Feel the Love

Feel the Love

I love weddings. I have told you this? I just love, love! If you have hung out with me very much it doesn’t take long for you to realize that. I have loved weddings since way before I was married and almost decided to be a wedding consultant. I am creative as well as have the gift of organization. (remember my story last week on we all have a gift?) 

 

So putting any event together especially weddings is just fun for me and because I enjoy the decorating part and I have two single children yet. I have started collecting a few things for their “one day” wedding. I even try to stay on top of the latest trends and styles going on in weddings. 

 

One of the ways I do that was by following some wedding pages on Facebook. There they ask different questions about what to do at weddings. It was also there that my eyes were opened to a whole different world I didn’t realize was out there. Oh! I guess I knew it happened but I didn’t realize how much.  

 

It’s there I realized that we have an epidemic in the world and that is the institution of marriage is falling apart. It’s falling apart because we no longer value it anymore because many think it’s okay to just live together. In fact according to the U.S. 2010 census living together has never been more popular. There it was reported 7.5.million couples are living together before or instead of getting married. That is 15 million people.

 

Due to this great mass exodus of the realization of what God’s word says about being married there is a lack of having weddings. We have a generation of people who have never even been to a wedding. So you can imagine the questions that are being asked on this Facebook page. Some of the things that I think are the most basic knowledge are unknown to most. Why because they aren’t seeing it. They aren’t seeing it lived out in front of them so they don’t know what to do. 

 

Our church just finished giving its third free wedding away this year and as I walked around last night looking at the almost 100 candles we had lit on the tables,  towards the end of the evening most were almost completely gone. They were melted completely down into the candle holder.
As I looked at them a thought came to me, “Well at least we got our money’s worth out of them because they are done for, useless and over with” another thought came to me after that. “But they represent something that has just begun” 

 

As we walked around cleaning up after the wedding, table clothes were ripped. Drinks had been split on the table runners and the candles all melted. The place looked somewhat in disarray. But it wasn’t because the guest had been abusive to the property, but simply the natural wear and tear of the day. Kind of like life isn’t it? . 

 

All I could think about was doesn’t this just represent marriage. Everyday wear and tear on our lives, struggles come and life goes on. It was at that moment I was reminded “What looks like an ending here in this room, is just the beginning for that couple” and so I begin to pray for them. 

 

In that pray I believe God spoke something in my heart that every church going so called Christian needs to hear. “That is why it is so important for we as followers of Christ live out what He did in this world, what Christ did more in this world than anything else is, He loved. He loved people right where they were.”  

 

If we read John Chapter 4 we find the story of the woman at the well. Where God goes out of His way and against all customs and traditions of His culture to this city and believe because He went because he wanted to talk to this woman. He was on a mission from His Heavenly Father.

 

He wanted to meet her and live the love out before her. See if your read, she knew “about” God but she didn’t know the God. Because know one had lived it out before her. She had only heard stories of the God

 

But Jesus told her in vs 10 “ “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” and then she responds in vs 15 ““Sir, give me this water..” 

 

Jesus didn’t care that she had 5 husbands and was living with another. Verse 18 “The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.”

 

He showed her love and because of that she came to know Christ and the bible says in vs 34 she said. “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” 

 

Then it goes on to say” 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers.” 

 

Jesus showed love to a woman who wasn’t of his culture, sex or stature and back in those days it was unheard of and looked down up on by everyone for a man to even talk to a woman and for a Jew to speak to a samaritain was considered a terrible thing to do. 

 

But Christ stepped outside the comfort zone of the culture and even his friends and loved with the love of His Heavenly Father.  In most churches today, we still don’t condone living together outside of marriage. Because the bible doesn’t but that doesn’t mean we don’t love the people that do. 

 

In this day and age when it is such a common occurrence, we as the church must step up and be a light into a world that does not know. A world that has only heard of what marriage can be. 

 

If we have the gifts and abilities to bless others with this gift of a free wedding we need to do it. We need to use whatever gift God has given us to bless others and do it in love because that is what people will see in us. 

 

I heard a phrase the other day that “People won’t always remember what you say to them, but they will remember how you make them feel” Let’s make sure when people what away from us, just as that Samaritan woman did with Jesus, she feels the love she has never felt before.

