They let us choose our destiny
They taught us about the Lord early
They didn't harness our wild side
The created positive lasting memories
They made small occasions special
They embraced our friends like family
They took us on adventurous vacations
They encouraged me to go to church camps
They made our faith priority
They never raised their voices at each other
They sacrificed greatly for us
They were our youth leaders
They never got old-fashioned
They apologized when they did wrong
They made lasting memories
It’s no secret, my wife, Jess, is amazing. Many have asked us how Jess feels about the ministry that I feel called to and I always love hearing the words that come out of her mouth. Jess recently wrote an email in response to that question for a woman’s Bible study in Tennessee. Her response blessed me and made me realize that my wife truly is a one in six billion.
Jessica’s Challenging Note:
Being married to an “unusual soldier” is quite the adventure. Caleb is a man called to dark, dangerous, despised places that most people would like to avoid. Sometimes there are elements of danger or uncertainty to the “missions” he goes out on. Long ago (about 11 years) in college I knew that there was a different beat to his heart and some of that scared me…even to the point of tears. At that point when we were dating I had to completely surrender my fear and Caleb to the Lord. I mean the kind of surrender that you can’t change your mind and take back.
For the first 5 years that we were married he was a youth pastor and there was very little risk involved in the things that we were doing at that point. However when the time came to step out in faith an do things that we knew he was called to do we were prepared to trust the Lord. We have emptied our bank account on several occasions to follow what we felt was God’s leading. Caleb has traveled to countries with no agenda to see if the Lord has something for him to start or be a part of over there. Always God has brought the right translators across his path and people with similar heartbeats to share Christ with unreached people in their own countries. The Lord has never disappointed when we felt he was the one directing our paths. We have seen the Lord bring in more than a year’s salary’s worth of money to take the Gospel into unreached areas of Kenya Africa. I could give you story upon story of things that the Lord has done and ways that he has taken care of us…it is nothing short of amazing to remember how he has worked.
You may be wondering how I feel when Caleb is gone from us overseas…(usually 10 days to three weeks) Well, I can honestly say that the Lord has placed a peace in my heart beyond human understanding about what is going on with Caleb. I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is doing what he’s supposed to be doing. I think that other people worry more about him than I do when he’s gone. Often he doesn’t get to call for days in a row and I just have to trust that the Lord is his keeper and leave Caleb’s safety in his hands. There is a peace in placing our situations in God’s hands instead of holding tightly to our own control.
What I would really love to see is for each of you to begin to have your own stories of what the Lord has done in and through you. It is neat to hear others accounts and know that God can do great things, but there is nothing quite like sharing a story that has happened to you. My challenge to you would be to ask God if there is something he would like you to do, someone he would like you to reach out to, something you should give away, or something you should be a part of and then DO IT. Talk to Diane or your parents and see if they think God would be glorified through it. Then have the courage to do it and just see what God has in store for you. Many times we don’t see God work because we aren’t willing to look silly or do something that isn’t comfortable for us to do. He gets the Glory when we are weak but surrendered and He is the strong one.
Our men's group at church is going through the book Resolution. Last night we talked about 10 things that distance ourselves from our kids and three things that draw us closer to them. I found these two lists to be a great evaluation tool for me as a dad.
Below is a checklist to evaluate how you are doing raising your kids. Are you parenting in a way that is drawing your kids closer to you or are you creating distance?
Ten ways fathers distance themselves from their kids
Harsh Criticism (Name Calling)
Lack of Compassion
Hurting their mother
Three ways fathers build a close relationship with their kids
So what if you read this list and realize that you missed the mark in a few areas. Maybe your kids are fully grown now and you think that it's too late to restore your relationship. The sad truth is that there are many children in this world who don't shed a tear at their father's funeral because of the pain they felt from him. It’s never too late to make things right. One of the best ways to heal the wound in your relationship with your kids is to man up and humbly tell your kids where you went wrong and that you are sorry. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure that out, but it will force you to swallow some pride. Have your kids ever heard those words out of your mouth? I've had to say sorry to my kids a few times, and its never easy, but in the end it brings healing, freedom, and it puts the regrets behind you.
Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. ~ Colossians 3:21