The Starting Place

November 24, 2023

I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 2 Timothy 1:5 NLT

“The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is ... that there should be long obedience in the same direction; thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living. This world is no friend to grace.” A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society, Eugene Peterson, The Message creator)

  • Parenting is a life-long connecting process.
  • Parenting is a life-long conversation.
  • Excellent, godly, effective parenting is life-long connecting, conversing, and obedience in the same direction.

Consistency and character are the pillars. You cannot pass on to others what you don’t have yourself. That’s what Paul was applauding in Timothy. Many people give Paul massive credit for mentoring Timothy, his “true son in the faith.” But Timothy got his faith from a source long preceding Paul. Paul noted that the faith that was transformative in Timothy was first lived before him by his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. Their words and actions disciplined him and molded him into a man who could impact the world and be used by God. Their lives were his discipleship program. Then as now and always, “the world is no friend to grace,” and anyone who wants to succeed must be committed to the long road.

I experienced that from both my parents. As a daddy’s girl, a daughter who had an ongoing conversation with my father, a front-seat to his life, and always a welcome at his door, I had a deep connection that lasted for sixty-five years. It still impacts me. Seldom does a day pass that some wisdom from his life does not speak to me. Anyone who knows me well knows that my father shaped my life. His life message was, “God loves you so much—and everyone else too.”

Leif Peterson said this at his father’s memorial service: “For fifty years you would steal into my room at night and whisper softly to my sleeping head. It was the same message over and over:

'God loves you. He's on your side. He's coming after you. He's relentless.' "

Whew. Here’s a breathtaking thought—one day your children will reflect on what was the overwhelming message of your life. What will it be? Today is the day to decide. Perhaps you need to ask for forgiveness and make a new start. But do today what tomorrow will find you wishing you had done.

  • Carefully pray and write one sentence you would like to be the summary of your life for your child. Post it where you will see it. Then live that way every day.