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Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

Who’s knocking at your door? (The time I wouldn’t let my FIL in my house)

As a young mother, life can be hectic to say the least,  between work, life and just wrangling a little kid the task can feel daunting. At least it did for me,  our little one must of been about 2-3 yrs old and between the depression of Jeff not having a job, and me carrying the financial load, I was pretty give out, add to that the fact, my mother never taught me how to clean or maintain a home much because of her physical disabilities. So,  lets just say there were some areas in my life, that I had to grow up quickly in, maintaining a home was one of those and obviously I was a little behind on that learning curve. 

 

So, it not might come as a surprise to you that one day when my father-in-law appeared at my apartment door I refused to let him in. Oh! I was nice about it. I just opened the door, stood in the doorway and said “Hello” and smiled. When he told me what he was there for I was polite and said “Thank you!” and added “I’d invite you in but Jeff isn’t here and the house is a mess” to which we both laughed and my father-in-law went on his way. 

 

Later, I found out that Jeff had mentioned to his dad, “You need to come see us sometime” to which Trammel responded “I tried and Alesa wouldn’t let me in”. Looking back, perhaps that is why I never remember my in laws coming to visit our home when we lived in the same town. I doubt that was the reason,but it is a thought. 

 

You know what else I have thought about, I was thinking, how many times do we do that to God. He knocks on our hearts, nudges on our hearts with a thought of “I want to help you, just let me in” or “If you would just do this or that, things would be better” and we stand in the doorway of our life saying “It’s to messy in here I can’t let you in”. 

 

We believe the lies that satan tells us that we will never be good enough and won’t ever make it or we have to clean up our lives before we can let God in. But the truth is God loves us right where we are. In fact is,  the bible tells us ‘While we were still sinners Christ died for us” Roman 5:8

 

The truth is we are loved with an everlasting love (Jer 31:3) Now does that mean just because God loves us we stay in the same mess we find ourselves in now. No! Once we know better we do better. The bible tells us that just because grace abounds doesn’t give us the license to continue to sin. (Romans 6:1-2)

 

When I got older, I got better with my housekeeping skills. I read books, and sign up for email reminders of what to do. I made the effort to do better and I did. Most people after seeing my home,  then and seeing my home now, wouldn’t believe it was the same person living there. I have even been admired for my home organizational skills so much so that some husbands have hired me to help their wives. 

 

It’s the same way with life, and living for God. We all have messes. The question is what will we do with our mess. Will we let it over take us and continue to live in it or will we decided we can do better and we will do better and step by step begin to change. 

 

I learned to do better by educating myself through books, magazines, T.V. shows and email subscriptions. I read and watched everything I could get my hands on to help improve the life of my family. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. 

 

It’s the same way for us in our lives. We can’t change our life without God’s help and He is still standing at our door knocking asking “Won’t you let me in?”. He has sent the church, His Word and other believers around you to help you. He doesn’t expect you to do it on your own either. 

 

So what will you say? How about today,  you decide to let Him in, make the change? He already knows everything about you and loves you anyway. There is nothing you are ever going to do to make God love you more and there is nothing you will ever do to make God love you less. 

He promises that if you will open the door to Him,  He will come in. (Rev 3:20) How about you let Him in today, join a bible believing church that will help you grow and understand His word and just give Him a chance to make a difference in your life today. I promise,  you will never find anyone that loves you more than He does. Alesa Lewis Miller is the Pastor’s wife of Lighthouse Worship Center, Greensburg Kansas, Mom, Mimi, Speaker, & Columnist. Find more of her stories at www.behindtheparsonagewalls.com

We love like we have been loved

We love like we have been loved

Recently,I got to sit around and reminisce with our oldest son about past Christmases he had with his Grandma Lewis. (my momma) He reminded me that she showed up one year in her car completely packed from front to back, top to bottom, with Christmas presents and only enough room for her to sit in the driver’s seat with her little head of her barely 5 ft frame peeping over the steering wheel. This was the perfect example of a Christmas with my mom or any holiday truthfully,  and for no reason that I can comprehend, Lee accused his father and I of being worst with his kids. Just because we always bring his kids something when we come to visit or send presents on holidays when we can’t be there. As I explained to my daughter-in-love. We love those kids like we have been loved. It can be as something as silly as a bag of apples and oranges that Jeff will bring in a box and act as if it is something super special, lining the children all up and telling them to close their eyes because he has a prize for them. To the better gifts that the grandchildren say I know how to pick out. We all laugh and have a good time, just making them feel special.

