Question from Internet Cafe'
May 17 - What is one habit, negative pattern, or sin that has been passed down your family line from generation to generation that you do not want to pass down to your own family line? What steps are you taking to make sure the habit, pattern or sin is not repeated in your own family? (View Post)
I can probably count on both my hands the number of times we went to church when I was growing up. It simply was not a priority in my family’s life. I have often thought about that time as I have begun my own family. When I think about this question, about the one habit or negative pattern or generational sin that has been passed down from generation to generation, my thoughts wander to years of dysfunction that a divorce brought into my young life. I think of the continuous struggle that my mother had to just put food on the table for us and I recognize that taking us to church was probably way down on my mother’s list of necessary things. In any event we did not go to church.
There was a very similar trend in my husbands upbringing as well. Although he was raised in a two parent family it was as if he was raised by a single mother given the level of un-involvement his father took in his life. His military service and then subsequent sales job after his discharge kept him away from the home on a very regular basis. Again the demands of just getting by from day to day as well as 4 other siblings left little time or inclination for perusing a spiritual foundation by either of his parents.
We simply had no clue.
Like most parents, when we had our first child we felt that if we wanted to be responsible parents then the right thing to do was to take our son to church. I must confess that in the beginning it was done merely out of my prideful desire to be “Mother Earth” and win brownie points in the “I’m a Good Mom” book. I must also confess that I was also motivated by a very strong desire to attempt to do a better job of maintaining a strong and lasting marriage than my parents had done. I did not want to pass that legacy of dysfunction on to my children.
When I walked down the isle with my husband I had no frame of reference for what a good wife was. He had an equal lack of knowledge for what a good husband was supposed to look like. I can state without reservation that we traveled down some very rocky and tearful roads, but this past May we celebrated our 26 wedding anniversary.
That pattern of dysfunction has been broken. My children will know what a true marriage looks like. My daughter will know what qualities make a good husband by the example that her father has set for her. Both my children have had the foundation of the love of Christ since the day of their birth and when they are old they will not turn from it.
It was that beginning struggle as I learned how to be a growing and mature Christian that has brought me to this place of faith. It started with a selfish desire to be “A Good Mom” and ended with God’s unfailing grace and mercy. He wiped away the years of dysfunction and heartbreak and gave both my husband and me a clean slate from which to build our marriage and our family.
On a recent women’s retreat I attend our focus was looking at the legacy we have. I have to confess that I had a very difficult time with this concept. With the exception of my wonderfully strong and faithful grandmother the Christian legacy was completely absent from my upbringing. What I did realize is that the very nature of passing down a legacy has to begin somewhere.
It began 26 years ago when my husband and I in our ignorance took vows before a God we did not know and began a life. We took our first few steps down that path of the legacy we will leave. God had mercy on our ignorance and our indifference and gently (and sometimes not so gently as well) lead us to a place of yielding over to His authority. We now have a marriage and family rooted in the love of Christ.
With each bedtime prayer we say, with each blessing over a meal, with each Sunday worship service, with every mission trip, with each act of compassion and forgiveness that legacy is being laid. Every time my daughter wakes to find my bible on my lap and my head bowed in prayer she see that legacy.
The generational dysfunction is broken and the negative patterns of behavior are put to rest.
Each day gives me the opportunity to build upon that legacy.
Each day I have the privilege of growing and living for Christ.