PERSISTENCE

Written by: Christianne Williams

Matthew 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will opened to you.”

Being around children will teach you a lot. Whether you’re around them for a short period or you have a tiny army living under your roof, it doesn’t take long to discover some things. One thing is that they’re very good at problem solving when they want to be. Mine can stack cubes used for sitting on top of one another extremely fast when they’re searching for something I’ve hidden in the upper cabinets. Or, they can wipe up a spill from the juice they weren’t supposed to have with a clean dish cloth and then put said cloth back in the drawer for me to find days later. Another wonderful thing is their fight for fairness. How many times have I heard, “why am I being punished for that? So and so did it yesterday and no one said anything to him/her! It’s not fair at all!” or “Hey, he/she at the last cookie! It’s not fair!” like it’s the last cookie that will ever be in existence.

One thing I’ve learned about children that has taught me a great lesson is their persistence. When they receive a promise from myself or their father, they run with it. It has been promised, it will be done. A lesson in confidence too. I had an ah ha moment the other night when a situation arose with my baby girl, whose 5 and the perfect age to be an example of a persistent person.

She came to me and asked if I could please give her a bath before bed. She began asking at 8 in the morning and just so I wouldn’t forget, I do that a lot, she asked me every half hour, possibly every 15 minutes for the remainder of the day. Supper time rolled around and at that time she announced, “You LIED!” I was taken aback, “What did I lie about?”
“Well, YOU said you’d give me a bath before bed. You didn’t. You LIED!”

Two things ran through my mind. Actually lots of things ran through my mind but two of the main things were that 1. Her bed time wasn’t until 7:30 so by my calculations I had just over 2 hours remaining to fulfill my promise, and 2. She broke my mommy heart by losing confidence in me to do what I said would.

That was the “Ah Ha” moment.

She had been persistent in her request all day long, believing that I would do what I promised at the end of the day. Her patience ran out and she lost confidence in my timing. She was very persistent but not at all patient. Isn’t that like us? We never really outgrow that aspect of childhood. At one time or another in our lives we’ll get impatient, losing our confidence, getting tired of being persistent, and feel like we’ve hit a dead end. Matthew 7:7-8 tells us to be persistent and then trust that answer is coming. The note in my Bible says that it is encouraging ‘active patience’, where we continue to ask even as we believe that He’s working it out.

There are examples of this in Luke 11 with the parable of the friend at midnight and again in Luke 18 with the persistent widow. They continued to persist in making their requests known and eventually they were rewarded. When we are persistent in prayer we show God, and others, that we know He is the only one who can meet our needs and even if it doesn’t meet our timeline, He’s still going to answer. I also began to wonder if, just as my heart hurt to think that my baby would believe that I wouldn’t do what I had promised, does God ever hurt because we don’t trust Him? Matthew 7:9 goes on to say “If you, then, though you are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!”

Have complete confidence that no matter the timeline, you will get His best if you are persistent!

Risks to Everything

Written by: Christianne Williams

Last Friday night I ended up someplace no one wants to be, especially on the first night of the weekend. My sons have taken a keen interest in BMX and learning tricks, which has already led to some scrapes, bruises, and sore limbs. I thought what happened Friday was among one of those minor incidents, so when my eldest son came home and posted a video of himself falling backwards off his bike, I just told him to be more careful. I got an eyeroll, an admission that his wrist was sore, and a weak, “Yeah, there’s risks to everything”, and off he went to see Spiderman at the theater with his father and brothers. Three hours later, when he came in the door looking pale and sweating, and in a very bad mood, I knew that we were going to be taking a trip to the local emergency room for an x-ray.

There are times when we look at small hospitals with a bit of disgust, believing that they can’t offer the same quality of care as in larger centers, and in most cases, this can be true.

On this particular night I was thankful for it, knowing that it wouldn’t be busy and we wouldn’t have a long wait. Anyone who has taken a teenager to an appointment of any kind will appreciate this fact as they have zero patience when it comes to waiting. Add in the extreme pain factor and it was a pretty miserable five minutes waiting to be assessed! After an x-ray and some poking around, the doctor decided it would be a good idea to put a cast on his arm, fearing that there may be a fracture that they couldn’t see.

