(This is a long one, so get your coffee mug or tea cup filled before you
start! Thanks for taking the time!)
From birth to death we need borders, boundaries, tracks to follow, or maybe a plumb line. I like the idea of a plumb line because the visual of it is verticalness.
line with weight attached: a line to which a weight is attached to find the depth of water or to verify a true vertical alignment Encarta® World English Dictionary
I am not a carpenter but my husband has used a tool that has a chalked string and a weight. He puts the tool against a wall, lets the weight dangle, then snaps the string against the wall to make a mark. The mark shows him what is vertically straight.
I hope I haven’t lost you yet… True vertical alignment for me is from myself to God… How would I check that vertical alignment?
Throughout our parenting lives we have had a scripture, which translated into saying…
You are not ordinary,
You are extraordinary.
Especially chosen by God,
To do a mighty work for Him.
I Peter 2:9-10 MSG
But you are the ones chosen by God
chosen for the high calling of priestly work,
chosen to be a holy people,
God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him,
to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you
from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
I believe every person, every family is chosen, but they must choose to be chosen. (That’s another day, another blog.) There wasn’t anything special about us, but we decided to take the challenge of being a chosen family.
Growing up, I did not have a solid, living breathing, Christian background but received Christ in my teens. I did not know it until after we were married in 1975, but my husband knew how to be a Christian, but did not have a relationship with Christ until a couple of years after our marriage.
From those broken places, we started a family, not knowing how to live for Christ, together, in the day to day. How was I going to I make Christ-like adult decisions if I had no plumb line to follow? The only place I knew was to find knowledge and peace in the Word of God.
Fast forward to October 1979 and our first child was born. This sweet little baby girl was totally depending on us for everything she needed. Her practical, emotional, and spiritual growth would come from our hearts and lives into hers. It was overwhelming, but as a mom I could only take one day at a time. Something special happened sometime from that moment, to the day we had our last child of five in 1991. God’s faithfulness showed up one day in a scripture and a simple translation he gave to me for our family, 1 Peter 2:9-10. It has been the plumb line for all our family decisions. We wanted to consciously make choices in every area of our lives, which would reflect Christ and how he wanted our family to grow.
As, I said before, we made plenty of mistakes and at times were criticized by those around us for the decisions we made. The plumb line provided our guide when we didn’t know and our comfort when we weren’t sure.
Sounds great on paper! Right!? But living it out has been a challenge. We haven’t made all the right decisions. We have made plenty of mistakes and when we did we hurt others in the process of cleaning up our mess, asked for forgiveness, and chose to move on hopefully a bit wiser.
Even though we hadn’t intended to make a mistake or inflict hurt, we often found we had wandered away from out plumb line verse, which lead to our making a decision that didn’t go well. Again, the worst part of that was we hurt others in the process.
Most recently, made a huge mistake and got myself in to a mess. We were invited to the wedding of a special family. They mean a lot to me and I really wanted to go. Ie looked at the calendar and saw that there was another something around time that was very important, but we thought juggling both wouldn’t be a problem. After all the wedding was a sweet, important moment for our friend and we wanted to be there to share the day and besides the other thing was somewhat flexible so why can’t they work together?
The time arrived and both events crashed into one another. The other commitment became bigger than we thought and the night before the wedding came and we knew we didn’t have the physical or emotional strength to attend. How did this happen!?
It happened because I forgot to check in with the plumb line of our lives. You see, the other commitment was actually two commitments to our two new grandbabies. Each of them were born within 14 days before the wedding. We knew the due dates and thought that unless one of the girls were in labor, surely it wouldn’t be a problem to work around the little ones and share this special day with my friend.
I honestly didn’t realize what having two grandbabies within 14 days would mean. It was a full time job emotionally, physically and spiritual…and with joy, it continues to fill our lives.
You see, I knew that raising children to know God would take every ounce of me. My husband and I had made that commitment to raise our children with our plumb line scripture and translation, but I never considered it would be a similar commitment for our being grandparents.
And now, we still are making mistakes because of that lack of knowledge. In just the 3 weeks since the first baby was born, I have broken a commitment or two and hurt the heart of someone so very dear to me. What happened!? I didn’t take time to listen to the Holy Spirit and hear his coaching. I was going to be a grandma! Yeah! But, I thought I could fold grandma-hood right into my regular life. How hard could it be to love on a couple of babies who already had parents to take care of them? Gee Whiz! Hugs, kisses, whispered prayers and off I would go!
No, it hasn’t been that way. Our, my, commitment to our children’s lives way back then, has come forward to this day and time. They still need support, encouragement, and my ability to show up and be there for them. Only now, there are other people involved, new daughters to get to know and serve, and now these, oh my goodness, precious little ones have arrived into our lives!
I had no idea what that would mean! Shopping, cleaning, cooking and listening…yep and holding those little ones and “slurping up all that sugar!” as my dear friend would say. It’s taken a toll emotionally. I had no idea that these little ones would be the beginning of a gift from God for all the hard work, hours of prayer, and the correcting of many mistakes we had made as parents.
We haven’t seen a whole lot of grandparenting in our lives to model our lives after. So, now the plumb line is there again to help us navigate our grandparenting. We want to be as committed to these little ones and all the ones to come, as fervently as we were with our children. We need to learn be ready to be involved and know when to step back. We need to know how to pray for these new families. We need to understand God’s heart and not make decisions by our own heart. We need to know it’s not just a side job for us. This Opa and Oma stuff is on the front burner!
I am sure as the days go by, a life rhythm will take hold and all of this won’t be as huge as it has been lately. The learning curve has just been bigger than we expected. I am hoping I won’t hurt anyone else along the way, but that is not a guarantee.
What I do hope for is leaving a family legacy that is based on Christ and Christ alone (as the song says.) My hope is that my hubby and I will have fought the good fight and turned the corner of the legacy passed down to us. My hope is that the new godly legacy will have been past up to the next generation and then ones to follow. Their road won’t be easy either, but my hope is that they will have a better foundation to start from.
Making mistakes and the relationship fallout from them will always break my heart. All I know to do is go back to my plumb line, ask forgiveness of those I’ve hurt, forgive myself and greet the new day with the new mercies God has provide for me.
My heart had to share even if no one would read all of this. Sharing helps me process life. If you have hung in there to get to this place with me, thank you.
May blessings and grace abound in your life and the lives of your families.