One of the more challenging things God has laid out for me is to write devotionals if I am honest. One day, I remember saying to my wife I feel God has no use for me; boom the next day, I was asked if I would start writing devotionals. With all the fantastic writings that I see sent out, it was a task that I know I could never do on my own, but only by the guidance of the Holy Spirit could I manifest anything. When it is said, God uses the least of us; that statement never seems to ring more accurately than for me. I only say all this because when it comes to writing, I never quite know where to go with it and always want to make sure the glory is given to God in all of it. As I was in prayer and had the opportunity to share with some brothers lately, the same message has been laid on my heart.
Writing as transparently as possible, as the Lord wants, and realizing where I have fallen short as a husband and parent is a hard conviction the Holy Spirit laid on me and a hard one to share. To be obedient to God is of utmost importance and is terrifying when that obedience means exposing some of the most vulnerable aspects of my walk and parts of personal life that He chooses to reveal. I see many messages on various memes as people call them, but one that knocked me hard said, “the marriage you live is the gospel your children see lived out.” It was such an instant conviction that I immediately started re-evaluating my home ministry and leadership. I am usually not one to cry, but it nearly brought me there. The Holy Spirit revealed my blindness to where I have been failing in an area of my life that I thought I was succeeding. The Holy Spirit revealed how I am falling short as a husband and being honest even as a parent in many aspects. I confessed to my wife how I feel I have not loved her as Christ has designed me to and asked her to join me in a devotional study. As I have come to find out, she was behind the scenes praying for revival in our marriage. I did not know about that; this journey keeps evolving my relationship with Christ and allowing our marriage to grow.
As a parent of five children, three boys and two girls, ranging from ages eighteen (18) to one and a half (1.5), I have come to realize through one of my studies something that was so eye-opening that it nearly brought me to tears once again. As I was reading, I had no idea the work the Lord could do in such a short time. I imagine many dads who have daughters often find themselves in similar situations, or at least I think they do where they begin to think about their daughters’ journey growing up. As I daydream about this from time to time, I start to think about the journey they will both take with dating and the thought of one day they will want to introduce a boy, or hopefully, a man to me who, of course, I will probably not think will not be good enough. I am setting all these expectations this boy/man will need to meet to date or marry my daughters, which range from how they should talk to her, treat her, things they need to do for her, etc. All this time, as I am reading, I can feel that gut-wrenching feeling of conviction the Holy Spirit is bringing to my heart. I begin to feel God say, “you expect another man to meet your standards for your daughters’, yet you have become so complacent in your marriage with your wife you are failing to meet the standards I have set for you to meet for my daughter.” How foolish can I be not to understand that my wife is first and foremost the daughter of the most- highest and I have a Father above who is watching me and the way I treat His daughter. When the Holy Spirit put this into perspective, it was a gut check, as I would call it, and a conviction that has changed my perspective on my relationship with my wife and how I model and raise my children.
The home ministry is such a powerful ministry and is one that needs to be in order. As leaders, we model it by loving our wife just as Christ loves the church. I have found that I need to model God’s expectations for loving my wife, so my boys understand what that looks like and that my daughters understand what it looks like to be loved by a Godly man. Although I fall short, I know that through God’s grace and His strength, we can strengthen the relationship as it is built on the foundation of Christ. The truth is that the scripture says in Mark 10:8, “and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh.” My wife and I are just that one flesh. Although I love my children, they will prayerfully one day be just that one flesh with another. Prayerfully it will one day just be my wife and I. It is always lovely to think about or even wonder about what the future may look like for our children, but how could I become so arrogant to forget living in the present in the presence of Christ with my wife.
Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” How great is it to know that our Lord is not like a 1 -800 customer service number where the phone rings and rings, eventually leading to an answering machine if you’re lucky. No, our Father in Heaven is faithful to answer when we are willing to call on Him and listen for an answer. In these moments in our lives, it has become more evident to me that I have tried communicating more with others about things than I have been with the Father. Maybe it is not a marriage or children; maybe it is your fiancé or just a general relationship. You may find yourself dealing with whatever life circumstance you find yourself in but understand there is a standard set to how it is to be addressed by God not us as an individual. He says, “call to me and I will answer”, that is so powerful to know that twenty- four hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year, we have a direct access line to the Father, and that is through believing in the powerful work of Christ.
It is not a book of devotionals that have changed me or self-recognition of knowing I need to change. Through the power of the Holy Spirit’s revelation and calling on God to help me change, I now understand transformation can occur by listening for His answer. Any change attempt from my own will be temporary because I am selfish by nature in most ways. My relationship with Christ is continuously growing through this and in return has helped me learn how to love my wife and family as Christ has adequately intended.
So I ask, are you calling on the Father?
~ Frank D