Saturday, November 8, 2014

Living Life Together

In a recent conversation I was reminded that our girls are pretty awesome! It's encouraging to me to see how they've matured into their own right and become women young women that other people see and respect. Another woman made a comment in hopes that her girls could spend time with my girls, to perhaps allow them to have some effect on them. I think about raising my girls often and so I gave her my little bits of wisdom... so I thought I'd share with you.

Of note, the primary thing that we've done with the girls which was possibly unique (to our culture) is  basically what I would call living life together.  If we are involved in something like serving or visiting somewhere or helping somebody we bring our girls with us. Our girls are part of the family so they're part of what we're doing.  I know a lot of people who are in ministry whose ministry is separate from their children,… I don't quite know if I could've done that. I didn't do it and I and I never wanted to... In fact, I was confronted at one point by the fact that the kids were working with me in a ministry that I was doing as their presence was a potential distraction for someone else. So rather than find a sitter or some other resource for them I simply stopped participating in that ministry. Jake does things independently of us, and I will go to meetings by myself, but in those ways that it is possible, we serve together as a family.

Having a brother in prison, it would be very easy to keep the girls sheltered from that world, but we chose not to; they have been in maximum security settings right along with me. It would have been easy not to follow the Lord into short term missions, especially to third world countries, but we live in peace not fear, and so we have all gone. Living in a small town, it would be easy to shelter the kids from a lot of things. But, as I've mentioned in years past, we chose to intentionally visit the city of Portland so that they could learn such things as "how to cross a street" and "how to walk on a sidewalk" and "how not to be a rude jerk when you see someone different than yourself." We've gone to different churches, visited different types of people, and heard different stories - all the while living life together.

There's a passage in the Old Testament that I've kept in mind; I should probably just tattoo it on myself because I love it so much and I'm looking forward to a new tattoo:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."  Deuteronomy 6:4-99

I've always loved this passage because it is exactly how Jesus taught his disciples; he had them with him and did ministry with them, he taught them as they went and he shared with them as they went. He didn't just speak. In the living of life he taught them the way to live. It's a beautiful picture of the family!

(this passage is actually what prompted the idea for my tattoo on my wrist as a reminder not to concern myself with the things of this world but rather with pursuing the Lord -- Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26)

I'm a repetitive being, but as I look at my girls preparing for adulthood, I am really thankful that I was able to live life with them fully.

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