Among the things I gave my eldest daughter when she graduated from college was a hope chest. I filled the chest with tablecloths, heirloom doilies, dishes and photos. As beautiful and treasured each of the household items were, the most significant gift in the hope chest was a Bible. I inscribed it as Ruth Graham did for her children, referring to it as “life’s instruction book.”
I’ve been looking at hope chests again lately and shopping for items to place in it for my youngest daughter, Rebecca. The story goes that traditional hope chests have been given to young women as they prepare for adulthood . . . as hard as it is to believe, my Rebecca is now 17 and it’s time. Piece by piece, I’m hoping to help her build up a life filled with faith, hope and love.
My daughter is a normal Christian teenage girl trying to hold on to her faith while living in a world that is constantly sending her mixed messages. She is very involved in the youth group at church where she thankfully receives Biblically-based life instruction . . . only to hear contradicting messages at school. No doubt she and her friends are faced with life-changing decisions every day and navigating them is becoming harder and harder to do.
That’s why I was so thankful this past weekend to be able to take my daughter to the Focus on the Family, Alive in New York event — attending the event and hearing from so many who stand up for life, was a treasure in the “proverbial” hope chest I’ve been trying to fill for Rebecca since birth.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, partners for life with Brad Mattes and the Life Issues Institute, shared about the importance of every life in a way which seemed to most resonate with my daughter,
The most powerful argument that can be made for the protection of the unborn child is that little baby boy or little baby girl’s first videos – the videos in the sonograms. And what do we see? We see him sucking his thumb. We see a little girl responding to her mother’s lullabies. We see her eyebrows, her eyelashes, his fingernails . . . how can we look at that and be unmoved? We can’t.
As Marjorie continued, I could see from the expression on my Rebecca’s face that she not only clearly understood what Marjorie was saying but that also knew this to be true,
The argument that stopped me in my feet . . . was the one question pointing to that picture saying, “What is that you are looking at?” There is only one thing that that person is – it’s a little boy or girl sent by God into this world, loved and sent for a purpose that only that precious boy or girl can do.
Rebecca and I have talked about her future . . . she hopes to go to college, get a career, meet someone, marry and start a family. She knows there are choices she could make along the way that could change her life course. I pray she will have the faith to hold on to His hope no matter what . . . which, interestingly, is where the term “hope chest” originated. Originally, they were called wedding chests, but later became known as “Hope Chests” as in “hope for marriage” and the promise of love.
As parents, there’s much we want to leave our children and to the 1944 Lane hope chest slogan, “Love knows no distance when pledged with a Lane hope chest – The gift that starts the home,” I would add, a legacy of faith, hope and love for every life is the most valuable pledge and heirloom of all!
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