I credit my spiritual maturity to my parents. Not because they were perfect. Not because my life has been without trial. Not because I somehow managed to avoid any church hurt or disappointment from unmet expectations. No. These are three reasons I feel like I can credit so much of my spiritual growth to my parents:
1. They showed me that though life isn’t perfect, God is still faithful and good. I never grew up believing that being a Christian meant that I magically became exempt from trials in life. In fact, that’s not even Biblical. I know my life is blessed, not because of the absence of trials, but because of the Lord’s grace and his pursuit of me.
2. My parents were authentic, transparent, and vulnerable with me regarding their faith walk. I remember my mom sharing with me hard times she was walking through and her commitment to trusting God in spite of how she felt. I remember discussions about Scripture and taking the time to hear each other and understand what God was writing to us in his Word. I remember both of my parents surrendering in worship and shedding tears during the altar call.
3. Lastly, my parents taught me what it meant to have my own relationship with God. They encouraged me to have a prayer closet and taught me how to prioritize it in my day. They allowed me and my siblings to lead the daily family devotional. They wanted to hear how different verses impacted our lives and never belittled us when we were unsure of what to say. They gave us room and grace to grow, empowered us with opportunities to serve and learn from others, and never communicated that they knew more about spiritual things just because they were older and we were only children. They taught us that our relationship with God was personal and it may not look exactly like theirs.
These three practices helped me and guided me in my spiritual journey. I admire my parents for being so open with us and for sharing their own faith walk with us. It made things easier when I did experience church hurt, when I did have unmet expectations, when people in the faith did fail. And I am assured now that my God is faithful and is someone I can always count on.
About the Author: Christen McAfee is an educator who loves to connect with families and build relationships with her students. She believes writing is one of the greatest ways to express thought, experience, and learning. Besides writing, Christen enjoys hanging out with her husband, family, and friends and trying new foods!