Who are the Vincents?
Dem crazy people who are obsessed with Dayton?
Dem crazy people who never stop going to school?
Dem crazy people who love their guacamole so much they have the scars to prove it? (Yes I really did stab myself pitting an avocado once).
Obvi. But really, what is this family all about? I've been asking myself this question lately. I'm not a drifter, in any sense of the word. I know we are a mist, given limited time here to do one thing: showcase Jesus.
I believe God created families as one of His greatest tools to do just that. And we are two, almost three years deep in family life, and all the crazy beautiful and beautiful crazy that comes with it.
Now, its not just "Who am I?" like "Who is Jillian?"
And not "Who are WE?" as a couple, Tim and Jillian.
But who are WE, the Vincent family?
What do we want to be at the core of who we are and how will we make our decisions and spend our time? When our kids go to college, what will they tell their new friends about the family they grew up in? How will they describe us? What memories do I want to make with them, not just on a grand scale or traditions at holidays, but day in and day out? When we become the patriarch and matriarch of our family and have a bazillion grandkids, what legacy will we have left with them?
And how do we decide what those small choices or memories will be that will repeat and grow into the big choices and big memories that will shape our family culture for the long run? Do we pick and choose from the Vincent and Pierce heritages? Do we open up the floodgates of Pinterest or watch what our friends do?
We are coming up to an important transition in our family. Tim will graduate with his PhD in mechanical engineering in November. ALL THE PRAISE HANDS!
For the first time in our life, we don't have school on our horizon. And we are PRAYING. "What do you have next for us Lord?" And we already have some ideas about where He is leading us to use that time. This questioning of "Who are the Vincents?" is helping to clarify this direction.
I've seen lately how clarifying the mission of our church and in Dayton Women of the Word has helped guide our decisions, our many a yes and many a no. I want to do this for our family as well, know WHY we are doing what we are doing so we can move forward with full passion and conviction THIS is the path God has for us.
As the mama of this operation, I realize the great role I get to play. Mamas, we have SUCH influence! I see how mamas set the tone for their families in many ways. It is a privilege, and often a weighty responsibility. Largely because I am the operator of the sacred google calendar and the planner in this family, I have great power over how we spend our minutes, our days, our weeks, and the years our kids are with us.
First question: What is our Vision?
Jesus. I want them to remember we were crazy about Jesus. In this case, the Sunday school answer is in fact the correct answer. We want Jesus to be the true vision and shepherd of our family. And that everything we did spoke of Him, had his aroma.
Second question: What is our Mission?
As I've been mulling over the idea of how to create a gospel-centered family culture, God brought me to Romans 12:9-21. The Heading is "Marks of a True Christian." Sensing immediately the Holy Spirit's direction, I shared the passage with Tim. We decided this was our family mission statement, our family Scripture, the creed under which we will hold our decisions. Starting with the GOOD NEWS, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and holding fast to that good and overcoming evil with that good.
Third question: What are our Values?
Then I began to write out some values that we specifically have that fit under that mission. Disclaimer: this is not what I think every family should look like. I think your family is pretty swell and I love our differences. I think this is where God is giving us vision for our family. I share it here because I believe it will begin to shift how we make decisions for our family and I wonder how you make decisions for yours? Or maybe it will encourage you to think about the direction God has for yours! I would love to know how you live purposefully with your families!
Vincent Values (sorta kinda in order):
- The Gospel
- Thriving Marriage
- Joyful, Purposeful Parenting
- Loving and supporting the Local Church
- Seeking the Welfare of the City (currently Dayton)
- Bible Literacy
- Racial Reconciliation
- Cultivation of Giftings for God's Glory
- Stewardship: Financial Freedom, Hospitality, and Health
Fourth question: How do we, the Vincent family, practically act on our vision, mission, and values? What are our goals?
My favorite: action steps. I think this is the fun part. This is where we dreamed and are still dreaming. A family bucket list of sorts. Short term and long term. Both tried and true and new and novel. Some things we do and some things we know God is calling us to do and things that of course ONLY GOD can do. And of course, the Gospel means that we don't HAVE to do ANY of these things, but because of God's outstanding love for us, we GET to do some of these things because this is just what LOVE DOES, to quote Bob Goff. We receive and act upon grace upon grace. And we pray and we plan together, asking God would make HIS plans our plans and make us hold tighter to his hands than any earthly list we could make.
