One day I came home and my wife handed me our newborn and said "war, I have been to war, this is harder." My wife has served in the Army & the Reserves for 21 years, she has been in situations I have only read about or watched in movies. Stephanie was a medic, she was in the thick of it helping those who had been wounded in battle, she has some intense stories, things she lived through. When she handed me our child and said those words I knew that it had been a rough day. Our first child came into the world screaming and didn't seem to stop for the first 8 months of his existence. I honestly wish that last statement was an exaggeration, it's not. Many of our friends thought something was wrong with him because he would not stop crying. After about 6 months Stephanie had a hunch and that hunch proved correct, things began to change for the better. During those first 8 months sleep was a hot commodity. I thought that sleep and Bigfoot had a lot in common, both claimed to be real, there was supposed evidence and yet neither had been found. Stephanie and I met in December of '14, were engaged that February, married in August. and found out Stephanie was pregnant in October... Things moved quickly for us, we knew that God was at work. God made it clear to both of us that we were to be married, and it was our prayer that we would have children quickly, God honored that prayer. We hoped to have children quickly because Stephanie and I are both on the older end of the spectrum (we are still young in our minds but in the realm of child birth we were on the older end) and we hoped to have a family. We now have 3 beautiful boys whom we love dearly and are blessed to be their parents.
The reality, this is war. Stephanie didn't realize it when she said it, and the context in which she said it is different than what I am about to share but never the less, this is hard and we are at war. As a husband and a father, I have learned that I need to fight for my family. I am beginning to learn what it means to lead my household. God has continued to draw things out in my life that need to go (selfishness, pride and being slow to anger/frustration being the primary), and He is teaching me how to love and lead well. This is a process and I am thankful for the process. One of the biggest eye opening things from me came out of a book called "Parenting" by Paul David Tripp. He was unpacking the fact that we are ambassadors of Christ and that we need to have that mindset when we are parenting our kids. When I read this, a light bulb went off. I am an ambassador of Christ, what I say and do is as a representative of Christ and His Kingdom. After reading it I experienced what I call "the weight of family". As a husband and a father I have a responsibility to love my wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5) and to raise my children up in the way they should go so that they may not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). Neither of those are small things, and they require work, time and energy, and lots of it. Add the fact that we are in the midst of spiritual warfare and the picture comes into focus. As husbands (and wives), our primary objective is to follow Jesus, He is our leader and as we follow Him we will seek to honor and worship Him with our lives. Obedience is worship (Romans 12:1-2). You want to be a better husband, seek Jesus. You want to be a better father, seek Jesus. You want to be a better employee/worker, seek Jesus. You want to be a better son/daughter, seek Jesus. I think you get the point.
There is so much to unpack and discuss on this topic and so this article is one of many to come but may we see our role as husbands and as fathers, as ambassadors of Christ. Everything we say or do should be pointing our spouse and our children to Jesus. This even includes our failures. Am I showing my family that when I fall short (and I do often) that God is at work, that His grace abounds and that I am learning. On the same note, am I demonstrating/giving that same grace and forgiveness to my wife and my children as they fall short? We are all in process and all in desperate need of Jesus, may we lead with this in the front of our minds and seek to honor Him by how we serve and love our families.
I would love to continue this conversation, what are somethings that you have learned as a husband/wife or as a father/mother? Leave a comment and let's chat! Until next time, God bless!
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