My sweet wife, Julie and I seem to be well on the way to working ourselves out of our jobs. I’m not talking about no longer working and getting paid for it. Julie couldn’t do this anyway since she’s been the best Housewife and Mother I know and has been a “Stay-at-home-Mom since about April of 2000. She’s been so much more valuable to our family in such a role than she ever would have been out in the workforce somewhere. Over the course of the last seventeen years or so, she’s saved our family much more than she ever would have been able to make. Just the impact on the overall well-being of our family has been more than worth it.
After considerable searching of the scriptures, discussion, seeking godly counsel and prayer, we made the decision that Julie would stay home to care for our children and I would work enough to support our family. In some cases, that has meant that I’ve been working two full-time and a part time job all at once. The Lord has been gracious to give me and my wife the strength, determination, resourcefulness, mental and physical necessities for a successful family life overall. I’m eternally grateful for seven beautiful children we’ve been blessed with in our twenty-plus years of marriage.
One of the things we’ve done as a family over the years is to read through the Bible together. Along with this, we memorize scripture together. Through the years, when our children reached their fourth birthday, it was time for them to start memorizing scripture. One of the blessings has to do with this practice. Our youngest daughter, Abigail has never really known a time when we didn’t regularly recite our scripture verses and read and discuss a chapter of the Bible. About two months after her THIRD birthday, she crawled up onto my lap as we were preparing for our “Family Devotions,” as we like to call it. She said, “Papa, I want to do a verse too.” I was so blessed, I think I about melted and something probably ran out of the corner of my eye. (Must have been allergies in December.) She started to memorize scripture with the rest of us and had five verses memorized by her fourth birthday. They were, Genesis 1:1; Psalm 119:11; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:16 and 1 Corinthians 10:31.
Years ago, I would get so busy with projects around the house that by the time I was ready for our Family Devotions, most of the younger children were so tired, they were already sleeping. Sometimes, I was even too tired and we just skipped it for the night. I came to realize that the projects that just HAD to be done and our family Bible study was being neglected would still be there tomorrow, waiting to be done. However, our children and their training had an eternal element. Now, even if we are traveling, have guests over or for most other reasons we used to have an excuse for skipping our Family Devotions, we make sure that we set aside time to recite and study God’s word.
Not only do we regularly teach our children from the Bible every evening but my wife also is their primary educator. One of the passages of scripture we have memorized as a family is Deuteronomy 6:4-9. While it’s our longest passage of scripture memorized to date, it’s also one of the most important. We see in this passage that we are to “teach our children to love the Lord [their] God with all [their] heart, soul mind and strength,” and to do this, “when we sit in [our] house, when we walk by the way, when we lie down and when we rise up. . . ” Before our children ever got to school age, we decided that God was instructing us as parents that we were to instruct our children, first and most importantly in the ways of the Lord twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We have taken that challenge very seriously as well.
Quite often, when discussing a biblical issue, some doctrine or even a news item from the radio, computer, newspaper or otherwise, our children show a depth of scriptural knowledge and understanding that I certainly never had at their age. We have some fabulous theological discussions and I’m convinced that my children can hold their own with the average “Christian” in America today.
One of the things that has blessed me on so many occasions is to be sitting on a Friday or Saturday morning, when I can get up a little later and have my oldest son, Jonathan come sit beside me. I always have my Bible open and usually I’m working on a cup of coffee my wife has prepared for me. He sits beside me on the sofa and reads his Bible next to me. I have to say that there is no better feeling in the world. He’s read completely through his Bible twice and he’s well on his third way through again. I have to ask, “How many 14-year old young men have read all the way through their Bible even ONCE, much less twice and on their way through again?”
Our boys and girls are learning more than just the scriptures and practical application of them. They’re learning household tasks, money management, building and repairs and much much more. They’re learning how to learn and not simply memorizing an array of facts and figures, faces and places. Our boys have mostly kept the furnace going AND cleaned out all of last winter, so that I barely had to touch it.
We’ve been accused of “sheltering” our children and my response is, “You’re absolutely right.” When they are ready to step out on their own, I believe ALL of our children have been set up for the best they can do in their life. When the shelter is no longer available, or the stresses of life come calling, their roots, stock and more will be able to bend and not break in the face of the proverbial storm.
In honor of my Father and Mother, who have gone on to be with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In honor of my wife’s Father and Mother who have instilled in her many of the values we’re passing along to our children, we’re doing the best we can to leave a legacy and prepare our children not only for a life after they leave home. We’re preparing them for eternity as best as we can. It’s not that we’re enjoying the thought of working ourselves out of a job, but seeing them, “grow in grace and in knowledge of [their] Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” is absolutely about the best Father’s Day or Mother’s Day gift we could get.