Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Joys of Family Life

We waited some fifteen years before belatedly experiencing grandchildren. Shortly after we married, we discovered one of us was under a death sentence of three to twelve months. God has transformed that dismal beginning into sixty-eight years, two living children and five premature births, and two wonderful grandsons (Austin returning an interception, shown above).

Our only daughter inherited problems that prevented her birthing children, leaving her brokenhearted. She devoted herself to her husband and mothered every child she met over nearly four decades of nursing. Our son, the last in the lineage of a dad who was the last of his line like his father before him, ultimately sired two sons in a broken marriage.

As grandparents, we lived six-hundred miles from our fast-growing grandsons and missed many of the benefits enjoyed by an intimate family. That makes us especially aware of the wisdom of the ancient Wiseman who suggested, “Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV).  

That ancient writer said we should commit our “works to the Lord,” for “your thoughts will be established” (Proverbs 16:3 NKJV). This came home to me recently. It gave our son Scott the shock of his life but it underscored the value of making good decisions. When he determined his marriage was unsalvageable, he intentionally made several significant decisions that are paying huge emotional dividends.

Although Scott lived a long day’s drive from us, he made a career change to keep him close to his babies. This enabled him to become part of their growing up process in spite of the failed marriage. Withdrawing his life savings, he invested in a nice house that guaranteed a comfortable home for our grandsons and their mother. He provided intentional alimony that insured the necessities required by reasonable maintenance in a single-parent home.

When our second grandson was born, Scott accepted the challenge of the deteriorating marriage and agreed for the boys’ mother to return to work while he became stay-at-home dad for that first year. That year of at home brought an unexpected special bonding with Austin, not experienced by Kody. I didn’t really know if I could find a place for Austin in my heart; I was simply so full of Kody! But he was such a loving little guy; he just barged in, nudged Kody aside, and established his turf … and I am so blessed by them!

After twenty years of praying God to call the boys into some kind of Ministry, we thrill in watching Kody become established in a Youth Ministry in Fort Lauderdale, Fl. After several years of being coached and mentored by Peter Hass and the Substance Ministry of Minneapolis, Kody is now employed in a Florida ministry. The church has created a position that allows them to serve together and they plan a July Wedding (see Scott's growing family at right)..

Austin passed his 22nd birthday 3 days after I passed mile-marker 88.  He anticipates his senior year at University of Northwestern, as a co-captain completing his final year of varsity football. Anticipating a degree in business, he is evaluating God’s options for his life. Meanwhile, Scott and Austin went for their annual birthday bash--now a tradition that allows them to enjoy some of the fruit Scott planted during that first year of being stay-at-home dad to Austin.

Scott excitedly inflrmed me recently of going to a nice steak house for something a little nicer than the usual weekly lunch. They ordered dinner. Scott prayed, thanking God for the meal, for his son and their relationship, for Kody and Liz and their pending marriage, et al. Finishing his prayer, Scott glanced up to see Austin staring at him--grinning somewhat uncharacteristically.

Trying to process what was taking place, he almost unconsciously became aware of another presence. Liz, Kody’s tiny South Korean adoptee-fiancĂ©, is standing beside Austin, seated across from Scott. Perplexed … confused … trying to process … suddenly overwhelmed - Kody is not in Ft Lauderdale, he is standing beside Liz … ! (Engagement night shown left and I can hardly wait to welcome her!).

They needed to complete some wedding details, but they didn’t tell Grandpa for fear he would blow it - (that’s a whole other story of Grandpa and Facebook). They “sneaked” it past Austin and gave dad the thrill of his life by silently appearing unexpectedly. The writer of Proverbs announced “Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV).

I was reminded of this word from Proverbs when this hit the fan last week and.I shared it second hand. Scott was so overwhelmed he couldn’t wait to tell me and let me share it with Granny-T. Obviously, we love our children, but we are especially proud of our grandsons and the splendid young men they have become (Kody seen interning  with Substance, Minneapolis in the lower right corner).

Righteousness exalts a nation, but understand this: the deterioration…the dissolution…the diminishing of contemporary family life, especially in America: this is our social lynchpin! It is our foundational cornerstone! It is part of the glue that makes us 
stick together and it is irreplaceable in the future survival of our civilization!

From Warner’s World, I am

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