At that point, I was thinking, “I get at least a week of not worrying about what injury he might bring home” and was actually looking on the bright side of this. Fast forward to Saturday morning when a refreshed, and in significantly less pain, 15 year- old proclaims, “I can still ride my bike! The cast is on in a way that I can still hold on the handle bars!”. Not going to lie, my heart sunk for a few second – no sabbatical from these stunts. Something that struck me though was his lack of fear to face the situation that had caused him pain.
We’ve all faced situations that have hurt us, physically or emotionally. As parents, we face situations that aren’t easy. Comforting our children when they’re hurting, especially when we have no answers for why they’re enduring them, enforcing consequences when they’ve broken the rules we have in place, especially when they show no remorse. As spouses, we face difficult times. It could be financial, betrayal, complete severing of the marriage through no fault of our own. In our work place we deal with problem people. In any relationship on the planet there will be times when we’re left reeling, feeling too hurt to put ourselves out there any more.

As a pastor’s wife, I’ve seen the best and worst side of people and let me say, it isn’t always easy to forgive and move on, let alone put yourself back in the line of fire. More difficult is to see your husband or children the target of the firing squad. But you know what? We must be strong and courageous, we must dare to love one more day. Just as my son got back on the bike and rode down the road, we too must ask God to give us His heart, fill us with enough grace for today, and dare to risk the hurt for the broken. Not only that, but when we find that we’ve messed up, fallen off the bike, we need to get back up and choose to try again. There’s never a point where we can’t start over. There’s never a time on this side of Heaven that God says, ‘Enough, no more chances for you!’

Just as He is patient with us, we must be patient with others and ourselves. There may be times when you need to walk away, something may be unsafe physically, or may be making you emotionally weak, but pray that God shows you the situations that are worth taking the risk to rebuild.

A Change of Plans

Written by: Christianne Williams

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” Proverbs 16:9

How wonderful to know that God has a direction for us, a specific plan, and if we are willing to listen and change our plans, His will for our life will be accomplished! I can remember being a child and dreaming about what my future would look like. So many desires in my heart, so many ‘career’ options. I remember preaching my first ever sermon to my stuffies who were gathered under my Christmas tree, my toboggan served as my pulpit. I was doing an awesome job, if I do say so myself, until my pulpit slipped from my grip and fell into said tree, crushing it and my audience. I also remember that my job as a bicycle repair person was short lived, as was the life of my bicycle.

One thing I never got away from, though, was being a mom. That desire never left. Nor did my love for my husband, I spent many hours as a 12 year old begging God to “please, let me marry him someday!” I look at my four beautiful kids and my loving husband and think how blessed I am, but the road wasn’t easy. It all fell into place but not right away, and it would’ve went much more smoothly had I learned at an early age to trust God and His timing with my life plans.

My 14 year old son, who is now taller than me, is an answer to prayer. I wanted children so bad, six of them by the way, that was my life goal. A houseful of babies. But after four years, there were no baby cries, only cries from my aching heart. I was getting bitter, frustrated, and unable to even look at a newborn without a stabbing feeling in my chest. I was a wreck. I had focused so much on something I wanted so badly that it was literally stealing my life. I didn’t want to go out, I didn’t want to see people, I just wanted to stay home and focus on how unfair it was that I couldn’t have something I wanted so badly.

One day, while I was doing my devotions, God spoke to my heart. Was I putting my plans before His will? Did I trust Him to give me what was best for me? Had I made an idol of this desire? I knew He could heal my heart if it wasn’t in His plan for me to be a mother, but I had to be willing to let go of what I so desperately wanted. I had to trust that He had the best plans for me, ones that would prosper me and not harm me. One that would give me a future and hope. It was funny because one month later I found out we were expecting. I was so shocked that I used four tests. My husband wasn’t home, so I called him and told him he had to come home right away. While he was on his way God showed him what I was I was going to tell him. I don’t know, would it have happened anyway, or was it because God was teaching me a lesson through it all, that I needed to be obedient no matter the cost.

