Fatherhood from a Mother’s Perspective

ROADTRIP

Though it is intended for celebration, Father’s Day is often like a fiery iron brander to an already hurting heart, declaring one yet again as fatherless, or with a different kind of searing pain, unwanted.

Many of us can attest to some kind of broken or nonexistent relationship with our fathers, some with more agony than many of us can fathom. This morning as I prayed for my own earthly father and my husband, I paused to consider such a weighty role in light of where I now stand – a wife and mother of three children with our fourth soon arriving. To say that being a parent is challenging is like saying Mount Everest is beautiful and should be fun to pursue. Both are accurate and exciting, but there is a distinct and simultaneous ferociousness about both – if the evaluation and ascent are improper, consequences of such a commitment do not leave you merely disappointed. It is life and death.

Fatherhood is weighty. Manhood is weighty. I speak not only from observation, but from the complementing parties of womanhood and motherhood. When my husband and I first married, I concluded that marriage articulated my sinfulness and produced gratitude for my salvation far more than anything else. Then I became a mother. I am certain the same is for fathers.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This is not a suggested posture Paul was recommending for the men at the church of Corinth. It was a frequent command in the Septuagint – a wartime call. Fathers should hear this call and let it echo deep into their souls. It is not optional. There is an age-old war being raged against the household of God, and that war has to be fought first and foremost in the homes of believers. In a culture that promotes men doing the opposite of what this verse suggests, we need fathers to do just what it says – acting like men and working heartily to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Children are heavy-laden with anger towards their fathers due to the lack of presence in their lives emotionally and physically. Sadly, this anger produces a wound in the heart of a child that proves lasting and real into adulthood. Thus, the call is great. The outcome is heavy.

Act like men.

Imagine the soldier that guards the gates of the camp, allowing the enemy no entrance and blocking any imminent attempts of ambush. That is the watchfulness fathers must exude for their children. It is more than the necessary work of providing financially for your family, keeping the yard, and disciplining the children. We, mothers and children, desperately need guards keeping watch for the enemy. We need fathers hoping in the only Sovereign, their Commander in Chief, for their strength and power to protect, lead, and sustain their families in love.

But how?

The gospel of Jesus Christ.

A father is an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. It is certain that how you love your children will serve as glimpses into God’s love for his children. Aim to make those as accurate as possible. Proclaim to them what in you (and every single one of us) diminishes the Father’s image, namely a fallen nature in desperate need of saving. Give them the gospel.

It is possible to appear as a valiant father but be a coward in one’s home. Social platforms promote such misrepresentations where one can project themselves to be one way but in actuality be a sunken, puny vessel. One can profess Christ more on Facebook in a week than you have to your child in a year. It is evident which is harder. Yet a father, a man so enticed by the sovereign call of God to Jesus Christ, indulging daily in the Word of God, pleading for wisdom, proclaiming the gospel to his household and all outside, working diligently in a broken world, and every single day putting on love and walking the perimeter of his family’s camp will be able to stand firm.

Fathers, may the risen Lord and his imminent return give you keen awareness. May the bitterness of sin in yourself and your family so shake your soul that you are moved by the powerful working of the indwelling Spirit to fight against the enemy forces that are waiting to devour. May the Bible stand as your surest word and communing with God as your greatest duty. It will move you to action for your family’s good and God’s glory.

May your fatherhood brand your children’s hearts with such wantedness and love due to the power of Christ at work within you. Act like men.

Hopes for 2017 

With just a few days before the start of a new year, I encourage you to make accurate, God-pleasing resolutions filled with hope in God and not yourself, results for the glory of God and not your own, and expectations of abundant joy. As we spend the days before 2017 evaluating what hasn’t gone as planned this past year, maybe even the aspirations that turned to hogwash, don’t lose heart. As I formulate my booklist, fitness/health goals, a vision to enhance my communion with God through spiritual disciplines, and relational goals amongst my family and community, here are a few questions I’m asking myself:
1. Is this resolve to do better founded upon faith in God and hope in his sustaining grace through Christ or an attempt to stand before God on my own merit? 

Galatians 2:16 clearly tells us that “we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.”

2. Is this resolve due to proper evaluation of my heart and the lifestyle that flows from it or formed by the striving of others and hopes of being like them? 

3. Am I truly hoping to know God to a greater degree, increasing in likeness to Him, at his Word through this resolution, whatever it may be? 

We can share in Paul’s hope that he penned to the Philippians “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10).

4. Are my relational goals (marriage, children, covenant community, missions) steeped in hope to share my own soul and learn the soul of others or simply to better them to reduce conflict and see exterior modifications? 

Paul and Timothy’s tender soul-sharing to the Thessalonians provide for us a hope for the relationships in our lives: “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8).

5. Have I prayed for God to help me in these endeavors, not to simply be my aid (though surely my source of all strength to strive well) but my goal? 

He is surely the ability-giver, eternal channel, and the very treasure of all our laboring. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Romans 11:36).

And a few images that make my heart tingle  inside (the random donkey is from an amazing trip with my husband 😜) as I consider this past year and hope in God for the next: 

Keep Your Heart, Then Your Home

I was recently over at Desiring God blog sharing some thoughts on the necessary work of internal housekeeping. I find it to be true, day in and day out, that the Lord is faithful, certainly most willing and able, to aid us in our fight of faith. 