 

I guess you could say gift giving was my family’s love language. I can’t even image only giving one gift a piece to my grand kids at Christmas. Now mind you, we don’t necessarily give big expensive gifts and I have even been know to buy good used toys for my grands and give them. I can remember my mom wrapping a 6 pack of sock by taking each pair out and wrapping it individually, just so it looked there were like a lot of gifts under the tree. My mom who lived on less than $700 a month in her retirement years, found so much joy in giving that she would find ways to make sure all 3 of us (at the time) would have tons of gifts under the tree. Not that buying presents is the only way to show love, but it is and outward sign of an inward feeling for my family. My parents who raised me, showed me such unconditional love when they took me in as a newborn and raised me as I was their own. I know without a doubt they would of given their lives for me.

 

I was talking this past week to a friend who had, a negative experience in love. She was previously in an abusive relationship and now that she has found new love she was scared to take the next step. She told me,” If you have never felt a love like that than it is hard to realize you can be loved in that way.”

 

That really got me thinking, in this world where New York just approved to legalize abortion up to the day of birth, made me ask “What are people so scared of? As parents, our jobs are not easy it can be a scary thing raising a child and being solely responsible for it.  Especially if you have never really been loved. We live in a society where the traditional roles have been shattered and whether you agree with it or not you have to say that it has only made people more confused about their place in relationships are. Perhaps that is why marriage seems to becoming more and more extinct. People are afraid to commit to marriage and we have to ask the question why? Are they afraid to love because they have never really been loved?

 

Marriage is a covenant between two people before God committing their love to one another forever and the wise ones who make that covenant know it can’t be done without God’s help. Many who make that covenant these days know they need to love like the way they have been loved. With an unconditional love that the father above has given them. It is only when we accept that love and trust in the Heavenly Father that we can really love like we are suppose to love. Jeff Miller knows me, He knows every part about me, the good, the bad and they ugly,  and he still loves me. So when I get upset with Jeff, I have to remember how much he has put up with from me.

 

If we will all just be honest with ourselves, none of us are perfect but yet we have the God who created the universe who wants to be part of our life. Yet, we can’t grasp that kind of love. We can’t grasp the idea of God not expecting perfection but, He is simply looking for surrender. As a child it wasn’t uncommon that under the Christmas tree each year it would be full of gifts. Jeff and I did the same with our children and now with our grands. We simply are showing the love that we received. I hope today, you realize there is a man who hung on a tree and gave His life for you. Because He loves you. How about today we love Him with unconditional love too. How about we surrender our life to Him and share the amazing love He has given us with others.

The Greatest Gift

The Greatest Gift

Well by now most of us have taken our Christmas tree down, and have packed up the decorations preparing for the new year ahead of us. As I pondered the Holidays, have you ever noticed that, there are 2 kinds of gift givers? One type, will give you what you want. They pay attention to what you talk about, they notice comments you might say throughout the year, just passing statements about what you like, or would like to have,  perhaps even some you forget about almost as soon as you say them. Other gift givers give you what they think you need. They aren’t concerned with what you want, and more often than not, they ignore any comments you might say even sometimes ignoring specific requests because they think they know better.

 

I think it goes without saying that the joy of receiving a gift from the gift giver who considers what the receiver wants is much higher than receiving a gift from the one who gives  you what you think you need.

 

I will never forget,  it was probably our oldest son’s third or fourth birthday. We didn’t have much money and were  doing everything we could to pull together a party for him at a famous pizza place for kids, when I suddenly remembered we didn’t have any way to video his party. My heart sank, as I had videoed every birthday party of his life up to that point,  but because our recorder was broken, there was no way that was going to happen. Somehow I felt like I wasn’t being a good parent if I didn’t record it. Deeply saddened , I proceeded on with the plans the weeks prior to the day, hoping to make my child’s day the best it could be, never telling anyone of my disappointment. After all, at Lee’s young age he wasn’t going to care about having a video of his birthday party, I told myself, he would still have a good party with or without the video recording. I knew the recording was more for me,  but telling myself this, didn’t seem to help my disappointment any.