I believe it was the latter because I’ve had to call on that experience many times through my faith walk, in all of them surrendering without knowing what the end result would be. It’s still tough sometimes. Have you ever felt like that? There was something you wanted or felt you needed so desperately that you were sure that you couldn’t go on living if you didn’t get it. Did you ever feel like God was with holding the best things from you? I can assure you He never does. He always has a plan, one that outshines any that you or I could come up with for ourselves. The only thing we have to be is willing. Willing to let go of our own plans and willing to accept His.

Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “’For My thought are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways’, says the Lord, ‘for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’”

How secure we can feel knowing that He has wonderful things planned for our lives if we can open our fist and be willing to change our plans.

Focus

Written by: Christianne Williams

I always believed I was a person who lacked the ability to focus. My mind would wander from one thing to another, I would seldom finish things that I started and this left me feeling overwhelmed.

My husband is my opposite, they do say it happens that way. He is driven. If he starts something, he will most certainly finish it and do it well. Sometimes this has caused conflict because he comes behind me, seeing the dishwasher half emptied or the dustpan still containing dirt, and he takes it upon himself to help me out and finish the job. This in turn makes me feel as though he’s shining a light on my undone tasks and I get irritated. At any rate, I’ve recently discovered that its not my inability to focus that’s the problem, but in fact, my ability to focus entirely on the wrong things.

In the example of my husband finishing up my chores, I don’t look at the heart behind the help, I concentrate on the message that I am not doing enough, I’m dropping the ball. That’s just an example of how when we focus on the wrong things, we lose sight of what it truly important. I’ve seen it many times at our kitchen table as well. Siblings sitting together, all working on different lessons but all working toward the goal of getting things done for the day so they can have free time.

One will lose focus and start making noises, soon to be followed by their neighbor and before you know it, I’m telling them to ‘focus on what you’re supposed to be doing!’ I don’t feel qualified to tell them that but I’m the parent/teacher so what can I do?

When we were in the hospital during each of our daughter’s three open heart surgeries, we had struggles with where our focus would lie. In the midst of all of the beeping monitors, medication pumps, and the story the numbers would tell the doctors, it became hard at times to focus on the One who calms our storms. Fear would creep in, and in being honest, I would become focused on what could possibly go wrong instead of what God could do in the middle of that desperate situation.

And things did get desperate. We were in need of miracles most days, I could compile a long list of times when we were told ‘there is no hope’ and how we would need to refocus on the truth that God can work things out for our good in any situation.

The truth is often silent. We can’t confuse it with the facts. The facts are often contrary to the truth, which is what God says. Sometimes our circumstances say there’s no possible way that anything good can come out of this, yet God works well with impossibility. They say that numbers don’t lie but God neither does God and He can make a way for your financial miracle, a way that you could never dream up on your own. The medical report may speak of death and hopelessness, but God is the One who gives hope, He restores sight to the blind and heals all of our infirmities.

The question is, where does our focus lie? In the bad reports? Or in the One who meets all of our needs?

In Numbers 13, Moses sent some men to explore the land of Canaan, the land they were supposed to inherit. When they returned, they spoke of the goodness of the land, but they spent more time discussing the size and power of the people they would have to overthrow to take the land. They were concerned that the greatness of the people would prevent them from receiving the Promised Land. Joshua and Caleb, however, were certain they could do it. The men argued with them, they gave them the reasons they felt it would be a death mission, but they remained confident that it was a battle that had already been awarded them.

They were focused on two different things. The majority on the greatness of the enemy, and the minority on the greatness of God. Focusing on the right thing gave Joshua and Caleb the confidence to be bold in the face of a great enemy, and in a circumstance that by our natural eyes seemed would surely go against them.

Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You.”

