We have four kids… Yes, FOUR KIDS. What? Nobody has four kids in the 21st century! Jill and I have been asked some humdinger questions through the years. “Jill’s pregnant again? You know how that happens right?” What an odd question to ask an adult. The funny thing is the same people asking this question were the same people in our reception line at our wedding, asking when and how many kids we were going to have. “Wow! Four babies, you must really love kids.” Well, I guess. But I really love Jill. Hence the answer to the first question! Seriously, the uncomfortableness knows no bounds…
Being a father is hard. Besides being a husband it’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had. I’ve failed, I’ve triumphed, and I’ve been ashamed. I don’t have a degree in fatherhood. I wish there was such a thing because I’d major in it. Actually I’d double major in parenting and husbanding. Then after graduating I’d go back and teach so I could share all the crappy mistakes I’ve made with all those poor impressionable students. I didn’t have what you would call a traditional upbringing. From the 3rd grade until the 8th I was raised by both of my grandparents. Papaw, my father figure, died when I was 12 and my Mamaw took over the reigns for the remainder of my formative years. She couldn’t teach me to fight but I know how to make biscuits and gravy. You can weigh those lessons out for yourself. My childhood wasn’t easy but I learned a lot of lessons that I use to this day. My Papaw was a tradesman and worked up until a year before his death. It was only when he was too sick that he stopped working. I saw what hard work was like the times he took me to his job sites. I learned how to provide for my family from his work ethic.
I have A LOT of great Mamaw and Papaw stories. I remember being picked on in the hood when I was little and got beat up pretty bad. When Papaw found out it was on! One time he put a baseball bat (the one he carried around in his backseat for any poor schmuck that may have crossed him. I have said bat to this day) in my hand and told me to take care of the bully. The other time he jerked me up and put me in his car. When he came out of our house I noticed his pistol was stuck in his belt and off we went. It wasn’t a pleasant conversation with that bully’s dad. My Papaw was a recovered alcoholic who watched, and read, gritty westerns his entire life. Point being, he’d hit you with a ball bat, his wild stallion of a Cadillac, or shoot you. Either way, you were going to leave his boy alone. Not exactly what Jesus would do…
Jill and I have made mistakes. We’ve been insulted, talked about, and criticized. My boys have been called brats and troublemakers. Once I was told I wasn’t fit for leadership in the church because of their behavior. We’ve heard it from church family, strangers, friends, and family. Some of it was true and some was unfounded. And it hurt. Things people say usually come back around to you. People who are our friends. Close friends. It used to bother me, but not anymore. I really couldn’t give two flips what people’s opinions are of me. (Although, you better have a good opinion of Jill. Otherwise I’ll punch you in the throat. Just kidding… but not really.) I’ve matured and my boys are growing into men of God. My girls are growing into Proverbs 31 young women. Through those hard times I’d wonder why these people weren’t offering up prayers or practical advice to help to us. But that’s people. Put your trust in people and you’ll always be let down.
We have dreams for our children. We pray for them everyday. Jill has always prayed for their future spouses. We want them to be happy but being happy isn’t our goal. Our goal is to point them to Jesus Christ and when they’re growing in Him then joy and fulfillment will come. I’m working everyday for my kids to always see Christ in me. I want to expose them to the power and working of the Holy Spirit so eventually they’ll become what they’re exposed to. I’m raising future leaders. Ladies whose first love is Jesus Christ in which will be the standard of their future boyfriend, when they begin dating at 30 years old. And gentlemen who put the welfare of others before their own, treat women with the respect they deserve, and love their future wives like Christ loves the church.
Jill sent me a photo from a trip to Kroger with Reagan. She really can’t do anything with out one or all of the kids tagging along… That’s another story. It began to storm while they were in the store and without hesitation Reagan ran from inside the store to the car to get an umbrella so mommy wouldn’t have to walk to the car and load up the groceries in the rain. Sometimes it’s the little things that encourage you the most.
Awesome writing . Murf and I have been w you in some form throughout the years. I can say without reserve how proud we are of you and Jill. We have watched the transformation of maturity and our hearts burst w love and pride. As far as your parenting … I truly believe your children … ALL FoUR of them 😆 Will look back on their childhood with gratefulness . If only everyone could be as happy as your family. Let the haters hate ….
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Now that’s what I’m talking about!
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I loved reading this. I also love reading Jill’s blog each week.
My husband and I have 4 kids (2 are mine and 2 from his previous marriage). We have been asked countless times “Don’t you know what causes that?” That questions drives me CRAZY and is SOOOOO awkward! Thank you both for reminding me that we are not alone in the parent struggles.
PS….What a sweet boy to get the umbrella!! You all are obviously doing a fabulous job 🙂
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Thanks for reading! The struggle is real but we are blessed!!