Today my husband and I met our granddaughter for the first time.
We’ve been anxiously awaiting this baby’s arrival and our introduction for several days, so when our son called to say that she was on her way, we immediately made a plan to be on our way too.
After a few trains, planes and automobiles, we were met with the gift of holding 7pounds, 15ounces of pure joy—our sweet Mia Rayne. And just like that, we were forever changed.
I doubt that I will ever lose my awe at the miracle of her. There is so much to take in about this tiny human whom we will teach to call me Gigi- and will ultimately call me whatever she likes- which is just fine by me.
My mind is often a-flutter with all that I want to say to her, and wonder about all that she will want to say to me. So many things to show her. I want to help her feel known and loved. To know her great worth. To know the God who loves her, Who calls her the apple of His eye, and rejoices over her with singing. I’m confident her parents will do all of this and so much more. I already see their love and care reflected in how content this sweet one is, in simply being.
We’re having so much fun recognizing and pointing out all the physical traits her mama and daddy have passed on to her. Her dimples, her perfect little elf ears, some of her expressions already mimic her daddy---our son. Of course, she’s absolutely beautiful, just like her mama.
We are savoring every breath, every sigh. Every cry. Every cuddle.
In the handful of hours since her birth, I have cried many tears. Tears of joy over this miracle. Tears of sadness (just a little), that we couldn’t be there when she was born (thanks COVID). And most of all, tears of love. There also are tears of pride as we watch our son step up for both mama and baby, as an advocate, protector and nurturer. I am already in awe of the father he has become.
But, mixed in with all of those tears for all of those reasons, there are also tears of gratitude and even relief. Those tears flow for reasons you might not expect . . .
I’ve been thinking a lot about what we pass down. That isn’t new for me. Understanding “what was passed down” is a big part of the work I do with my clients. It was a big part of my own healing journey, as well.
The Sins of the Father
We can pass down so many beautiful things to the generations that follow us. But if we’re not careful – if we don’t do the work? We can pass down some unhealthy things, too.
There is a scripture that reads, “the sins of the father are visited upon the sons to the third and forth generation.” Admittedly, it is a verse I struggled with in the past. However, the more I healed and the more I walk with clients who are working to do the same thing, I have come to understand this Scripture differently. While at first glance the verse’s message seems like an unjust sentence pronounced by an unforgiving God, closer examination reveals it is instead a cautionary prediction by a compassionate and merciful God who knows what can happen to the generations after us if we do not address our issues.
What isn’t repaired gets repeated.
And this isn’t just a “scriptural” message. Science points to the same outcome. Through an area of science known as Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance, we see that the impact of one generation’s experience will impact future generations, to the third and forth generation, save for intervention to change the outcome.
Passing Down Healing
However, for as much as our wounds and the consequences of our dysfunction can be passed down, so can our healing.
And that is why I cry.
Some time ago, before there was even the thought of Mia, our son took ownership of all the things he did not want to pass on to future generations. The road hasn’t always been smooth for him—or straight, for that matter. But he didn’t give up.
And while he didn’t foresee his daughter’s presence in his life at the time, his decision to do the hard work (and continue doing it) allowed him to be ready for fatherhood in ways many might not be.
Because of the road he chose, our granddaughter receives the incredible blessing of a father (and mother) who understand that you can only effectively parent and be equipped to help your child navigate her challenges in life to the degree you have healed your own wounds.
While our sweet Mia will undoubtedly have her own struggles and adversities, I am confident she will have the support she needs of parents who are uniquely equipped to help her through it. And for that, I am grateful beyond words. And beyond tears.
Be a Cycle Breaker
What about you? Are there struggles, patterns or challenges in your life that are the product of the generations before you? Have dysfunction and unhealthy patterns of belief and/or behavior been a legacy in your family? If you recognize this to be true, you have an opportunity to choose to be a cycle breaker. There is so much help and encouragement out there for you. (Consider this blog a part of it. And for more on what gets passed down, check out www.generationsdeep.com for a new resource coming soon.)
Even if you already have children (or grandchildren!), it isn’t too late. You have a story that, once healed, will uniquely equip you to help the generations after you navigate their challenges, as well. We can shift our legacy to one of truth and freedom; of being fully known and fully loved.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” 1 John 3:14
For additional resources on familial cycles and breaking generational patterns, check out the blog and resources tabs at www.itsmyoutloudvoice.com. To be notified when Generations Deep: Unmasking inherited dysfunction and trauma to rewrite our stories through faith and therapy releases, visit www.generationsdeep.com and receive your free writing guide.