parenting, the long view – “my times are in your hand”

But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand… – Psalm 31:14-15

last family portrait – summer of 2015

ADVENTURE! Life is an amazing experience! Looking back over the past few decades – especially since Rebekah and I found each other, and moved into the our future as a committed partnership – this journey really can only be described as an epic adventure!

This morning over breakfast we were talking about the “children-part” of the experience, and how we really had no idea what we were doing when Andrew and Naomi were little. All we knew for sure was this:

  1. We loved each other;
  2. We loved our children with a passion we were totally unprepared for;
  3. God not only loves our family, but was/is willing to cover us with grace and mercy;
  4. And – one shaky yet trusting step at a time – we were all going to make it.

I’m sure I speak for all parents, everywhere, when I say that all we ever wanted for our children was to find their way, to be well equipped for whatever comes along, and to be happy (please read my Wake Forest Today column – The Secret of Happiness – for more on what I mean by “happy”).

Alicia and Andrew (photo by Boris Karpov)
Alicia and Andrew (photo by Andrew Maul)

JOY! Then this morning, scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw this photograph of our son, Andrew, along with his wife, Alicia, taken this past weekend in Chatkalʹskiy National Park, Uzbekistan, the north-western end of the Himalayas. Andrew and Alicia, Citizens of the World, are living their adventure out loud, and it’s not hard to see why Rebekah and I are so delighted.

But I trust in you, O Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand…

PEACE: So I sighed deeply, smiled one of those inside-the-spirit smiles that moves from the face, through the brain, and down into the soul, and realized how completely at peace Rebekah and I are regarding those children we loved/love so completely, and nurtured, and lost sleep over, and on whose behalf we cried so desperately on so many occasions.

Naomi-Craig-David-Beks-001Then I clicked on Naomi’s page, and I grabbed a handful of photographs she had taken last week in Richmond, where she lives with her wonderful husband, Craig, and our two beautiful grandchildren, David and Beks.

Naomi’s ongoing adventure involves being an amazing mom, a beautiful wife, an accomplished artist, a faithful disciple of Jesus who sings in the church choir, and so much more. Our daughter is light and encouragement in every place she finds herself… and it’s not hard to see why Rebekah and I are so delighted.

Today’s post, then, comes in response to the photographs I ran into this morning. I simply had to share our joy.

IMG_3704REALITY: But it’s joy in the context of reality – a reality that needs to understand the longterm dynamic of hope and promise; a narrative that only makes sense as a lifetime story. You see it’s important to note that there were many years when it was hard for Rebekah and I to see clearly into this kind of a future.

Most victories are born in struggle, and so much of what we understand as joy is realized after we wipe away the tears. The important thing is to hold fast with faithfulness, with commitment, with resolve, and with the understanding that most of what really makes us happy, and gives us peace, is found in giving ourselves away, in putting our own oh-so-important agendas aside, and in following the way of Jesus.

In love, and because of love – DEREK


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