I’m grateful to God, whom I serve with a good conscience as my ancestors did. I constantly remember you in my prayers day and night. When I remember your tears, I long to see you so that I can be filled with happiness. I’m reminded of your authentic faith, which first lived in your grandmother and then your mother. I’m sure that this faith is also inside you. Because of this, I’m reminding you to revive God’s gift that is in you through the laying on of hands. God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled. – 2 Timothy 1:3-7
Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever read this passage and ended up thinking about our daughter, Naomi. Maybe it’s because – in watching her raise our grandchildren – I’m beginning to see the faith of her mother, Rebekah, and of her grandmothers, Nelle and Grace.
Family heritage is a strong feature of a well-developed faith; it serves as stability and strength – both in terms of example and of understanding what it means to be invited into something durable, and encouraging, and transformational, and more reliable than so many of the relationships we stumble through on this journey.
My parents don’t get to see their great-grandchildren all together that often (not many great-grandparents do) so Naomi made the effort to drive in from Richmond to join Hannah and her crew (see yesterday’s post).
For the cousins it meant extra fun, and for my parents it meant additional joy. The noise level, of course, was more than a little elevated, but it was a real treat to see them all together. Twelve, nine, two six-year-olds, and two fours, Naomi lined them up on the stairs perfectly for the “official” portrait. The children played well together, ran around like a herd of buffalo, behaved marvelously despite being cooped up because of the bitter cold, and made everyone glad the weekend happened.
If I had just one photograph as a souvenir, it would be Naomi’s stair-shot, oldest to youngest.
My main takeaway – other than exhaustion – is tied in with this idea of invitation. Here’s the question: Has my faith, and the way I respond to the invitation to follow Jesus, become in turn a meaningful invitation for these children to grow up in the love and knowledge of God? Is the Jesus they are introduced to via watching me an inviting idea?
Is the kind of faith we espouse, and live out loud, invitational?
They are so young, and deeply impressionable. It’s not a question of “if” we are teaching anything about faith, it’s more a question of “what” are we teaching?
I really am so grateful to God, and these beautiful children are constantly on my mind, along with your authentic faith – to be honest, it costs me some tears at times. It’s the kind of faith you learned from your mother and your grandparents. Remember, God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid, but one that is powerful… and loving… and anchored in grace – (author paraphrase).
Peace – and I mean that in so many ways – DEREK