Who Am I?  Part 12

For five months now, I have been posting articles every second Saturday that talk about the milestones or major events in my life that have shaped and defined who I am.  Things were not looking very good for me where we left off in the last article.  (Click here.)  I was deathly ill, lying on a mattress in the back of our station wagon, while Jill was over six months pregnant and pulling a U-Haul behind our wagon through some horrible “white out” storms across Canada as we headed to Alberta.

As mentioned in another article (1987 – A Pivotal Year), we had just recently lost a pregnancy that was very devastating to us.  Now we were very concerned about my health, as well as this next pregnancy.  In 1987, I know I was not emotionally or mentally ready for a child, but in ’89, even as I was lying there so sick, one of my prayers was to let us have this child.

I prayed, “Lord, let us have a safe delivery, a healthy child, and let me be a father.”  I knew I would be ready this time.  As I now reflect back on that time when I would become a parent, a passage of Scripture comes to my mind.  Psalm 127 tells us a lot about children, parenting, home life, and putting our trust in the Lord.  It’s not long, so I encourage you to pick up your Bible and read it.

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So there we were, driving across Canada, ready and hoping that this time we would be able to start a family.  We were wanting to “build a house” as Solomon wrote in this Psalm.  (Most scholars would lean toward the idea that the Hebrew word here is referring to a family in verse one, and not just a building.)  We definitely had not done well in Toronto, but I figured that things would be different as we headed toward my home town.

We did manage to make it to Calgary, despite our car deciding to quit in upper Ontario leaving us stranded at a lonely gas station stop.  And the RCMP closed the highways due to zero visibility on the highways.  Thankfully the gas station had a mechanic there who fixed the problem in our engine, plus replaced the timing belt which was almost worn out.

I kind of felt like a failure when we arrived back at my folks house.  They graciously let us stay in the basement and did not charge us anything to live there while I recovered and Jill prepared to have our baby.  I felt like I had really let my wife down, I had disappointed my parents, and I was unable to contribute anything.  I didn’t realize at that time how wrong I was.

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In Psalm 127, Solomon tells us that if the Lord is not the foundation and the protector of the house/city (which are both figurative ways to talk about the family) then all that we do can be considered “in vain”.  I still get caught up today in the trap thinking that “it is up to me to provide/save/help the family.”  The truth is that only when we are putting our trust in Him for anything and everything, that we can really be strong and able to withstand the crashing waves of life that pound at us.

But I didn’t get that at this time in my life.  The day for Jill to deliver had almost arrived.  Thankfully (or should I say by God’s grace), I had recovered from my three-month illness that had left me bed-ridden so that I was able to be there for the birth of my first son.  WOW!  What a day that was.  I was allowed to be there for the delivery (pretty awesome moment), and afterwards, I would go around with my chest puffed out and say, “I have a son!”

And then I again felt like it was up to me to provide for our family.  I put myself in charge and tried everything I could do to find employment.  I even stooped so low as to go around door-to-door to sell these huge one-volume dictionaries.  I lost a lot of sleep, and time with my family, while I tried to “make it” on my own.  Only when I had exhausted my resources and turned to rely on God did He let me get back into active church ministry as a youth pastor.  I also made a commitment to help more at home and to help raise our son Eric.

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And I think that is when I started to realize what a blessing it was to be a father and a husband.  I did the work that God gave me to do, but I did not let the job control my life.  I wanted to be home with Jill and my son Eric, to share meals together and build our family.  There were a few people at the church that thought I should be “in the office” more than I was, or work “like a man” and put in 60 hour work weeks, and then do volunteer ministry on top.

But in those early months of Eric’s life, and then a couple of years later when Glen was born, when life could get real busy, and the demands of ministry could start to control me instead of the other way around, there will always be one memory that reminds me that I did make some good choices.  After a work day, when I would walk into the house, and Jill would say, “It’s Daddy!”, first one son, and then two sons would come crawling or bounding into my arms, and I knew where my treasure truly lay.

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