A clean home provides minimal joy in light of eternity because we know this world is passing away, and Christ has gone to prepare a home for us. Yet a frequently-tended heart provides eternal rewards that we cannot see fully in this lifetime, but can taste in part.

What’s the Goal of Our Union with Christ? (Episode 899) #askpastorjohn

Our identity in God- hidden in Christ (Col.3:3), a new creation, sons and daughters of God, perfect/loved/accepted by God- is, as John Piper so wonderfully articulates, a means to an end. The end is namely God himself and enjoying him fully. Take a listen!

http://soundcloud.com/askpastorjohn/whats-the-goal-of-our-union-with-christ-episode-899

Father’s Day From a Mother’s Perspective 


Though it is intended for celebration, Father’s Day is often like a fiery iron brander to an already hurting heart, declaring one yet again as fatherless, or with a different kind of searing pain, unwanted.

Many of us can attest to some kind of broken or nonexistent relationship with our fathers, some with more agony than many of us can fathom. This morning as I prayed for my own earthly father and my husband, I paused to consider such a weighty role in light of where I now stand – a wife and mother of three children three and under. To say that being a parent is challenging is like saying Mount Everest is beautiful and should be fun to pursue. Both are accurate and exciting, but there is a distinct and simultaneous ferociousness about both- if the evaluation and ascent are improper, consequences of such a  commitment do not leave you merely dissappointed. It is life or death.

Manhood is weighty. Thus, fatherhood is weighty. I speak not only from observation, but from the complementing party of womanhood and motherhood. When my husband and I first married, I concluded that marriage articulated my sinfulness and produced gratitude for my salvation far more than anything else. Then I became a mother. I am certain the same is for fathers.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14

This is not a suggested posture Paul was recommending for the men at the church of Corinth. It was a frequent command in the Septuagint- a wartime call. Fathers should hear this call and let it echo deep into their souls. It is not optional. There is an age-old war being raged against the household of God, and that war has to be fought first and foremost in the homes of believers. In a culture that promotes men doing the opposite of what this verse suggests, we need fathers to do just what it says- acting like men and working heartily to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Children are heavy-laden with anger towards their fathers due to the lack of presence in their lives emotionally and physically. Sadly, this anger produces a wound in the heart of a child that proves lasting and real into adulthood. Thus, the call is heavy. The outcome is great.

Act like men.

Imagine the soldier that guards the gates of the camp, allowing the enemy no entrance and blocking any imminent attempts of ambush. That is the watchfulness fathers must exude for their children. It is more than the necessary work of providing financially for your family, keeping the yard, and disciplining the children. We, mothers and children, desperately need guards keeping watch for the enemy. We need fathers hoping in the only Sovereign, their Commander in Chief, for their strength and power to protect, lead, and sustain their families in love.

But how?

The gospel of Jesus Christ.

A father is an image-bearer of our Heavenly Father. It is certain that how you love your children will serve as glimpses into God’s love for his children. Aim to make those as accurate as possible and proclaim to them what in you (and every single one of us) diminishes the Father’s image, namely a fallen nature in desperate need of saving. Give them the gospel.

It is possible to appear as a valiant father but be a coward in one’s home. Social platforms promote such misrepresentations where one can project themselves to be one way but in actuality be a sunken, puny vessel. One can profess Christ more on social media in a week than they can to their own child in months. It is evident which is harder. Yet a father, a man so enticed by the sovereign call of God to Jesus Christ, endulging daily in the Word of God, pleading for wisdom, proclaiming the Gospel to his household and all outside, working diligently in a broken world, and every single day putting on love and walking the perimeter of his family’s camp will be able to stand firm.

Fathers, may the risen Lord and his imminent return give you keen awareness. May the bitterness of sin in yourself and your family so shake your soul that you are moved by the powerful working of the indwelling Spirit to fight against the enemy forces that are waiting to devour. May the Bible stand as your surest word and communing with God as your greatest duty. It will move you to action for your family’s good and God’s glory.

May your fatherhood brand your children’s hearts with such wantedness and love due to the power of Christ at work within you. Act like men.

Family Worship & Bible Memorization!

imageMy family and I love listening to Seeds Family Worship! This summer and fall have proven to be strenuous days for our family, yet God and the truth of His Word have provided hope through it all. There is transforming power that comes through memorizing and meditating on Scripture, and this worship music and the site resources provide a beautiful avenue for that to occur.

As a wife and mother, I am continuously needing nourishment from the Word of God to love my husband well and nurture our little ones in the way of The Lord, yet it can be discouraging when the time isn’t always there because, well, life happens. Our children will wake during the night, sometimes back to back and for days at a time. Our quiet time may be cut short or non-existent during these days. However, we don’t have to always be alone with The Lord to have that soul rejuvenation. (Though that is always what we aim for because it is necessary!) When we are sitting in our houses, walking by the way, lying down and rising (Deuteronomy 6:4-9), we can worship with our spouses and children through song, study, furthered discussion, and prayer. Over the past several months, Josh and I have watched our daughter learn the Fruit of the Spirit while singing along with Seeds Family Worship and then discussing it with her when she (or we!) act otherwise. We have considered the character of God, how we have sinned and fallen short of His glory, and various other biblical realities. It has been rich as we seek to parent well and walk personally with God.

Seeds Family Worship is currently offering a FREE download of their album, Seeds of Courage, and I simply had to share this goodness! I encourage everyone to head over to seedsfamilyworship.com, grab a free copy, and stay awhile to checkout the resources (like free memory cards!🎉)