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Written by Mindy Schuman

As I was reflecting on some circumstances recently, the Lord reminded me how much each of our actions will affect and influence our children, grandchildren and future generations. We know that our actions can most importantly affect our fellowship with God, but how much do we consider that our actions can greatly affect those around us, specifically our children. Our children can be greatly influenced by how we live day to day, the level of humility we walk in before God and others, and how submitted and surrendered we are to God and his word.

Scripture tells us to honor our parents so that it will go well with us (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1) and as parents we are also instructed not to provoke our children (Ephesians 6:4). I would contend also that, as parents, it will also go well for us if we are honorable towards our children, young and old in age. We honor our children by being submitted to God, by living a life where all the fruits of the spirit are in operation within our homes and by treating them with love and respect as their own individuals when the time comes. We should live our lives and make decisions regarding how we treat our children in a way that honors God and his Word.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth. And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6: 1-4

There was a time in my life years ago when the Lord warned me about a significant decision in my life that I was about to make. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and reminded me how every decision I made good or bad, had the potential to affect my son. He wanted me to remember that the decision I was about to make would be one that just didn’t affect me, but would also impact my son’s future and my son’s children’s future and so on. Through the grace of God, I was able to stand and make the decision the Lord was leading me to make, but I have never forgotten the warning of the Lord that day. I thank God for His mercy that even when I might have been tempted to make a selfish decision without His guidance, the Lord had everyone’s best interest in mind, including my son’s.

I want to encourage those of you parents who may be single and trying to coparent, or who may have a spouse that has not submitted their life to Christ and who feel like you are fighting a losing battle trying be enough for your children. While God certainly desires both parents to be submitted to God and seeking God for their children, I want to tell you that God does hear your prayers and that it only takes one to stand up and be a righteous example to make a lasting impact. I remember feeling like I was losing battle after battle because my son’s father was not living a life submitted to God and I felt at times that I would break from the pressure of having to be “perfect” in order to make up for other ungodly things going on in our home. But the truth is, all I had to do is believe and trust in the one who is perfect and spotless, Jesus. I’m not saying it was always easy, there were seasons that were very difficult. What I am saying is that through trusting in God to walk with me and show me how to love, pray and forgive (among other things relevant to seeking the kingdom of God first), there were many Godly seeds sown in those seasons because God is faithful even when our circumstances are less than perfect. The seeds sown in those seasons seemed unimportant at the time, irrelevant even…but I can tell you they have produced a GREAT harvest that is still ongoing and will continue to produce for years to come and have impacted my son’s life for good.

Our children are watching how we handle adversity, they are watching how we handle those who have wronged us. They are watching our actions and words in public to see if they match our actions and words behind closed doors. Our children are watching if we treat others with the love of Christ and if we are repenting for our own mistakes and forgiving those who have hurt us. Do you want them to be influenced by your life in a Godly way? Then ask God how you can do this in greater ways to impact them now and in their future.

Our relationship with God, and the level to which we are willing to surrender to God, is leaving a legacy for those generations that will come after us. What we do day to day for the Lord is laying up a heritage for our precious children and grandchildren, even if it seems insignificant in the monotony of day to day life. Like a ripple affect in a pond, these small actions and areas of surrender may start small now, but have a “spreading effect” and significant impact and influence on those we love. Now, and even greater in time to come.


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