“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” 1 Corinthians 15:10
The Apostle Paul says in I Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am…,” and I echo with him, the emphasis on the merciful grace of God for any good thing that may come from my life now or in the future. The grace of God is evident in the way He worked in my parents lives to bring them out of the world and into the family of Christ; and because of this grace, I have been given so many blessings and opportunities.
As first-generation Christians, my parents did not have the advantage of knowing what it was like to raise a family in a godly way. They only knew that they had to keep working hard, reading, listening to the preacher, and learning step by step along the way. I appreciate their faithfulness to being involved in our church, and their desire to do whatever it took to keep us focused on the word of God as a daily part of our lives.
When I think of my Dad, a humble, kind, faithful, selfless, God-fearing man comes to mind. He taught us by word and example to be a servant, and to be diligent in the work we’re called to do. My dad wanted us to take initiative when we saw a job that needed to be done, to be thorough, to be cheerful; but when it was all said and done, to not worry about who got the credit for doing it. Although there are so many admirable qualities in my dad’s character, I think what I appreciate about him the most is his dedication to his God and his family…and his humility to just keep on keeping on even if no one ever noticed and praised him for doing it.
As a new Christian, and new wife and mother, my Mom became an avid reader of Biblical books on the Christian home, to get help and good counsel to help her grow in all these areas. As children, we benefitted from her thirst for truth; and one of the biggest things I appreciate about my mom is her desire to continually keep our hearts and minds filled with godly truths – either by hearing preaching recordings, reading missions books, posting inspirational quotes and Bible verses around the house, having us memorize portions of scripture, singing hymns and spiritual songs together, encouraging family devotions and spiritual conversations in our living room or around the dinner table. Until my late teen years, I didn’t realize how much our daily lives and habits revolved around keeping our hearts and minds saturated with the things of God. I’ve learned that these kinds of things are vital to implement because our hearts are so prone to wander, and the devil is never off-duty in our lives. My prayer is that I can follow my mother’s example and do my best, by God’s grace, to also make my new home a refuge from the evil one – where our family can grow in the Lord, and be strengthened to face the temptations and trials to come.
Although I could go on with many qualities I appreciate about my parents, I want to conclude with highlighting two other spiritual disciplines for which I am immensely grateful. Since I was a young girl, their desire to witness to the lost world around us has continually been impressed upon me. The gospel that saved them was real to them. Their lives were changed – and they didn’t want anything to do with the former things that held them captive before salvation. Growing up, I never doubted that I was a sinner and needed to be saved, because I knew they had something I didn’t have! They wanted to tell people about Christ, and even when it was inconvenient or challenging, they faithfully touched so many lives (often through the ministry of hospitality, church visitation, or just day-to-day interactions) and talked about eternal matters with anyone who would listen.
This Father’s Day & Mother’s Day, I find myself thanking the Lord for the family He placed me in.
The second thing I want to mention is their prayers. Prayers for their children’s salvation, prayers for our missionaries, our pastor, the lost, anything and everything! Daily prayers that I knew I could count on. My mom had prayer lists galore! We never left the driveway of our house without a prayer for safety! We prayed together as a family, and I knew my parents prayed together at night before retiring to bed. There is nothing more reassuring to a child, or an adult for that matter, than to know that their parents continually bring them before the throne of grace to obtain mercy and help for every need.
Now, my parents would be the first to tell you that they really didn’t feel like they did anything genius, or have some kind of extra-profound wisdom; but that they just tried to follow the basics of the Christian life as best they knew how. And they’d let you know that they’ve certainly made mistakes, and that anything good that has happened or will happen with their family is purely by the grace of God, and for His glory. But this Father’s Day & Mother’s Day I find myself thanking the Lord for the family He placed me in, and I want to express my gratitude for the influence they’ve had on me, for their unconditional love, their tender care, the countless fun memories, and just for the exciting, adventurous life we’ve had as a family. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I love you both so much!
Nina came to know the Lord as a teenager, and is grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy in her life as she has sought to grow in her relationship with Christ through the years.
She and her husband currently attend Lehigh Valley Baptist Church and enjoy being a part of the ministries there. Along with being a wife and homemaker, she is thrilled to be able to teach music lessons to a number of piano students in the area. Poetry and meditational or motivational writings based on scripture have also remained one of her passions through the years!
Great article Nina… Love you both!!