As I write these thoughts, I am flying home from Seattle where our youngest son, Matthew, was just married. My heart is thrilled to think of how God has blessed him with a new bride. I am excited to know that they are going to serve the Lord with their lives in the days ahead.
While I am glad that each of our four children is married to a godly spouse, I must admit I am a little sad at the passing of time. As I look back over the years of raising our children, I certainly can think of areas in which we could have done better. But I also thank the Lord that our four children went to the wedding altar in purity and with a dedication for the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I was thinking about why I should be glad, twenty-three reasons came to my mind:
- I am glad I married Terrie.
- I am glad our children were saved at an early age.
- I am glad I have stayed at one church for twenty-four years and did not quit.
- I am glad I have stayed with the same basic convictions, standards, and family boundaries through the years.
- I am glad we have endeavored to live and teach the principle of the fear of God.
- I am glad I took time with my children as often as possible.
- I am glad I took a few family vacations that I really could not afford at the time.
- I am glad I drove my kids to school.
- I am glad we prayed and read the Bible together.
- I am glad my children grew up around the ministry. While some pastors and Christian workers bemoan the ministry or belittle soulwinning independent Baptist churches, we chose to look beyond the occasional downsides and thanked the Lord that we all had the privilege to serve Him. We, of course, had plenty of opportunities to be negative or to react against bad situations or inconsistencies in leadership. But in choosing to focus on the blessings of ministry, our children learned to enjoy the privilege of thinking of and serving others.
- I am glad Cary Schmidt was our children’s youth pastor and that he emphasized biblical principles for their lives.
- I am glad we started Lancaster Baptist School and that our children had the privilege of a Christian education. I thank God for each of the teachers who influenced them.
- I am glad each of our children attended West Coast Baptist College.
- I am glad my children listened to me, even though I probably talked too much!
- I am glad our deacons and church family loved our children.
- I am glad we had a Bible-based, conservative church in which to raise our children. Our children enjoyed three services a week, the old hymns of the faith, revival meetings, mission conferences, and all of the other opportunities a good local church creates.
- I am glad we took our children and their future spouses on dates together.
- I am glad I took my kids to preaching meetings and soulwinning times with me.
- I am glad my preacher friends loved my children and modeled strong doctrine and commitment with joy in serving Jesus. We could have chosen to be offended at preachers who disappointed us, tried to “control us,” or even attempted to hurt us; however, we made the choice to find sweet-spirited, strong preaching men and befriend them. In turn, many of those men befriended and encouraged my children, for which I am thankful.
- I am glad I listened to Terrie regarding family needs and making memories.
- I am glad our children’s best friends were members of our church and youth group.
- I am glad we did not watch TV during much of the primary and junior years of our children’s lives.
- Finally, the last reason I am glad is because our oldest daughter gave us our first grandson, Camden. He really likes me and doesn’t think I talk too much!