I am a follower and imitator of Jesus Christ. I am self-aware of the fact that I am not perfect at this – far, far from it – but it is the only label to which I aspire. Any other label – including Christian – falls short of this aspiration and carries a stigma based on societal & cultural definitions.
I am grateful for where, when and to whom I was born. This gratitude is steeped in the realization that each of these aspects of my story are gifts that have afforded me certain advantages that those born in other places, at other times and to other families have not always enjoyed. But – and this is important – none of these three aspects of my heritage are perfect. This perspective is necessary to recognize the challenges, overcome them, and be the healthiest person I can be physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. A healthy me can then help to make the world a better place for all regardless of where, when or to whom they are born.
In today’s blog, we focus on “To Whom”. My parents were followers and imitators of Jesus Christ. They were also aware of the imperfection with which they carried that label, but aspired to it. This is the beauty of serving a God whose mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). I am convinced that God gave me a head start by putting me in a family that already knew Him. Without that head start, I literally shudder to think about who I would be today. This is why I hold what I refer to as “first generation believers” in high regard. In God’s infinite wisdom, He knew He would be able to reach their hearts without the head start that I required.
In my formative, adolescent, and teenage years, my mother was exactly who I needed. She always had my back, was a patient teacher of an impatient young man, was gracious when I needed grace and firm when I needed firmness. It has been many years, but I do not remember a harsh word directed toward me. Mom unfortunately passed away when I was only 24 years old, but the graceful manner by which she handled that process has always stuck with me. I miss her still, but because of who she was I have absolute certainty that she had the best day of her life on that day 36 years ago when she was ushered into the Kingdom of Heaven into the arms of Jesus. This is the greatest gift you can give your children.
I have written about my father before. To me he was a father, mentor, boss and later in life a trusted friend whose transparency and willingness to learn was admirable. Dad was the one who walked with me on my journey of discovering for myself who Jesus was at the age of 8. It was from him that I learned my work ethic. And it was from him that I learned that not being perfect was, in fact, okay. I have written and said before that the fact my father was not perfect was his best trait. I was able to witness first-hand a man of God who fell short of the mark, but continued to seek after that very mark.
I am fortunate and blessed, as are many of you. Many of you, though, have very different family situations and your writing would be much more raw than mine. The “to whom” we are born sets us on a path. But, it does not need to be the path you walk forever. It can be difficult to see, but the shortcomings of our parents are often exactly the window we need to see a better way to live. Generational patterns can be celebrated and, when necessary, can be broken.
I encourage you to take the time to search for gratitude for where, when, and to whom you were born.