From generation to generation

Published 10:38 pm Thursday, May 25, 2017

By LARRY STOVERPraise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

Memorial Day weekend is a very special time for families everywhere.  It is a time of reflection and thanksgiving. This holiday, unlike others, reminds me of what so many have done for me in my life.

Friends and family in the military are a constant reminder of the “price of freedom.”  Like many of you my family has served in nearly every major war since the Revolutionary War of our founding fathers.  Regardless of your political persuasion and beliefs about war in general, our nation continues to be involved in conflicts around the world that threaten the very foundation of freedom in general.

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We salute our men and women in uniform who put their lives on the line every day.  This weekend will also be time of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice.  We are blessed!

Most of us will stop to remember our heritage and those individuals who paved the way for where we are today.  I’ve listened to many stories about families who came to this country from other parts of the world.  Those stories have included poverty, hardship, persecution, tough times, but a lot of determination.

It is amazing how at some point in time, a past relative made decisions that changed the course of their offspring for generation to come.

Educational goals constitute a major decision for those who bring about a metamorphosis in their “family tree.”  It’s exciting to hear from someone who is the first to graduate from High School in their family.  Even more remarkable are those stories from students who are the first to attend college or graduate.

Some of those stories are about breaking the cycle of poverty.  I love to see the grin on someone’s face who not only got a job but have been able to buy their own home and accomplish goals that few others in their family have been able to achieve.

Most exciting to me are the spiritual changes.  I am so thankful for a decision made by my grandparents decades ago.  Before their decision to accept Jesus Christ into their lives, there was little or no spiritual emphasis in our family.  That single decision changed my family forever.  Today, six generations of Stover’s find their way to church every week.

Since that moment, everything has improved.   We have gone from tough times to being blessed by God in every way.  That decision has paved the way for two pastors in the family and many others involved in missionary endeavors around the world.

There have been educational changes as well.  Decisions have been made that include everyone graduating from high school, most attending and graduating from college, along with numerous post-graduate degrees.

It is amazing how a few life-changing decisions in a family can change the course of that family forever.

As you celebrate Memorial Day, you may well remember that one person who impacted your life by initiating changes to your family that transformed it forever.

We like to use the phrase, “game changer” to signify the person or event that initiates a metamorphosis in time.  Every one of us can be a “game changer” in our family.  The decisions that we make can and will make a difference for the future.  Generations to come can point to you as the one who made decisions that changed your family forever.

Those “game changers” in my life have made it “Simply Beautiful.”