 

It was the morning of the party,  as I was rushing around preparing the final details,  the phone rang, it was one of our guests, who called to ask if it was okay as part of Lee’s a gift, that they would video the party for us. My heart leaped with joy! The memory still brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it, because it wasn’t about the video anymore when that call came, it was about a God who heard my cry and answered my  prayer. I hadn’t said anything to anyone, and to be honest, I hadn’t even prayed about it. But my heavenly father, who knows my heart, knew my desire and put it on this family’s heart to do this for us.

 

You know as much as I love my child and wanted to give him the best party possible to show my love for him,  I have a heavenly father who cares for me, in fact we all do. The bible saysIf you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

 

The Psalms also tells us Lord, you have seen what is in my heart. You know all about me”

 

Aren’t you thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and knows us,  I know for me I sure am. What a blessing it is to know we have someone who is watching over us and cares for us more than we could ever hope or imagine. The best part of our Heavenly Father, is that He isn’t just like any Father, He knows our beginning and He knows our end. He can see the future,, so He knows how to detour our paths,  ensuring we make it safely to where we need to be spiritually and physically.

 

I wonder today if someone reading this isn’t disappointed about something? Perhaps you had hopes and dreams of something happening and well, you have just given up that it will ever happen. I want to assure you that whatever the outcome of your situation is, that you can trust your Heavenly Father to guide you in the direction you need to go. You can trust Him to bring to you what you need and provide when nothing seems to be working out. Because the bible says “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

 

So, there are a couple of stipulations to that promise, it says, “those who love him” and “called according to his purpose”. So I have to ask, do you meet those requirements? I think,  for the most part, I can safely say you probably would claim to love God. So the next question is, is your life an example of that? Because that is kind of what the whole “called according to His purpose” means. We are all called to fulfill His purpose on this earth,  and the first requirement is to follow what His word says, and if you aren’t going to church and growing in His word how can you fulfill that purpose?

 

So, whether you are following Christ or no, it  is never too late to start. Yes, you may have to pay the consequences of your past choices,  but there is a opportunity for a new beginning, all you have to do is talk to Jesus, like you would talk to me,  and tell Him you want a new life in Him, that you are sorry for your past mistakes, and from this day forward you want to walk with Him.

 

There is nothing better than starting off the new year  new in Christ Jesus. Find a good bible believing church home that you can grow in His word in,  then you really will see the Heavenly Father that I know, who knows how to give good gifts, and works all things together for our good.

What Jeff and God have in Common!

What Jeff and God have in Common!

Jeff Miller says he and God have something in common, it is that they both first loved me. Jeff Miller picked me out of stack of pictures on his father’s desk long before we ever met. You see my father was a minister and his father was the deacon in charge of the resumes for the opening for a Pastor his home church had. One day Jeff decided that the ripe old age of 16 that, he didn’t want to die a bachelor so he set out to find a wife and what better girl to have as a Pastor’s wife one day then a Pastors daughter.

 

He says he took the pictures that came with the resumes, of the families that had daughters and began to narrow down his favorites, first the top 10, then the top 5, then the top 3 and then number one, and Jeff claims it was me.

 

As God saw fit, my dad did become the Pastor of Jeff’s home church and that only gave Jeff more confidence that God had a plan for us together, and it just enriched his love for me. The problem was, I was just 13 years old at the time and really wasn’t interested in dating yet, after all I was still playing with barbies!

 

I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t impressed with Jeff at first, I didn’t care for his cowboy boots, or cowboy hat and he seemed to be everywhere I was, but that didn’t detour Jeff, my dad even overheard a conversation between Jeff and a few of the other teenage boys in the church. Where Jeff under no uncertain terms told them, that I was his so there was no need from them to pursue me, and we hadn’t even started dating yet!

 

Then there was the note Jeff gave me, sharing his undying love to me. Which still did nothing to convince me to like him. It didn’t even matter that he showed up when I was sick as a dog, and looked horrible. Jeff was right there asking if I needed anything, ready to help in anyway he could.

