Suzy and I were 21 and 22 years old when we got married. Little did we know what God had planned for us over the next few years. After dating for three and a half years we felt we were ready to move forward with the commitment of marriage. We loved each other, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but we didn’t really know what God’s ultimate purpose for our married life was.
Since then and fast forward twenty-eight years, we now know that God’s purpose for our marriage, found in Genesis 1, is reflecting the image of God, reproducing a Godly heritage, and reigning in spiritual warfare.
Knowing God’s purpose for your marriage is a game changer. It really is your “why” that propels your marriage. It is always the standard you can go back to. To be reminded that your marriage has a greater purpose than what Satan wants you to believe.
Our Beginning of Reproducing a Godly Heritage
As I shared in the first paragraph, God was about to launch Suzy and I into the second purpose for marriage. Reproducing a Godly heritage. Whether we were ready or not. On August 15, 1995, just one year and one month after saying “I do”, God gave us a precious baby girl. We were both excited and afraid at the same time.
A couple of statements we made when Ashley was born were, “This is a huge responsibility”, “We are only 22 and 23, we are just kids ourselves, can we do this?”, “I really don’t want to mess this up, she is totally dependent on us right now”. Needless to say, we did realize that this was a massive responsibility. And it was ours to navigate, not anyone else.
Well, just when we felt like we were figuring this parenting role out, God blessed us with a baby boy. He came on December 23, 1996, just 16 month after our daughter was born. Again, we were excited but overwhelmed with the added responsibility. I remember jokingly making a statement to Suzy. “Did either of these babies come with an owners manual?” I was looking for anything to hang on to. Anything that would help us with all that went with having children. Just four years later on April 12, 2001 the Lord blessed us with our youngest son. He undoubtedly completed our family unit.
Do Kids Come with an Owner’s Manual?
Little did I know that when I made the statement, “Did either of these babies come with an owner’s manual?”, that God would answer that question with a big yes. What He has shown us through His manual, the Word of God, is, “children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” (Psalm 127:3) The Lord has blessed us with children. They are truly a gift to us from the Lord. Quickly following that thought, comes a command. They are our responsibility to raise up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
God has entrusted our children to our guidance. He gives us a blueprint found in scripture to help us and to equip us for this amazing task. As Suzy has said in the past, “our children are on loan to us by God”. He has given us an amazing opportunity to disciple our very own children to one day release them. To release them as young men and women who are prepared to live out their faith in the world.
As daunting of a task as this may seem, the Lord showed Suzy and I, many years ago, a text from scripture that truly released us from the pressures felt in raising the kids.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says, 4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Reproducing a Godly Heritage Begins with Your Marriage Relationship
The Lord showed us that it is important for Suzy and I to have a thriving relationship with the Lord and with each other. We were to be the example of what it was to love God and to love others. This started with our own relationship as husband and wife. In the above text it says, “these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.” We had to be growing in the Lord in order to share that with our children.
The text goes on to say basically, now that you are living it out, teach it to your children. It is our responsibility to teach them. Not the church, not the school, not the government, not their friends, not tv or social media. It is our responsibility as parents to teach them, and to do it diligently.
The last part of this text was what really opened our eyes as they were growing up. For several years our thought of investing in our kids spiritually was that we would try and have family devotions in the evenings before they went to bed. Some days it worked and we were able to sit and share scripture and pray. However, after spending time in the Word myself and coming across this text in Deuteronomy, the Lord showed me that discipling my children and reproducing a Godly heritage is more than reading a verse in the evening. It is a way of life.
Discipleship is a Way of Life
The text in Deuteronomy reads, “you shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” This means all the time. For instance, have spiritual conversations with your children as you are driving to school in the morning. Share with them a verse you read that day and what it meant to you. As they share their struggles and what they may be going through with friends or teachers, point them to God’s word. Pray with them, ask them what God is doing in their lives. When they do wrong, point them to the scriptures and why what they did was wrong.
At the end of the day, we are not the Holy Spirit in their lives. But, God has given us the awesome responsibility of being a voice in their lives to point them to Jesus. What a privilege it is to be given such an amazing job, to invest and raise up children that love God and love others. It's a high calling of reproducing a Godly heritage.
Our children are now 26, 25, and 21, and we have been blessed to see them grow and mature in their faith and live it out in their lives today. To God be the Glory.