Sunday, June 17, 2012

Why I Decided to Become a Dad

Father's Day, 2012.

Today is not only my 7th year to celebrate Father's Day as a father, but it is also the 12th anniversary of the day I married the beautiful girl God had created to be my companion.  I still remember the significant conversation we had on our 4th anniversary about having a baby.

A few months before that conversation, my wife had gotten "the bug."  Although we had decided to wait until I was done with grad school before we started having children, my wife had gotten the baby bug ... Many of her friends had started having babies and that stirred up a God-given longing in her heart to have one too. 

At first I was resistant.  I liked our life the way it was.  We were enjoying life as a married couple, coming and going as we pleased, and just sharing a simple life together.  I knew that a baby would bring a significant change to all that.  Consequently, my wife was ready to have a baby well before I had a desire for one.

However, God got a hold of my heart.  First, I too began to feel that something was missing from our "perfect" life.  After 4 years of married life, I instinctively began to feel that there was something more that God intended for us.  Secondly, I was convicted that I was not thinking biblically about having children.  I was looking at it purely from a negative and selfish standpoint: a baby would bring changes to the way things were, a baby would require sacrifices on my part, a baby would make it more difficult for me to finish my education, etc.  I was not looking at things from the perspective clearly laid out in God's word:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
     the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
    are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
    when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalm 127:3-5, ESV)

A biblical perspective of children is not negative at all.  In fact it is quite the opposite ... Children are a blessing from the Lord and are something to be desired, not selfishly avoided.

But what about my education?  My wife was working full time and was our family's bread winner while I was completing my graduate program.  And we both felt strongly that when we started our family, she would be a full-time stay at home mom.  How was I going to finish my education while working to provide for a wife and a baby? 

I didn't have all the answers.  All I knew was what God was clearly showing me in His Word.  So on June 17, 2004, while we were enjoying our anniversary, I took a step of faith and told my wife that I was ready to have a baby.

Now I am celebrating my seventh Father's Day ... and I don't regret taking that step of faith one little bit.  My son is now 6, and along the way God blessed my wife and I with three little girls as well.  (Our youngest was born only a month ago.)  They have more than "filled the hole" that was missing in our marriage.  They have transformed our family.  And in the end, God blessed that decision and provided for our every need for the next 6 years while I sludged through the rest of my Ph.D. program and simultaneously worked to provide for my family. It took longer than it would have if we had waited to have our first baby, but if I could to do it all over again, I would choose the same path I chose back then.  It was God's will for my life and was His way of blessing me ...

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
    who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!
May you see your children's children!
     Peace be upon Israel!
(Psalm 128:1-6, ESV)

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