13 December 2017

Family Matters: Introduction

Hello! I’m Susan, wife of Chris and mother of seven adult children. Can I indulge briefly by introducing you to our family, permission having been granted? We rejoice with continued thankfulness in being parents to: Matthew 31, Catriona 30, Cara 28, Christy 26, Jared 22, Charity 20 and Gideon 17. We also delight in having three wonderful in-law children and five absolutely adorable grandchildren whom I will try not to boast too much about! We have two granddaughters aged 5 & 3 and 3 grandsons aged 2, 1 & 1 years old. We have much to thank God for! We are hoping that some of what we have learnt over the past years as parents and continue to learn as grandparents will help and encourage you as you make your own journey with your family. Our children’s need for us is not what it once was. We still play an important role, but it is different and from more of a distance. Are you at that dependent stage where visiting the bathroom has to be well planned or a group affair? Or are you, like Chris and I, experiencing parenthood from a different angle?

Those of you who are parents will acknowledge the paradox we can all experience. We can love and treasure our children in a way that can make us feel our hearts could burst and yet we can feel how difficult it can be at times too. I can still remember that post 4pm stage of the day where I seemed to change dramatically from a normal, functioning adult into an exhausted, ravaged creature who could not bear to hear the word, “Mummy” one more time. The chances are that some of you will know what I am talking about. The difficulty in sorting out the ritual fracas which tired, hungry and confined children engender as they freefall into late afternoons is still etched in my memory. Numerous times I can remember ringing Chris up at work yearning for a reminder that, “Yes” he would be home soon and, “No” I was not going mad! And yet 3 hours later, calm had been restored in the household, normally helped by the return of Dad. At these moments I still remember the warm glow in my heart as we snuggled close to read them their bedtime story before tucking them into bed. And the relief as they slept peacefully!

Those of you who are still at this stage, rejoice in it. Older people used to say the same thing to me and while with one ear I heard them, with the other ear I did not. At the time I did not notice the years passing quickly but they did and they still are. If we can keep striving to remember amidst the stresses and strains, what a wonderful opportunity we are being given, to make treasured, precious memories with and for those lives whom God has graciously put in our care we will not be sorry.

Chris Writes:

It is now my turn as the father in the house to comment on what there is about family life to rejoice in. When a new baby comes into a family it is always exciting, but from my standpoint the fun really starts when the child reaches the stage when they can wrestle with you on the settee or on the bed. I have many happy memories of ‘defending’ the settee or bed from sustained attacks by enthusiastic sons and daughters. The game would continue for what seemed like hours and often only stopped when someone accidentally got bumped in the frantic chaos.

Each stage of development has aspects that can be enjoyed by us as parents as our children grow up. There is excitement when they first roll over, when they say “ma ma” or “da da” and when they first walk. Not only do we enjoy each stage of life but as the children get older we have dreams and aspirations of what we want for them, not only as teenagers but also as adults.

When our children were young, Susan and I spent time discussing what we hoped for them as they grew into adults. There were many secondary goals but we agreed on one central goal and we have tried to ensure that this goal influenced every thing we did for the children. This central goal was not that they did well in the transfer exam, though that has an impact on their lives; it was not that they were good at sport, though this does bring great pleasure and social acceptance; it was not that they did well at GCSE exams or achieved prestigious jobs, though these can bring material benefits and status in society. If our children achieved any of these secondary goals we were naturally delighted and celebrated with them.

There was a central goal to which all the other goals had to support. The central goal was that if Jesus revealed himself to our children by his Holy Spirit, they would be prepared to accept His call and be prepared to live according to a Biblical lifestyle. When one of our children begins a personal faith in Christ there is great rejoicing by Susan and myself. It is not only in our lives that rejoicing takes place, “…there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke.15:10). As parents, we share our rejoicing with the angels in heaven. Not bad company to share an event with!

There are few feelings for a Christian parent that equal the feeling that accompanies hearing that your child has made a commitment for Jesus. This joy can broaden and deepen over the years as you listen to your child talk about their relationship with Christ and how they might allow God to use them in expanding of the Kingdom of God. As Susan and I get older, this becomes increasingly important to us.

When setting goals for your child – aim high – aim heavenward.

Chris and Susan Cordner