Ezra has been doing something for the past couple of weeks. When I go to bed I usually take my wedding ring off and put it on our night stand. In the morning, when Carol or I go get Ezra, we bring him in to our room and just let him play on the bed with us for a little bit. Anyway, he always sees my wedding ring and will bring it to me and just keep saying "Daddy. Daddy." He wants me to put the ring on and won't STOP saying "Daddy" until I put the ring on.
It's been a good reminder to me of how important a good, loving, intimate marriage is to the development of children. One of the best things that Carol and I can provide for Mercy and for Ezra is a good marriage. To allow them to see that mom and dad are there for each other ... that we love each other ... that we truly enjoy being with each other ... that type of environment will provide so much security and stability for our kids as they grow up.
One of the things I try to pray every day is to be a GREAT husband. I don't want to be known as an "average" husband. I don't even want to be known as a "good" husband. I want to be GREAT at being a husband. Carol deserves that from me. I am so blessed to have her in my life and so fortunate that she puts up with me. There's so much I need to work on in being a GREAT husband, but I'm glad I get to work on it with her. But, working on that will not only show her how much I love her, but will also be one of the greatest gifts that we could ever give Ezra, Mercy, and whatever other children God may bring our way.
One of the things I've heard Pastor Jon say is that he often prays "God, kill me before I do something to hurt my family." That has become a prayer of mine as well ... "God, please kill me before I do something to hurt my family, Your church, or Your ministry." We are all one step away from failure and I need God's grace in my life to keep me from failing. I talk to our teenagers all the time about Carol and things that go on in our relationship. Having a family has definatley changed the dynamics of ministry. It's made it a little more difficult to "hang" with teenagers. My family is my priority and I will not sacrifice them ... although they have made sacrifices many times. But, to keep my family a priority I have had to say "no" to some things. So, I've had to try to figure out new ways of doing ministry and building relationships. But, one of the things having a family has definately done is allowed me to demonstrate to our teenagers what it means to be a Godly husband and a Godly dad. I love to have our teenagers see Carol and I interact with each other because I just love my wife! And, I want our teenagers to see that.
"God, help me to be a great husband, a great dad, and a great pastor." And, thanks, Ezra, for always bringing my ring to me.