It’s funny how life changes. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about my future family. I proposed to a wonderful woman, who is truly a gift from God. (She said yes, by the way.) Now I worry about how I’ll provide for my future bride and our children. I worry about how I’ll be able to raise Godly children, the same way I was raised. Will I raise my children in such a way that after I’m gone my children will find their strength in God and carry on in a Godly manner? I can only put my trust in God and know that His will, will be done. To find guidance and a path forward I look to my earthly family as well as my heavenly father. As I told you before, at only a few weeks old I was adopted into a family overflowing with love.
My father was a man who loved everyone he came into contact with; good or bad, he loved them just the same. There wasn’t a person he didn’t visit in the hospital or jail. There wasn’t a wedding he didn’t celebrate at or baby dedication he didn’t do. When I was young, my dad’s attention to the things going on in others’ lives was something that I resented. My head knew he was doing the right thing, but a lot of the time my heart wasn’t in sync. As I grew up, our relationship changed from one of just father and son to one more like friends. My best memories are from times when just he and I would do things together, whether it was sporting events, trips around the country, or congregational events. Every year I looked forward to the Passover season because it was a time when my dad would get invited out to churches around the city, and more often then not he would take me or one of my brothers along with him. At these Seders my dad would give his testimony and bring out the strong Messianic message hidden in the story of the exodus. The message was always the same, but it never got old to me. Every once and awhile my dad and I would take trips together. When I was young we went down to Orlando for a conference. It was just he and I in a car for hours. Years later we went to another conference together over in Virginia. This time around I did most of the driving and it was great to do that service for my father. It was during these trips that we had some of our best one-on-one conversations where I learned a lot about who my dad was and hopefully he learned about me. Many of the things I love (Israel, football, God, etc.) were imprinted on me from birth as gifts from my earthly father.
My dad passed away over seven months ago. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. In some ways it could have only happened yesterday. At first his passing didn’t seem real, like it was something happening in a movie, but over the course of time life without my dad has become my reality. I’m so happy that now my dad is whole again, he’s no longer in pain or suffering, but he’s rejoicing with God and my grandma. Trust me when I say that this realization didn’t come easy; God has done an amazing work to finally bring my head and heart into sync on this. When dad passed, a major force in my life was taken out of my life, an amazing amount of regret was left behind, things left unsaid and feelings unexpressed. We had a good relationship, but as with anything in this world it could have been so much better, it could have been so much deeper.
My mother was a woman always in the process of taking care of others, usually me and my brothers. When we were sick she was there, when we were celebrating she was there, when we were crying she was there, and when we were misbehaving she was there to chase us around the house with a large wooden spoon. I can think of thousands of meals we’ve eaten in her kitchen, and I can’t imagine the number of hours she spent working over a hot stove. While our house wasn’t huge, three young boys sure do make a mess, and some how she always managed to keep it clean. I can remember her staying up all night working on one project for school or another. And then for middle school she homeschooled us, and based on our college grades she did a wonderful job. I think between the three boys she’s learned more about football than she ever thought possible. You’d be so surprised or scared sitting next to her at one of our games. She is definitely one of our biggest cheerleaders. On my weekends home from college Mom would always fuss over me, feed me, and send me back with a bag of food. Nothing can make you feel worse than when you go to leave your mom gives you all the money she has in her purse. And she felt bad that it wasn’t more! I cried on quite a few trips back to school. She didn’t need to do that, but she loved me and wanted to bless me. My mom has taught me so many things, how to iron, how to sew, wash dishes, and how to was my clothes. All things my future wife will be pleased to find out. If my father lived out the love of Jesus for us then my mother lives out faithfulness.
I am a blessed man. This truth is worth repeating over and over again, because God has truly blessed me, and it is a theme that you will see through out my life. I’m blessed because I had a Godly Mother and Father to teach me and to raise me up. I could have been adopted by anyone, I could have been adopted into a life of abuse or neglect, but God blessed me with two loving parents, and two brothers who are as unique and diverse as possible. My family had a huge impact on my life and helped me to become the man I am today. I don’t know how to say thank you enough. I love you.
In retrospect, I don’t need to worry about these things. Throughout my life we have always been dependant on God to provide, and I never gone without something that I needed. And if I can follow the example of my earthly parents, I’m sure that my children will be raised to follow God. Don’t get me wrong, my folks were not perfect; my dad would be the first to tell you that. But where they failed, where they stumbled, God intervened, God covered them in His grace and it worked out for His glory. My hope, my faith, and my trust are in Him and through Him I can do all things!