So well over a year ago now, I wrote a blog dedicated to my Mum and Dad.
And because they just arrived in Japan, and because I can't think of anything more fitting right now, rather than a new blog, I'm actually going to reblog the truth of that post… With a few updates… 😉
So my Mum and Dad arrived yesterday.
I don't get to see them all that much because I live (literally) thousands of miles away, but it does mean that time with them is precious. I haven't lived at home since I was 18, which is now over 11 years ago, but still time with them is precious.
It's been making me think about the importance and centrality of family in the sight of God. And of the reasons that He speaks so highly of honouring your father and mother SO that is may go well with you…
And I have concluded, simply, that I am blessed.
Really, really blessed.
So, in tribute to my wonderful parents, and in thankfulness to the God who gave me them, here are 10 reasons that I think my Mum and Dad could be up there with the best-parents-in-the-world-ever.
1. They are fun. Like, really, genuinely and beautifully fun. We have always found ourselves on adventures, and random outings, and lost-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-in-a-landrover type stories, but yet, my parents have always felt like more than just 'my parents', and very much like my friends. Driving a flooded coastal road in a landrover, my Mum sitting on the bonnet, my Dad behind the wheel and a random not of fishermen sailing alongside and cheering us on… These are the memories that seriously make a childhood! 🙂
2. My Mum and Dad allowed me to be who I was in God. They never pushed me into believing, they never forced me to go to church, and they never made me 'do things their way'. They just listened. And encouraged. And when I wanted to play worship for hours, they just bought me a guitar. And when I wanted to get up at 5am and pray, they got up too and made me cups of tea. And when I wanted to give up all TV and melt all my secular CDs as a teenager, they just encouraged me to be true to what Holy Spirit was telling me. And that face me more confidence in God than any other kind of encouragement.
3. They taught me that sacrificial giving was part of a normal Christian life. Now, we never had tons of money when I was growing up. In fact, looking back now, there were probably some points where money was really tight. But, the only memories I have, involve my alert so giving. And giving without restraint. If a family friend needed a car, they'd give a car. If someone needed food, they'd give food. If someone needed rescuing, they'd be there. Our house was always full of waifs and strays and people who just needed loving. And they gave, even if it meant that we went without. And I loved it. And I love that in that I learnt that physical possessions have no eternal value, and that people are the deep eternal loves of Abba's heart.
4. I love that they always made my friends feel like they were part of our family. When I was 12, one of my friends showed up at our house in Christmas Day because her Dad hadn't come home from his work drinking party. But, as natural as anything, the meal for three was stretched to four and the presents had a quick change of name tags and were shared out as if she had always been invited. And that girl was forever-marked by the kindness of her classmate's Mum and Dad. Even now, my parents pull my friends into their lives in a way that is open and kind and wonderful. (And it was always great having cool parents…)
5. My parents buy the most random presents. Like, really random. Sometimes they are amazing (like my iPad and my guitar… Or the fact they showed up to Japan with a brand new MacBook), sometimes they are hilarious (like the giant Gruffalo toy my Mum sent to the office), and sometimes they are just really, really weird (the milk top shaped like a cow head, the spatula shaped like a guitar, a variety of battery-operated-animal-toys-that-oink-and-squeak, the party ring inspired cushions they just transported to Japan…), but they are always completely heartfelt and sure to bring much laughter.
6. My Dad can fix anything. Ever. Full stop. Cars, washing machines, fences, broken hearts… The list is endless. He is the great DIY master. And because of that he reminds me of my Heavenly Father, who never sees anything in me as broken beyond repair, but always makes a way for me to be restored in wholeness.
7. My Mum laughs at anything. And everything. There is no depth of sadness able to stand against her contagious-and-catchable joy. Her laugh is loud, and distinctive and particularly unsubtle, but yet it reminds me if how we were really created to live life.
8. My Mum and Dad have one of the most genuinely happy marriages that I have ever seen. And this stands so strong for me in being an example of Godly living, and giving me a hope for the future that isn't based on my own negative experiences, but on the Truth that I see them living by each day.
9. My Mum and Dad have always been proud of me and believed that I could keep going, and achieve the dreams that God had placed in my heart. When I thought I was going to fail GCSE Maths? Dad tutored me though long division. When I got so stressed out before an A Level Law exam that I was in tears? Mum reassured me that I knew the stuff I had been working so hard to cram into my brain. When I freaked out at speaking at a conference in front of hundreds of people? They were there, cheering me on. Through my degree, through every job interview, every move, through my times of tears, when I told them I was being abused behind closed doors, through my marriage breakdown, through my life-rebuilding, through the most difficult seasons of my everything, and in all my struggles, my parents always had faith in God and through that, faith in me. And they were always proud and always there.
10. Mum and Dad have always sought God's will for my life over their own desires. I'm sure it's never a parents' wish for their only, beloved, daughter to move away. And definitely not to move half way round the world. But my parents have never complained, never asked me to stay local, and never done anything but encourage me to run in the path God has for me. They have invested their own time, and money and efforts into supporting me and praying for me and networking me, and they continue to do so. I say I'm going to Japan, my Dad starts to learn how to eat rice. Simple as.
And I know God will honour that sacrifice in eternity. But when I think about the relationship I have with then now, I can't help but think He already has.
So Mum and Dad, thank you. For everything.
And Abba. Thank You. For them.