Finding Grace at the Family Table
As the sun came up, my parents sat around the breakfast table with all four of us kids. It was over those eggs and toast that my father began to teach us valuable lessons from the Word of God. Scripture memory was first. My father began with Psalm 1. Every morning, rain or shine, my dad would start with our memory work.
The day would continue on. With four kids, the afternoons were filled with piano and voice lessons, baseball practice, gymnastics—all the usual things that normal kids do. Wednesday evenings were reserved for Missionettes and Royal Rangers and Saturday nights were prayer meetings. Between her responsibilities at the church and all of our activities, my mother carried a full schedule. And my father--he had the church.
Our nights ended with my mom’s own social experiment. She read the Proverbs aloud, hoping that the wisdom would somehow sink in through osmosis. From a ‘lil tike chair stationed in the hallway between the girls' and boys' rooms, with only the light of the hall bathroom, she read us all to sleep. I know, even if she would never admit it, the Proverbs were for my benefit. Most nights we didn’t see my dad.
He had visitations and hospital calls. And when I was older, after a particularly tough season of ministry, he worked nights to supplement his church salary. As a child, I could never have fully understood what we experienced. But now that I’m older and in ministry myself I see that we, as a family, paid the price for revival. For my dad, that was lost sleep and, for us kids, we didn’t get to see our dad at nights.
But we always saw him in the mornings, around the breakfast table, memorizing our Scripture passages.
God hasn’t given me the blessing of marriage or children yet, but when He does, I know there will be several things that my parents taught me that I want my kids to experience, too.
First, I want them to know that the Word of God is our standard. If it’s not in the Word of God, we’re not doing it. Scripture memory is vital to all of our spiritual walks. A love for the Word of God is vital to surviving this culture. It must be one of my primary goals to encourage Scripture memory and Scripture reading in our children’s lives. Those loves are best developed through pattern. We start the pattern. They continue it.
Second, I want my children to recognize God’s call on their life. Not every child born into a ministry home will go into full time vocational ministry, but every child does have a God-given purpose. And it is never too early to encourage your child to discover God’s plan. I want my children to find what God’s plan is for their lives and I want them to do that with the power of the Holy Spirit. Our children are never too young to be used for the Kingdom of God. They will make mistakes, but that’s ok. Mistakes are ok. We have to be willing to let our children make mistakes. We have to let our children learn from their mistakes. We have to give our children grace to try again.
After all, that’s the same grace we allow our congregants to have—the grace to try again.
Last, as a parent, I hope to never underestimate the power of the family table in a child’s life. My father and mother missed the majority of my elementary school plays. They missed most of the softball games the one season I tried to play. My mother even left me at school, leading me to the conclusion that I had missed the rapture—total break down and all. But my parents never missed time at the family table. My pastor, Mike Buie, often says of parenting around a table, “More is caught than is taught." But in order for your children to "catch", they have to a place to sit and you have to be willing to sit with them.
I would never trade one of those breakfast table dates for all of those elementary school musicals.
I didn’t have a solo anyway.
An Oklahoma native, Danette Dillon is currently serving in Sand Springs, OK as the Worship Arts Pastor at Crosspoint Church. Through that role she functions as a specialist in the areas of music and creative arts, supporting all areas of ministry within the church. Nine of her 11 years in full-time ministry have been invested at Crosspoint. Growing up around ministry heavily affected her ministry outlook, but Danette has also been surrounded by godly mentors, both female and male. One of her greatest influences came through Dr. Bonnie Jenkins, a professor and ensemble director at Danette's alma mater of Central Bible College, now Evangel University. "Dr. Jenkins' leadership style, as a woman, has been a pattern for me." In her free time, Danette enjoys writing, designing, exploring nature and shopping for unique finds. "Give me $5 at a garage sale and watch what I can find!" When asked what her greatest passion is in and for ministry, Danette simply stated, "There's not a place I feel more whole or more complete than when I'm leading people in worship. Ultimately, my greatest passion is connecting people to the presence of God and watching Him prove His faithfulness, His power, and His glory."