In no particular order...Vincent Family GOALZZZZZZ
- FInd Tim a new job that he is passionate about.
- Pursue adoption, expanding our family with another child made in the image of God. (this one is HUGE and we have been praying actively on it for about six months or so now. NOT a check off a box, but another human being! Praise God for adopting US and leading us through prayer!)
- Pay off our mortgage.
- Study the entire Bible with our kids before they leave our home. No clue how to start on this one.
- Host and Shepherd House Church.
- Buy local, when we can. Support those creating opportunities and support those who need more opportunities to rise out of poverty in Dayton.
- Train to be a recovery house church so we can help people break free from the chains of opiates in Dayton.
- Know our neighbors and stop to check in with them often.
- Talk AND Listen to God. Develop regular morning and evening prayer times. Prayer walk around our neighborhood. Hit our knees regularly. Prayer Journal.
- Taco Tuesdays- inviting members of our community that don't know Jesus or that we want to learn from into our home for tacos, every Tuesday night.
- Establish a give, save, spend system with the kids.
- Save and pay for our kids to go to college.
- Stacks of books everywhere. Read, all the time, all the things.
- Actively pursue relationships with those who are different from us.
- Hide the Word of God in our hearts- DWITW, BSF, Awana.
- Go on two marriage getaways sans kids a year- one for our birthdayversary and one random time.
- Date night
- Sex. Yup I said it. Important.
- Tim and Jillian each get to go to a conference of their choice a year to cultivate their giftings.
- Podcast, Teach, and Lead with Dayton Women in the Word
- Take our kids each on one cross cultural trip before they leave our home.
- Piano lessons (and later other ones if kids want to learn something else) This is a big one for Tim. I'm less musically inclined!
- Serve in as many ways as we can WITH our kids, taking every opportunity for discipleship.
- Serve the Victory Project.
- Spend one on one time with our kids via adventures in the city of Dayton with the kids- all the parks and museums and local restaurants and libraries. We live in the coolest city!
- Look for our kids passions and gifts and invest in them, but set an example of who gets the glory for those gifts.
- Small DIY house projects (Tim, not me).
- Host book club.
- Family dinner.
I'm sure there is many I left out and many we will add. We have to start somewhere. There are things we did not include on purpose.
Things we did not include because we can't do everything, even if these are GOOD things. This is not an all or nothing game, but just a good, better, and best one.
- Sports (if our kids realllllly want to we will! If it is a way to connect with our community we will! We won't choose this over our other values though)
- Booked individual schedules (need some white space, one activity per kid, more activities as a family)
- Phones- boundaries
- TV time
- Private preschool (we want to invest in college and find other solutions for the lower grades)
- Yard work (we couldn't care less- here is where investing in our local community enterprises comes in for us. Hi Victory Project!)
- Big house (choosing to pay mortgage early and fighting my own internal lie that we need a big house to have big hospitality #firstworldproblems)
- Unnecessary stuff. Invest in people, not things.
- Always clean house. It can wait.
- Overseas missions trips (recognizing God has us on other missions but love our overseas missions friends!)
- Organic food (love it, don't need it)
- Muscles (you won't see me hours in the gym, but I'm going to find small ways to stay healthy)
- Major DIY home projects (learned the hard way.)
I suppose that is a little of what I want our legacy to be or not to be. What I want people to think of when they think of us, The Vincent Family. I want them to see genuine love and good that can only be from Jesus Christ.
And the nuts and bolts NEVER will matter as much as the WHO behind them. They are but tools. May they never take your place Lord Jesus! Help us not to be prideful in lists, but purposeful in you. Help us keep our eyes on you, the author and perfecter our faith! Be thou our Vincent Vision. Lord help us to OWN who you created us to be and encourage others in who you created them to be! May we live on passionate mission and never waste a moment you've given us.