 

But the topper was when he went and talked with my father, I don’t know what happened in that conversation on the fateful day, but I do know that when my dad came home from the office, to my dismay Daddy informed me, that Jeff would be coming over to visit a few nights a week after he got off work.

 

I think back now, and feel my father, saw something in Jeff that I didn’t and he felt as soon as I spent time with him, I would see it too, and he was right.  

 

Isn’t that a lot like our relationship with God, He loved us before we loved Him and He pursued us before we even cared about Him and He refuses to give up on us. He has chosen us, because He loves us, not because of anything we have done. Then God sent His word to us as a love letter to prove that.

 

Like with Jeff, I had done nothing to do earn Jeff’s love on that day when he found my picture in his dad’s office, yet he loved me anyway. And I have to tell you, like Jeff when I have been at my worst, God loved me anyway,

 

That is just like our Heavenly Father, who sent His son, to this earth so he could suffer, and go through all that we have been through. He knows every temptation you feel, Christ felt it all when He was here. God sent His son, because He loved us so much.

 

It didn’t matter if we reject Him God does not give up on us. He loves us so much He sent His son to die for our sins, so we could have eternal life with Him forever, and all He asks from us is to choose to worship and trust Him. But He loved us before we even loved Him.

 

If we could all simply realize the depth of the love God has for us. What would we do differently? Would we freak out less when things don’t go as we planned because we know, God will take care of us. Would be more responsible with what we have because we know He gave it all to us? Would we love others with that same unconditional love that God has showed us? Would we live a life in attitude of gratitude and grace, because we know we don’t deserve such unconditional love?

 

We will all be starting a new year in just a few days. It is the time of new year’s resolutions, so how about we resolve to live like that?

 

1 John 3:1 NIV reminds us “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! …..

 

I live differently because I know Jeff Miller loves me, and he loves me more that I have words to explain it or ways to show it.  I am not deserving of this love nor have I earned it, but yet Jeff Miller loves me, and so does Christ.

 

We are all loved more than we can even hope or imagine or have words that could ever explain it. But God loved us so much He sent His son to be born to a virgin, born in a manger know he would ultimately give His life for us. So in all the hussle and bussle of this season. Let us know forget the most important gift, the gift of Christ which is the greatest example of God’s love for us.

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Worst Thanksgiving Ever!

Well, the Thanksgiving season is upon us, many will soon be gathered around the table with their loved ones and friends reflecting on the blessings we have received this year. If your house is like mine, there will be a moment before we indulge in the food before us that we will pause and go around the table, allowing each one to say what they are thankful for.

Now in a house like ours some might choose to move this process along by simply saying all they are thankful for is God assuming He covers everything,  just to hurry up and pro take of the feast that sits before them. So, you may be surprised to find, at our house, it is made clear before this process begins that we know, God is responsible for all that we have been given and so, we want to hear what specific things that God has given you this year that you are thankful for.

Another tradition in our house at this time of the year, is I try to prepare all the foods my kids want. It’s a favorite dishes kind of meal. I ask everyone what they want to eat and since there is 9 of us and at least a couple of choices by each person, the amount of food can add up quickly and that isn’t limited to just the side dishes or desserts, but also includes what kind of turkeys we have, which can range from fried, roasted or smoked, there is usually at least 2 turkeys, (smaller ones) cooked different ways for us to enjoy!

Now although my kids are active in the meal preparation these days there’s still some dishes I make that they demand only from me and I in turn have favorites that only they can make. I have been working hard for many years to teach my kids how to cook, so that I know when I die they won’t starve. Essentially I want to work myself out of job of cooking on the holidays but I am no quite there yet but I believe the plan is on track..

You may have heard of people who do food prep and make all the food they are going to eat for the week in one day, then cook it throughout the week?  Well that is kind of what Thanksgiving is like for us, except we cook enough food for a week all on Thanksgiving day and then graze on it for the next 3 days while the kids are here. I like doing this because, I am not stuck in the kitchen the whole time the family is here and I can take pleasure in just enjoying my family.

You may think, my idea is crazy but let me tell you the reasoning behind my madness.  One of the most disappointing Thanksgivings Jeff and I ever had was after we were married and had moved to Kansas, we returned to Alabama for the big day anticipating eating my mother in law’s traditional thanksgiving meal.  

