Give Thanks! — My Parents

Today I simply want to give thanks for my mom and dad. Often, it is easy for us to over look or take for granted our parents. We’ve known them all our lives and have been privy to their instruction, discipline, encouragement, and counsel all along the way. I suppose I am not any different in that regard myself. God has used the events of our lives in this last year to remind me of his grace that he has given to me in my parents.

More than anything I am thankful for the ways that my parents have remained faithful to the gospel all throughout my life. Dad prayed with me nightly before I’d go to bed, all the way up until I was eighteen. He presented the gospel to me as a four year old in the back of our station wagon when I asked for a story. Mom would pray privately every day for my brother and I that we would be strong men of the faith and useful for the Kingdom of God. She encouraged us to be students of the Word and to hide the Scriptures in our hearts. My parents weren’t about just the externals of religion, they wanted to see the gospel transform our hearts.

Their love for Christ was evident beyond just their desire to see their two sons know and love Christ, they wanted to make a difference with their lives for the sake of the gospel. The love of Christ was the compelling force for them that caused them to give up their lives and go overseas to work with those in need. They keep showing us, even after we’ve left the house, what it looks like to lay down your life for others.

You are probably familiar with my mom’s story that has unfolded over this last summer. God’s grace in saving her life is another display of his kindness to us. I am so grateful that my mom is alive. I am thankful that I can still glean wisdom from my dad. I am thankful for God’s grace in giving me two incredible people as my parents, who love me unconditionally, and more than anything love Christ and desire to glorify him with all that they are. I am especially thankful for the grace of my parents this year. 

Give Thanks! — The In-Laws

I don’t know what it is about two families being joined together because of marriage, but it seems that there is often difficulty. Two upbringings, two ways of doing things, maybe even two distinct set of values. Spending time with the “in-laws” is often the butt of many jokes, and the frequent reason for many awkward family gatherings.

But I don’t have that issue. My in-laws are simply fantastic. I’ve never been anything but accepted, loved, and included with them. I’ve never not enjoyed being with them. For me being the son-in-law of Ed & Debbie has been another movement of God’s grace in my life. Their home has been a refuge for me and my family time and time again. Christ’s love radiates from this house, even by the way they serve and take in strangers. I was one of of those stranger/drifters strolling through town eleven years ago. As I met and won their daughters heart they welcomed me with open arms. They demonstrate the real meaning of Biblical hospitality.

Over the years I have seen them love, give, serve, support and encourage not just my family but so many others. Ever since I’ve known them they have served in their local church, “adopted” international college students, and given of themselves over and over again. Their love for one another as a couple is obvious and real. Their love for their family, and those beyond their family is tangible and seen.

I’m thankful today (and this weekend) for my in-laws, Ed and Debbie Love. They truly exemplify the love of Christ and are gifts of grace and kindness from the Lord to me.