Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Day 22- A 12 year old first

I have never parented a 12 year old before. Today, Hannah Grace turned 12.  My first for today is to parent a 12 year old.

Joel gets in the birthday spirit

Yes, today is Hannah Grace's birthday.  I thank God for this beautiful, creative, funny, delightful and loving daughter. I do think something of truth exists in the old fable that "a daughter can twist her father around her little finger" in our relationship.  No, I don't think she can twist me around to do her wishes every time, but there is a deep bond between us.  I am so glad we enjoy each other's company and have lots of fun together. Laura and I prayed that we would not have a boring child.  God has answered that prayer.

As I think about her 12th birthday, my mind asks the question, "Am I doing a good job of helping her develop a strong love relationship with Jesus?"  That's the most important aspect of her life.  I do want her to have a life of love, fun, adventure, and joy.  More than that, I want her to know Jesus well. That is the key to having a life of love, fun, adventure, and joy.  I have often prayed that she would be converted in a way that she and everyone else around her would know that she's been converted.  That's my heart for my little girl (of course, all of this is true for my son Joel as well).
I'm grateful for the fun times we've had together.  We've had many days spent laughing together. I've been there when she was crying during much of many nights. I was glad I could be there for her in those times.  If I had my druthers, neither of us would have had to go through those long nights. I'm very glad Laura was also there in those long nights.
I thought today, "What do I need to do better with Hannah Grace (and also Joel).  I believe I need to concentrate more on teaching the Word to them. They hear me preach and they go to church every Sunday and Wednesday, but I need to be more intentional about teaching the truths of God's word to them on their level. Tonight, I started a series on Wednesday nights where the church will be memorizing Scripture together (the ones that come on Wednesday night and choose to).  That may be the first step we take as a family-to memorize a verse a week together. When I mentioned it to Hannah Grace, she said that sounded cool. Yay!
When Jonathan Edwards' son Timothy was 14, it was feared he might have smallpox- a very dangerous disease in the 1700's.  Jonathan wrote him a letter telling him of his concern for him but mostly encouraging him to make sure his heart was right with God.  Here's an excerpt from that letter: "Indeed, God often hears the poor miserable cries of sinful vile creatures, who have no manner of true regard to Him in their hearts; for he is a God of infinite mercy, and he delights to show mercy for his Son’s sake, who is worthy, though you are unworthy, who came to save the sinful and the miserable, yea, some of the chief of sinners. Therefore, there is your only hope, and in him must be your refuge, who invites you to come to him, and says, ‘Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.’... We are expressly commanded to call upon God in the day of trouble, and when we are afflicted, then to pray. But, if I hear that you have escaped,—either that you have not been sick, or are restored,—though I shall rejoice, and have great cause of thankfulness, yet I shall be concerned for you. If your escape should be followed with carelessness and security, and forgetting the remarkable warning you have had, and God’s great mercy in your deliverance, it would in some respects be more awful than sore sickness. It would be very provoking to God, and would probably issue in an increasing hardness of heart; and, it may be, divine vengeance may soon overtake you."
Pretty strong words to be sure.  I may choose different words, but I need to have a strong zeal for the sure salvation of my household. 
Praying for the abundant life for my household
3 things I thank God for today
1. Haiti mission team continues to do well
2. Jesus does not cast out those who come to him in repentance and faith
3. A daughter who expresses joy very well

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