They say “you can’t go home again.” But the thing is you can. You just might not like what you find when you get there.
As some of you know, I moved “back home” about 1 1/2 years ago, while my husband served over in Afghanistan for a year. I haven’t lived here long-term since I was 18 years old.
And being back home, and this time in the role of “mom” instead of “child”, really has changed my perspective. Living away for so long allowed me to break out of the mold, forming those perspectives from living life itself.
Returning home has been . . . revealing. I am learning things about my own personal upbringing and how they were formed. I’ve seen strongholds in my own parents’ lives, passed down to them through I have no idea how many generations, and am starting to come to grips with how they are engrained in my own life and consciousness. And I watch myself with my children, and even sometimes with fear. Will I be able to break this stronghold before it passes itself down to another generation?
I remember reading something once about Christian legacy and generations, though now that I want to quote it I can’t find it to save my life. But the gist was that it takes five full generations of strong Christian parents to create a “Christ-stronghold” legacy. Really? So long to break the chains that destroy and bind us?
My aunt loves genealogy, almost as much as she loves to tell the stories she learns in her searches. I hear of the “scandals” of back then, and it’s so easy to connect-the-dots to today and see how history repeated itself over and over. Yes, there are some dramatic differences. Our generation was the first to graduate college, most are successful in their chosen career, and empowered enough to choose our own path and find our own way. Yet my generation, for all of our education, successes, and resolves to be different from our parents, how have we really done breaking past those same traps that ensnared our ancestors? The evidence I see is not very good.
It took me the good part of a year to come to grips with this knowledge. I have to give grace where grace is due. I know my own parents looked at their situations growing up, and said, “I won’t _____ when I have kids. I won’t ______ when I’m in charge.” And to their credit, they haven’t. They tried very hard to be good parents and did the best they knew how with what they had at the time, to do the right thing and give their children the best they could.
I don’t know if that’s quite forgiveness. It’s the best I’ve got.
Unfortunately, that legacy is still filled with decades-old strongholds of pride, control, anger, resentments, and bitterness. And as I become “the grownup” I really have become aware of how deep the roots really can be.
Now, I’m the mom. I’m the one looking at my own children and my own upbringing, saying “I will never _____.” Cringing when I hear my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth like I have no control over my own tongue.
Which brings me back to those strongholds. Those same strongholds, that have in effect took hostage of my parents and grandparents, continue to wage war. I struggle daily to break those bonds on both myself and my family.
I don’t want that legacy for my girls. I want them to have a much different future than I have seen play out here time and time again.
I made the decision when my girls were a very young age that I wanted their childhood to be different. I wanted to faith to mean more than just going to Church on Sunday and Wednesday, and having perfect attendance at in Sunday School and participating in VBS.
Looking back, I can mark events that started to direct me on a path away from those strongholds. A youth pastor, a Church retreat, a specific sermon, a personal crisis, a crisis of faith.
I think of Jacob after his struggle with the angel. Did his children learn from his limp and “battle scars?”
Perhaps that’s the desperation I hear in my prayers.
I know that the only power that I have against these strongholds is not mine. Because generations of my family have given lip service to Christ and full service to the chains that bound them. And that didn’t work out so well.
With but a whisper, Jesus can obliterate any ties in our lives. Or, like the woman in the crowd who thought, “I just need to touch his clothes. That would be enough.” She touched the hem, she didn’t even need Him to speak on her behalf. And she was instantly healed. Healed because of her faith.
So in faith, I too, pray. But I want more than the touch of Christ’s robe. I already have the battle scars of my struggles, and want more of Christ. I want Christ to be the legacy I pass own to my children and to my children’s children and to their children. I pray, interceding (for what is interceding than pleading and begging?) that a new Christ-stronghold be built in our home, enveloping and protecting our little nuclear-family; and then rippling out touching and affecting those we come into contact with.
And then I pray that my girls become even stronger prayer warriors than I. That they live deeply entrenched in their love of Christ, their internal peace unshaken by outside forces. That they take that love and joy in Christ and, with excitement and without hesitation, follow where it guides them and directs them.