Tag Archives: children

My little girl – all grown up

My daughter – the baby of our family – turned eighteen last week.  She was born the day before my thirty-ninth birthday.  I remember thinking, shortly after she was born, that by the time she turned twenty I would be almost sixty years old.  I found that hard to imagine at the time, but here we are, eighteen years later, and my little girl is legally an adult, almost done high school and ready to enter university.  She plans to become a social worker. She also senses (because of several words of prophecy and a dream God has put in her heart) that someday she may travel to Spain, possibly in the context of some form of missionary work. In addition, she wants to marry young, have at least four and possibly as many as six children, and live in a large house in the country where she and her husband-to-be can offer hospitality and welcome people in need of love and community. We are praying for a husband with a large capacity for faith and a generous spirit 🙂

My four children are very different from one another in gifting and personality, but they all have dreams. I hope they always do. Life without dreams and visions is hardly not worth living. Bethany has a generous and sensitive heart, is very idealistic, and is highly motivated to serve. As for me, I am highly motivated to help all my children succeed, so (if asked) I will offer advice on how she might plan and prepare to see a specific dream become reality, including possible roadblocks that she might want to consider and prepare for. I have to be careful, though, that in attempting to help her anticipate and be prepared for possible obstacles, I don’t become the one to squash her dreams. The Devil is very skilled at doing that, and he doesn’t need my help.

Like every young person with a vision, Bethany will undoubtedly go through some painful struggles along the road to her dreams – in fact she already has. One of the lessons I have learned as a parent is that while I want to support and encourage my children, I can’t – and shouldn’t – shelter them from all disappointments, heartaches and struggles. Instead, I want to do what I can to prepare them not to be disillusioned or overcome when trials occur, but to stand on God’s promises, knock on the door of heaven with persevering faith, and learn to be overcomers. Sometimes being an overcomer means accepting some adjustments to our dreams. It may even mean holding on to God when it seems that a dream that was precious to us has been totally crushed. It should never involve giving up the capacity or the faith to believe God for new things. God is able to restore broken dreams and broken hearts.

The apostle John, who was Jesus’ best and most intimate friend during his earthly ministry, wrote a letter in his old age to several of the Christian fellowships that he had founded and to which he still gave oversight. Tucked away in this letter are comments addressed to three groups of people : little children (those who are young in the faith), young men (those who are on the way to maturity) and fathers (those who have been following Christ for a long time). I love what he says about those he calls fathers. He says that they have known him who is from the beginning. In other words, their relationship with God has some depth to it. They know Christ not just as their personal Saviour and the One who washed away their sins, but as the One who is before all things and in whom all things hold together; the One who is both First and Last; the One who is coming to overthrow evil, to renew all things, and to establish an eternal Kingdom that can never be shaken.

That’s the kind of faith I want for my children. Although this blog post has focussed mostly on my little girl, now all grown up, all my children are equally precious to me.  Joe, Simeon, Reuben and Bethany are all wonderful children – the best a parent could ask for.  They are also very different from one another in many ways. They have different gifts, different personalities, different goals. They do, however, have something in common: they were all made in God’s image and He holds the key to their destiny. This life is short (the older I get, the  more I know it) and eternity is long. I want my children to be blessed in this life, but above all I want them to remember Who made them, which Kingdom they belong to, what they were made for and where they are headed. If they do, whether their lives on earth are long or short, easy or hard, they will be conquerors in this life and the next, and they will arrive at the threshold of eternity with no regrets.

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Wisdom and grace

God seems to have this habit of messing up my plans.   He seems to prefer His plans to mine … funny thing, He seems to think He can act like God …  This happens in many areas of my life, but at the moment I am thinking of this blog.  Just when I had a nice little pattern going  (I was going to write a well-planned series of posts on being made in God’s image – for His glory, of course) God kept interrupting my series by interjecting other topics !

The most recent interruption came in the form of the birth of my first grandchild, Sophie Grace, born yesterday.  So of course I have to blog about it – after all everyone brags on their grandchildren, don’t they?  And since she has been on the earth for a full day now, I can say without a doubt that Sophie is the smartest, nicest, cutest baby that ever lived …of course I haven’t seen her yet, but how could she not be?  She’s my granddaughter!

All kidding aside, I find this a very moving experience.  I once heard Ed Piorek say that our children are like arrows that God uses to get past our defenses and reach our hearts.   It seems to be the same with our grandchildren.  God is definitely using Sophie’s birth to speak to me.

Today was a busy day, full of necessary tasks that had been put off over the past couple of weekends.  At the end of a long day, needing to draw near to God, I picked up my guitar for a few minutes of worship.  I sensed such a hunger for the presence of God.  I desire a season of refreshing like – no, greater than – the one that was poured out on Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship 15 years ago in 1994, greater than the Jesus People revival of the 1960s and the charismatic renewal of the 1970s, greater than the Hebrides revival of 1949-1952, greater than – well, you get the picture.  I want my children and grandchildren – and the young adults that seem to have adopted Marion and me as spiritual mentors – to know God as He really is.   There are so many wonders in our generation that are invented by human ingenuity (even though that ingenuity came from the hand of an infinitely wise and loving Creator God).   I want my beautiful new granddaughter to know the wonders that point unmistakeably to God alone.

Sophie Grace is a beautiful name.   Sophie is derived from the Greek sophia, which means wisdom.   This evening when I was thinking about her name, I was drawn to 1 Corinthians 1:22-25

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

It sounds like a paradox, but true wisdom is to recognize that we aren’t wise at all.   True wisdom is to humbly recognize our dependency on God, and our need for a Saviour to wash us, cleanse us and heal our broken, sin-shattered hearts.  True wisdom is to recognize that we depend totally and completely on God’s grace – His amazing, undeserved kindness and generosity.  That’s the kind of wisdom that I pray my granddaughter Sophie will cultivate as she grows in faith – true wisdom that leads us to the grace of God.

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Big plans

A few days ago, at a family Christmas Eve party, my son Reuben and his girlfriend Jess announced their engagement!  It was a wonderful moment, and we are all delighted to welcome Jess into our family.

Even though I’m now a certified old guy, I can still remember being in my twenties.  I remember when Marion and I were engaged.  It was an exciting time … life lay ahead of us, and like all young couples, we had big plans.   And we didn’t want other people telling us what to do!

My children are much wiser than I was at their age, and much better at taking advice.  Amazingly, they are usually willing to listen to their old man!  I’m humbled and gratified by this, and if given the opportunity I’ll share what little wisdom I have.  But I realize that my children aren’t so different from me, and they want the freedom to make their own choices.  I have also learned that my schemes and plans aren’t always right for them, so I am far less quick to make suggestions than I once was.   I’ve done the best I could to give them a foundation of love, a chart of truth and a compass of faith to steer by, and now I need to stand back and let them steer their own ship.

Like all parents, I care about the choices my children make.  But I’ve pretty much given up the attempt to direct my adult children’s lives.  That’s a sure recipe for strife and it won’t do anything to help them learn to trust God for themselves.  My new goal is to keep lifting them up before the Lord and encouraging them to surrender all their choices to Him.  Of course, they could mess up really badly.  They could let pride, fears and insecurities take over instead of trusting God’s wisdom.  They could make other mistakes as well … But these are tests that we all have to pass for ourselves; no-one can pass them for us.   And if they pass the tests of faith – if they learn to listen to God’s voice and yield to His ways – they’ll discover His destiny and purpose and calling for their lives, better by far than the scenarios that I or any human parent could create for them.

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