Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Because Of And Inspite Of

It took us two hours to get to church Sunday morning.  No, we did not have a flat tire or run out of gas.  Instead we headed up to Minnesota to go to church with our son Mark and grandson Noah. They attend a mega church of about 8-10,000 members.  It is massive with its own senior living center, columbarium, and many church buildings on the property, plus a bookstore and coffee shop in the worship center.  The praise music was fantastic although too loud for Joel's sensitive ears and the sermon was really inspirational.  I enjoyed the comfy cushioned seats, joyful atmosphere, and  worshiping with our son and grandson.  We ate lunch and had a long visit at the restaurant before heading for home.

Mark and Noah
As Joel and I were talking on the way back to Iowa, we chatted about our kids, and in general what roles parents play in the shaping of their kids.  I told Joel I felt it was a double edged sword.  Our children and their families are doing well because of us and in spite of us.  We raised them with a foundation of faith to guide their lives.....we gave them love and security and we met their needs.  We also made plenty of mistakes.  We have been endlessly proud of them, but not just their accomplishments ~ we are most proud of who they are and Whose they are.

For years I struggled with how I had affected my children as a chronically ill person, as a broken person...imperfect.  There are no do-overs in raising kids!  And then God started to speak to me about being His beloved.  Forgiven.  Lovely in His eyes.  He told me not to focus on the things I did wrong as a mom, but on where my heart was and is. He also opened my eyes to the "because of and in spite of" concept.  God gently reminded me that our children are HIS children. As a loving Father He has a plan for their lives.........a plan for good and not for evil.  HE has guided and shaped them in His image. 

We saw some of this on Sunday as we worshiped with our son Mark at his church.  We saw the because of us and in spite of us .  But more importantly we saw GOD in our son's life.  The same way we have seen God in the lives of all our children and their families.  That double edge sword?  Parents make up the edges, but God their creator, their Father God and His Word makes up the sword itself.  We know His plan is unfolding.  His love is abiding.  His shaping and His guiding are taking place in all of us. 

Yes, we see His plan unfolding in our kids lives and we are so grateful.  We can rest in the assurance of God's promises for ourselves and our children.   Because of us and in spite of us, but most importantly ~~~because of Father God!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord. 
Plans for good and not for evil. 
To give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 20:11


Anita Johnson said...

"we are most proud of who they are and Whose they are"...I love this line.

Kim said...

Renee, I know your children are so blessed to call you and Joel parents. Even though Heshan and I don't have children yet, this post has given me a lot to think about. Also, I can't even imagine a church with 10,000 people! Wow! That's fantastic.