Focus on the Family comes on about the time I'm dropping Ben off at work (we share 1 car!!), so I usually listen to it. Unless it's painfully cheesy.
This morning, they were talking with Carey Casey, the CEO of the National Center for Fathering. I came on in the middle, but from what I gathered, he spent some time speaking to NFL teams before the game, doing what was supposed to be a routine devotional/ prayer. But he was never routine. He got straight to some serious issues with these guys, and always shared the gospel. He said he often asked about their dads. "Who doesn't know their father?" And you could see the pain that would come across the many faces of the men in that room. They're thinking, come on man. Just pray and let's go play the game. He told some neat stories of relationships built with these men and how they would share their past pain and hurt, just like anybody else.
Casey was sharing stories of abusive dads, dysfunctional homes, and he said, "there is no greater pain in a child's life than living in fear at home." The host, Jim Daly, could identify and shared a short story about his childhood with an alcoholic, physically abusive dad. And the bottom line was - living in fear at home.
At this point, I'm almost home. a little choked up. [I'm a sap.] pulling into the garage. just listening to the end of the program and thinking.
I am SO thankful to have been born into a loving, nurturing family. Both of my parents grew up in "dysfunctional" families. and they both beat the odds. Not only did they break the cycle of pain, divorce, alcoholism, etc... they both became believers. My brother and I were "first generation Christians" if you will. The first kids in our whole family to be raised in a Christian home. not that it was anywhere near perfect :)
I remember my dad saying when we were younger - it'll be all new to see what your kids and families are like. If you continue walking with the Lord, you will learn stuff younger than we did. (They got saved in their late 20s/ early 30s.) You will know the Bible when you go to college. You will receive God's blessings earlier than we did. You will avoid a lot of the mistakes we made.
And now, as a newly wed, I can already see the difference. I had a good example of a marriage. No, I don't know it all. And no, our marriage isn't perfect. BUT, we're not completely starting from scratch like my parents were. They had to figure it out at they went. I had an example. They had to figure out how to parent as Christians. I had an example.
Don't get me wrong - my family is not perfect.
But I am thankful that, by the grace of God, I was born into the family I was born into. I didn't grow up in a household of fear. I wasn't afraid of my parents. (except in that healthy-do-what-you're-told way) :) I have a great relationship with each of my parents. And most importantly, they taught me and showed me how to love Jesus.
They ended the broadcast saying, the most important gift you can give your kids is teaching them to know Jesus.
To me in this season of life, this message means - more than a perfectly organized, perfectly decorated house. more than great dinners, fun activities. more than lavish vacations. the MOST important thing I can do for my kids one day (kids that are no where near the picture yet) is to teach them and show them that God loves them and that they need to know & love Jesus personally.
Thankful to have parents who were committed to that mission in our home. Thankful that I grew up in a home where I was not afraid, but loved.
What are you thankful for today?