I have been a dad for 20 years now. Over half my life. I became a dad when I was 19 years old, when Amber and I welcomed our first born, Shawn, into the world. We were on the early parenthood plan. By the grace of God, we’ve made it over 20 years as parents and nearly 21 as husband and wife now with 3 children. I had someone ask me recently about want to take parenting classes. It was serious, but I couldn’t help but laugh a little. Not at them, but at the idea. I’m sure there are good classes out there, but bottom line is, you learn this thing as a you go.
So these last many days and weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot on our years as parents and on the role I’ve played as dad, or as my daughter calls me, padre. There’s been a lot of cool and fun things that have happened over the years. Watching these kids grow up has had me filled with so much joy. Have there been struggles, ummmm, yeah there have, but we’ve made it through all of them.
Now some of the coolest things are really starting to come out. Maybe it has a lot to do with them growing older and really beginning to find their own identities, but I can honestly say that I could not have fully imagined what they would have been like once they began to really allow God to work in them and through them.
Okay, by way of background, if you don’t know us personally, we have been a very closed off and introverted family. Amber and I marrying so young and starting a family, drifted into a life of solitude. It was us against the world, proving we could make it starting so young. So that led to habits of being reserved and quiet when outside of our element, our home. This was a lot of how I operated in the work place as well, even having a colleague years back tell me that I was difficult to read because of how quiet and reserved I was. I lived as a lone ranger and I was raising a family of lone rangers, so to speak. Of course, the kids picked up our habits along the way. Our sons seemed to a great deal more.
After coming to faith in Christ 3 years ago, I knew something had to change. Amber followed over the next year as did the the kids. I began to make new connections and grow from being apathetic, to becoming curious, to finally confessing Christ in January 2015, to becoming a disciple and apprentice of Jesus, and now to equipping others. Amber has since followed that and seeing this beautiful woman freed up as well and seeing her come alive has been so wonderful.
With that, one of our biggest prayers and concerns was now, what about our kids? We continued to pray for them to open up and and urging them to do so. It was not a habit easily broken. I’ll admit, we got fairly frustrated at times. We wondered at times, will they ever get out of their shells. In looking back though, I realize, we were in ours for way longer.
I don’t know what that actual pivotal moment was, or even it was just a series of circumstances, but something has clicked this year. To seem them building real, Christ centered relationships, to see them doing life, to see them getting involved in ministry and even a desire for some missions opportunities, has been phenomenal. All 3 of our kids, in their own unique way, are starting to get freed up and see some real God style things happening in their lives. It fills me with so much joy as it does Amber.
I have learned previously that one of the most beautiful things that God does is take time. Nothing is instant. I just was not patient enough for that to be the case for my own kids. So now, and I see God, with a smile on his face, saying, “You want to see something? Watch this,” and then suddenly a fire is lit under each of them in way I never fully expected. I think if Bruce Almighty when he says, “Now you’re just showing off.”
I share this to tell all of you and I know many who worry about their own kids futures. Yes, our kids have to step into life and figure things out through trial and error just as we all did. But know that God is not holding out on you. Be faithful in prayer over them and in encouragement that God can take a hold of their heart. The outcome is not up to us and we have no control over that. Trust in the God that made them each uniquely and wonderfully and had each of them in mind since before the foundations of the earth. It’s never too late.