It’s rare that I use this space to reflect on personal things. Or more correctly, it’s rare that I’m personal in my reflections. However, every once in a while I break this rule, and this is one of those occasions.
The reason for this departure from the norm isn’t all that earth-shattering. It’s just that throughout this week, I’ve frequently been reminded of how grateful I am for my parents. For those of you who don’t know them, let me start off by just saying – they’re great. It’s an undeniable fact that my mom and dad are just truly outstanding people. And that’s a good enough reason by itself to be grateful for their presence. However, it’s not just their sheer remarkableness that has me writing about them today. You see, not only are my parents great people, they are exceptional parents and that’s a distinction that’s often lost today. For not only did my parents model and exemplify what it meant to be a follower of Christ by how they lived their lives, but they followed Him in the way that they parented me. And for this fact, no amount of gratitude is sufficient.
You might wonder how it’s possible to not only live a life for Christ, but to parent as Christ would parent and I think that’s a fair question. My response is simple, although enacting it is complex. There are two things that are always paramount in my mind when I think of how my parents raised me. First – I always knew they loved me, and I always knew that if I went against their directions, there would be consequences. That may seem counterculture in today’s world, but it wasn’t in my parents’ home. Regardless of how they punished me, it never diminished my understanding of their love. And because of how much they loved me, they never shied away from correcting my misbehavior.
The second thing that my parents did is that they prayed for me. Just like Christ intercedes for His children, so my parents did for me and my sister. Even as a child I knew this. And even as an adult, I don’t think I can comprehend the power of those prayers. I’m confident that I am who I am today primarily because of the time they spent lifting me up to our Father, but only heaven will reveal the full return on that investment.
My mom once told me that her and my dad used to say that God was raising us and the truth is, she was right. I’m confident that the omnipotent Father had plans for our lives and that regardless of what my parents did, He would bring them to completion. However, the manner in which my parents raised us not only provided a great example of God’s love, but they prepared us to receive the direction He would provide. John Wesley’s mother is said to have spent hours daily praying for her kids. And at least two of them (John and Charles) are still notably impacting the Church today.
On this side of heaven, my parents may never receive the acclaim that’s now afforded to Susanna Wesley, but I know that they will be rewarded on the other side. And I know that the only praise that will be louder than mine will the words of our Savior acknowledging their faithfulness and a job well done.