Tears of Joy

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This summer two of our daughters join the ranks of many who will spend their summer working at camp.  They were home from college for a month, but will be gone for the remainder of the summer with enough time to come home, go on a family vacation, and get packed back up to head back to Cedarville University.

Our oldest daughter is spending the summer working at Lake Ann as a counselor-where Dave went went to camp when he was growing up, and our middle daughter is working at Scioto Hills-the same camp I went to and worked at when I was growing up, and where my parents are currently volunteering.  What treasured memories I have from camp.  God works in great ways at camp all while making wonderful memories and making great friends.

As excited for them as I am that they are so willingly serving the Lord this way, I still hate to say good-bye.  I know they will be back and I know I will see them both during the time they are gone, but I still hate to say good-bye.

I tell them and remind myself at the same time, “They are growing up and becoming the young ladies I raised them to be.”  Growth brings change and tears.  Growth and maturity also come with a price tag.

I am reminded of a tearful good-bye in Acts 20:36, 37 “And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.  And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him.”  The Apostle Paul was moved with emotion to the point of tears when he said good-bye to those he ministered to in Ephesus.  Paul spent hours pouring his life into many people during his life after his conversion.  After that much time investing and loving, there is a sense of loss during the good-bye.  This feeling of loss over the separation of distance shows that a true heart connection is made.  A valuable relationship is formed.  A treasured bond that is inseparable despite the miles was established.  Despite the heartache and the sadness with the good-bye, the beauty of the relationship is seen with those tears.

As I miss my girls this summer and cry over our separation of distance, I also have a sense of pride over what they are doing with their lives.  I see them carrying on the things that are important in life: loving Jesus and loving people. No matter the sacrifice, no matter the loneliness, no matter the challenges in the end this is what matters.

Right before Paul said his tearful good-by to the people of Ephesus in Acts 20, he reminded the people, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35).  Paul willingly gave all that He had to serve our Lord: to love Jesus and love people.  He lived out this verse.

As I miss my girls this summer, I know that they are right where God wants them, doing the work of the ministry.  There is much joy in my sadness and to be honest the sadness shows the beauty of the relationship.  So as we shed tears on behalf of those we miss, don’t be embarrassed by the tears, rather relish them and treasure them for they show how valuable that relationship really is.

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Repetition = Importance

Grandpa Dad Danna Danielle crop

My Grandpa Lichty had a knack for telling stories.  He remembered an amazing amount of details and something always reminded him of a story.  The details he shared were so vivid that no one would ever dream of telling him maybe one of the facts was not true.  I remember listening to him telling story after story, but I do not remember the stories.  I can still hear his voice, but the stories have long since faded from my memory, which makes me very sad.  Even if all the details were incorrect, it would be so nice to share some of those stories with our daughters. What I can share about my Grandpa is his love for his family and his dedication to the Lord which I saw through his tireless service at the church.

Throughout Scripture, we are reminded “not to hide them (God’s Word) from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalm 78:4).  I am amazed at how often God encourages us to talk about Him and His glorious deeds.  Repetition equals importance.  God reminds us frequently through different authors the importance of sharing what God has done or is doing in our lives.

“…You shall love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7).  I often wonder what caused the corruption of complaining as the Israelites wandered in the desert after their miraculous escape from Egypt.  I wonder if the Israelites had been so busy talking to their children about the great things God had done for them while they sat around the campfires, walked on the pathway of sand, got up in the morning, ate their meals, went to bed at night…if they would have had time to complain about the myriad of things they found to be unhappy about.  When we rejoice over the goodness of God, the difficulties pale in comparison.  The joy in our hearts bubbles over with such gusto that complaining and negativity become unwelcome bedfellows.  The sound of our own voice complaining tastes like the bitterness of sour milk to our souls.

Why is it so important to talk at all time in all situations about what God has done?  “…Which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children so that they should set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.” (Psalm 78:5-7).  As we read the Old Testament this is seen repeatedly.  We see that those that forgot the works of God and did not share those great moments with their children were corrupted by sin.

As we marvel at the good things God has done in our lives, it serves a dual purpose.

First, our children hear us talk about the effect of God in our lives.  What God is teaching us.  How we are growing.  How God is convicting us of sin. How we are growing through the situations we are put in and how to practically apply the truths of scripture in our everyday lives.  It will be so much easier for them to follow the Lord on a daily basis if they see it lived out in front of them on a daily basis.

Second, it serves as a reminder to us about how God is working and has worked in our own lives.  I have a failing memory, and I think if we were all honest with ourselves we would all admit this is true. Yet, as we rehearse the goodness of God, the work of God in our lives, and the transformations that have taken place in our lives because of our walk with God; it would remind us no matter where we are, God is with us.

“And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2).  It has often been repeated, “We are one generation away from apostasy.”  It is not for lack of churches, lack of Bibles, or lack of Christian literature.

Rather, it is for a lack of authenticity, lack of hypocrisy, and lack of intentionality.

So where do you fall?  It is not just our children we should be sharing with.  Barnabas shared with Paul. Paul shared with Timothy.  Are you sharing all the great things God has done? Or is your walk with God a ritual rather than a living, growing relationship with your Savior?  Maybe we can evaluate ourselves by our words.

“We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near.  We recount your wondrous deeds.” (Psalm 75:1).

So if I could eat some corn-on-the cob with Grandpa right now, I would share with him all the great things God has done in my life and in the lives of our daughters.  Would he feel his legacy of service and love for the Lord was carried on and the seeds he planted lived on to the fourth generation and then would he say as only Grandpa can say, “Well, Danna, let me tell you…”