We were so excited to be going back to celebrate with Jeff’s family. My mother in law is an amazing cook, this woman who made biscuits everyday for breakfast when her husband was alive and homemade cornbread for every other meal had our mouth watering as we traveled the 14 hours to visit them remembering how good Thanksgiving is around my in laws house. So needless to say we had great expectations of eating her famous dressing, and enjoying all the other dishes she is known for. But to our disappointment, when we arrived it was announced that this year, Mrs Miller was tired of cooking and had decided to have the meal catered in.

Our hearts sunk, although we understood, it did not console our craving for her own cooking that we had missed so much, by living all those hours away and rarely getting to see them, let alone taste those famous home cooked meals she was known for.  So that is when I decided when my kids grow up, I was determined to make sure they never felt that disappointment after coming back home.

You know, if we are all honest with ourselves, there is that one dish for most of us that we remember as being our favorite from our mom or grandma, and it doesn’t matter if we follow their directions to a tee to make it, it still never tastes like it did when that person we loved made it. So, yes that is why I indulge my children when they come home. I never want my kids to walk away from my home on a holiday wishing I had cooked something,or we had done something, I want them to have that special memory of home.

Have you ever expected something, that didn’t happen the way you planned? Were you disappointed? We often have expectations. We ask God for something and believe and even have faith that He could do it,  then when the time comes and it doesn’t go the way we planned, we are disappointed, sometimes mad that we didn’t get our way.

There will be a lot of people who over this holiday season will reflect on this past year that have much bigger issues than Jeff and I did on that disappointing day. They may not have anything to eat at all, they may only be able to think about that empty chair where their loved one use to sit.

I read somewhere your tough job is an unemployed persons dream, your small home is an homeless persons dream, your annoying child is an infertile couples dream, and your smile is the dream of every depressed person. So be thankful in every situations.

Whatever the case, let us all remember that there is always someone worse off than we are. God has placed us here to bless others and you are blessed to be a blessing. Oh! You may not have as much as someone else, but is that really what God is looking for? No where in the bible have I ever read, you have to have this much money in the bank, or this much food in your house, or even your children act a certain way for God to love you.

God looks on the heart in 1 Samuel 16:7 God told the prophet Samuel … “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

How about we do that this holiday season? How about we not judge ourselves or others on anything else, but what God sees. Let’s ask God to help us see others with His eyes,  love others with His heart. But most of all love yourself the same way. Give yourself a break! So what if this year didn’t turn out how you expected it? Tomorrow is a new day and the bible says God’s mercies are new every morning. So that means, every day there an opportunity for a fresh start and nothing is lost if we learned from it. Just like that disappointing thanksgiving vacation, Jeff and I had, you also can learn from whatever you are going through and because of that today two more generations reap that blessing. Perhaps God has allowed you to go through whatever you have dealt with this year so you can make a difference in the generations that are coming behind you. One thing is for certain tomorrow is a new day and the best is yet to come. So let’s focus on that as we sit around our table this week and thank God for what He has done and will do!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Worst Parenting Fear!

Being a parent can be one of the scariest things anyone can do. You hope to you are doing it right. You don’t want to miss your kids up to bad, because you know you, yourself, aren’t perfect, and well let’s face it we all think we are a little messed up and our biggest prayer as parents is “God just don’t let me mess up my kids”.

I remember one particular time this was heavy on my heart as a young mom. My oldest had to be in about 1st grade. We were associate pastors in charge of children’s ministries in Iola Kansas. Our children’s ministry there ran about 80-100 kids each Sunday.  We had a bus ministry of 3 buses that drove around town every Sunday, picking up kids to bring them to church. To assure the kids would come, we would go around door to door every Saturday and knock on the doors of homes in the area reminding the parents we would be coming by tomorrow to pick up their children.

Often Jeff would take our son, Lee with him on those trips. In fact pretty much every part of our ministry Lee as well as all our children have tagged along and been a part of it with us. Lee however was our only child at this time in our life so not only was our weekly canvasing the neighborhoods part of his weekly agenda, so was summer church camps. For several years we spent a month at kids and junior camps in the summer not even coming home on the weekend in between camps. Because we were Children’s Pastors, Jeff and I were counselors each week and Lee got to tag along with his dad in the boys cabins.

