I grew up in a Christian home. I am one of 7 kids. We grew up on a farm. My parents were God-fearing, God-loving, God-serving people. We lived a simple life. It was a good life. Structure, authority, hard work, laughter, security, trust, faith, values. Those are words that describe our family. We weren’t perfect, but we were loved.
This is the story of the life and love lived in front of me every single day as I was growing up. This is the legacy handed down from my parents.
My parents took us to church. Sunday School. Sunday morning worship. Sunday night services. Wednesday night prayer meeting. Revival meetings. Youth revival meetings. Missionary meetings. Zone rally meetings. Vacation Bible School. Teen talent contests. Bible quizzing. Summer camp. We were in church every time the doors were open. We were there.
You may think that was a lot of church. And it was. But it taught me to respect the Sabbath. It taught me the importance of meeting with other Christians to worship God.
My dad was the Sunday School superintendent. He was the church treasurer. He was a Sunday School teacher. He was a board member. My mom took care of babies in the nursery. She helped in Vacation Bible School. She served meals in our home for visiting preachers. She served at funeral dinners. She babysat for our pastor’s children. My parents were involved in the church.
My parents the year they were married.
This is what I know.
I know what it’s like to have my parents take me to church every Sunday.
I know what it’s like to see my dad write out his tithe check.
I know what it’s like to hear my mom pray for her children by name.
I know what it’s like for our family to have devotions together every night before bed.
I know what it’s like at age 8 to go to the altar with my dad and ask Jesus into my heart.
I know what it’s like for my mom to tell me at age 12 that it was time for me to start having daily devotions.
I know what it’s like to see my mother go to the altar to totally surrender her life to God, when she realized she needed a deeper relationship with Him.
I know what it’s like for my parents to help pastors of neighboring churches by filling their freezer with food.
I know what it’s like to see my mom deliver a Sunday dinner to the lonely old man living in a shack down the road from us.
I know what it’s like to see my dad kiss my mom on the cheek after Sunday dinner to thank her for the wonderful meal.
My parents’ relationship was solid. My parents’ relationship with their God was solid. They were humble servants of a God bigger than them, and they faithfully served Him.
I am so thankful for the foundation of faith that was lived out in front of me. I’m thankful for the prayers and discipline that was part of our home. I’m fortunate for this legacy. I have been able to avoid many poor decisions and life experiences because of the rich heritage that was passed down to me.
I realize many people won’t be able to relate to my story. They may be jealous. They may ridicule me. I remember thinking as a child that I was thankful to be in a family where God’s love was taught. I realized some of my friends didn’t have that. They didn’t have parents who prayed with them or for them. They didn’t own a Bible. They didn’t know God’s love.
I’ve always been aware of God and his love for me. I owe that to my parents. I’ve known from an early age that I needed Jesus to forgive my sins. I knew I wanted to go to heaven. I wanted to obey God. And I made the decision to serve the God of my parents. They taught me well. And I’m thankful.
The office where my dad would study his Sunday School lessons and my mom would kneel and pray for her children.