother.

I never met my great grandmother’s new husband, but I have heard that he was a hard man. Keep in mind, this was the generation of the great depression where life was hard on many levels. My grandmother did mention that her and her brother were outcasts within his family. She went as far as to call her and her brother orphans. In blended families, it can be difficult for the new parent to love someone else’s children as their own. This can be intensified if there is jealousy created by a belief that they are loved less than the first spouse. This easily leads to favoritism which creates resentment, jealousy and a reduced sense of worth for the children.

My grandmother and I were never close. I have no memories of her cuddling or playing with me. She did teach me to play solitaire, which as an only child, I appreciated. Grandmother always seemed stern and carried an air of defeat. She was particularly hard on my mom. There was definitely a perception of favoritism among her children to the point they felt that the favorites were permitted to take advantage of the non-favorites. Children learn more from our actions than our words. Grandmother’s actions did not teach love. She taught resentment, jealousy, and anger. She was passing on what was given to her. The hurt created among her children still divides my family.

Imagine how the world would be if we, as parents, learned to move past our own hurts to give our kids a fresh start based on love. If we took a stand, “the madness ends here!” If we acknowledged our brokenness and worked through it, we could stop it from moving to the next generation.