My ability to focus was not the issue, where my focus was directed was. Keep your eyes on Jesus and trust Him in all things, even when the facts tempt you to believe otherwise.

Let Go and Let God

Written by: Christianne Williams

Have you ever been asked by God to let something go? Maybe there were big changes happening in your life and it meant letting go of relationships. Perhaps it was a promotion at work that you desired greatly but because of the season your family was in it wouldn’t work out. Maybe you had to let go of a loved one because of sickness. The list could be extensive.

For the Rich Young Ruler it was his power and possessions. For Abraham, it was Isaac. The disciples had to leave behind their livelihood, which was lucrative at the time, and their families. Paul left behind his prestige. Stephen was asked to give up his life.

In the case of Abraham, God was looking for obedience, the willingness to do something terrifying and yet trust Him in it. I believe that the Rich Young Ruler was in the same boat, he was asked if he was willing and walked away disappointed because his heart was, in fact, not willing to give it all up for God.

I could say, all that He asks is willingness; He won’t actually require you to release whatever it is, He’ll provide the lamb in the thicket. I could say that, and in many cases, I’m sure that’s what He wants, but I’d be lying if that is the case in all situations. Sometimes the sacrifice was required: they actually had to be willing to let it go and watch as it drifted away. The disciples, Paul, and Stephen are just a few examples of that. Matthew 26:39 says, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me, Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” Even Jesus, the Son of God, was asked to willingly surrender to His Father’s plan. He was asked to give up his life on earth.

A few weeks ago, while I was yet again praying for something that I wanted so badly and yet seemed so far out of reach, God showed me my gripped hand. It was closed so tightly, my knuckles were white. As I this picture played in my mind, my fingers opened slowly, and the wind began to gently blow away whatever was in my open hand. I felt as though there was great freedom in that act, that I was no longer striving to try to bring about results of any kind. It was as if God was showing me that my willingness to let go of everything I thought I wanted would yield peace as He brought about everything He knows I need.

In my lifetime, I’ve been asked to give up things that I held dear to me. Sometimes I had to watch things drift away and sometimes I was surprised to find that my willingness brought me exactly what my heart desired. I wanted to be a Mom so badly, and it seemed as though it would never happen.

Two weeks after I fell by my bed and gave that desire to God, asking Him to take it away, to replace it with peace even though there were no babies, we found out we were expecting our first. At the same time, when we found out our daughter was to be born with a severe heart defect, he didn’t rescue us from it, He blessed us immensely through it. And continues to do so. Only two examples, with different paths, but the same outcome. God saw us through. He gave us more than we could have imagined it just didn’t come about in the way we would’ve chosen. Of course, we would’ve preferred the path of zero sacrifice.

In each of those things that I had to release from my grip, God replaced the space in my heart with something so much sweeter than I could’ve imagined. If He required the sacrifice and not just the willing heart, He was faithful to fill my brokenness with beauty again. Open your hand and release to Him everything that’s in there and see what He lovingly bestows upon you. Embrace it, learn through it, grow because you’ve experienced it.

Lessons From Gardening

Written by: Christianne Williams

The project of a garden that I began a month or so ago is coming along nicely. My heart is happy when I look out my kitchen window and see an expanse of green. I think ahead to harvest time when we’ll be able to enjoy what comes out of the ground. I have discovered quite quickly that weeding a garden can be a full-time job. I’m finding myself out there a lot.

My youngest children wanted to help pull weeds, so I showed them what was desired plant and what was to be evicted. But the desire quickly faded when they discovered bugs reside amongst the greenery. The time in my garden is a quiet time; time I’m able to spend uninterrupted with God, and He’s teaching me many truths while my hands are in the dirt.

One of the very first things I learned was that just because it’s green, doesn’t mean its good. I enjoyed seeing so many plants emerging from the ground, it made me feel accomplished, and there were lots of baby plants in the plot. But, not all that I saw were plants, and at first glance I was having trouble discerning which ones to pull and which ones to leave. In fact, at one point, I thought I had pulled all of the broccoli plants thinking they were the beginning of thistles! I was so relieved when I had trained eyes inspect the row and tell me all was well. Not all growth, not all that appears desirable, not all that looks good from distance will be profitable. We need to pray for discernment to recognize the difference.

