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About the Writer:
Shannon Ayers

Trained as a process engineer, mother of five and serving as a church secretary and children's ministry director, Shannon helps break down Godly principles into usable and encouraging steps. Her heart for the Lord is huge and apparent in all she does. Her wisdom and clarity of truth adds even more to her writing.



The Parable of the Revealed Light

By Shannon Ayers

Subject - Help for Stepfamilies

Luke 8:16-18

I did not become a mother the way most people do. I woke up the morning after my marriage with three small faces peering under the bedroom door wanting to know if I was still here and could they come in and say good morning. You see, we are a blended family. Our oldest three children are the biological children from my husband’s first marriage, and our younger two children are mine and my husband’s biological children. Yet, they are all every bit OUR children.

When my husband’s first wife died, she left these three small children motherless. I was willing and eager to assume the role for I truly loved each of them and was head over heels in love with my husband. But I came about it all-wrong. You see, as I faced each new battle with my new undisciplined and unruly children, my frustration and anger grew. I thought they were lucky to have me as their mom. After all, I was God’s gift to them! I couldn’t have been more wrong. They, as it turns out, are God’s gift to me. Over the last five years, I have grown more as a person, a Christian, a woman of faith than in all my previous 19 years in God’s family. I have seen my anger become sin, my frustration become wounding words filled with poison, and my heart so full of self-doubt that I thought it would break.

A very wise friend gave me some genuine and hard-nosed advice about raising children. She said, “Don’t make a big deal about everything. They’re kids for goodness sake and they are going to act like kids!” I thought that if only I had had these children since birth, they would be respectful, obedient, and forthright. Andrew and Riley came along and dispelled all those fantasies. Children are children and they are not born knowing how to “behave” or how to display endless amounts of self-control any more than I can at the age of 35.

How many of us have remembered how a parent handled a situation with us or our siblings and said, “I won’t make that mistake when I’m a parent!” or “I want my child to feel exactly like I do right now so I’m going to do it just like mom or dad did it!” How we raise our children directly affects how our grandchildren are raised. Think about it. Those children you are looking forward to spoiling are going to be raised by the ones you are raising today. Those children you teach in the next generation are going to be trained up by the ones you are teaching in this generation. Does that change your perspective a little? It certainly does mine! What they see in us when we are not “on stage” as mom or grandmother or aunt or teacher is shaping their perspective on relationships, emotions, faith, courage, honesty … you name it.

Jesus said, “No one when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lamp stand, that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16) I think it’s important to stop every now and then and take stock of what’s shining out of our lamps. Is the light lit? Is it warm and inviting? Does it seek out the dark corners of the room, inviting all those to seek its warmth and bask in its glow? Or is it meager at best, dimly glowing in a small corner of the room? Is the flame well tended and boldly challenging the wind to do its best; or is it faintly flickering and sometimes barely even visible? Do we carry that light wherever we go or do we leave it on the table in the nice sitting room and stroll about the rest of our houses in utter darkness?

I admit that my light has been dim, meager, cold, hollow, secluded, and yes, even left behind in some other room. I know that because of all the “mistakes” I’ve made as a parent and as a person. I can see the tracks in the sand where Jesus’ steps went one direction and mine went straight off the cliff. Those were the times when I parented my children in pride, thinking I could produce a worthy crop of Christian citizens on my own. I hope that I have become somewhat wiser through the years. (I certainly don’t want to have to dig up those stones again!) I know in my heart that the most important thing I can do on this earth is to genuinely and whole-heartedly lift up the name of Jesus. That comes first. Then when my children watch me, they will see Him in me. They will learn courage, honesty, faith, self-control, and most of all love. I have nothing to teach my children or anyone else on my own. I can only point them to all Truth, all Wisdom, all Perfection, Ever Faithful, Always Loving …Jesus. Whether we like to admit it or not, they are walking in our footsteps. Where are we leading them?

Copyright © October 5, 2005 – Shannon Ayers. All rights reserved



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