|Our kids with Great Grandma Zemke on December 27, 2015.|
As a parent, the words of this verse from Proverbs are never far from my heart. They're words applicable for parents and I am certain that God knew I needed them when he inspired them to be written.
Tonight as I consider them, however, I look back and give thanks for the parents who have trained their children in the past. Without doing some research, some of these people are nameless to me and yet have had a profound impact on me and my family.
More than eight decades ago children were born into the Reese, Zemke, Moore, Davis, Antholz, Smith, Hadlich, and Roske families. These parents brought their children to be baptized into the family of Christ. They brought them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. The next generation brought our grandparents into the world and they too were brought to faith through water and the word. God kept them in the shadow of his wing and blessed them with children who grew to become our parents. We are the product of our parents diligent training, teaching, rebuking, directing, and disciplining in keeping with the Proverbs 22 command. By God's great grace, Nate and I have three generous gifts of God, our children. It is our calling as parents to continue the example set before us, to continue to make faith in our Savior the mission of our time with our children.
Those first eight names listed above are the family names of our Great Grandparents. As of this week, only one remains on this earth. Seven have been welcomed into heaven, to live in glory everlasting. We are thankful for our time with them, for the memories we were allowed, and for the heritage of faith they passed down. Last night we shared with our children that their Great Grandma Zemke was home in heaven and, while there were tears, there was also peace. A peace that only comes from the certainly of faith in Jesus. Great Grandma wasn't young anymore and, as the Proverb says, she had not departed from what she knew. She knew Jesus, she knew she was going home, she knew perfect joy was a breath away. Joy in Jesus.
The Holy Spirit works to bring us to faith and to keep us in faith. Tonight I'm thankful for the generations that have come before us and the faith they have instilled in their children. May the the generations to come be just as faithful as they continue to, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it."