My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
For they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
As a Christmas gift, my father gave each of his six children a book he had written entitled, A Collection of Life Stories. With the help of my sister-in-law, Tracy, he answered 51 questions about his life and Tracy compiled his writings into a book, with many precious family photos. Most of the questions were of topics we had discussed many times as a family. We were actually present for many parts of the story. There were a few surprises though
It was very heart-warming to read Dad’s reflections on the 51 topics chosen. It also gave us a chance to remember the joy, humor and sadness we had shared in the last few decades as brothers and sisters.
For most of us, family ties are a strong indicator of the kind of person we will become. That’s why the way we train our children will have a lasting impact on their lives. When my nieces & nephews were younger, I used to chuckle at the way my brothers disciplined their kiddos. It was just like hearing my father when I was a little girl.
In my book The Light Through My Tunnel, my book dedication is to all the members of my family. I refer to my dad as my hero…and the one whose opinion matters most to me.
In HIS book, A Collection of Life Stories, I can see clearly where my values & beliefs came from. Dad speaks of the necessity of practicing your faith and leading a Christian life. He also believes…”There is no substitute for discipline, but it must be tempered with love. It is also important to stress being the best you can be and not to accept mediocrity when you know you can do better.”
Faith was of the utmost value in our home. So was smart work and personal fulfillment. We had more than our share of happiness, joy and achievement. Our family also had sadness and tragedy mixed in with the good times though.
My traumatic brain injury (TBI) was one of those tragedies. When tough times hit it affects the whole family. I could not physically do many of the tasks I did before my accident. God’s grace has given me the opportunity to stretch beyond my tragedy to live with my physical limitations in a way that inspires and encourages others. Because of my parent’s influence, I’m still trying to be my best and not accept mediocrity. So MY story is a direct result of the story I grew up with.
A tragedy can definitely change the way we live life. It will become part of our story… but we shouldn’t let it become our whole story. Life is so much bigger than our personal struggles. If we choose to make them our focus…we risk missing much of the beauty in life.
Maybe we need to REINVENT our story. When difficulty changes the circumstances or direction of our life…try to see it as an invitation from our heavenly Father to focus in a new direction…a better, God-inspired life path. We can’t be afraid to replace the old with something new. The Holy Spirit is there to lead us. Our job is to be perceptive to His calling.
If not family, we can always find someone to give us encouragement and positive direction. This is the time for prayer. Ask God where He wants you to go. How many times have we asked, not thinking He’s listening? Then poof! A door opens.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
I feel blessed to have been raised in a loving family where God was always put in first place. Doing our best was simply a way of life. So too was sarcasm and humor, but that’s a topic for another blog.
We are all the author of our own story. If we don’t like the way it reads right now, ask the Lord where and how He wants to change it. Remember that others are watching our story too. We can influence others without even knowing it. We may not be best-selling authors, but our story will affect all those watching it…especially our loved ones.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Someday we will all answer to God for the actions of our life….of our story. So let’s live the best life we can and give God the glory for our accomplishments!
You give us a lifetime to write our story. You also know that there will be shining parts…and dark spots. Let Your spirit lead us as we make our journey.
Let our story be an inspiration to those who hear it…and give us all a happy ending in Your kingdom after we’ve followed Your directions here in our earthly life.