Your family matters! I’m not sure that there’s any other way to put that. It not just matters to you, but it matters to your children and extended family. It matters also to those extended friends you know and those strangers that you don’t know.
I know first hand how much work family is. I’ve seen it as a child of divorce and as a husband and parent now working to prove that divorce doesn’t have to be the norm. I am not naive nor dismissive of what the possibilities are that exists in family. In anyone’s family, regardless of economic status, educational background or geographic location, there are an entire host of possibilities that exists. Indiscretions are possibilities. Abuse are possibilities. Conflict is a possibility. The moment that you think it could never happen to you, is the moment you let your guard down and you become a probable candidate. So, because the possibility always exists, I’ve got to keep my armor on and fight every day. And you do to! I’ve intentionally put in my calendar, ‘Wife Time’ and ‘Family Time’. I’ve had to discipline myself to ask my wife, “What’s on your mind?”. Sometimes, I miss it and sometimes I feel like it’s not worth the fight. But I’ve finally resolved – this is one fight that I’m willing to fight and win!
My heart hurts every time I hear about a person of faith having had some sort of indiscretion. My eyes fill with tears every time I hear about someone who has had to resign from ministry because of lapses in judgment and unresolved character issues. I feel uneasy every time there’s evidence of a person who is gifted and has had to readjust their life because they are now one of the millions of divorcees. My heart hurts even more when I see and hear of couples who are married but living as singles. Or couples who are married but just going through the motions. A healthy family is realistic and a happy marriage is possible.
The really unsettling thing for me – is that I know God has great plans for me and my family – and there exist the possibility of a strategic plan to disrupt the greatest thing that I have – my family. So, I’m fighting for my family. I’m encouraging you to fight for your’s as well. It’s worth it!
The Bible says, “He that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor. 10: 12). Because I know that my family is not perfect, I’ve got to keep my guard up. This is in the midst of sermon preparation, travel engagements, countless meetings, personal study, developing leaders, day-to-day life, and so on. I’ve got my eyes open because…I’m fighting for my family. I don’t have much time to join the latest blogs or articles and op-ed pieces to bash any other preacher that is divorced or in recovery. I’m trying to prove the statistics wrong! You can be anointed, used by God, AND have a powerfully healthy family. I believe this! I’m reaching for this! I think you should too!
I am so excited about all that God is doing in this season. When I look across the landscape of the body of Christ, I see many gifted people that are moving to greatness. I see great places of worship that are drawing people in by the thousands and making disciples out of them. I see great reformations that are mentoring leaders and maturing laity. I see great books and other resources that are being developed. Unfortunately, I’m also seeing people give up on the notion of fighting for their families.
I’m not much of a fighter (physically that is). But this fight is worth it! I realize that I’m not anointed just for myself or just for my ZIP code. God has and is continually expanding my territory, as with many of you. I realize that the scripture is true – to whom much is given, much is required.
It seems really odd when you look at the things that you’ve got to do to fight for your family. In one season for me, fighting for my family included changing diapers, cleaning up crumbs and spilled juice. It included waking up early to iron onesies and find socks no bigger than my pinky. I was busy collecting barrettes and pony tail holders in the car and wiping noses more than I could blink. Today, I’m repeating those infamous phrases without losing my swagger (Stop, Sit Down, Don’t Do that, No!…repeat as necessary). After that, I’m having to work hard at listening to my wife and rejoice at her triumphs and comfort her in her frustrations. After that, I’m up late reading and praying and listening to God about what to speak to His people on Sunday and Wednesday. Did I mention that I’m fighting for my family?
What am I saying? Fighting for your family is in the details of the mundane. Fighting for your family means attending to the daily moments of simply being present, listening well, helping with the details that most of us don’t really “want” to do.
Fighting for your family isn’t just making sure that they are at the head of the line in the restaurant or standing up for them on social media.
A few years ago, as I arrived at the hotel to prepare to preach at a conference that evening, I went to pull my attire out of my bag. I looked all over my bag for my shirt and I couldn’t find it. Guess what, I did find a nicely folded onesie in my bag. I had to laugh. I mean, here I am about to preach to thousands and I’ve got no shirt to preach in. I guess in my hurried packing, I picked up a onesie instead of a dress shirt. You’ve got to laugh at this. To me, this is a great example of me fighting for my family!
I understand that there are many men frustrated and ready to walk away. I realize that there are many women that have cried and cried and cried. I realize that some marriages almost seem irreparable. I also realize that the enemy (satan) doesn’t like marriage and family. More importantly, he doesn’t like the marriage of believers and the families that are raising up more people of character and integrity that are striving to live for God every day. I hope this fires you up! I hope this stirs up your passion to join me! I hope this gets you excited to…well…fight for your family!