Thanksgiving . . . I’m Thankful for . . . My Family!

Lynda Freeman —  November 10, 2011

Last week I  posted the first thing I’m thankful for is God’s grace! As I said, God’s grace “is so utterly undeserved and so lavishly given . . . which makes it truly amazing! When I think of God’s grace there is nothing else for me to feel than complete thankfulness.” If God’s grace was the only good thing in my life it would be enough to leave me a forever thankful person!

But there is more I’m thankful for! The second thing I’m thankful for is my family! God has blessed me with the most amazing husband! We met on a volcano and just celebrated our 30th anniversary this past August. My husband Dave shows me every day God loves me – I see God’s love every time I see Dave as he is so patient, faithful, loving . . . he is truly one of God’s greatest gifts to me! God has not only blessed me with an amazing husband, but He gave us two wonderful children – a daughter and a son – and a daughter-in-law! As if they weren’t enough, God’s generosity  overflowed with the addition to our family of the two most fabulous grandsons! I absolutely LOVE being a grandma! I’m so thankful for my family!

So how does being thankful for my family “fit” with children’s ministry? Well, being part of a family helps me experience some of the same things all families experience . . . the good times and the bad. The happy times and the sad. I have the ability to share with other parents some of what I’ve learned by being a wife, mom and grandma – and I can learn from others as well. When I see where other families are struggling, my heart aches for them and I can reach out to offer help, understanding, encouragement and most certainly prayer.

When I think about families I realize how families show us a picture we can experience of God’s love for us! It is no wonder families are under attack by Satan – he certainly does not want families to be healthy and point people to God. So, what can we do to support, encourage and pray for families? Consider the following –

Support and encourage families by . . .

  • paying attention. Watch and notice when families experience those good and bad, happy and sad times. Be ready to rejoice with them in the good and happy times and be ready to encourage, help and pray for them in the bad and sad times. It is too easy for us to become so caught up in our own lives and business we fail to pay attention to those around us. Pay attention!
  • develop a support team. As you see families where, while they certainly are not perfect – as none are – they are able to respond in healthy ways to the joys and challenges they face, invite these families to be part of your support team. Match your support team families with families in need. Just having someone who is willing to come alongside a family in need can make all the difference in the world!
  • notice if families – particularly in this economy – are struggling. Be ready with resources to help them in their need.
  • if marriages are struggling be ready to come alongside and steer them to a staff member who can help. Be ready to offer a listening ear to children – and a shoulder to cry on, too. Let them know you care and most importantly, God cares.
Most importantly, pray. Pray for and with families. Designate specific times each week where you will spend time praying for families and give an open invitation to the families in your church – and community – for them to join you!
I’m so thankful for my family and this thankfulness motivates me to care about and for others and their families, too! Next week I’ll share another thing I’m thankful for!

Lynda Freeman

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Lynda has been married to Dave for 30 years . . . they met on a volcano in Northern California! Lynda took one look at Dave and thought, “We will get married!” And so they did! They have two grown children, Tiffany (26) and Dave (25), a daughter-in-law, Jackie (26) and two grandsons; Josiah (3) and the newly arrived Caleb – they are the delight of her life! Lynda lives in West Michigan and has served in children’s ministry for 40 years . . . she started with a Wednesday night class for four year olds when she was 10 . . . and has led ministries in churches with 100 people, 1600 people and several in-between. Children’s ministry is the passion of Lynda’s heart – she wants volunteers to love serving and children to love being there so they can learn to know and walk with Jesus all their lives! Lynda worked as a consultant for Gospel Light, Group and Zonderkidz/Big Idea/Willow Creek and worked as the Church Resource Consultant for Kregel Bookstores for 13 years providing training and answering questions for churches throughout West Michigan. She has written for Children’s Ministry Magazine and Your Church Magazine, wrote some of the preschool lessons for Big Idea’s VeggieConnections curriculum, was a contributing author for Group’s Humongous Book of Bible Skits for Children’s Ministry and wrote the Connections to Christ portion of the Manners that Matter curriculum from Maralee McKee. Eight years ago Lynda was diagnosed with MS, Lupus and a few other auto-immune illnesses and can no longer work “hands-on” with children . . . the stairs at her church are best avoided. However, Lynda consults with and advises her church and writes their curriculum, kidz Connection. She also writes a blog – About the Children’s Department - and is developing a series of children’s books and a resource on praying the Scripture! For fun, Lynda writes a blog for grandmas- grandma’s cookie jar (www.grandmascookiejar.net ) . . . well, grandpas, moms and dads are welcome to read it, too! You will find her on Twitter, Facebook and CM Connect .