Joyful Heritage of Family


Practice makes perfect says every mother.  My mom had plenty of “mom-isms” or wise statements that she used to feed into our lives while ironing or doing the dishes.  My mom taught me a lot by what she said but also by what she didn’t say.  Parents have a great effect on our growing up years.

The most influential people affect others by the way they live their lives.

Parents teach independent thinking, problem-solving, critical thinking and how to build a ship out of a cardboard box.  Helping with math homework is one way to teach but living out independent thinking, managing a home, bringing solutions to difficult situations, and teaching survival skills in an outdoor scenario is quite another.

There’s are truths that ring true from every parent at one time or another…”Do what I say, and not what I do.”  Or, “Because I said so!”  I have heard plenty of those sentiments in my growing up years.  Therefore, it’s accurate to say that we all do life as we know it each in our own circles of influence.  It’s assumed we are living each day as best we can with the knowledge we learned as children gained from our parents.

Even though I have a college degree, there are some things that are only learned best in life’s classroom.  College won’t teach you everything.  We use the knowledge we learned as children and/or from our parents as a foundation to draw on when having a family or facing family situations.

Higher education and life lessons only add layers of teaching.

We live, we love, we play, we work and work and work. And through the years you have events that either divide or unite you.   The School of Hard Knocks (my mother’s reference to life itself) is full of crisis moments where you have to lean on each other and draw on your faith.  Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring families together.  When a loss, death, cancer hits and we all need a comforting hug or encouraging touch.

We also need faith to grow a family.  Faith is a heritage gift that keeps a family together.

Being a family takes practice to live in unity in these hard times.   Strength can also be drawn from each other in ways you would never imagine.  Our family recently suffered the loss of both my parents in four months time.  Saying those words brings tears to my eyes especially now that I’m realizing the fast approaching empty seats around our family’s holiday table.

Where’s the joy in this family memory?  Lineage is important to know where you have come from but also helps to point out where you are going.  I have great joy they are both with Jesus now.  I also know their minds have been fully restored with the rest of their bodies.  But physically, they are not with us anymore.  As the holidays approach, I have past memories of great jovial times at Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings.  This year will be different now that they’re not a part of those earthly celebrations.

Saying those words and telling you helps me accept my faith heritage.

This week, as I thought about the missing pieces of our lives now gone, I kept looking for joy in something that once was.  Once, I accepted that my mom and dad have a grand celebration every day in Heaven, it released my mind to carry more joy into this year’s joyful season.  Upon realizing their joy from Heaven’s perspective, it increased my joyful feelings to be one of anticipation instead of sadness and dread.

Lineage is important to know where you’ve been to keep you pointed towards a joyful end, our eternal home-going.  One of our many rich family traditions is faith.  A tradition I brought to our own family upon the birth of our two children was the practice of faith in our home and work and lives, just like parents taught me.

My parents had an actionable faith and those habits stuck within our family.  My daughter realized it after my father’s passing how important it was to her, now that she has two children of her own.  They recently relocated to Florida and one of the first decisions they made as a family was to find a new church home.

I can remember praying for my children (when they were small) and I asked the Lord to increase my “new parent” faith.  As they advance their family, I see how faith was planted and is now establishing a good foundation for a root discipline.

Faith is established early and obeyed long.  Friedrich Nietzche once said, “The essential thing “in heaven and earth” is…that there should be long obedience in the same direction; thereby, in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” (Beyond Good and Evil)

My parents practiced life by faith, and I have great joy to carry on this living tradition every day.  I’m not talking about rule keeping here.  Not a religious act or strict, overbearing balance of a perfect life.  I’m referring to my long obedience of faith in relationship with my Father God, who has taught me how to walk with Him, talk with Him and live with Him by faith through the rich heritage that my parents laid foundationally in my life.

My faith affects my family through the years and for years to come.

This holiday season is bursting with joy to realize the rich traditions of faith, family and a good, good heritage.  Because it’s important to know where you have been to know where you are going.


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