Monday, September 12, 2011


When my mother and dad went to heaven 10+ years ago, (one year and a day apart)... I went through a dark period in my own faith.

Two very important things I have learned in the past 10 years:

Much of my walk with Jesus through the years was based on the strong faith of my parents, it was as if THEIR faith was MY faith.

I know in looking back, that I rode on their coat tails for a lot of my christian walk. If I was worried, or fearful, I was okay with it because THEY were okay with it. They had lived through their lives and learned who their safety net was. I sensed that and thought that it was the same for me. They 'did the work' of learning God's ways.... I put that on like a warm coat, and felt safe.

When they died, I felt the normal feelings of grief and sadness, we were very close. But I also had an additional grief... where did my faith go, it seemed to have disappeared, and God seemed so distant.

This first great lesson God taught me was... the same God that was THEIR God is also MY God!

It was later that I re-learned... 'He was there all the time'... I was already His, from the time I invited Him into my heart at 5 years old.


The things they learned and lived in their lives were not mine simply because I was their child.

That may seem so obvious, but it wasn't as clear to me. Just as my parents learned to know God through their daily walk and obedience... so do I.

My life is my own responsibility, and what I learn of God is coming because of my choices, not theirs.

Yes, they taught, they lived and they showed me by example, but it is not MY experience until and unless I have obeyed God in the ways He is teaching me. His plan for my life is for me. He has a special blueprint with my name on it. The title is "Sonja".

We begin this life with a clean slate, even though the sin nature is there, and what we do, what we choose, how we live, how we obey God... is what we are filling the slates of our lives with.

Sometimes I feel like my slate is coming along pretty well...

Other times I know that it looks like a confusing mess.


Above all, I know that HE is the one who enables me to add, eliminate and clarify what it written on the slate of my life, and it is never too late for the confusion and the mess to be cleared, organized and made right!

A couple of lessons I'm learning as I journey onward...


Diana Ferguson said...

So enjoyed this post, Sonja!

myletterstoemily said...

thank you for being so honest. we all have those 'warm
coats' in some fashion. my grandmother was mine, so
i know how you feel. you have had to focus on your
personal walk of faith, but your encouragment is also
to me as a mom. i don't want my kids hanging on my
coattails. those tails are MUCH too tattered. :)

i was just reading proverbs 27:23
"be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds."

i am praying about using better discernment with my
children and pushing them to their own walks of
faith. i also ask for their advice and prayer to get
this whole mutual encouragement energized.

think we have a week of high temps again. :(


Debbie said...

this was such a good post and made me think A LOT about how this might be true of some of my own kids. I just think the same is true of them sometimes. When in doubt about anything spiritual, call mom or dad. I am going to pray and push harder for them to develop their own walks soo much stronger. Have a good day! HUGS

GwendolynKay said...

Love this post Sonja.
Blessings and hugs~ said...

I didn't have a warm coat to lean on, even though my parents are Christians I felt from day one I had to grow in my own faith...which began at age 5 also....there wasn't ever prayer in our home, or Bible that was developed independently of them...they were very strong in making us independent

As a parent now of adult children I am seeing them pull and tug to find their own stand or not stand on it apart from their looks mess and is hard to watch...but what you said is true for them...God doesn't have grand children...He has children.

Thanks for the encouragement as I watch my own make their own choices

Farm Girl said...

Don't you think we must all do that? I have seen my own children struggle to make my faith their own faith. I have seen God provide them with ample testing grounds. I think it is good your realized it when you did. Dear Sonja, you always make me wish I lived closer so I could just sit and listen to your wisdom.
I am glad that your faith became your own and you didn't do like some people I have known, just walked away.
I always enjoy your posts so much. Thank you

Tammy said...

I saw a strong faith in my mother and watched how she trusted the LORD, too. Like you, I had to develop my own faith.

Ya know, they would be very pleased with the faith you have with the LORD!

Sandy said...

I guess my dear mother was my warm coat to
lean on. She was the first person to tell
me about Jesus and for that I am eternally
grateful. I enjoyed this, Sonja.

Kathleen said...

So well conveyed, Sonja! Perhaps this is what the Lord had in mind all along when "family" was ordained. We "children" live in the safety, security & example of our parents until such time as the baton is passed. Theirs is a legacy of spirit as much as anything.

I experienced similar losses with the death of my parents. I felt so vulnerable, as though the fence around my soul had been breached. Little did I realize until later, that what they taught was more "caught" than actually learned. The fence remains, unbreached, because it was God's fence all along.


Debbie Petras said...

I love it when you share the lessons that you are learning. As I was reading about your parents' faith, I thought of when Moses died. The Israelites had gone on his coat tails. The Lord told Joshua to get going. I guess he had to learn to trust God for himself and lead the people.

In many ways Sonja, you are like a mentor to so many of us. I learn through things that you write about and I can tell you that you are such an encouragement to me. I thank God for you sister!

Love you and thank you for your especially sweet and kind comments today on Heart Choices.

Love you,

Debbie said...

I loved this post, and I read it even more as a mom than a daughter. I so passionately want my daughters to SHARE my faith and not just follow me in my faith, if that makes sense.

I also loved the whole part about filling our slates.

Aspiring Writer said...

My slate is messy sometimes too! What a great analogy! Thank you for sharing that.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Reading this, I'm thinking about my own parents who are still living. I don't often reflect on life without them. It pains my heart. That being said, I like thinking about all the wonderful things they've passed on to me, not the least of which is the rich witness of a life transformed by the grace of the cross.

Seasons of working on our faith. Each of us going through one...

Praying God's peace for you as you work through yours.


Beth Herring said...

so very thankful for the chance of a clean slate every day!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


My parents died 23 years ago, and only TWO WEEKS APART from each other. That summer, my husband and I went back to Los Angeles from Boston and so much had happened. When they were both gone, my faith went with them. I could not pray for years. I felt empty. But God brought me back with my own life and goals, and opportunities to trust HIM again and rely on Him for my own journey. Life is one big classroom, isn't it?

Peace. Anita

Sharon said...

Sonja, This was really powerful. I loved the imagery that you brought out. Yes, it's true - there are no spiritual children, in the sense that we can't "inherit" our faith. Praise God for the blessing of believing parents who start us in the right direction, counsel us with their wisdom, and show us by example what faith looks like.

But, you're right - God turns A faith into OUR faith through the journey He takes US on.

I'll tell you what - I'm glad that God has a BIG eraser and sometimes just wipes the slate clean. And I love that He writes new messages all the time...


Marsha Young said...


Good lessons. I hope I am being a good student.

Blessings to you - Marsha

Saleslady371 said...

He never gives up on us until we realize the treasure we have in our faith in Him. It is so personal, so individual! This is a wonderful share.

LisaShaw said...

Thank you for sharing your lessons friend. I can relate. When Grandma went to the Lord in 1990 I grieved as she and Grandpa were more PARENTS to me than anything else. She had a strong faith, strong prayer life and was a powerhouse in God's Word. She came along in a time when women were not accepted in "certain" ways in the church but she had a mantle on her life...a call of God that I couldn't even appreciate until I stepped into knowing Him deeply for myself.

I stood on her faith until my mid twenties although I was saved at 12 but there came a day when I had to realize that I needed to KNOW HIM FOR MYSELF!!!

I love your sharing ALWAYS!

Much love dear friend.