All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children. In righteousness you shall be established; (Isaiah 54:13-14a, NKJV)
Not very long ago, we lay Adrian’s brother’s body to rest. He was only one of the twelve offspring of their parents. Adrian is actually the baby of the family; and by the time he was born, three of his siblings had already died at early ages – one of whom was the identical twin of his recently deceased brother. It’s hard to imagine the unbearable pain of such loss for his parents, but one of the hallmarks of the Stovall father and mother is the legacy of faith they have left for the family.
The thing that changed my life forever was meeting Adrian and experiencing faith in action. It was his example of his love for God and his faith that He would help him through difficult course work that brought me to a decision where I accepted Jesus as my Savior.
It’s a most remarkable family, those Stovalls. When I first met a portion of Adrian’s family, he and I were in the early stages of our relationship. We were both in college although not the same one, so we would meet up on weekends. Just prior to one of those weekends, Adrian invited me to go to his hometown to meet his Dad (his mother had passed away when he was only 16). I was both stunned and delighted, so, of course, I accepted. I already knew that his father was a pastor, but I didn’t know quite what to expect upon our arrival. Up to this time, I didn’t know any pastors personally. He was very warm and friendly. I suppose he wanted to help Adrian impress me even more because he handed him the keys to his beautiful car and sent us off to explore the town.
I got to meet one of Adrian’s brothers, also a pastor, and wife. We got to know each other quickly and easily. I loved them right from the beginning.
That Sunday, Adrian took me to church where his father pastored. It was a new experience for me. My parents believed in God but didn’t attend church, so I was excited. The singing and clapping was new to me, and I loved it; and the congregants were warm and welcoming.
After we decided to get married, one of Adrian’s sisters-in-law came from California to help with the wedding. Later, her husband came for the actual ceremony. This brother was both a physician and a pastor. A few months after getting married, Adrian and I traveled to California with his dad to meet the rest of the Stovall clan. Did I already tell you he was the baby of 12! I met another brother who was a pastor, a sister who was a medical technician and married to a pastor, a sister who was a fashion designer for a major clothing brand, a brother who was an OB/GYN, a sister who was a science teacher and another brother who was an engineer with the military. And, oh by the way, Adrian was a chemical engineer.
When you take a full look at my husband’s extraordinary family, you discover two things about his parents. They believed in education and God. Being an African-American family with so many children one would have to wonder how on earth did they accomplish so much! The easy answer is, though they believed in education; it was their faith in God that carried them through. They have transferred that faith to their own children, and that faith has been transferred to all the children of the offspring, as well. All of our families have children who are serving the Lord, and their children are also.
You see, it’s a legacy of faith that carries on from generation to generation. God’s will for us is that we bear godly offspring, and that our children bear godly offspring, and that their children bear godly offspring and so on and so on. That’s our true inheritance!