When I think about people who have died and gone on before us, my memories of them are tied to something about their life. For some it may be what career they were in, if I knew them at church it may be what their role was in the church (teacher, preacher, hostess, cleaner upper, organizer, leader, singer, encourager), but usually I think of people in terms of who their family was and especially their children. If we're a parent, we leave a living legacy of who we were and what we've passed on.
So when I was trying to think of what beauty there was in my life, specifically tied to me as a person, (not the beauty I see around my life, there is plenty of that!) I automatically thought of my children. There has always been this burning in my heart, it's always in the front of my mind: I am responsible for how these four human beings turn out. I'm responsible to raise them in the Lord and train them. (my husband feels this same responsibility, but I am focusing on how I've lived up to it right now)
And it freaks me out!!
Sometimes I'm quite a slacker in daily devotional times with my kids, often I am not a good example of the fruits of the Spirit, I tend to react instead of respond, but even with all these faults (and that is not an exhaustive list!), I still believe God is blessing my desire to raise them for Him. As far as I know, there are no perfect parents in the Bible, none that I know of in my circle of friends, none of the books I've seen on parenting are perfect in imparting all wisdom for every situation, but God blesses our main desire, our main focus.
A long time ago, I had to decide what our main focus was going to be: to have perfectly obedient children (husband had to tell me to get real), micro-managing their every choice, or to have children who are learning to make good choices for themselves through gentle and timely guidance, gradually gaining more freedom in choices as they grow in age and responsibility. For us as a family, our faith is our life, it's our focus and we talk about it often, applying it to daily events or things we see happening in the world or in our town. We're not perfect and this is not dogmatic parenting advice, but it's how God has shaped something beautiful out of my life.
I am blown away by who they are becoming. Our oldest is in her first year of college now. It amazes me to see her wisdom, good decisions and especially her desire to know God and to be in His will. My two high school aged teens have a heart for God too. In a role reversal, they have started bringing to my notice how God is working in their lives or in their friends lives?or how He is answering our prayers. They are starting to catch glimpses of how God sees them and our world. They're learning to trust Him and their love for God is growing deep. My youngest is just 8 years old, but in her heart felt prayers and in her discussions of the world or of her small life, I hear her compassion and love for people. I can see her heart for her friends and family to know Jesus.
All of this in turn causes me to grow in faith, to trust God more with my children, because I am starting to see how they are listening to Him and choosing to follow Him. It makes me want to let Him lead them without me trying to micro-manage how they behave or the choices they make. It is really hard for a Christian mom to do this, maybe you can relate. I can see so clearly the wisest paths, the safest ways, the obvious best choices. But I have to let them learn to see it, even if that means missing it in a few areas, occasionally stumbling along the way.
I hope someday, when people think of me, they will remember my children and see the beauty in my life.....something really great that I had a hand in. I hope to live a life worthy of His calling, raising four daughters....