A second thing I learned was that no matter how hard you try to only pull out the weeds, there may be casualties! As I was going along in my row of peas, I found that they had wrapped themselves around some neighboring weeds, and as I pulled the weed, the pea plant broke off. Also, as I was pulling large weeds in a row of beets, some small, not yet mature beet plants, came out too! I felt so badly because my intent was to nurture those beets but I realized that as careful as I was being it couldn’t be helped. No matter how prudent you are with decisions you make, sometimes negative consequences can also result. And no matter careful how care your words or actions, sometimes relationships can be uprooted. Faith not yet mature or a deep attachment to something God needs to remove can pull them out of fellowship.

One last thing that was impressed on my heart this week came after I was done my job and was on my way to clean up. When I’m working in my garden I refuse to wear gloves. While they protect my hands from getting filthy, I feel they make me less accurate. Needless to say, when I come in from outside my hands are caked with mud. I had a tip that sugar and oil will scrub away the dirt and leave your hands perfect again- and it works! But it doesn’t help with the nails, and even a brush doesn’t completely rid them of the residue.

The other evening, we had plans for dinner with friends and I took a look at my hands and thought, “There’s no way I can go anywhere with my fingers looking like this!” So, I grabbed some nail polish and painted them. Quite pleased at the cover up, we went out. As I looked at my hands that night I realized that although no one else knew what was under the paint, I did. The most beautiful smile in the world can cover up a world of hurt in someone. Only God knows what’s going on on the inside; only He can search the heart. We only get to see what people are willing to reveal, and we only show others what we are comfortable with them knowing. We need Holy Spirit to help us discern what’s really going on because what we see with our natural eyes isn’t really the entire story.

Expectations

Written by: Christianne Williams

Expectations. They leave you feeling pleasantly surprised or sorely disappointed. Seldom do circumstances or people meet them, they generally go above and beyond your ideals or fail to meet those lofty dreams. Take for instance the day I came home after asking my children to load the dishwasher and sweep the floor. I entered the house completely expecting to see the floors gleaming, the counters shining, the dishwasher full and running, and the sinks scrubbed to a finish a crow would adore. What I actually found was that the dishwasher was loaded and the floor had less dirt on it than when I had left. Now, the children didn’t understand why I was immediately cranky, after all, they had done what I had asked. The problem wasn’t with them, the problem was that I had asked for one thing and expected something entirely different. What I was expecting was above and beyond and let’s face it, none of us are perfect when it comes to that.

I could go in two directions here, one being that we need to be clear when we ask people for help or when we’re sharing our hearts, but what I feel God has been showing me is that our expectations, when placed in the wrong places, can leave us with a myriad of negative emotions. These emotions can then grow into wrong thoughts and subsequently, wrong actions.

A number of years ago I had a lady impart some wisdom that, at the time, I didn’t feel applied to me. I was newly married, had small children who I didn’t expect much from except the occasional full nights sleep, and we had just begun our ministry journey. What she shared with me that day has come racing to the forefront of my mind, because lately I’ve found myself in a time when the expectations I’ve placed on others have left me feeling let down.

That day she told me that I should always be careful not to put expectations on people that only God could meet. Simple. So hard to do sometimes. When I’m feeling lonely, or like I’ve been mistreated, or just weepy, I want my husband to be there for me. I want him to listen to my troubles, I want his undivided attention, and I believe that in some way, I want him to give me a solution. He can’t always do that. He doesn’t have all the answers and he can’t always be home, waiting with bated breath to ‘rescue’ me from some hurt feelings. The problem is that instead of realising that he can’t be ‘all’ for me, I get hurt. In times like those, I’ve placed expectations on him that only God can meet. Only God can be ‘all’ in our lives.