Wheat State Camp is 4 weeks in the summer that kids from Assembly of God churches all over Kansas come together in Augusta at our district camp ground where a different age group comes each week to play games and sporting events, have fellowship with other believers and all go to church services together in the evening. It was one of those evenings I was down at the altar crying out to God because my heart was so heavy. I felt as if I was ruining my kid’s life. I was probably about week 3 of being at camp for us and I was believing all the negative thoughts satan was running through my head that said “Lee is going to hate church” or “You are pushing our religion down his throat by keeping him here”. “What kind of mother are you?”.

As I was pouring out my heart to God that evening, with young girls from my cabin,  praying all around me. I felt God say, Looked up over to the boys side of the altar area. There I saw Lee standing with his arms raised to his Savior, tears streaming down his face. It was as if God was saying,” He is okay.” Because God knows, more than anything I want my kids to serve Him.

That kid is now 33 years old and running for a seat in the Oklahoma House as State Representatives for District 68. He was telling me the other day of how his campaigning was going. You see every evening after he gets off work and on Saturdays, he goes canvassing door to door the neighborhoods of his district.

He was actually canvassing with another candidate recently when the candidate of the same party said  “Man you are good at this!, Have you done this before?” To which my son responded “Sure have, but not for political purposes”.  See, it was all those years ago, that Lee walked with his daddy canvassing the neighborhood for the churches bus ministry that taught him how to handle himself and approach people in that type of situation. But we didn’t take Lee out canvassing with the idea that this is going to be a lesson, or with any thought that he would use it later on in life, and we never had any idea he would actually run for a political office at that age. But, it was a lesson that gave him confidence where another person might have been hesitate to knock on a stranger’s door without it.

All this got me thinking…….  Deuteronomy 11:18 – says “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds,…….. 19 Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorposts of your houses and gates,… “.  In essence, it is saying teach your children about God as you go about your everyday responsibilities. All too often we expect the church to teach our children or we think I’ll just wait until they are older and let them decide for themselves what kind of faith they want to accept. But that isn’t what God tells us to do.  

Proverbs also tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go [teaching him to seek God’s wisdom and will for his abilities and talents] Even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Prov 22:6 Amp) How do you train up a child, if you wait till they are older and let them decide? You don’t, this makes it plain that parents are instructed to teach their child in His ways. As a minister my dad use to say, it is better to build boys and girls for Jesus then rebuild broken down men and women for Christ. You may ask why is it better to teach them when they are young? Because we are creatures of habit. We get in good habits or we get into bad habits but either way they are habits and old habits are hard to break. I don’t know a better habit then going to church every week, reading your bibles, and praying every day.

As parents often times I think we negate the reality that our children are always watching and learning from everything we do and say. It is important that we keep in mind children learn what we live. I don’t care how old they are, they are like little sponges absorbing everything we say and do. So the question is what are we teaching are kids? It wasn’t our intention to be teaching Lee anything, on the days we canvass the neighborhood but we did. I also believe he has learned how to follow God by our example (habits) of going to church, reading our bibles and praying with our kids. Lee developed a relationship with Jesus Christ all his own and that has given him the foundation he needs to make good choices and why he cares enough to try to make a difference in this country.

Does he have some ideas that I have wondered about? Sure!  But the truth is we probably taught him that too. Oh! Not the exact ideas, but I believe his father and I taught him to not just go with the crowd. We have lived a life of entrepreneurship and pioneering new ideas since he was born. From being the first homeschoolers in Graham County, to deciding to start a church with absolutely no support except knowing God has called us. We have taught him to judge whatever you do to the word of God and in this day and age when there is more people just following the crowd of what has always been done or what everyone else is doing. It is not surprising, he choose to be in the libertarian party because he sees the present parties in place are not making any difference. Lee isn’t afraid to pioneer down a new path of politics and I am completely confident he will pave his own way down that path as well.  

So the question is, what are you instilling in your children and grandchildren?  What are you talking about as you drive around in the car, sit in your homes? What messages are you sending to them? The fact is, whatever you are teaching them, they will take it to the next level. They will push the limit of whatever you are doing, good or bad. Do you want your kid to do more of what you do? What legacy are you leaving?