We had a great week in Alabama! Being with Julie and her family is always a blessing. She and David, and their children, too, are kind and thoughtful and a lot of fun to be with. Their family life is centered around the Lord and how He would have them live, and it really shows in how their children are growing up. I am sure He must be pleased.

It is so interesting to see how their personalities are developing. Benjamin is twelve and just hitting puberty. You know—the deep ((and sometimes cracking) voice, whiskers on the upper lip, suddenly shooting up in height, and all that. What a fine young man he has become! He so reminds us of David. He’s always had his father’s genes in appearance – darker skin and hair and those heavy eyebrows – but now we see his dad’s personality all over again in him. He’s quiet and laid back, always thoughtful and willing to help, very smart and yet humble, with a love for the Lord and a godly wisdom about him that is remarkable in a child that young.

Hannah is a cute mixture of prissy princess and tomboy following in her brothers’ footsteps. She wants to keep up with them, but at the same time flaunts her girly ways in their faces – mostly because she knows anything frilly and frou-frou annoys Joshua to no end! What a tease! She’s only six, but is as tall as an eight-year-old so sometimes you forget that she is still a little girl. The challenge this week was that she desperately wanted to jump off the diving board at swimming lessons but just couldn’t quite screw up her courage enough to do it. She went in there every day absolutely determined she was going to take the plunge, and then went away disappointed in herself that she couldn’t do it. In the end though, she learned to swim and on that last day swam the entire length of the pool! And learning to swim was what it was all about, so she came away proud of herself after all! We were proud of her, too! She reminds me of Julie when she was a little girl. She could be so stubborn, but in the end that stubbornness turned into strength and determination and has been a gift in becoming the woman she is today.

It is Joshua’s personality, though, that makes me laugh! He is such a chip off the old block – Boppa’s (Grandpa’s) block, that is! There is no volume switch on either one of them. Joshua and Boppa are both loud, loud, LOUD! They have the same sense of humor. They both love to roughhouse. They both would love to be out hunting or fishing. Boppa taught Joshua to make coffee when he was just a little guy so now Joshua can’t wait until he can be a coffee drinker like Boppa! (He got to have little bit for his birthday and declared up and down that he loved it–that is, after he shook the coffee creamer bottle and spilled it all over the kitchen!) He is a hard worker like Boppa and has a kind and generous heart – with a little bit of male ego thrown in to boot. He has a strong sense of what is right and wrong and is always ready to stand up for righteousness. We call him Mini-Boppa and it just makes me laugh!

It is wonderful to watch our children and grandchildren grow and to see that “little bit of me and that little bit of you” in them. We see them carrying on the heritage they’ve been handed and it makes us proud to see that little extension of ourselves and to know that someday when we are gone, a little of us will live on in them. I made a card to send to David in Iraq a few weeks ago that had a picture of the kids on the front. I had found a photo of each of them that really showed their personalities and cropped them out and then formed a new photo with the three of them together. I put “Personality Plus!” on the front of the card with the picture and then on the inside wrote this little poem:

God took the best of Julie,
He took the best of you,
A little bit of Boppa,
Grandma and Grandpa Sanchez, too,
Threw in a part of me —
The very BEST of all of us —
And made the very cutest kids
With personality PLUS, PLUS,
and PLUS!
As I watched the kids this week and thought about how Benjamin is so like his dad, or Joshua is another Boppa, or Hannah takes after her mommy when she was a little girl, I couldn’t help but think how we are to be so like Jesus.

We are made in His image, after all. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26a) Sin has distorted that image, but when we are redeemed we are made new creatures. We have His Spirit and our lives are transformed—transformed to be like Him. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:29)
To be like Jesus—what would that be? His life exemplified love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control—all the fruit of the Spirit. He wants us to produce that fruit and be like Him. (Galatians 5:22, 23) He became a humble servant and sacrificed Himself for us. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8) He is holy and He wants us to be holy. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16)
When others look at me, do they see Jesus in me? Does my life reflect Him? Do they know I am a Christian – a “little Christ”—by how I live my life? I always loved the chorus “Let the Beauty of Jesus Be seen in Me.” It goes like this:
Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me–
All His wonderful passion and purity.
O my Savior divine, all my being refine
Till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.
It makes us happy when we see ourselves in our little ones. How much it must please God when He sees our lives reflecting Him!

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