Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
...but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4b
After four years on the mission field we returned to the States for a whirlwind six-month furlough. What a wonderful and busy time we had! At last the time dwindled down until we had only a few short days left. It was time to decide what to pack and what to leave behind to be shipped later. Since we were arriving back in the middle of winter we had several months before our boxes of carefully selected provisions, necessities and luxuries would arrive. We had strict guidelines to follow on the sizes and weight of our luggage, so each suitcase had to be packed with much thought and a lot of care. Obviously the first things to pack were the important things, and then if there was room other things could be added. As a wife and mother I also packed the suitcases for my children and “helped” my husband with his.
I carefully packed the suitcases for my children. I packed enough clothes to last for the next few months. I made sure that the sizes were right or even a bit big with the way some of my kids grow! I also considered their likes and dislikes. I packed some of their favorite clothes while leaving some back to “surprise” them with later when the shipment arrives. I also was able to fit in a favorite dolly and stuffed animal, some cute hair things and some favorite American snacks to make our first night back home a bit special.
As a mother of five precious children I am also packing their “suitcase” for life. We hear of people entering a relationship with “excess baggage” from a previous relationship, or carrying around baggage from a sad childhood, etc… But what about good “baggage?” Is there such a thing? I like to think so! As our child grows into the toddler and through the childhood and teen years what are we packing in their "suitcase" to outfit them for life?
Someday our children will be grown. We have such an awesome responsibility right now to raise these future adults for Christ! What we invest into our children today will affect the generation of tomorrow. What we sow into their lives now will be reaped in years to come.
As I “pack” my child’s suitcase I want to place in there the things they will need to equip them for life. A deep love for God, and a burning desire to serve Him. A love for each other, I love it that my children are each other’s best friends and I hope they stay close for the rest of their lives. Someday when my children enter the world, I want them to be fully prepared and equipped to face life in the service of the Lord.
One day I want my children’s suitcases to be bursting at the seams! I want them brimming over with wonderful memories of cherished times, of Godly character instilled in every fabric of their being and a love for God that knows no bounds. When it comes time for our children to “leave the nest” what kind of “baggage” will they carry the rest of their lives?