Monthly Archives: October 2012

Legacy: Part 2

Continued from Part 1

By Jennifer Clark

I was worried when I found out the date of my grandpa’s funeral. It was on a Monday, and there wasn’t time for the newspaper to print his obituary before the service. I was afraid that there would not be enough people there to honor him.

The church was full.

My cousin Sean, a newly ordained minister, preached his funeral. I was reminded of Elijah passing his mantle on to Elisha as he stood up and delivered his message. Sean was not the only member of my family to follow in Grandpa’s footsteps. Grandpa’s son, Jack, and granddaughter, Julie, are both ministers as well. Three generations united in service to God.

I sat in the service and thought about my son, Jackson, whom I named after my grandpa. I know that my grandpa prayed earnestly that this blessing would come into our lives. How many hours, I wonder, did my grandpa spend kneeling before God praying over his family? What course might our lives have taken, if not for those prayers?

The Old Testament talks of blessings and curses that fall over the generations of a family. I believe that to be true, though I think the curses come from the evil we do to each other. A parent who abuses a child can often raise an abuser. The cycle can last for generations, until someone has the courage and will to break it. But the opposite can also be true. The influence of a wise and loving parent can also last for generations. When we raise our children, the future is in our hands.

It’s a scary thought, the power we hold as parents. That’s not to say that we can control the destiny of our children. But our influence, that will always be there.

So many times our family turned to Grandpa for prayer. Will Jackson turn to me? Am I living in a way that will inspire him to live his own life for God? I am afraid that far too often, I fall short. I want to be more like my grandpa. My son needs me to be more like him.

A legacy may be unintended. Children are led by example, and the example I set is not always the one I would consciously choose. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget the big picture. But I can’t afford to do that; I have a responsibility to my son.

When it is my time to pass, I want my son to have the comfort that our family had when we buried Grandpa. He had lived a life that was rich and full and dedicated to God. He wasn’t really dead; he had simply gone home.

We could have faith in God’s word:

“His lord said unto him, well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” -Matthew 25:23

Legacy: Part 1

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” Psalm 145:4

By: Jennifer Clark

Parenting can be terrifying. I remember when I first brought my little bundle home from the hospital; I just wanted to keep him alive. Here was this tiny, helpless baby that was totally dependent on me and my husband. I couldn’t even remember to water my plants, and they gave me a baby?

The first night, we finally coaxed him to sleep in his bassinet  I stood there for about ten minutes just watching him breathe. At least I thought he was breathing….wait was he breathing? So, naturally, I poked him.

Eventually I began to let go of some of my anxiety about his survival. I think the turning point was the day at the park when he popped a used Popsicle stick in his mouth. I was horrified, repulsed and more than a little freaked out. But he didn’t get sick, and his tongue didn’t fall off. He was fine. I realized I was going to have to let go a little. I would just do the best I could to keep him safe.

But since this summer, I have spent a lot of time thinking about another, greater responsibility to my son: How do I raise him to become a good, Christian man?

You see, this past summer, my family lost my grandfather. It is difficult to put into words the depth of that loss. Over the course of his life, he helped raise three families. His own father died when my grandfather was a young man. My great-grandmother was left with children still at home to raise on her own. My grandpa stepped into that void and was, in many ways, a provider and father figure to his younger siblings. Then, with his wife, my grandma, he raised his own family of four children. Later, he stepped up again and became much more than a grandfather to three of my cousins, his grandchildren.

He was more than a father, grandfather or great- grandfather. He was a pastor that that didn’t just preach the Gospel, he lived it every day. I saw him help feed the poor, and visit the sick and the lonely. He yearned for heaven, but it was his devotion to doing Christ’s work on earth that I think gave him such great satisfaction. He wouldn’t, he often said, trade anything for his journey now.

We knew his life was coming to an end when he entered hospice care in June. Waves of people, generations of family members came to say goodbye and pray. Sometimes there were so many people that we all couldn’t fit in his room, so we would sit with him in shifts. He was never alone.

This was not a man, by the standards of the world, who was outstanding or exceptional. He wasn’t rich or famous. There will never be buildings named after him or monuments built in his in honor. But my grandpa did not have his eyes set on this world. His treasures were stored up in the kingdom of heaven.

To be a parent is to send ripples through time. My grandpa’s influence did not end with his death.  Because of his example, generations of my family will know what it means to live a life that honors God.  I look at my son, and wonder, how can I carry on this legacy?

To be continued on Wednesday…

Nigerian Dessert: Chin Chin

But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it.”  Luke 11:28

By Guest Writer: Veronica Thiele

It’s hard for me to sit and think about something to say in response to my own writing… something that makes it more than it is. I cannot do that. As I was singing to God this afternoon, I realized that in a few short days it would be 1 year to the day that we stepped foot in Nigeria. It brought tears to my eyes.

I miss it so much, the people, the food, the memories. I want to share some of my favorite memories with you.

The first is a simple dessert called Chin chin. In Hausa, Chin chin means sweet snack. Nigerians have their own version of Chin chin, but this mine. It is similar to a donut or Beignet.

