Friday, May 23, 2008


Psalm 5:11-12

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

Before Tim and I married in June 1995, I had a nightmare that we decided to combine our last names instead of me taking his last name.

My name at the time was Jamie Hardenbrook. His last name is Hatfield. So, in my terror-filled dream, we legally became Mr. and Mrs. Tim and Jamie Hardhat. I remember waking up from the dream breathless and relieved that the wedding was still days away, and no name change had occurred. I was a concerned bride, terrified that my wedding announcement would show up as a one-liner on the Tonight Show.

After we had settled into Married Student Apartments at Milligan College, I had loosened up a bit. Over canasta and sweet tea one evening, I laughingly shared my dream with Mike and Jen Shanks, our fellow newlyweds two doors down. Soon, a metal hardhat showed up on our door, a gift from Mike that had belonged to his grandfather. That hardhat has followed me and Tim through six addresses now, and has become a treasured reminder of the Shanks' friendship.

Over the past 13 years, I have even come to treasure the moniker "hardhat." To me, it represents the protection that our families' legacies have given me, my husband and my children.

Tim and I enjoy legacies of faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. When we met at Milligan, we had so much in common - our fathers were preachers, our grandfathers were preachers, our uncles were preachers! We immediately had a common language, a common history, and a common understanding. Although our families' histories did not overlap, occurring on opposite sides of the country, we were kindred spirits. There has never been a question for either of us - Jesus Christ will be first in our home, hearts and activities. It's that simple.

The legacy of the Hardenbrooks and the Hatfields and Goodells and Wilkins is the same, and the strength of their faith and commitment is being lived out in our home. That steely strength has provided a protection for us, a barrier from the world that is not easily broken.

My prayer for my friends and church family members is for the same legacy to be lived out in their families' lives. My friends came to faith in their twenties and thirties, and are now navigating the paths of understanding as they reframe their family life and friendships in the light of Jesus Christ. Sometimes they seem to admire the family stability and foundation that we have and wish the same for their family. I am thrilled to tell them about my paternal great-grandfather, who was baptized as an adult, then went on to serve Jesus his whole life as he preached, baptized, and founded Boise Bible College and raised a family of descendants that follow his footsteps of faith and devotion. I am thrilled to tell them about Tim's paternal grandfather, who wasn't baptized until he had grandchildren, but has 4 children who live faithful lives, and multitudes of grandchildren and great-grandchildren who are walking in the footsteps of Jesus! Our families are filled with even more amazing stories of commitment to Jesus that I look forward to sharing in this blog.

What is just as exciting to me? The legacy of my friends' families is beginning now, and I am honored to witness the creation of these "hardhats" of protection and strong foundation of faith for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They are new disciples of Jesus Christ, and they are creating reproducing disciples in their own children and in the lives of their family members and friends. Now that is really cool.

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