Growing up, Wednesday nights weren’t always church nights. I wasn’t a G.A. I didn’t know all my Bible verses.

Wednesday nights were for sailing. For racing. The whole day I’d check the tops of the trees. Was the wind good for tonight? Then, leaving late afternoon, driving the hour to the lake.

The tilt of the boat, slicing through the water. Escape. Enjoyment. Sailing with Dad. He taught me the skill of fine tuning a rope line.

Pull taut.

…Let out just a little.

…Now, turn into the wind.

Sometimes we’d come about to meet the next mark of the race. Coast downwind. Let out that gorgeous, colorful spinnaker. Rest. Glide. Listen to the gentle lap of the waves against the hull.

One Wednesday night my Dad offered me the helm. He trusted me to steer the rudder.  Right when I was starting to grow up. Yes, I was terrified of doing the wrong thing. But he always knew how to guide me. He was close by – within the 22 feet of our sailboat.

Some weeks we’d dock the boat, celebrating a racing victory. Other times, the circumstances and lack of wind proved us short. We did the best with what we’d been given.

The sailing skills my Dad taught are each a big part of my life. Every week I need to fine tune a school schedule. Pull taut the reigns of discipline. Let out and love just a little. Many times, I must turn right into the wind and face the challenge.

Then there are days to put my back to the wind. To rest in the care and comfort of our Lord. To lean on others. To be still and know.

My Heavenly Father offers me the helm of our homeschool. He’s given me the job of teaching the children. But His hand is over mine. Ultimately, He is in charge of the direction. Always available. A breath of a prayer away, He holds firm the rudder. Sometimes there is motion sickness. Some days are for resting and letting out that glorious spinnaker sail.

Early on, my Dad imparted lifelong skills. He spent the time. He shared his love of sailing. He taught me to take the helm and steer my own course. And he loved me. For these memories, for his loving parenting I am forever grateful. I honor him.

My parents divorced just a few, short years after those sailing days. The boat was sold. I went through each and every stage of grief. My Dad was no longer a daily part of my life. He was a phone call. But his voice on the line still steered me through choppy waters.

Could I choose bitterness? Could I think, why should I honor? Sure. And, many times, I did just that. As a teenager, I didn’t understand. Yes, I was a Christian. But I chose my own stubborn way.

But the Lord brought me back. Church again became a habit. Bible study became a habit. My Heavenly Father lovingly taught me. Bible verses were tucked in my heart. He modeled forgiveness in the scriptures. He broke down the walls. Let loose the taut lines.

And He gently reminded me of His commandment.

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Exodus 20:11-13

My parents are as every bit human as I am. Yet they have each invested their love in me and my brother. So, for years now, I have been working on a new habit. The habit of honoring my parents. Honoring my family. Rather than focus on the circumstances. Fret on the past. Harden my heart. I choose love.

I choose the healing. The mended relationships. Thanksgiving.

Honoring is a choice.

… a habit.

… a  commandment

I choose to honor.


Honoring can be as simple as a phone call, a thank you note or a hug. Writing is the way I chose to honor. A lovely, practical way I have also found to honor is to build a thankful jar. Maybe you would be interested as well? Write down just one thought a day on a slip of paper. Between now and Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day, you’ll fill a jar!

Gathering Joy – filling a jar with slips of thanksgiving to honor a parent, a grandparent.

These loved ones I honor in writing:

What about you? How have you seized the opportunity to honor?