Chin chin:

1 ¾ C flour

2/3 C sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 mashed ripened banana

1 ½ tsp vanilla

¾ C water

*Oil to fry

Mix all ingredients well. It will look like a lumpy pancake batter. Make sure your oil is nice and hot over a medium high heat. Use a 1/3 C scoop, drop scoopfuls into the hot oil. They will sink to the bottom; you will need to loosen them. They will then float. Turn them when they are lightly brown (approx 3-5 min). After both sides are brown, remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

Options: sprinkle powder sugar on top OR add chocolate chips to the recipe 

Another great memory I share with my children and those are our village: Football (soccer). Every evening, we would rush to finish dinner so that we could join the children playing soccer. My 2 yr old would get out in the field and just run and run. He didn’t care if he had a ball in front of him or not (most of the time). He just enjoyed the giggles that came along with it.

We have so many wonderful memories to share. Had it not been for God’s lead, and our willingness to follow blindly, we would have missed out on these blessings.

(Please “Like” our Facebook page.  When we reach 200, we will host an awesome give-away.)

Veronica is a wife to the newest member of a local police department, a mother of 3 very active boys, expecting baby #4 (while praying for a little girl), and a high school English teacher. Whew… with all of that said, she enjoys baking, cooking, and sewing.  Veronica writes a blog called The Tell-Tale Thiele Family blog.  Check it out!

 

Follow After Me

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”  Matthew 10:38-39 

By Guest Writer: Veronica Thiele

When we first decided to move to Africa, we had to believe that God was leading us. We were walking blind. We had no clue where we were headed, and it was difficult to think about planning it all.

If you know me, I’m a planner. I make notes, lists, and plan vacations about a year in advance. So it made sense when we planned to move to Africa that we planned 2 yrs in advance. That was our plan; God had his plan.

We began our search for an agency with great difficulty. We were shot down at every corner. It was suggested several times to allow God to lead us into this adventure. Honestly, we laughed, said yes, but continued to drive the car as if we were in charge. After more and more frustrations, my husband and I decided to stop everything and take the advice. We stopped searching, stopped talking about it, and stopped trying to make it happen. Instead, we prayed.

When allowed God to lead us, it was a bit scary, though, we felt at peace. We were no longer stressed; we were no longer overwhelmed; we were in His hands. The song, “I’m Letting Go,” by Francesca Battistelli became my theme song.

God quickly went to work and opened doors for us. Within 8 months, we were packing our bags to move to Nigeria. We only fundraised for 2 months; a total of 3 actual sessions. He miraculously provided the money, the means, and now, the way. We had our ship date, and we were ready.

We were moving to a country where we knew no one, didn’t speak their language, and knew nothing about the culture. Family and friends would ask us if we were scared. “No, we’re following God! We’re excited!” We were walking blindly but believed God was in charge.

When we arrived in Africa (Oct. 5, 2011), it was breath-taking, every bit of it. We had quickly decided that we would stay in Nigeria, “as long as we are needed.” This is what we told people. I figured that we’d be there for about 10 yrs or so, maybe longer. That was my plan.

God had his own plan.  With just 7 short months in Africa, we were called home to care for our oldest son. (Yes, we took our 3 children with us.) It was very sudden. We didn’t know where we would return to. We’d given it all up to follow God’s lead: our house, cars, furniture, clothing, household items, toys, junk, everything we owned was gone.

Once again we were walking blindly, but fully knowing that God would provide. We died to ourselves in the U.S. to move to Nigeria where we found our new selves. Now, we were being asked to do it once more. It took everything in me to say, “okay, we will leave,” and it took the rest of me to trust in God that he would provide what was needed, once again.

We’ve heard, and told, this joke many times: You want to watch God laugh? Just tell him your plans.

This is how our life has felt since this all began. We decided that it wasn’t worth trying to take charge any more. God is in charge, and we must be faithful to him and trust in Him. We have lived by this for almost 2 years now.

We are HIS children; He loves us. He will care for and provide for us, just like we do for our children. He is a faithful and loving Father, and we praise Him for that!

It was worth it for us to listen to God. Place your lives, wholly, in his hands and don’t look back. He will take care of you!

(Please “Like” our Facebook page.  When we reach 200, we will host an awesome give-away.)

Veronica is a wife to the newest member of a local police department, a mother of 3 very active boys, expecting baby #4 (while praying for a little girl), and a high school English teacher. Whew… with all of that said, she enjoys baking, cooking, and sewing.  Veronica writes a blog called The Tell-Tale Thiele Family blog.  Check it out!

Talk About a Proverbs 31 Woman!

“She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue.”  Proverbs 31:26

by: Jennifer Mullen

Yesterday at our MOPS meeting, we were blessed to hear from a true Proverbs 31 Woman, Michelle Duggar.  It was an encouraging and challenging message.  Gretchen said that she was inspired by some of the points Mrs. Duggar made to write a future post.  Four of the Mosaic of Moms writers were at this meeting.

I encourage you to check out the Duggar Family website.  It has so many great resources for Christian families.

Left to Right: Melissa Pope, Michelle Duggar, Jennifer Mullen, Sarah Smith, and Gretchen Speer