Archive for February, 2011

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The Faith of a Child

02/28/2011

I am extremely thankful for the way I was raised. I grew up going to church and had amazing Sunday school teachers throughout the years. Almost all my friends as a child and teenager were Christians. I even had middle and high school teachers who spoke openly of their faith and encouraged mine. I lived in a city that had more churches than I can count and three Christian universities. And I am confident that God used that type of upbringing to shape me to be the person that I am today. For that, I am thankful.

But, it is that background that makes my world today, particularly in being a parent of two young girls in a foreign land, seem so incredible and otherworldly. I grew up, as a Christian, in circumstances where almost everything around me was “Christian.” So, it is fascinating to be parenting two girls in a city where following Jesus happens on the margins, on the outside, in subtle and often unobservable ways. Brynn is only 4 years old, and she is very aware that she “bows down” to someone other than who her friends “bow down” to. (Click here to read a previous post about Brynn and the morning rituals at her school.) The faith of my daughters is being formed very differently than my own experience. For that, I am thankful.

I am thankful that Brynn and Meg’s imaginations are being stretched as they put on nativity plays with sheets and pillowcases for shepherd costumes and share the Lord’s meal weekly with people of all ages and backgrounds. I am thankful that Brynn and Meg are learning at an early age that Christianity is not about surrounding yourself with people who are the same as you in a safe environment, but it is being a “sent people” going out into the world. I am thankful that Brynn and Meg are experiencing firsthand that we follow a God who hangs out on the margins and is cast outside the walls of the city.

With all that said, I can honestly say that I am fearful at times because I don’t have much of a frame of reference for how to parent two girls in a situation like this. Most days I long for the familiar and the blessings of my kids growing up in a context like my own childhood. But, on my better days, I am excited to see how the faith of my daughters will be shaped by them living out their faith on the margins, instead of in a place of dominance. I look forward to watching how they view Jesus differently than me because their choice to follow him will be a daily choice. I am curious how they will experience Christian community since they will need a place of strength and encouragement in order to be sent back out into the world. And I wait expectantly for how the Kingdom of God will come more fully to Phayao because of the faith, and faithfulness, of my girls.

Therefore, for the days I am overwhelmed by the pressures of parenting in a foreign land and feel nostalgic and sad that they won’t have the same experiences I had, please pray for strength, wisdom and perseverance. And for the days when I see with more clarity, please pray that I will be able to see the movement of God in the lives of my two girls.