Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Hand Down Your Own Family's Faith & Prayer History

When it comes to handing down the faith to our children and grandchildren, there is something very important we need to do - which sadly, we do not often think to do. What is this, "very important thing", you ask? It is being intentional about telling them the "Faith and Prayer History" of your family.

My children and grandchildren know their genealogy when it comes to how their great-great-great-great-great, well, many greats relative was living in Scotland when he was thrown on a ship and shanghaied to America where he was sold as an indentured servant. They know about our relative who tried to overthrow the Canadian government and decided to trade his house for a fast horse, so he could get away from Canada and into the USA. These and many other of our "family histories" have been handed on to my children and grandchildren to help them have an idea of the people who came before them in their family line.

These histories are important to share with our children and grandchildren, but just as important, if not more important, is sharing our family's "Faith and Prayer Histories", so they are able to see and understand how God has worked in the lives of their family. It is a very powerful thing to share the true family histories of how God has worked in the lives of their ancestors and how He has answered their prayers. When they hear and understand these are true accounts, it makes a powerful impact on their understanding of how God will work in their lives as well.

So, what might a "Faith or Prayer History" look like? Allow me to share with you one such history from my own family, taken from a book about my grandparents, Clarence and Faye Fullmer, written by my sister (Clarence & Faye - copyright 2016 by Loretta Baughan). The year was 1964 and the place was the small village of Cedarville, Michigan; just east of St. Ignace, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, along the shore of Lake Huron. My grandparents were staying in a resort owned by a friend when they decided to go fishing for yellow perch. My grandma wrote about what happened as follows:

"We heard of a wonderful place to go fishing by the Les Chateaux Islands near the Straits of mackinaw. We took my 90-year old father, Charles, along as he had been an ardent fisherman all his life.  
We were enjoying our fishing when it began to get cloudy and looked like rain, so we started to reel in our fishing lines. We gazed back towards the Straits and saw these terrible red and black clouds coming our way across the water. Clarence got the motor started and we raced down the lake to our dock. We just barely made it when an angry tornado struck the boathouse next door to us. Boards and shingles flew everywhere over our heads. 
Clarence tied our boat up and I helped my father out of the boat and onto the dock. He crawled to shore on his hands and knees with a howling wind and debris flying everywhere. It was dark as night and trees were uprooted, crisscrossing in the resort driveway and on our car as well. 
After helping my father onto the dock, I turned around to see how Clarence was coming along. Being a small person, only four feet eleven inches, the wind picked me up and set me in the lake. It threw Clarence against the catwalk, hurting his ribs and legs. He crawled to me as quickly as he could to try and help me out of the water, but his ribs were so badly bruised he wasn't able to help lift me out of the water. I was so short and the wind storm was strong, my clothing water-soaked and heavy and the water so deep I couldn't get my feet onto anything solid: not even the braces under the catwalk. 
We became very exhausted trying to get me out of the water; I finally said, 'I guess you will just have to let me go!' Clarence said, 'Oh no. I will never do that." So we kept clinging to the catwalk, praying God would send someone to rescue us. 
I suddenly discovered there was something solid brushing against my leg in the water. We, in our struggle, had inched along the dock until I was beside a large submerged live box which freshly caught fish were placed in before cleaning. The box was securely attached to the underside of the catwalk, enabling me to place my feet on it which gave us the extra leverage needed to help boost me higher, out of the water, so my husband could pull me onto the dock. 
We just lay there, exhausted, on the wooden planking for a long time until we gained enough strength to stumble back to shore together. We feared my dad had been unable to crawl to shore and had been blown into the lake during our ordeal, but he, through God's grace, had gotten safely to shore; he had been certain neither of us had survived the storm. We three embraced, then collapsed from exhaustion, dripping wet inside our cottage. 
Friends helped take Clarence to a doctor who examined him and found he had no broken bones, but his ribs and legs were badly bruised. We rested up a few days and went home without any more fishing on that trip. 
We never forgot God's goodness and watchful care in sparing our lives despite unbelievable odds. His strength truly takes over, when our own is depleted, to see us through to safe harbor. I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13."
This is just part of my family's, "Faith and Prayer History" and I have made sure my grandsons know how God answered their great-great grandparent's prayers and saved them and their great-great-great grandpa from the tornado. I want them to know how God has worked in the lives of their family and how He has answered their prayers. When they face a difficult situation - and they will - I want them to remember how God has shown Himself to be faithful in the past to their family, so they will be able to believe He will be faithful today to them.

In the Old Testament, in Psalms 78 and Judges 2 we see when God's people did not tell their history of how God helped them, future generations forgot what he did for them, were caught up in the culture around them, turned away from God and no longer walked with Him. I want my grandsons to know what God has done for us. I want them to know their family's, "Faith and Prayer History". I want them to remember how God was faithful to us yesterday, know how to watch for the many ways big and small where He shows Himself to be faithful today, so they will know He will be faithful to them tomorrow.

Think about the "Faith and Prayer History" of your family. Take time to write them down and share with your children and grandchildren. It is a very important thing you need to do.

#grandmas #handingdownthefaith #itmatterswhatwedo #grandparentingonpurpose 

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