I wonder if they fretted over us in our stubborn toddlerhood or ever thought of giving up on us in our rebellious teen days. We surely weren't anything special; just a bunch of mismatched kids growing up Baptist. But they trusted God and chose to sacrifice for us. They played with us in the nursery long after their own children were grown. They tirelessly mimeographed coloring pages for us. They taught us a different Christmas musical every year and endured months of practice before the final performance. They spent Wednesday nights trying to teach us to pray while we were often times silent. They slept (or attempted to sleep) along side us on Army cots during our summer mission trips when they could have been enjoying their own vacations. They did all of this without knowing what God would do with their efforts, but trusting that they served a faithful God.
These people are my "cloud of witnesses" (Hebrews 12:1). They inspire me to hold on to Jesus, to trust Him when I don't see the faith I want to see in my kids or the grace I want to see in myself. They encourage me to keep praying and teaching and reaching out. And the results of their sacrifice--the Christ-following teachers, business people, pastors, ministry wives, moms--assure me that God is indeed faithful with the mite and the talent.
All I can say is, "Thank you."
Shannon is one of these results. She has a beautiful blog tracing the hand of Christ through daily life called In a Mirror Dimly. It has been a great delight to me. Below is our senior piano recital photo. Can you figure out which beauties we are?