A couple weekends ago I witnessed a wonderful conversation with my honey-cakes (wife) and my amazing family-in-law. I can’t tell you how much I have learned about Jesus from them over the years. I may dive into this in a future post… in this post I want to focus on the conversation.
A great book called The Blessing deeply impacted my parents-in-law. Originally published in 1986, the book has recently been re-released after selling over a million copies in the past 25 years. The author, Dr. John Trent, is a fantastically sweet guy, teacher, and lover of Christ. With the re-release, they launched a campaign called The Blessing Challenge with the goal of impacting a new generation of parents and families.
The Blessing Challenge campaign also includes an accompanying campaign called Music That Blesses Others that seeks to continually inspire people with songs of blessing and worship. Shon Stewart is the host of Music that Blesses Other. Shon’s story is compelling… he was born 2.5 months prematurely and was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Despite his considerable challenges, he is an inspirational speaker and singer. Watch a video of his story and listen to him sing a song inspired by his life, written by his mother.
Again… I digress :-). I will further profile The Blessing Challenge and Music that Blesses Others in a future post because the mission is important.
As a response to the book and to further facilitate contemplation and conversation, my mother-in-law wrote a study / discussion guide to accompany it. My mother-in-law then requested that everyone go through the book and study guide, and honor / gift her with a family conversation about it for her birthday in lieu of a present. Her goal was to listen to and learn from her children and facilitate a conversation among the siblings… so everyone could grow in their knowledge and grace of Christ. Isn’t that incredible?
The 5 Essential Elements of “The Blessing”
In short, in The Blessing, John Trent identifies and discusses the history and impact of generational “blessing” in scripture. He identifies the 5 essential elements of the blessing as:
- Appropriate Meaningful Touch
- A Spoken Message
- Attaching High Value
- Picturing a Special Future
- An Active Commitment
The book speaks to the importance of intentionally blessing your children in those ways, and the negative impact that occurs when it is neglected (intentionally or unintentionally).
Regardless of your family history, choosing to live The Blessing can literally change the trajectory and legacy of all future generations of a family… Christ can redeem and transform all. Praise God.
“The Blessing” Family-In-Law Conversation
So… on that Saturday, my lovely bride and I went to their home to spend ~3 hours discussing the book and guide over a tasty lunch of cheese, crackers, fruit, and other finger treats. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about this endeavor. No family is perfect… and you never know what could come up! These deep conversations within a family are basically unheard of!
An important aspect of this is that my wife’s parents were and are PHENOMENAL parents. They raised 3 fantastic children that are involved in Church and love Jesus.
I marvel at the woman my wife is and who she is becoming. She is such a sweetheart. She is so caring, compassionate, tender, responsible, gentle, motherly, non-materialistic (which is a miracle for being born and bred in Orange County), and deeply loves Jesus and His church. My wife is radiant and lovely. So much of that is due to the foundation her parents laid and examples they modeled (and continue model) over decades.
My mother-in-law is probably one of the most shining examples of a servant and seeker of Christ, husband, and family that I’ve ever met. Jesus is her best friend. She embodies powerful meekness and offers great wisdom. Pretty much EVERY SINGLE TIME time I think of her (which is often), James 5:13-16 is impressed on my heart. She has such an earnest faith in Christ and in the power of prayer. I am thankful for her.
James 5:13 – 16: 13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
The conversation was delightful. They talked through celebrations, successes, and failures from childhood. This included a few soft “criticisms”, but mostly great affirmations. It was filled with thanksgiving and blessing. The conversation ABOUT The Blessing… was a powerful blessing! Everyone was encouraged and edified.
It was also extremely inspiring that my father-in-law engaged in this conversation. It is horribly atypical for men to sit down for these types of conversations, especially when there is potential for conflict or criticism. It was a great example of servant leadership. He is a great guy. He is fun and generous. I am thankful for him.
My wife’s sister is also a fun-loving gal and a gifted conversationalist. I am thankful for her. Her brother is also fun, open, honest, and is a gifted singer. I am thankful for him.
The conversation was beautiful and a wonderful example of openness, humility, authenticity, family, and blessing.
My wife and I are expecting our first child… I hope we can be as great of parents as they were / are. By the grace of Christ, I pray we will focus on intentionally breathing life-giving truth and blessing into the next generation of our family. I pray for God’s grace, wisdom, and patience in serving my wife and future child. I’m thankful we know about the “The Blessing” and have examples like the legacy of and examples from my wife’s family. I hope and pray our child meets Jesus at an early age.
My wife and I are so blessed. Thank you Jesus.
Buy the Book! The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love & Acceptance by Dr. John Trent
The Blessing: Giving the Gift of Unconditional Love & Acceptance
by Dr. John Trent