“Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.” – Proverbs 22:6
I have a short question to set up today’s post: “What is so important to you that it defines you?” Or, “As a family, what is at the heart of your identity?”
This morning I’m going to comment on that question by sharing a simple story that illustrates the “Living like we mean it” focus of this blog. And I’ll start with this photograph from dinner at Chili’s with Rebekah’s brother’s family in Jacksonville, where we stopped Thursday night for a “wayfarer’s rest” on the way back from Rebekah’s conference in DeLand.
Jesse and Heather’s children are growing up fast, so with Jordan away in college, and Seth working at Papa John’s Pizza, it was just the six of us for dinner. After dinner I made cups of tea for the family, and things wound down for the night.
FAMILY PRAYER: Regardless of the demands of college and work, the evening finished off with the entire family around the computer – to Skype with Jordan in Lakeland, and then in a big circle, praying together before heading off to bed.
Because, no matter what else is going on, Jesse and Heather’s family gathers around the idea that they are all children of God, and they gather around the understanding that the real substance of what it means to be a family finds its definition in their faith, and in their faithfulness to their commitment to follow Jesus.
no matter what else is going on, Jesse and Heather’s family gathers around the idea that they are all children of God
I know too many families who rally around something else, something other than their faith. They may go to church two or three times a month, but it’s pretty-much optional for the children, and there are so many other things that take priority. Work; recreation; education; “success”; sports; travel… the list could go on. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with anything on the list – until, that is, those priorities become what defines us, and so tip the central focus of what it means to be a family away from faith, and away from the only way to experience “the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
So it is always refreshing to visit Jesse and Heather, and to see how the essential defining characteristic of their life together as a family is still the fact that they are children of God.
It is an enduring gift that Jesse and Heather have given their children, and it is more precious than anything they could have exchanged it for over the past two decades. Nothing else could come close.
Now that is “living like we mean it: because God certainly meant something special when we were created.”
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.