No greater joy I know than to be a brand new father / mother to a newborn baby! Tracie and I have been blessed with four wonderful kids. Well, they aren't really kids any more. Three of the four are out of school, on their own, and the fourth is soon to be in the same place in a half dozen years or so. Four children each with their own personality, giftedness, and dreams. Odd that they have the same parents and were raised in the same family structure yet are so different. Each one affected by their environment in different ways. One ministers to youth, one draws plans for an architectural firm, and one maintains automobiles in a repair shop. The fourth child is still deciding his future goals. Time continues to ebb away and life goes on.
As I ponder who each child is becoming I consider their start into this place called earth. For that matter, I ponder all of our places in this world. We all pretty much started as a blank slate. Of course we received our DNA from a long list of ancestry which would determine eye color, future height expectations, receding hairlines, medical issues of hereditary nature, and so on and so forth. But for the most part, we come into the world yet to be programmed to be who we will become.
We come into the world in much the same way a new year arrives at the stroke of midnight on December 31st. The new year has not been written; the values have not been put into place. The new year is a blank slate waiting to be filled. Will our year be a horror story filled with sorrow, pain, and suffering? Will our story be a love story where our lives are filled with newness and hope? Will our story be a mystery and reveal itself bit by bit? All valid questions that have incomplete answers. These answers accumulate over a lifetime of faith in learning God's will for each story.
In any matter, one needs to set some goals in place. One needs to have a way to realize those goals and finally to be able to assess whether those goals have been met. Whether we are discussing a new year or a newborn child, the blank slate begins to fill out and measurable outcomes can begin to be seen. Everyone longs to have a good year. We want the new year to exceed the old one. Yet, the same can be said for rearing children. We have great expectations for our children and hope they exceed our own lives. We pray they find and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord, they get educations, and they build strong families. We must actively engage young hearts and lead them to places of discerning so they can make important decisions of faith, family, and vocation.
"Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." (Proverbs 22:6, NIV)
Our little corner of the world awaits us and we step into the new year with a figurative pen in hand to write a new chapter in our story. Let God guide your life (your pen hand) as you journey into these coming days. Allow God full access to your heart and He will give you the desires of your heart.
The God who created you, who loves you, and has redeemed you, goes ahead of you to meet you in the following pages of your new story. Take the first step in faith.