We Are Not Our Parents

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

The acorn didn’t fall far from the tree. He’s a chip off the old block. She’s just like her mother…

Comments like these are often heard whether to describe someone in a positive light, or negative. Both indicate the child is like the parent. In some ways, I guess that’s true. In others, I would suggest it is not the case. While we may share genetics and outward appearance similarities, that doesn’t mean we are carbon copies.

A friend of mine struggles with alcoholism and the ramifications of its affect on her children, as reflected in their behavior and bad choices.

One friend fears getting married because her parents divorced, and she falsely believes she’d be doomed to the same fate.

Another friend can’t understand where she went wrong in raising her son.

Look around. There are examples everywhere of children who are like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. There are also examples of children who are not like their parents, whether for the good, or the bad. My observations have shown me it is all a matter of choice.

I have friends who have over three generations of alcoholism in their lineage. Yet, they are not alcoholics. Why? Because they saw the destruction, knew they had a predisposition for addictive behaviors, and refused to fall victim to its power.

I know people whose parents divorced, yet were able to sustain long, loving marriages until their deaths. Why? Because they were not their parents.

We might recall the story of Joseph. Favored son born of favored wife. Sold into slavery by his brothers. Interpreter of dreams. Falsely accused. Rose to rule second in command in Egypt. Forgives.

Although Joseph was well-loved and favored by his father, Jacob, his family was terribly dysfunctional. Boy, howdy, were they ever. You think your family has issues? Go read Genesis 27 to the end of the book.

Joseph was not his father, his mother, his brothers, or his uncle, Laban. Joseph was God’s man. A tool God used to accomplish his plan. Joseph broke the chain of dysfunction in his family. We can, too.

We are not our parents. Just as our children are not us. We are each individuals with free will to make intelligent decisions. We can break free from the chains that bind us. Make our own good choices based on instruction we find in the Bible. We can decide differently. We can be the ones who end the destructive cycles that have gone before us.

It’s up to us.

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But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid; I can’t put myself in the place of God. You plotted evil against me, but God turned it into good, in order to preserve the lives of many people who are alive today because of what happened. Genesis 50:19-20 (GNT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Blessed Among Women

Bing PhotosBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Many a time, I’ve tried. I really have. But I just cannot imagine what it was like. To be a teenager engaged to one man, and be told you would become pregnant with a child that was not his? To be told by an angel, of all things. That right there, would be scary enough.

Mary had found favor. She was the one chosen to give birth to the long awaited, much prayed for, Messiah. Savior. Deliver. She was blessed above all others.

Bing PhotosMary. A poor girl from the village of Nazareth. A descendent of the House of David. She was honored above all women who ever were, and ever would be. Her son’s kingdom would never end.

How can you be the mother of the child of God? It’s difficult enough being the mother of a regular, everyday, garden variety child. But to raise the son of the One True Creator God? Like I said, I just cannot imagine it.

I can’t truly understand the flood of emotions that must have coursed through Mary’s every waking, and probably sleeping, moment. Me? The vessel chosen to deliver the Messiah to the world? I believe that in God’s omnipotent, omniscient love and grace, he shielded Mary from the shadow of the cross for as long as he could.

Beyond the awesomeness of being chosen to carry Immanuel in her womb, must have Bing Photosbeen the pain of telling Joseph she was pregnant. Would he believe her? Really believe her? Fortunately, God took care of that when he sent an angel to inform Joseph of what was going on.

Then, of course, there were the neighbors. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Did the gossip sting Mary’s heart? God took care of that, too, when Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth pronounced Mary held the Savior inside. Affirmation of who Jesus was. Who Mary was.

There were the angels. The shepherds. The wise men. Anna and Simeon in the temple.  Witness to the great thing the LORD God Almighty had done, and would do.

God continues to use his people to accomplish his plans. We won’t give birth to the Messiah, but like Mary, we carry Christ inside us, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Once we claim Jesus as our LORD and Savior, it then becomes our responsibility to praise God for the great things he has done for us through his love, mercy and grace, and share that wonder with those around us.

Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.” Luke 1:46-50

I wish you well.

Sandy

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The Noblest of All Men

Bing PhotosThe Bible does not tell us much about Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father, but what it does say, speaks volumes.

Bing PhotosThough he had every right, through the law, to break off his engagement to Mary when he discovered she was pregnant, Joseph wanted to do it quietly. He loved her, and didn’t want to publicly humiliate her.

When he learned Mary was pregnant with the Savior of the world, he understood he would raise a child who was not his biologically. Yet, Joseph vowed to love God’s son as his own flesh, and raise him as his own. What a challenge in any time, but especially during the time Jesus was born. Joseph was willing to stand with Mary, support her, love her and her child, and endure the cruel gossips of the day.

Nobel Joseph. Honorable Joseph. Hardworking Joseph. Devoted. Committed. God-fearing. Obedient. Loving husband. Loving father.

Like Joseph, maybe we’ve been called by God to stand with someone others are unjustly Bing Photoscondemning. Maybe we’ve been put in an uncomfortable situation, and asked to do things that take us out of our comfort zone for Jesus’ sake. Maybe we’ve had to lead from the shadows, without recognition.

Joseph did all that, yet, he was the noblest of all men. His name will be remembered for all eternity as the man chosen by the Creator of the Universe to raise the Messiah. What an amazing honor and privilege.

 

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but before they married, she learned she was pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit. Because Mary’s husband, Joseph, was a good man, he did not want to disgrace her in public, so he planned to divorce her secretly. While Joseph thought about these things, an angel of the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, descendant of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the baby in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:18-21

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — The Time Had Come

Isaiah 40While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough. Luke 2:6-7

The prophesies predicted the Son of God would be born in Bethlehem. And he was. But his parents, Mary and Joseph, were living in Nazareth. About one hundred miles away. How did this happen?

God. That’s how.

At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman government decreed a census would be taken. Everyone was to return to their ancestral homes to be counted. Bethlehem was Mary and Joseph’s ancestral home. A very pregnant Mary, and her husband, Joseph, made the trek. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet Micah foretold.

God is Sovereign. All nations are under him. His plans will be accomplished according to his divine will, using whatever means he sees fit. Even an occupying nation’s census.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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