As you know when God calls us to do a work, he trains us for that work and often takes us through things that prepare us for the task. Real life is a really great teacher. I do not believe that God authors all of our difficulties. For example James tells us that God does not tempt us with evil. (James 1:13)
However God will teach us and strengthen us while he guides us through whatever comes our way and he will work everything out when we are walking with him. (Romans 8:28)
Having said that, I believe that God has wonderfully (and by his grace) taken me through some big and small storms and through it all he has prepared me to help and encourage and equip other parents and families. Here is the brief story.
- I was raised in a religious home without knowing Jesus as my savior.
- My parents separated when I was six. My Mom (a single mother on social assistance) raised my three siblings and me.
- I stopped listening to anyone at the age of thirteen and became a rebellious worldly teenager.
- My mother married my stepfather when I was thirteen.
- My father had remarried earlier and I have two half brothers and a half sister.
- My mother committed her life to Christ when I was about 17 and started praying for her family.
- I gave my life to Christ and my life was changed forever just before my 19th birthday.
- Shortly after this I married my high school girlfriend when I was 20.
- We had three children.
- When the kids were still quite young, my wife left. (This was the most difficult time of my life.)
- Although the children’s mother saw them, they lived with me full time and I experience what it’s like to be a single parent.
- Even though I was free to remarry, I told God that I was willing to stay single and devote more time to my children and helping other parents.
- God had another plan.
- A friend of mine who also was friends with the owner of eHarmony was insistent that I should give eHarmony a try. Even though I ignored him, he kept it up.
- When others started telling me the same thing I started to wonder. Then when the owner of eHarmony emailed me personally (in response to a request from our mutual friend) and invited me to join, I felt that God was in it.
- Through a wonderful series of Godincidences I met Luba and five months after our first date we were married.
Although in the beginning I promised myself that my family would never break apart, I now have a second wife and my children have a stepmother.
These are the personal family details in a nutshell. I have shared this with you to show that I am just a normal guy walking through a bumpy life trusting God. All the while doing my best to parent God’s way, allowing him to strengthen, teach and guide me through all life’s ups and downs.
And through it all, I believe one of the reasons he has taught me (and that I have gone through some of what I have gone through) is so that I could with grace, turn and help, strengthen, encourage and equip others who are facing the same and similar bumps.
My oldest daughter is now married to my awesome son-in-law and my first grandchild is providing me with more life experience to pass on. My second daughter is attending college and my teenage son (my inspiration for my books for boys) is still at home.
Do you remember your parents telling you to not air your family’s dirty laundry? It’s a metaphor which apparently can be traced back to Napolean. The idea being that you shouldn’t do laundry in public (eg hang clothes on a line to dry) that would reveal intimate details of your life and you also shouldn’t tell others about the troubles and private things that happen in your family.
I remember hearing this saying when I was young and my Granny was still alive. I remember wondering why (if this saying were true as a fact as well as a metaphor) she would hang her unmentionables on our clothes line when she visited. Now I should mention that my Gran was a wonderful lady but she was a very large woman and her private garments would attract attention. However, for some reason she seemed oblivious to this fact.
I’m telling this story because I believe that somehow, somewhere along the way, we’ve adopted the idea that what happens behind closed family doors is no one’s business but our own. Which has again somehow led to the idea that we are free to behave in ways in our homes that we would not act in public. Read more
Throughout the Bible, children are considered to be a gift from God and a blessing to the parents who receive them.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. (Psalm 127:3)
Scripture contains many prayers and songs thanking God for the blessing of children, including those of Sarah, Hannah, and Mary. Mary had heard the stories of Sarah and Hannah and had learned that children are an awesome gift and a blessing.
Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
If you’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, here it comes. Sometimes parenting can seem downright overwhelming. Children need constant care, training, and discipline, and none of us is perfectly up to the task. So at times we feel tempted to consider the gift of children as anything but a blessing. I once heard a mother say to her young teenager (in jest of course), “Watch it, buster! I brought you into this world and I can take you back out again!” That about sums up the way we sometimes feel, doesn’t it?
I wanted to write something for Father’s Day that would encourage Dad’s and cause all of us to reflect more thankfully on the efforts of our own fathers. I started by looking for a wonderful ‘Hallmark-type’ quote that would set the tone. In the process I found that many of the things I wanted to say have already been said, and said well. Which is easy to understand since the first Father’s Day celebration reportedly happened ninety-eight years ago on July 5,1908.
The story goes that in West Virginia only two months prior to this event the first Mother’s Day had been celebrated. In the previous December a nearby mine explosion had taken the lives of 361 men, many of them fathers. A lady named Grace Golden Clayton inspired by either or both of these events, suggested that a special service should be held to honor fathers.
What role did God intend for the Christian home and family to play in his salvation plan, the Gospel? (Part 3)
So how exactly can God use our Christian families (Christian parents and Christian children) to impact the world and bring God’s blessing to the nations?
I believe he wants us to raise a generation of Christian kids that will do major damage to the gates of hell. Let me explain.
If Israel could become great and powerful by teaching their children to walk with God and keep the Old Covenant how much more can the Body of Christ grow and powerfully impact the nations, according to God’s promise, if we were to teach our children to walk in the power and grace of the New Covenant.
Can you imagine if instead of losing our kids to the world we kept them all in the church. I’m not talking about just having more bodies to warm the pews. I’m talking about a generation that grows up learning God’s Word, walking in relationship with God and growing in his grace. A generation that is excited about being used by God and about taking ground for the Kingdom of God. Like the generation of Israelites that took the Promised Land only each one of these would be under the New Covenant and filled with God’s Spirit.
What can I do when I’m struggling to believe that God is really working in me, in my family and in my home?
This is a really important question. Remember, we receive God’s grace in every area by faith. Paul said over and over again in his writings that the just must live by faith. God working in us and growing us does not just automatically happen. Our active part is to trust God’s promise and use that same faith to get up and get moving in the right direction.
Jesus often chided his disciples for their lack of faith. I believe that was because he knew that it was going to be key in the operation of the New Covenant. However struggling with our faith is something that we all do. Fortunately the Bible gives us some simple keys to help us win the struggle and grow in our faith.
Here is what always helps me when I am struggling to trust that God is truly working inside me, my family and/or my kids and making a difference. Or for that matter, when I’m struggling to trust God for any of the wonderful things we have talked about in this foundation category.
How can I disciple my children when my own faith is a little shaky and when I don’t know enough about the Faith to disciple anyone? (Part 3)
Please bear with me. This entry will be a little longer than most however I sincerely believe that the scriptural principle that you are about to read about is probably the most essential for Christian parents to understand!
Working hard to please God
When I first became a Christian I was so excited. I wanted to know everything, do everything right and experience God in everyway that was possible. I went to every church service and prayer meeting I could get to. I read every Christian book I could find and spent as much of my day every day that I could reading my Bible and on my knees praying. Every minute of the day I was a church service waiting to happen.