Parenthood reveals and teaches many lessons and experiences.
Parenthood exposes one's heart and who they really are as a person.
Parenthood also showcases the love of our God, the father, towards us.
What I have learned as a father in the span of 4 ½ years has been immense.
Being a parent of three, I thought I probably might have gone through it all, but I am clearly just beginning.
I recently went through one of the most difficult experiences as a father with my youngest daughter, Saige.
Around the spring of 2017 we noticed that her head shape seemed a bit off. It was very noticeable during bath time, so we decided to go visit a specialist.
In our visit, the doctor informed us that our daughter was dealing with plagiocephaly. I thought it was rare, but to my surprise it is a more common condition with C-section babies. This condition basically meant that Saige's head was not as round as normal. She had some lopsidedness on the left side of her head.
At first, I thought it wasn't a big issue and because she was a girl and her hair could cover it, but I started feeling uneasy about not doing anything. Once the doctor informed me that this condition could cause disfigurement in her eyes and even structural disfigurement with her teeth in the future, we had to do something fast.
When we submitted our request to our insurance company, the claim was immediately denied. After receiving the denial, we contemplated for a few weeks whether to do it or not. After every bath time we just felt more and more convicted for not taking any action. We felt like we were neglecting our daughter.
I remember speaking to my wife one evening, and I told her that our daughter's future is the most important thing. I reminded her that we work hard for our children and our daughter needed us, so we decided to pay for the procedure out of pocket.
The total cost of the procedure was $1,800.00. That kind of money is not easy to cough up when you have three children, a recently bought Van with insurance on top of that, and many other monthly expenses, but we needed to do it.
One thing my wife and I have understood in our time of marriage is that money comes and goes. We have gone through seasons of overabundance and many seasons of bare minimum. The more you hold on to money, the more it goes away. The more you give it, the more it comes back to you, and this cycle is never ending. We have never let money control us. When we have needed to be generous we were. That is something that I give credit to my wife for teaching me.
So, as we were setting up the appointment and ready to make the payment, the receptionist asked us to make a second attempt to our insurance company to see what would happen. Even though we felt like it was pointless, we did it anyways.
I remember it was a Saturday morning and my wife received a phone call from the specialist's office and I will never forget her high pitch loud scream that almost shattered our windows. She received the news that are insurance company was going to cover the procedure 100%.
We held each other and cried.
God was faithful.
God answered our prayer.
I will never forget what I felt the Lord tell me immediately after receiving this new. I felt the Lord tell me, I was faithful to you, but will you be faithful to me?
After the Lord asked me this question, I knew that He wanted me to give that $1,800.00 that I was going to give towards the procedure to the year-end Christmas offering that our church was doing.
Just because I knew what I needed to do, did not mean I wanted to do it or that is was easy, but that is what obedience and faith is all about. Obedience is not easy. Faith is not easy. But both must be applied daily in our lives in order to have the kind of relationship that God wants us to have with Him.
I was going from one tough decision to another, but I knew it needed to be done.
God was faithful to me and I needed to be faithful to Him.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that I hear from God all the time, a matter of fact, I feel like I rarely do, but when I feel compelled by the Holy Spirit, my wife does not question me. When I spoke to my wife about giving the offering, she immediately agreed with me.
So, we did it.
We gave one of our largest offerings to date.
Has anything supernatural or out of the ordinary taken place because of this? You might ask.
You see many of times, we tend to attach a gift with our giving. Our thinking is something like this, "We'll if I give, then I will receive, so I should be getting something soon" and we sit and wait for a present from God like if he is Santa Clause.
That is an incorrect interpretation of giving.
The proper mindset is that I give because He first gave to me. (1 John 4:19)
God does not owe us anything or any more than what He has already given us, a matter of fact, if Jesus was all that He gave us, that would be more than enough.
There is nothing more He needs to do, but fortunately for us He continues to give and provide.
He is faithful, sovereign and is our heavenly father that cares about our every need. (Mathew 6:36)
Fast forward to December 26th, 2017, Saige received her helmet, and do you remember when I said earlier that parenthood reveals and teaches you many lessons and experiences? We'll on this day I learned a life changing lesson.
As the doctor was putting on her helmet, she fought hard to take it off. She was so frustrated, tired and uncomfortable. I felt hopeless as a father. There was nothing I can do for her. I kept telling myself that this was necessary for her future and development.
After a few minutes of calming her down, I felt the Lord speak to my heart once again. He said, "Just as you feel uncomfortable, frustrated and uncertain in different seasons of your life, it is necessary for your development, maturity and growth". I love you so much, that I don't want to keep you in the same state or comfort, I want you to trust me and to trust me you will at times need to be put through uncomfortable situations, but it is only going to make you better".
I fought hard to keep my composure and not break down into tears once the Lord finished speaking to me and as I held my daughter in my arms I sensed that God was holding me. As I comforted my daughter, I sensed the Lord comforting me.
God wants your heart. God is more interested in working in you than working situations around you. I am not saying that He does not care for your needs, but God truly desires a heart that is seeking after Him. A heart that is fully devoted and completely surrendered to Him.
Don't let your situations take away from the very fact that God could be trying to get your attention. Instead of looking around at your situation, look inside yourself.
As we embark on this brand-new year, have you thought about how you want 2018 to be? Are you willing to break through the norm in your life in order to see the extraordinary in 2018? Are you willing to make your faith constant and not complacency? Are you willing to truly put your faith into action? Are you willing to be uncomfortable in order for God to do what he wants to do in you?
These are the questions that I am currently asking myself daily and must remind myself.
Let's find comfort in the uncomfortable. Let's embrace brokenness and stretching as long as it is making us better. Let's embrace the criticism and doubts that others might have towards as long as we find refuge in God.
I know all of this is easier said than done, but no more living an easy unsatisfied life. I will take whatever I need to take as long as I am approaching the Lord, then I am good.
Let's not just speak faith but let's live faith.
God the father is for you and no matter what season you may find yourself in, He will not leave you there.
A couple questions that I challenge you with are the following:
- Are you willing to break through the norm in your life in order to see the extraordinary in 2018?
- Are you willing to make your faith constant and not complacency?
- Are you willing to truly put your faith into action?
- Will you be willing to be uncomfortable in order for God to do what he wants to do in you?
I hope that you said yes to all these questions. If so, I would love to hear back from you.
Let 2018 be your best year yet!