What’s Your Sign?

Imagine planning a trip with a friend to meet at a new vacation spot. You read all about the wonderful things you will see along the way and what you’ll experience when you finally reach your destination. You pack your bags with all the essentials for having a restful and enjoyable getaway.

But you don’t take a map. The connection is spotty and your GPS doesn’t work. You have  general idea where you’re heading, but you don’t have specific instructions.

But, you decide the make the best of it. You see beautiful things, and you find dead-end streets. You hit heavy traffic but get off the highway to find the best coffee shop you’ve ever visited. Eventually, you make it to your place of rest for the next week.

Just when you kick off your shoes and sit on the porch with the wind blowing gently, you remember something.

Your friend is supposed to meet you. 

They have the same experience as you did; however, they make several more wrong turns. They are relieved to find a spot with some cellular service and give you a call.

“Hey, we didn’t have a map to get here, and the GPS just isn’t working. Can you give us directions?”

Sadly, you didn’t take note of any. You didn’t write down any street names. You have absolutely no clue as to any landmarks or signs to point them in the right direction. So, you give them the best you’ve got.

“You know, this place is beautiful. You’re going to love it when you get here. And you really should try this little coffee shop. It’s the best I’ve ever experienced. I can’t remember the name, town or road, but you are really going to miss out if you don’t find it.”

How will your friend feel?

Now think about your life as a parent. You went through lots of things as a child. Life didn’t get much easier as a teenager. You didn’t have a map to guide you through the highs and lows of your development. You may not have even had parents who were willing or able to communicate any sense of direction to you. Yet by God’s grace you made it. You are an adult. You still have a long way to go, but you’ve made it to the destination you dreamed about as a child.

Before you kick back and enjoy your arrival, remember something. You’re children will meet you there someday.

When the Hebrew people crossed the Jordan River, they picked up 12 stones to set up an altar near the river. What was the purpose of these stones? It was “to serve as a sign among you.” A sign for what? “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:6-7).

So what’s your sign?

You may not have taken in-depth notes of your journey, but you can certainly remember parts of it that are invaluable to your children. You sharing some of the experiences along the way could be the “sign” that connects with your child where they are and directs them on the right path – the path to Jesus.

You may not have many things from your past that stand out as pointing you to Jesus. But you can change that for your children. Consider creating new traditions and celebrations that will clearly mark the work of God in the life of your family and specifically in the life of your child. When they repent and commit to follow Christ, have a birthday party. When they obey the Lord in baptism, celebrate. Make the spiritual celebrations even bigger and more memorable than any other.

Don’t forget that you’re not alone. As a Jesus-following parent, you are part of a larger spiritual family who have incredible stories about God’s work in their lives. They will have ideas of traditions that their families have kept which you might adopt or translate for your family. Be sure you are connecting your children to the larger family of faith. It will be a benefit to them and encouragement for you.

Don’t forget that you have people following you on the journey. Take note of the things God is teaching you and celebrate His fingerprints on your life. Begin now. You can chart a course for what life is like as a believing adult. Set these signposts before your children so they can move forward in hope as they seek to faithfully follow Jesus.

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