Our husbands, our children, our friends, our jobs, no one and nothing can meet all of our needs in this life except God. When we try to give His place to anyone or anything else, we will end up feeling let down and empty, longing for something more. We were created with a God shaped void, and He’s always there, the friend that sticks closer than a brother, to meet us in our need.

In realizing this, we also need to recognize that we will fail to meet the expectations others. There will be people who will ask us for things and we won’t be able to fulfill the need. They may even try to make you feel guilty for not being there for them, I’ve had it happen, but keep this in mind; Jesus is always there and He doesn’t ever expect you to meet someone’s need in an area only He can.

God and Children

Written by: Christianne Williams

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14)

How many questions does a child ask in a day? An hour? A single minute? I’m not sure of an exact number but I am sure that there are hundreds of questions asked over the course of a day. Multiply that by the number of children that reside in your house and that could equal a whole lot of conversation! I know that the four I have keep me thinking, and perhaps a lot of the time, just answering questions mindlessly. The older they get, the more attentive I find myself, probably because I view their need for advice or information more seriously. After all, they won’t want my opinion forever. I’m scared that’s the way I’ve viewed spiritual questions also.

The last few months I’ve been thinking about the minds of our children. What goes on in their heads? What questions run through there that they may voice only to have them lost in the monotony of all the other things that need to know at the moment? I wonder how many important teaching moments I may have missed because I had lost focus in the midst of a barrage of sentences that begin with mom and end in a question mark. I’ve always felt children are capable of experiencing God in ways much deeper than we aware of.

I began reading a book that is filled with the accounts of children who have met with Jesus in very special ways. They have been filled with wisdom that only comes from face to face encounters with the Saviour, they have taken adventures with Him, and been delivered of all sorts of fears and anxieties. As I was reading how one child shared knowledge about a country she had never heard of before her adventure with Jesus, I realized something that had been in my heart for a long, long time: we send our children off to color pictures because we believe that’s all they’re capable of and give them very shallow answers to their questions when really God wants us to encourage them to open their hearts and minds to Him.

He wants to teach them and heal them and encourage them. He wants to reveal His life plan for them and give them wisdom that goes beyond their years. Kids have great imaginations and I believe that scares us. We’re scared to create an environment that will allow young hearts to come in contact with Him because they may experience Him in a way we don’t understand. I’ve never felt comfortable with keeping children out of worship services or prayer meetings, citing that it’s ‘above their heads’, when really its because we don’t want them to interrupt our time with God. It’s not above them. We serve a God who wants to engage us all, no matter the age. In fact, I believe that children learn so much by observing how we interact with Him, how we show love and adoration, it becomes natural for them to follow.

What if, instead of waiting until our children grow to an age that we feel is appropriate for knowledge, we encouraged them to sit and listen for Gods voice right now? At this very moment. And what if, we listened when they shared with us what they felt He was saying to them? What if we traded what we were comfortable with for what He wants to give them and allowed God to lead their minds and change their hearts? It’s a challenge I’m accepting, one that I’m beginning to take very seriously. I want my children, and the children in our church, to be fully aware of how special and important they are to the God of the universe, the One who loves them fiercely, and the One who has a purpose for their lives.

A Season for Everything

Written by: Christianne Williams

My kids have always wanted to have pets. This began at an early age when our two oldest boys, then 2 and 4, received Beta fish for a Christmas gift. They would talk to their fish, read to them, stare at them, one day I even caught one of them right before he took the fish out of the tank to pet him. It didn’t matter that these slippery little creatures had no fur or paws, they were tiny friends to our boys. Now, at that young age our boys weren’t the best at following the proper feeding guidelines, so it was either a feast or famine if they were left to accomplish this task on their own.

I would always check on Gordie and Spike, to make sure there had been food added or to ‘fish out’ some if too much had been dumped. One morning while I was checking on them I noticed that Gordie was swimming close to the top, a little too close, and upon further inspection I noticed that he was belly up. I knew our son would be so disappointed by this, I didn’t know how to break the news to him, and I really wanted to avoid this conversation about loss. So, after I knew my husband would have arrived in his office, I snuck into the bathroom and called.

