Mining for Gold in Our Families

This week, my daughter-in-law, Andrea, posted this pic of my grandson, Aran, asleep on the beach, clutching a copy of my book, Mining for Gold.

When I first saw it, something deep and eternal shot through my being.

I had this immediate sense that my life was part of a larger story. I could sense I was on a long relay race and I would not be remembered for how fast I ran, but on how much I handed down to those in my family who are following behind. It was humbling.

What rose up my heart as I looked at this picture was that Aran is carrying a weight gold for his generation, and it is up to his parents and his grandparents to mine for that gold in him. He has been born for such a time as this, and our role in his life is to cooperate with God as He develops this little man.

Beth and I are blessed with two sons and two daughters. Each of them carry a unique expression of God’s divine image. Each of them face unique challenges in becoming the men and women God created them to be. Each of them are seeking, asking and knocking to discover who they are in the Father, and what He has uniquely called and designed them to do. As God added our daughter-n-law and our grandson to our family, we made room for them, while our goal remained the same. We want each of our family members to discover the gold they carry and cooperate with God as He refines that gold. Lastly we pray that they put His kingdom first and invest their gold in His eternal kingdom purposes. We want to be miners of the gold in our families.

How do mine for gold in our families? Here are three thoughts that have helped me as a husband, father and grandfather:

  1. See Them as Treasures: I think we begin to Mine for Gold in our families by continuously viewing each member as a treasure who is fearfully and wonderfully made by God. (Ps 139:14). Our spouses, our children and our extended family members are each unique treasures God created for His glory. They each carry a weight of gold of the image of Christ no other person in history has carried or ever will carry. They have immense eternal value because He made them and designed them for a specific purpose. They are treasures and our role is to see and value that treasure. Mining for Gold in our families begins with having eyes to see those family members through the eyes of the Spirit. With the Spirit’s vision we can see past the dross of our loved ones’ flesh or brokenness, and see the eternal weight of glory that is “Christ in [them], the hope of glory. (Col 1:27).
  2. Help Them Find Their Sweet Spot: I recently watched a program on the Liverpool footballer (soccer player for us Americans), Mo Salah, the “Egyptian King.” For years Salah played in different clubs under different coaches, and he did well. But when he came to Liverpool, under coach Jurgen Klop, his game went to another level. Why? He was allowed to be himself, play to his strengths, and flourish. He found his footballing sweet spot. The team, the coach, and their strategy was like a perfect match for what Salah does best. Liverpool was the perfect setting for Salah to live and play football the way God made him to play. In 2018, he won the award for the top goal scorer in the English Premier League, an incredible achievement. What was the difference? His coach didn’t try to change Salah, he tried to free him up to be the player and the person he was created to be. He helped him find his sweet spot and live from that freedom. This is what we need to give our family members. We need to help them discover who they really are and what they are designed to do. Then, we need to let go of our ideas and plans for them and let them flourish in their sweet spot. There is a ton of work that goes into becoming the man or woman God created you to be, but when a person lives from their sweet spot, it is like they are soaring on wings like an eagle. They are lifted and propelled by a supernatural grace and power. It is a beautiful thing to behold.
  3. Let God Refine and Develop Them Into Maturity: This last thought is one of the hardest things for us as parents and spouses. There are many ways we get in God’s way or actually hinder His maturing processes in our family member’s life. I have seen myself and others fall into several traps that can get in God’s way as He refines them. Here are a three:
  4. We try to mold them into the image we want for them. We think we always know what’s best for our spouses or kids. This way of thinking and behaving will bind up a person and is actually a damaging form of control. We tell ourselves we mean well, and we say we want what’s best for them, but in really, we really want only what we think is best for them. God may likely have other ideas. His plans are better than ours! We must let go and allow God to take leadership in their development. We need to let Him take them where He wants to take them, teach them the lessons He knows they need, and shape them into the person He created them to be. We must let go and entrust them to God. Our role is to free them to follow the Father in His adventure for their lives
  • We try to help them too much: This is so easy to fall into. Codependency can feel like love and helping, but it has crippled many people and kept them small and immature. We must let go and stop trying to fix things for others. As our family members grow, we need to let them experience the pain and the challenges of life, and internalize the laws of sowing and reaping. They need to be able to navigate and flourish in the world as it is, not the world we want to create for them. Our spouses and kids need to have the muscles, the discipline and the faith to press through obstacles and get up from setbacks and failures. Our role is to always support them, pray for them and unconditionally love them. We give them great grace as they stumble towards maturity. We let them experience life on their own, so they grow up beyond their adolescence and develop the faith and the stewardship of godly mature adults. We Mine for Gold by letting our family members be separate from us, yet always staying connected, supportive, and present along their journey.
  • We talk too much and listen too little: This is where I think Mining for Gold is really powerful. As I’ve lived and grown with my family, I’ve found the best outcomes have not come when I talked a lot to them, but when I deeply listened to what my wife or kids had to say. This is the deepest expression of love on the planet. Something eternal happens when we forget about ourselves, empty our minds, and deeply listen to those who are closest to us. The intimate connection that comes from deep heart communication is our greatest gift our families. That heart communication begins with listening. Think about how much you talk to your family members compared with how much you quietly and attentively listen. To Mine for Gold, we must spend more time listening than speaking. We must learn the skills of excellent and non-judgmental listening. In the environment of deep listening, and grace-filled connection, our family members will start to come alive. They will find the courage to trust God more, take more risks, and be who God made them to be. They will feel free to be themselves. I have found that when a person begins to feel permission to be themselves in this world, thriving is a natural unfolding result. I love watching that happen!

God put the gold in our family members. Let’s trust Him with that gold, and partner with Him as He refines that gold for His glory. In a future post, I want to share more on what it means to invest our gold, and help others invest their gold, in God’s kingdom.

Thank you, Father, for our families. Help us to walk softly and see the holy treasures right around us every day. Whether they are little, like my grandson, or grown adults like my kids, they each need regular deposits of our love, affirmation and support. Mine for Gold in your family. Treasure is waiting there to be discovered and developed.