Monday, August 21, 2006

I sat with my Mother at a local restaurant awaiting breakfast. A tall thin young man walked in with his adorable 3 to 4 year old son. Watching their interaction was heart warming. To see a boy so enthralled in every detail of his father, and to see the dad respond with such gentleness and love towards his son produced a sense of melancholy, yet joy within me.

Adorning the walls and albums of Mom's home are pictures of BJ (among her other grandchildren) . His life resonates in her memory, and through her spoken words. Tears trace the lines of her face as she remembers aloud both the memories of him, and the seemingly lost opportunities to connect with the heritage of her side of the family.

Part of this is because of the difficulty of her life circumstances growing up. Too many of us are afflicted with families who do not represent or reflect Christ in their own experience. Her mother was a very godly woman who trained my mother and her siblings in the ways of the Lord. Her father, though a believer, had struggles which resulted in the breaking apart of her family.

They endured things unmentionable. Much of her life has been a positive reaction to things which tend to destroy the lives of too many. How is it that she was spared this folly? What contributes to the downfall of so many in light of most difficult circumstances?

The "prince of the air" in this world would desire more and more families fall apart. He sends his legions to interfere and cause disruption to our lives. He would teach us through our society that certain things are appealing and good and right, when the truth is that those same things contribute to the very destruction that breaks so many families apart.

In the case of my own family, perhaps it was easier to view my father's side of the family as the pillars of strength because Christian values were upheld and promoted as a way of life. It isn't that they weren't in Mom's family. It is that when we have "dirty little secrets" in a family, there is a tendency to shy away from those family members, or relations with them. The path of least resistance in a Christian family will flow toward the side that has the most secure foundation.

There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but in the case of my family, lost opportunities have resulted due to strained family dynamics.

As Mother reflected on who her family was/is, and how she and my father raised us as children, it became clear that they learned from the mistakes of their own heritage, and did the best they could to raise their own, in the light of Christ, and not in the darkness of a shadow less desirable.

To learn from the difficult circumstances in our lives is part of our journey in Christ. Consider Job, Daniel, Moses, and many others. Taking life's ugliness and building from those experiences is required if we are to reflect Christ.

My Mother is an example of a survivor. One who trusted Christ for strength and grace within a stone's throw from disaster. Actually, each of her siblings are as well. There is so much we can learn from our mistakes. If we are accountable to our Lord for our failures, and then trust Him to rebuild within us His character, then we can succeed. Perhaps not by the standards of the world, but certainly by the standards of the One who loves us and created us.

In wiping away tear after tear, smeared make-up transferred to a second saturated napkin. In this I saw the reflection of a woman who has seen the worst, battled through pain and loss after loss to contribute to raising a generation of children and grandchildren who love Jesus and by His grace are able to cope with life's circumstances.

There are times we must "hide in the shadow of the Almighty," but we can ill afford to abide in the silhouette of destruction as it battles to defeat us. We must train our children to do likewise.
Standing firm on Him who holds us, is our only true hope.

Thanks Mom!

son (brent)


At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brent, you are a survivor as well.
Positive reactions come from those who believe. When in doubt "Shout" shout to the Lord. He will listen and give us our strength and guide our reactions. In the light of Christ we shall not follow a path of darkness.
Bless you Brent for sharing.
I hope Deanna is adjusting to her new school. Today I pray you all have strength and peace as all the anniversary dates come around, you all remain with me in prayer today and every day to come.
your sister
in Christ
Indpls., IN

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh dad-

do you know that i pray for you everyday? do you know that i pray for you and deanna and the girls as you go on day by day that the Lord would sustain you? believe me when i say you are close to my heart often.

pray for me..i leave for school tomorrow. ahh! the stress of getting everything together is almost more than i can handle..but i'm trying to keep pressing on..thru all the piles in my room!

i love you. i love you too mom!
and you too sisters.

i cant wait for november =)

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this was a good post. It is refreshing to read something like this. Even though there are some things in your family that cause you shame, remember, all our families are like that. None of us are exempt!! We all have things we don't want to talk about, losses, and griefs.
May God's peace fill your heart as you are dealing with so much right now - - - changes, moves, remembering, new jobs, precious memories . . . . You are being held up to the Father today!

At 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't give up Brent! You are going to be OK!! We will keep praying much for you at church and in our small groups! God knows the pain you are feeling!! May you feel Him very near today!!

At 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pray for Whitney Cerak folks!! (The Taylor University girl that survived the accident - the one that had the mixed up identity.) She got to go home this past week and is returning to Taylor this fall! God IS Amazing!! She has quite a road of recovery ahead of her, and will only be taking 6 hrs of classes so that she can continue her Physical Therapy and get much needed rest.

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We continue to pray for you Lattany and your family in the loss of your nephew Corbin! The post this weekend was precious! May God be glorified!!

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to all the prayers!!

At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never posted on this blog, but I have read it since I learned that BJ was ill. I am related to you through your mother's father's family, though you and I do not really know each other (I do know your mother, though). You are correct, the struggles have been there, but she has, through the grace of God, overcome them in many ways. Thank you for sharing some of her story.


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