This year, my parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. They raised 5 of us kids who have all married very well, thank-you, have 15 grandkids, plus some more amazing spouses, four great-grandkids and one on the way. It's pretty amazing to see them – this couple who both came from totally godless families, but each having made a decision to follow after Jesus Christ as teen-agers and now having produced a great big ministry family, everyone walking in the Light: pastors, writers, missionaries, worship leaders, denominational leaders (I don't know if this should be included in "real" ministry, ha!), prayer warriors, etc. Very imperfect family, lots of "feet of clay," – 68 and rising to be exact, but still, I think, a beautiful thing. In spite of our humanness and faults and sometimes "churchiness", we are blessed.
We try to get together every 2 years and sometime during the very short time we have together, we set aside a few hours for our very own family worship, a mass in which my dad, the patriarch speaks blessing over us and we sing (you should hear the harmony – it is glorious and blended like only a family can…you've heard the Osmonds, the Jackson Five, The Judds – right?).
This year was no different. Since we live all over the country, and since they have lived all over the country in pastoring (Des Moines, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, IA, Robert, LA., Gary, IN, Willard, OH, Richmond, IN, St. Joseph, MO, and Butte, MT), it is hard to know exactly where to have a celebration. They have effectively affected so many lives across the nation and around the world, now, that we decided to just get together, the 34 of us, at Big Lake State Park in Missouri and celebrate their lives and love and God's faithfulness, the most important part. Because in the end – that is really what brings us together intact or bleeding and broken, but together, nonetheless: God's great faithfulness.
The picture above is the front of an announcement Stormie and I produced a few weeks ago to share with freinds and family, to announce; they did it! While I was putting it together and pondering all the directions and all the people this union produced, my daily Bible reading came from Joshua 4:"…when all the people had completely crossed over over the Jordan, the LORD spoke to Joshua… 'Take for yourselves twelve stones out of…the Jordan, the place where the Priests's feet stood firm… that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in times to come, "What do these stones mean to you," then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD…and these stones shall be a memorial to the children of Israel forever.' …Then Joshua set up the twelve stones…saying, 'When your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, "What are these stones?"…let your children know…'God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over…that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever.'"
And after reading that, I began to see clearly the touchstones, the memorial stones my parents have put in place for us throughout the years. They have put an altar of rememberance of the Lord in my life, one I cannot get around, one that remains in my view at all times. There are things they built that I never had to labor over. It seems in the blood of man for each generation to come along and tear down what they think the previous generation did wrong, but I could see God showing me in that passage the futility of that behavior. We need to build on what's already been laid when the foundation is Jesus Christ.
Before the day was over, I "accidentally" came across another scripture that further drove home the point:"Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set." Proverbs 22.28 NKJV
This scripture reminds us to respect the altars, and the boundaries of our traditions and the Word poured in to us. It admonishes us to remember God's faithfulness throughout the years, from before we were even born – when God was already at work on our behalfs. Behaviorally, geographically, spiritually, God is calling us not remove what those before us have worked so hard to build, but to see them as a place of remembrance, a place to add our own memorial stones of His faithfulness. One generation shall speak His works to another…
Thank-you, mom and dad, for building a lifetime altar so that I'll know the hand of the LORD and fear Him forever…Jeanie
NOTE TO FRIENDS AND READERS: My mom is a world-class exhorter and encourager and she is often heard "cheering people on" with a big hug and affirmation, "You done good!" in a really southern-twang, as if she is some backwoods Tammy-style country girl, which she is not, but rather a mid-westerner through and through. Thus, the title of this blog.
NOTE TO SELF: Never correct mom's English again, as to receive one of those "You done good"s is better than winning the blue ribbon at the county fair.