We’ve had great fun planning for our Thanksgiving posts on Rooted this week, hearing youth pastors and parents express their gratitude for one another. It’s been a special treat to hear from some of the writers we featured in our student series who expressed love and appreciation for their parents’ affection, wisdom, and perseverance. Read and enjoy, knowing that your love for your children is seen, felt, and returned. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you to my amazing parents for your patience and understanding with the uncertainty COVID has wrought on all of our lives: you have handled store closures, layoffs, health scares, and Zoom meetings with wisdom and grace. I have learned so much about politics, the economy, labor markets, and HR from little chats around the kitchen table here and there. But I have also learned what it means to live from a biblical understanding of work: we were created to live within a work and rest cycle, we have been given the responsibility of stewardship of ability and time, and we need our work for a sense of purpose. Lastly, it has been so cool to see you each choose to faithfully love each other by making dinner, doing the dishes, unloading the dishwasher, walking our dog, power washing our patio and driveway, and picking each other up in the low moments, even and perhaps especially when you do not feel like it. You have set a gold standard for work and for marriage, and I do not take your example or your love for me for granted! Happy Thanksgiving!!
Lauren Center, 2020 graduate of Samford University, Spanish teacher at Heritage Christian Academy
Parents–thank you. Thank you for not giving up and giving in. Thank you for being consistent even when I was so stubborn and it would have been easier to let me have my way. Thank you for the discipline and structure and character you helped develop in us. Thank you for the type of family and upbringing you fought for us to have, even when it was hard. Thank you for family dinners and coming to games and caring. Thank you for always having my back and being in my corner. I wouldn’t be who I am without y’all. Endlessly thankful to have y’all as my parents.
Mom and Dad, when I think about you, I think about the way that you faithfully lived out the wise words found in Proverbs 22:6 that say, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” You are not perfect, but you have loved me and taught me how to walk with the Lord. I cannot fathom what my life would be like without the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I am eternally grateful for the way that both of you pushed me towards Jesus, loved me well, and sacrificed for me throughout my life. I want you both to know and remember the words of the gospel that you so faithfully taught me year after year.
Creagh Goings, 2020 graduate of Mississippi State University, M.Ed. student at Samford University
I will never understand why I was given the gift of having my particular parents. There are so many reasons why I am thankful for them, but one specific gift fills me with immense gratitude. My parents have given me the gift of approaching and dealing with conflict. They have lovingly embraced conflict and dispute over the years, when it would’ve been a lot easier to run away from it.
You might be wondering….what an odd thing to be thankful for! Conflict? Nobody likes conflict! It’s uncomfortable. It’s revealing. And takes a lot of time to work through. Facing strife takes a lot more work than the alternative-ignoring a problem and brushing it away. However, I find myself overwhelmed time and time again by the grace God bestowed upon me by giving a mom and a dad who love me enough to enter into moments of “unrest” to actually work together and learn from one another.
Over the years this has evolved from Creagh (me) bossing my little sister Caroline while we played paper dolls, to the years when everything revolved around the gloomy & angsty tween (me again), to now with a broke grad student (you guessed it, me). Conflict can be a negative thing if it’s handled in the wrong way, but my parents have taught me to lovingly address hard things that need to be worked through with the hope that their pruning would stimulate my growth.
When I look at scripture, I see countless examples of how Jesus draws near to a person with a problem in hopes of restoration. He is persistent, and doesn’t give up on His children, even when they don’t think they need or want His help. For example, in the book of Jonah, we see how God continued to remain steadfast in pursuing his prophet. Some might say God causes conflict from the very beginning by asking Jonah to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-2), and that He continues to bring about situations inviting conflict, like when He ordains a great fish to swallow him up. That seems like a pretty sticky situation, one that Jonah might even argue to be unnecessary. However, God did not decide Jonah was being a pain to deal with, and God did not give up on him. He kept up on addressing Jonah, not to pick a fight with him, but in order to bring him closer to Himself.
This is what my parents have so beautifully modeled for me. Through hard conversations (full of time, effort, and exposing sin) they have modeled a love that runs so deep that they desire to bring me closer to my Father in heaven. I am grateful for patient parents who cared enough to stay up all night, if needed, to work through whatever the controversy was, to get to the other side and “not let the sun go down on (our) anger” (Ephesians 4:26).
Mom and Dad, thanks for embracing the varying conflicts over the years, especially after a long day when it would’ve been a lot easier to climb in bed as if nothing was wrong. It has showcased how much you care for me as you bring me to the feet of my Heavenly Father. It is nothing but grace that you are mine.