We are about halfway through my 40 week journey to my 40th birthday.  In an attempt to position myself to reach one of my goals in life, I have been posting one blog per week.  They are random, they are rough, but they are real.  Even skipping a few weeks, it has been a good exercise.  During the past 20 weeks I have made many discoveries and faced many challenges.  Getting my thoughts down in print forces me to really evaluate every area of my life, and that has been a huge breakthrough to me in many ways.  I have been reminded of how important writing is in my life.  It is how I best process my thoughts.  I have learned that my writing is much more for me than it is for others.  I have always hoped that my writing would be a tool to help teach and guide those who read it.  I still pray for this, but I have realized that if my primary goal is to impact the reader, then I feel defeated and discouraged when that goal is not met.  In contrast, if I am writing for my own benefit than it always hits its target and there is nothing to be discouraged about.  So, that is what I will be focusing on as I enter into this second half of my 40th birthday journey.

We have just concluded an exciting and busy week in our family!  Our oldest (son) graduated high school, our middle (daughter) received her drivers license, and our youngest (daughter) received her permit.  There is much I could write about these three amazing young adults.  The conversations with many friends and family throughout this weekend were filled with joy as we shared with humble pride (yes, that’s a thing) about their current and future plans.  I never know how to respond when someone tells me what good parent’s we are to have raised such fine children.  Humble pride is the best I can describe it.  Humbled that God would entrust us to such a sacred task and swelling with pride as I see my children make wise choices, overcome the sins they struggle with, and follow God into their future with grace and integrity.  Yes, I could write much about my children, and I will in future posts.

This post, however, is about the person who has most influenced the lives of our children.  The one who faithfully pointed them to Jesus from the time they were born.  The one who stood firm in discipline even when it was heart-wrenching.  The one who taught them what it means to have respect, integrity, and honor.  The one who encouraged me in motherhood more than anyone else, helping me to be the mother my kids needed even when I didn’t feel qualified.

Let me tell you about the father of my children. 

He is a good provider – I cannot remember a time where my husband wasn’t working at least two jobs in order to provide for the needs of his family.  You don’t go into ministry for the money, it’s a calling.  At the same time, the man is called to provide for his family.  My husband learned a long time ago that the needs of his family come before the ministry and he has lived that out faithfully for 20 years.  Currently, he is working four jobs and going to school so that we can keep our roof over our heads and food on the table while we wait to see what God is up to.  He models faithful dependence on God, good stewardship of what God has blessed us with, and balance in all things.  More than mere material needs, he provides what is needed for spiritual growth and growth of character as we watch his example of faithful godliness.

He is our protector – We do not fear when my husband is around.  We feel safe: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  He protects the hearts of our children with boundaries and rules.  He protects their minds by challenging them to think through God’s Word.  He protects their emotions through godly counsel and advice.  Through martial arts, he has protected their person and trained them to protect themselves when he isn’t around.   

He is our pastor – There is a special bond a person has with their pastor if they choose to have it.  It is all the more special when the pastor is your dad.  My husband is the best pastor we have ever had.  He teaches deep truths in a very practical way, even when the truth is rejected by many.  He stands by God’s Word, even when he is accused and rejected for doing so.  He has gone through intense suffering from people who should know better and has modeled a Christ-like attitude.  He has taught us how to pray, how to trust, and how to serve our Lord.  He has encouraged his children and provided opportunities for them to serve the Lord from a very young age.  He has taught them how to lead, how to lead well, how to lead as a servant.

He is patient – Never mind how much I have personally tried his patience but add three children close in age and his patience has been tested greatly.  I have watched him grow in this area over the past 20 years and it is one of the things I am most proud of him for.  He models a patient heart when it comes to waiting on God.  There have been many times recently that this training has been needed for our children and our family.  Patiently waiting for God’s timing and plan is never easy but rushing ahead never ends well.  As he has grown in this area and modeled it for us, he has grown more patient in the everyday frustrations that come with life.  We are all blessed by his patience.

He is proud – When I reflect on the character and life of my husband, I can’t help but view him as a super-hero.  I don’t often think of him as a flawed human, although I know he is.  He has insecurities.  He has doubts.  He has weaknesses.  He also has a lot of human pride that sometimes keeps him from allowing people to see these things.  As a result, we often assume that our careless words just bounce off him.  We often forget that he gets the brunt end of criticism, sarcasm, and judgement on an almost daily basis.  That will wear a person down fast.  It’s something I try to remind of my kids of from time to time so they don’t forget that he’s also human.

He is perfect – Yes, he is human.  Yes, he has flaws just like the rest of us.  Even so, he is the perfect father for my children.  He is the perfect husband for me.  God did not make a mistake in drawing these two lives together.  God knew what he was doing when he gave these three children into our charge.  When we feel like we fail, we rely on the fact that God orchestrated our lives and He never makes a mistake.  We are perfect for each other.  My children have the perfect father hand-picked by God to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.    

His life verse is Joshua 24:15. Joshua is telling the Israelites that they have a choice to make about who they are going to serve, and he concludes with the statement “but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  I can attest that this verse is lived out in our home.  My husband has taken his role as husband, father, and head of the house very seriously and we couldn’t be more grateful for his leadership! 

Thank you, babe, for being such a godly man.  Thank you for teaching us how to love and serve our God.  Thank you for all the sacrifices you make for our family and for the ministry God has called you to.  You are an incredible model of faithfulness and character for us to follow and we appreciate you!