[Guest Post] 13 Traits of Legacy-Building Parents – Lindsay Diederichs
In my last post, I talked about a rare breed of young people who grew up in Christian homes, never strayed from the faith and are passionately serving Jesus today. This doesn’t mean they never had questions or doubts. But like Jacob, each one wrestled with the Lord and came out declaring “I saw God face to face” (Gen 32:30).
I decided to ask some of these fiery millennials, “What is the number one factor that shaped your faith and gave you a desire to know Jesus for yourself?” And guess, what they said? “The faith of my parents.”
Naturally, I was curious to find out what they saw modeled in their parents that sparked this commitment in their own lives. I found that their family environments were quite varied. Some parents took a more structured approach to imparting their faith, while others were more free-flowing. There was clearly no exact formula.
What’s also interesting is that each young person had a unique observation or quality in their parent’s life that really spoke to them. Their parents probably exhibited all these characteristics, but each child was most impacted by different things. This is what they shared:
- AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP – “When I was in preschool, I vividly remember seeing my mom spend hours in the presence of God each morning. Christianity was never religion to me. It was an enjoyable relationship with Jesus and I wanted what she had.”
- CONSISTENCY – “Who my dad was at work, at church and at home was all the same. There was no performance. He showed me that living for Christ is something we do every day.”
- TRANSPARENCY – “My parents were always very open about their own process with the Lord. They talked about what they were hearing in prayer and through Scripture, but they also shared their struggles and questions. I learned that you don’t always have to have all the answers or have ‘perfect’ faith. Being a Christ-follower is a journey and there is time and room to grow.”
- SPIRITUAL HUNGER – “My dad was constantly challenging himself in his faith. I always saw him reading new books and listening to new teachings. He was driven to know God better and what he discovered was clearly fulfilling. He showed me how to be satisfied in God but always hungry for more.”
- HUMILITY – “Throughout my childhood, I remember my mom coming and asking for forgiveness when she had acted rashly or made a mistake. Even though she was in a position of authority she was willing to admit when she was wrong, because repentance and reconciliation were an integral part of her relationship with Jesus. I learned that we are all human and make mistakes, but when we do, we should seek to make things right with each other out of our love and submission to Christ.”
- STEADFASTNESS – “We experienced significant lose as a family. My sister died when I was young, an adoption fell through and then my mom got stage three melanoma cancer. Yet, in the face of great adversity, my parent’s faith was unwavering. The more difficult our lives became, the more they leaned into God. They taught me to run towards God when life gets tough, not away from Him.”
- COMMITMENT TO BIBLICAL TRUTH – “I watched my parents build their lives on the Word of God and saw the success that came from that. Don’t get me wrong, staying true to God’s Word wasn’t always easy or popular. But I saw the blessings that came from learning to filter everything through Scripture and making decision based on what it says.”
- A LIFESTYLE OF PRAYER – “Prayer filled our everyday life. No matter what trials came our way, my parents brought them to the Lord in prayer. The peace they received from that carried them through life and instilled in me a deep confidence that we have nothing to fear; God’s hand is over lives and we can rely on Him.”
- OBEDIENCE TO THE VOICE OF GOD – “I remember watching my dad come up from his quiet times in the basement with tears in his eyes. I could see that Jesus was real, that He spoke to my parents, and what He said defined their lives. This created the expectation that I could hear the voice of God for myself and learn to follow it.”
- RADICAL SERVICE – “I was homeschooled as a child and I remember my mom packing up my school work and loading me in the car to go pray for people, bring them groceries and help them with projects. I grew accustomed to seeing people healed and delivered at a young age. She called it ‘on the job training’.”
- GENEROSITY – “At the end of each year we would gather as a family and read letters from different missionaries and organizations. Together, we would talk and decide who we wanted to support. This caused me to be aware of how God is working in other parts of the world and to use the resources He has given me to be a blessing to others.”
- INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY – “We hardly ever missed church. My parents prioritized meeting to worship, fellowship and serve with other believers. All of our closest relationships revolved around the church. We were given responsibilities and opportunities to minister from a very young age. This taught me the value of developing deep friendship with other believers, to organize my life around godly pursuits, and to use my gifts and passions to serve others.”
- KINGDOM DRIVEN – “My dad was doing really well in a law firm and could have stayed there, but he felt the call of God to do what he is doing now. That totally went against conventional logic that tells you to get as much money and have as much fun as you can. This showed me that advancing God’s kingdom is more important than fulfilling my own desires and acquiring earthly things.”
As you can see, each person interviewed was shaped and inspired by the faith of their parents. At the same time, they can all distinctly remember the “defining moment” when their faith became their own. There was a specific, life-changing encounter with the Lord that marked this transition. It isn’t that they weren’t saved before, they were. But a shift took place in the spiritual trajectory of their lives and they knew they were never turning back. This is my prayer for each generation!
May God give every parent and child “singleness of heart and action” so that they will always fear the Lord and in turn, it will “go well for them and for their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:38-39).
Lindsay Diederichs graduated with a BA in Political Science from Point Loma Nazarene University of San Diego before going on to get her Masters in International NGOs from Webster University in Geneva, Switzerland. From there she became one of the Associate Producers and 50 State Distribution Tour Coordinator of a documentary film on domestic minor sex trafficking called Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth. She has been a part of Youth With A Mission for almost 10 years and is passionate about seeing people meet Jesus and fall in love with Him. Lindsay has traveled to over 30+ nations, served among unreached people groups, is fluent in French, is an avid learner and enjoys teaching and discipling young people!