Christian Husbands and Fathers

We want to be strong husbands and fathers who represent God's Father-heart in our families, our churches, and our communities.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Long Break, and the Joys and Challenges of Adoption

Perhaps you've noticed that my blogs have been a bit quiet lately. For this I do apologize, and hope you'll allow me to explain this long break.

My wife and I have recently adopted an eleven-year-old son, and are working diligently to integrate him into our family that includes three other children. We know the Lord has led us down this path, but the way is filled with joys and challenges.

God doesn't call us to follow the easy path; He calls us to follow the path that He will bless.

We are embracing the joys and challenges, but in order to focus on my family I have stepped back from writing for the last several months. I continue to serve the pastoral role to which the Lord has called me. Now, from this point forward, I plan to resume my semi-regular blogging. My goal remains the same: "Relating biblical truth to everyday life, to draw people closer to Christ."

God's blessings to you. I'll write more soon.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Footprints For Our Kids

On a snowy Sunday morning, my pre-teen son and I went to church early. I parked in the back of the lot, far from the building, and my son followed me across the snow-covered lot.

From behind I heard him say, "Hey, Dad, I'm following in your footsteps!" I looked behind to see that he was stepping carefully into each footprint I had made.

Playfully, I started walking erratically. A quick step to the side, followed by a huge jump forward, then a lunge in the other direction. From behind I heard the grunts of my son, still trying to match my every step as he leapt from each footprint to the next.

In that moment I thought about the footprints we leave for our children. If they "follow in our footsteps," are we leaving steps that are easy to follow, and that will lead them to good places?

Fellow fathers, are we walking the path to the Cross, so they can see what genuine faith in Jesus Christ looks like? Are we demonstrating how to follow paths of integrity, honesty, kindness, and love? Or are our footsteps leading to some places we know we should not go, and we do not want them to go either?

Let's leave footprints for our kids that help guide them in the right ways. The Good Shepherd "leads me in paths of righteousness" (Psalm 23:3). I pray that He helps me to lead my children in righteous paths, and, fellow father, I pray that He helps you too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nurturing our Marriages

  If I plant a flower bed and then do nothing to maintain it, in only a short time it will start to look really bad. Weeds will take over, flowers will wilt, and before long that flower bed will be full of stuff that's either ugly or dead.

Our marriages are much the same. If we want our marriages to be alive and strong, we want to invest in them. Here are six ways we can nurture our marriage relationships:

1. Nurture with CHRIST. As husband and wife draw closer to Christ, we also draw closer to each other. When Christ is at the center of our relationship, we have His help to face any challenge that comes.

2. Nurture with COMMUNICATION. Good communication is essential in any healthy relationship, but even more in marriage. We want to take time to talk together, dream together, work out problems together, and share our innermost thoughts with each other. We want to take time to listen to each other and understand each other.

3. Nurture with CARING and COMPASSION. We read in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love is kind. When we are kind to one another, that strengthens our marriage. The opposite is also true: when we are unkind to one another, that harms our marriage. Let's seek to be kind to one another even at those moments when it may be difficult.

4. Nurture with CONTENTMENT. When we spend our time thanking God for what we have rather than complaining about what we do not have - this is contentment. When we are content with our spouse, we won't want to look to other people to provide the things that only our spouse should provide. When we are content with what we have, we (individually or together as a couple) won't waste our energy looking elsewhere for something we THINK might make us more happy. We want to be content in the here and now.

5. Nurture with CONFESSION. Confession, and its close partner forgiveness, are foundational to a healthy marriage. I want to be quick to confess when I have wronged my wife. And I want to be quick to forgive her when she confesses something to me. If I am quick to apologize, then my wife is free to forgive, and we can move past those unkind words I said or that thoughtless thing I did.

6. Nurture with COOPERATION. It takes time to feel like we are truly "one" in a biblical sense - intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Marriage is always a "work in progress," but it's a wonderful thing when husband and wife are working together, under the headship of Christ, to become all that God wants us to be.

May these words encourage you as you nurture your own marriage and make it grow.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

As a blogger and author, I have written tons of materials and put them "out there" for the world to see.

Sometimes I wonder…does anyone really read my stuff? Am I doing any good? Does anyone even notice me? Sometimes I feel like I'm shouting into a vast, dark space, and hearing nothing but the sound of my own voice. I fear that nobody is paying attention to me, and my words are being treated as…well…insignificant. If nobody is reading the stuff I've written, they aren't getting any benefit from what I've communicated.

I was praying about this yesterday, and the Lord graciously turned it into a life-lesson for me. He reminded me that He has written a Book for me to read, so I can better understand Him and all He wants for me. Am I paying attention to what He's written?

