by Al Maxey

Special Issue ------- December 1, 2004
Love is the chain whereby
to bind a child to its parents.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

The Gift of Godly Parents
Al and Mary Maxey

On December 1, 2002 I sent out the very first issue of my Reflections. I wanted to mark that two year anniversary in some way, and I can think of no better way to take note of the birth of this ministry than to honor my father and mother (Exodus 20:12) who gave me birth. There is an old Jewish adage, from the 13th century, which says, "Honor your father and mother, even as you honor God, for all three were partners in your creation." God chose wisely when He selected Joseph and Mary to parent His Son; I believe He also chose wisely when He partnered with Alfred and Mary Maxey to guide me in my formative years. Indeed, they guide me still.

Abraham Lincoln, an ancestor of my wife Shelly, wisely observed (in the quote above) that the chain that binds parents to children, and children to parents, is LOVE. I was reared in a loving home by parents who not only loved my younger sister and me, but who loved the Lord ... and lived that love before us daily. I would not be who I am today, or where I am in my spiritual journey, if not for the two godly people pictured above with me. This picture was taken Thanksgiving Day just a block from our house (we live at the eastern edge of town in the foothills, in an area known as high mountain desert). It was such a joy for Shelly and me to have them with us this Thanksgiving. They have been happily married for well over 50 years, and modeled before me God's IDEAL for the union of a man and woman. For their example, I thank them.

My Dad, who is a retired public school Superintendent, has served for many years as an elder of the church. My Mom, a retired school teacher, has stood faithfully at his side through richer and poorer, in sickness and health, and has demonstrated in her life the virtues of the "worthy woman" of Proverbs 31. My parents did not force my sister and me to conform to their beliefs, but rather lived them before us in such a way that we were naturally drawn to them. They guided us through life, they didn't drive us. We were actually allowed to think for ourselves, and I am a better man for that loving freedom experienced in our home.

Anne Frank (1929-1945) wrote in her diary, just months before her death, "How true Daddy's words were when he said, 'All children must look after their own upbringing.' Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." My parents gave me great advice; they pointed me to the pathway that led to life; they prayed for me, loved me, corrected me, and cherished me. They pointed me in the right direction .... and let go! I sometimes stumbled and fell in my journey through life, but they were always there to help lift me up and cheer me on. Others have been as well. My wife Shelly has stood by my side for almost 32 years. I am a blessed man.

This is not a deep theological article; it offers no stunning truths, nor challenges the thinking of the readers in any direct way. It is shamelessly personal, and I hope the readers will forgive me this intrusion into their space, but I think we need to tell those we love how we feel ... while they are still here to hear it. Before the sun goes down today, tell someone significant in your life that you love them; give them a hug. Life is short .... send flowers while you may!!

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for giving
me life, and for showing me the One who
can give it forevermore!! I LOVE YOU.

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