Today, I am grateful for my parents – in particular, for the way that I was raised. Understand that I was brought up in a divorced home; my parents parted ways when I was six years old, and I lived with my Mom, primarily. However, even though my Mom and Dad were no longer married, they put their differences aside – so far as I could tell – and agreed to work together, so that I would have pretty much everything I needed in my childhood and adolescent years.
Was everything perfect? No. My parents certainly were – and are – amicable exes, but there were times when my Mom and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on several things (even now, we disagree on some key issues!). For the most part, my Dad and I have always gotten on, but sometimes he’ll get into what I call “lecture” mode, where he focuses on the facts of a situation, rather than my specific feelings about it. However, these are incidentals, compared to all of the good that I have received from them in return.
Growing up, I wanted for no material thing. My parents sacrificed so that I could have the best education possible; additionally, they ensured that I had good “home training”. I was raised to
- be respectful of elders;
- be mindful of the tone of voice that I used when around adults;
- unfailingly refer to adults in the vicinity of my parents’ ages and older as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” (I still do this now);
- never, under any circumstance, either roll my eyes at my Mom, or even think about slamming any of the doors in her home if I was in a huff about something;
- refrain from leaving the house wearing anything wrinkled, because doing so would be a “poor reflection on the family”; and,
- most importantly, be a kind and thoughtful person.
This home training – being “raised right,” as I see it – is the legacy that my parents have left for me, and I think it’s a good one. Now, I’m technically middle-aged, and I am at a place in my life where I can look back on how my parents raised me and value the wisdom that they imparted to me. And while I have no children of my own, I can appreciate that my parents made a tremendous effort to do all that they could for me, and they continue to do so today.
This thought brings me back to the Scripture that I’m focusing on for today. The Bible commands children to honor their parents; this directive does not mean that parents are perfect people, however. The Bible calls us to honor them, nonetheless, because without them, I wouldn’t be here. Let me say that again: I literally wouldn’t be here. And I wouldn’t be me without them. One of the reasons why I’m thankful for the parents I’ve been given is because it took their particular combination of DNA for God to hand-craft someone as unique as me. When I look at the situation this way, it puts my focus back on God and who He created me to be, rather than the perceived shortcomings of the people He chose to be my earthly parents.
At the end of the day, I must honor my parents because doing so honors God. In the same way, God commands us to take one day a week to rest, so that we can focus our attention on Him; this honors Him as well. Why? Simply because He is the Lord our God. Sometimes, we don’t need any more of an explanation than that. We do things out of obedience because God says so, and we can trust and believe that He has our best interests at heart. I can trust that by doing what He says – honoring my parents and resting my body and mind at least one day per week – that God will honor me in return by continuing to meet my daily needs.
Here is my prayer for today: Dear Lord, thank You for my parents. Thank You for the legacy of love and thoughtfulness that they have passed on to me over the years. Thank You for making them caring and compassionate people who ultimately only want what is best for me. Thank You for this reminder of what Your heart is like, as well – You are caring and compassionate, and You want what’s best for me, too.
I ask You to place a hedge of protection around my Mom and my Dad, according to Your plans and purposes. I thank You for the continued health You’ve given to both of them, and for the fact that they directly or indirectly give You the credit for the blessings that they have received in their lives. I pray that You would continue to prosper them, and meet their daily needs. I also ask that You keep their marriages strong, and that You enable both of my parents to seek You in a very intentional way each day. In Your name I pray, Amen.