When I had him on the line, I whispered, “We have a problem, Gordie’s dead. You have to stop at the new one before he notices.” There was a huge gasp from the other end of the phone and a very loud and concerned, “WHAT??” followed. My husband sounded so upset, more that I think my son would’ve been. It baffled me. And then I knew….his uncle was also named Gordie and I hadn’t distinguished between which one I was speaking of.

He stopped listening after the first part of my declaration and was now panicking thinking something had happened to a family member.

Once we got the whole matter cleared up, he agreed to my plan to do the whole switcheroo to save our son the disappointment of loss. I left the dead fish in the tank all day, just hoping that neither boy would ask why Gordie was looking like that, and we made it through. When my husband came through the door, I occupied the boys while he made the exchange, and then we went on with our week. Our son never knew the difference, and we actually had three different Gordie’s and a couple of Spike’s.

Looking back on that event, as well as a few others, I feel we let our little ones down. The bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, at time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

As parents, we wanted to shield them from the hurt but we missed the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson about life. These verses in Ecclesiastes show us that there truly is a season for everything and that all of these things are in God’s control. We will experience most, or most likely all, of these things in our lives, and we will have opportunities to teach our children that they are normal processes and God is with us through them all. It important to seek God’s council in all things so that we can gain wisdom in how to respond to the situations we face so that we can exhibit Godly character, one that our kids will inherit. My prayer is that in the future I will be aware of the eyes watching me and the messages I’m sending, so that my kids will be able to fully trust God with their lives.

A Father Who Loves The Lord

Written by: Christianne Williams

I watched this morning as my husband got up early and readied himself to take our oldest boys paintballing for the day. I think he was as excited as they were. It really wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary though, he loves to do things with his children. Days off he heads outside to play ball hockey with them or he takes them all to the skate park so the boys can ride bikes and our daughter can scoot around on her scooter. He invests in them with his time, he easily gives of this important commodity. He understands that there is no substitute for it.

I remember his face, not long after we were married, when I revealed that I wanted a large family. Six children, that’s what I was aiming for. I will also never forget his response. No way. Two. That was all. I was desperately disappointed, being an only child I was sure I wanted lots of kids. We had two and then I was convinced that he was indeed right and our family was complete. Until four years later. And then again two years after that. Surely that was it and we ended as a family of six.

My husband has had a busy life since day one of becoming a father. He’s been a student the entire 15, almost 16, years fatherhood. At one point, he was also working two jobs to make ends meet. He’s now a pastor, and as well, is studying for a master’s degree. He always has things on his to do list, and yet knows that they need to feel they are loved by their dad, so he makes the effort to show them.

I’ve watched him pull late nights to get assignments done, after working a long day, only to get up early to look after our wee ones so I could sleep. He quickly agrees to spend time with them so that I can go out and have ‘me’ time. I’ve watched him change diapers, wipe noses, clean scraped knees, sing restless hearts to sleep, and administer medications through a feeding tube when our daughter was recover form open heart surgery. He’s teaching them that love isn’t selfish.

I’ve listened as he instilled knowledge and his love for God into their hearts. I’ve been told that I’m high strung, but he patiently listens to the questions they have and openly answers them with great wisdom that comes from a faith deeply rooted in the Father.

I feel that my children are in good hands. Our sons will grow up knowing how to be loving and compassionate husbands and fathers. Our daughter will grow up knowing what to look for in a husband and father. All of them will grow up knowing that they are loved unconditionally by their earthly father, making it much easier for them to understand and accept the love of their Heavenly Father. He’s teaching them to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or discouraged because the Lord is with them wherever they go (Joshua 1:9). He’s teaching them that love is not permissiveness but sometimes involves correction as Proverbs 3:11-12 shows us.

I have not married the perfect man, nor is he a perfect father, but the love he has for the Lord is evident in the way he loves his children, and for this I am truly thankful.