How are we doing in this area? Are we listening to God through reading His Word and following the leading of His Holy Spirit? Or are we essentially ignoring Him and going about our daily lives, completely unaffected by what He has communicated to us?

I suspect we can all do a little better in this area. Let's start today.

God's blessings to you,
Brian Whitaker
www.whitakerwritings.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Running Over the Bike

My three-year-old son had begun to outgrow his first little bicycle. I decided to take my kids out just to LOOK at new bikes and see how much they might cost.

I began to back the van out of the garage and suddenly heard a startling thump. I stopped, jumped out of the van, and looked behind it. My son's little bike was now partially under the back bumper, slightly twisted but clearly beyond repair. Suddenly our trip was no longer about LOOKING for a new bike; we needed to BUY a new bike.

At the time I mentally gave myself the "Bad Dad of the Day" award. Now that I look back I just laugh (my kids laugh too).

Fellow fathers, let's be honest: we are imperfect parents! We make all kinds of mistakes. Can we offer grace to ourselves to confess the mistakes of yesterday (or even just a few minutes ago) and start again with a renewed commitment to be the best fathers we can be?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dandelions, Scribbles, and Love

Our children have always enjoyed giving gifts to their mother and me. When they were very young, they proudly gave us pieces of paper filled with scribbles; we lovingly displayed these scribbles on the refrigerator for all to enjoy.

Our youngest daughter is now five, and most recently she has taken great delight in presenting bouquets of dandelions to my wife. She proudly arranges the yellow flowers in a little vase and presents them with joy.

It is age-appropriate for a five-year-old to show her love for her parents by giving them dandelions and scribbled pictures. As her parents, we receive these gifts of love with pleasure.

As children grow, their expressions of love grow as well. Our older children, ages 11 and 13, no longer give us dandelions or scribbles. They express their love through hugs, gifts, kind deeds, and thoughtful words. If our older children were to present dandelions as expressions of love, my wife and I might wonder if they were showing genuine love or just playing a game.

We know that our children will continue to mature in their expressions of love as they grow older. As always, the love they show will be gratefully received by their parents.

This makes me think about the way I show my love to my Heavenly Father. When I was very young in faith, God was delighted with my scribbles and dandelions - various childlike gifts of love and faith. My early steps of obedience brought Him glory. My elementary worship delighted His heart. My little coins in the offering basket honored Him. He patiently listened to my simple prayers.

But now that I've grown in faith and in the knowledge of Him over many years, I ask myself: have my expressions of love matured as well?

Fellow Christian, I pose the same question to you.

"For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3).

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Love Languages in Our Families

My 10-year-old son often asks, "Can we play a game?" or "Can we watch something together?" His requests tend to come at inconvenient times, but I am learning to respond graciously when he asks. In his own way, he's asking me to show my love for him by spending time with him. That's his love language.

Perhaps you're familiar with Dr. Gary Chapman's work on "The Five Love Languages." He suggests these love languages:
* Words of Affirmation
* Acts of Service
* Receiving Gifts
* Quality Time
* Physical Touch

Chapman further suggests that we each have one primary love language, the thing we most often do to show love, or the thing that others can do that will help us feel most loved.

My love language is Acts of Service, so when I show love to someone, I tend to do something kind or unexpected. Likewise, if someone does something for me, I feel a surge of joy and gratitude.

My wife's love language is Words of Affirmation, so a day without a compliment is a hard day for her. I might clean the whole house for her, but as much as she would be grateful for that, she doesn't feel loved and cherished until I share with her some words of encouragement and gratitude.

For my oldest daughter, it's physical touch. For my son it's quality time. For my youngest daughter, it seems to be physical touch (she's only five, so we're still trying to figure hers out). Each person has his or her own unique love language.

As a husband and father, I want to meet my wife's and kids' needs for love in the ways they best feel loved. This means I have to break out of my natural tendency to show love with acts of service (which I will still do no matter what), and find ways to speak to each of them in their unique love language. Each day I need to spend quality time with my son, snuggle with my daughters, and share words of encouragement with my wife.

You, too, may need to break out of your comfort zone to show love to your wife and children. You may need to go shopping for, or with, the one who thrives on receiving gifts. You may need to take time to linger and hold the one who thrives on physical touch. You may need to search for words of affirmation that will encourage your wife or child (that's probably important no matter what, but even more important for the person with this love language). You may need to take time to do something special for the one who thrives on acts of service. You may need to slow down and spend some unhurried moments with the one who thrives on quality time.

How will you show love to your family today?

Brian T. Whitaker
www.whitakerwritings.com
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You can read more about the five love languages at www.5lovelanguages.com.