“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The dreaded word uttered by teachers in every level of my education … “homework.” I didn’t want to do schoolwork, much less have to take my academic lessons home to complete them! My home was to be my sanctuary, my place to relax and enjoy the things I loved — not a place to be invaded by the drudgeries of academic exercises. However, I have come to realize that by blending my two and very separate worlds of school and home together, I have been given a more well-rounded education as well as a more complete perspective in life.
After becoming an adult and thinking that I had finished school, the hard reality of life’s new lessons kicked in. Marriage, children, financial responsibilities, civic duties, etc. all became mine to learn and to live if I was to be a successful contributor in society. I found out that the things that are truly important were worth the effort, and they most certainly would always cost me something. Whether it was time or money or sacrificing what I was planning, everything costs and I had to choose what was and was not worth the sacrifices and investments in life.
At the age of 21, I married the love of my life and we both quickly found out that life was much different for couples than it was for singles. Funny how life has a way of painting a mirage in front of you, and as soon as you commit, reality hits you pretty hard. I had never considered myself as a selfish person, but again, all the life experience I had up until then was based on the choices I made for me.
Marriage was wonderful and the lessons (while tough at times) were some of the greatest proofs of God’s plan for our lives. We learned that it takes work to be a married couple and it takes a lot of work to be a happily married couple! Both have to commit to give more than each takes. Both have to listen more than they talk. Both have to be willing to serve more than they are served. It really takes some getting used to, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Then we had kids! (Cue the music.) Each and every one of my children brought their own unique ingredients into what my wife and I had hammered out to be the “perfect” home. Now, my children come along and everything changes again … and again … and again … and again … and again! (We have five.) The bathroom was always occupied, and the supplies were frequently used up. The grocery bill only grew larger and larger, while the budget had to be juggled like a circus act to stay afloat. Clothes, shoes, school, friends, extra-curricular activities all became a part of the “new normal” as we were growing accustomed to living as a family.
Two girls, then two boys, were God’s gift to us to continue His plan and development of character in our lives. While alike in so many ways, no two who were enough alike that we didn’t have to revisit our life lessons in parenting again and again.
Then the Lord allowed us to suffer the loss of a child by miscarriage. God’s word teaches that the baby is a baby in the womb and this baby in the womb was our child. As a family, we were broken in a way we had only heard about, but never had experienced for ourselves. Six years later, it somehow still brings tears to my eyes and a heaviness in our hearts to think about what “might have been.” God knows what is best, and He always does us right!
As my children grew older and faced their own challenges in life, our homework assignments changed along with them. Their struggles caused us to continually revisit our own from years gone by, and to bring the wisdom and failures of our experiences to be offered as a reference point for them to live and learn. We didn’t (and don’t) want them to have to learn the hard way, so we now understand the “why” behind the “what” of our own youthful struggles. God allowed us to face multiple uncertainties and struggles in our life that we might be a guardrail and an influence on the lives of the greatest treasures God could ever give us … our own children.
The diaper days are long behind us and the “toys” have all been given or put away. Musical instruments, high school subjects, college courses, careers and even a son-in-law have been added to our homework. These changes are new and exciting, as have been all the other assignments God has chosen to give to our family through the years.
I trust that the Lord will grant us the wisdom we will need to enter every new chapter with confidence in His ability to lead us to the right answers the first time.
Jesus Christ has been the source of any ability or success we have had in living our lives to the fullest! If you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Saviour, I would urge you to consider Him and come to Him today. He loves you and has a wonderful life planned for you as well as an eternity with Him in Heaven. Turn to Him from every sin and believe that what He did for you on the cross was sufficient payment for all your sins. He rose from the dead to give you hope, forgiveness and eternal life. Trust Him today!
Let me know if you have trusted Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour. Leave a comment below.
God Bless! See you in church!
(Pastor Jones can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PastorTonyJones or visit an upcoming service at Faith Baptist Church … “The Church on the Hill.”)