Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
We helped move my second child, Joe, to his new home at GVSU yesterday. I would have thought this move would have been easier because we have already done this once with our first child Katie. I was not prepared for the sinking feeling I had when we made it home to an empty driveway. Where there had been 4 vehicles, there were now just two.
In church this morning one of our congregants prayed out loud for my son and all the kids off to college. If that had been the first time someone had prayed for one of my children it probably wouldn’t have impacted me so much. After all, anyone who knows my kids knows they need all the prayer they can get and over the years it is just what our church families do for each other. What it did do was remind me that for the last 12 years it has not just been Jody and I training our children in the way they should go. We had help- and lots of it.
For our family, the very first trip to Living Hope Church (Gull Lake Area Community Church at the time) was for our cute little cub scouts to earn their “Duty to God” badge. Some guy I had just met (our den leader) took us there because part of the badge was to go to a church we don’t normally attend. I didn’t know it at the time, but our den leader was particularly active in church and I would later be singing next to him on the praise team. To make a long story short, during that visit, God simply lifted my family from the church we were going to and placed us there. Don has since had the opportunity to mentor to Joe from that point on. At 1:08 (AM) on the morning of Joe’s first night at GVSU comes a simple text- “can you send me Don’s phone number. I want to use him as a reference on my job applications”
I can fill a book with stories like this. The above story is the first that came to mind and the number of church people that have been involved in my kid’s lives are too many to mention. Suffice to say that I can see so clearly the people from our little church that took the time to talk to my kids and engage and challenge them with what happened to be going on in their lives. God is good. He has put people in the path of my children to help us grow them closer to him.
Ephesians 6:4 NIV Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
As a parent, we always want better for our children than what we had. I did not say “easier” than we had, but better. I was not close in my faith when I was the age of my children. They are light years ahead of me in their relationship with God compared to where I was at their age. Through the many mission trips that Todd and Beth have taken with the kids and the close relationship they have with our kids has been instrumental in developing that training.
So here we are- two kids out and one more to go. I don’t think in my humanness that number three will be any easier when she moves out, but I know that all three will love God and will have had “good training” that will carry on to their children’s children. It is not a biblical quote but the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” couldn’t more adequately describe our loving little church. I am forever thankful that God cared so much for my family that he placed us at Living Hope.