[Guest Post by our Family Ministries Pastor Brady Ellis]
Something I have learned during my career in ministry is that you can never truly understand what it's like to go through certain seasons in life until you actually experience them for yourself. Six months ago, I embarked on a season called parenting. In over 12 years in family ministry, I have seen many moments of parenting. Some have been good, and some have been less than good. In those moments, I have learned not to judge. As the famous quote says, “Just wait till you have one of your own.” I now have my own, and I have had two important realizations in these six short months.
In our nursery, we have a simple piece of wall art from Hobby Lobby. Every morning after I wake up my son Liam and get him dressed for the day, we read this piece of wall art. It says, “I AM the son of a King who is not moved by the world, for my God is with me and goes before me. I do not fear because I am HIS”. This has become one of the most important parts of our day.
The first realization that has become so much more apparent to me (no pun intended) is that speaking life into a child’s spirit starts before they are born and should continue on as long as we live. Although I want Liam to be a lot of things in his life, before he knows what he is, I want him to know whose he is. That starts by speaking to his spirit. Although he may not understand the words I speak from a cognitive perspective, I do believe his spirit is very much learning and receiving things already. Every week I take time to do this. I will say, “You are brave, you are wise, you are a son of God, you are strong, compassionate, loving, joyful, etc." When I say these things, I say them to speak life into the spirit inside of him and into all of the characteristics that God has placed in him.
In this world, we are overwhelmed by people, places, and things. Much of our time is being pulled at by things like someone who needs us, our job or home responsibilities, or our technological devices. Every moment of our life is being consumed by these things. This is because our time is the most valuable thing we have. There is a saying, “The greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Because when you give your time you are giving a portion of your life that you will never get back.”
This leads to the second thing I have learned. It is something that on paper I knew to be true, but now that I am living it, I understand like I never could have before. Time is fleeting, but memories will last forever, especially with the help of technology. The way we laugh and smile with each other is something that we only have a limited amount of moments to enjoy. The time I spend with my son will always be time well spent. Already the first six months of his great life have flown by. It is hard to remember how little he was as I took him into my arms for the first time. But, I will always remember the first time I got him to truly laugh, and in turn, had me laughing uncontrollably. I remember the first time I read him a bedtime story and he was absolutely enthralled with it. Memories are made by moments and moments are only created by time spent. A photographer once said that on averaged it takes 2,000 photos just to get 20 that are good. Not even great, just good. I believe moments are the same way. It takes a lot of moments, some good and some bad, in order to create great moments. So, I give Liam my time in order for us to create moments we will never forget.
There is another part to this realization about time and moments. How I spend my time with my son also teaches him what is important to me, which in turn will most likely become the things that are important to him. I want my son to grow up seeing that the most important things in my life are the ones that draw me toward a relationship with God. I want him to see that time in fellowship with believers is important, that my personal relationship with God and his word are important, and that my wife and family are the most important things besides that relationship with God. What we spend our time on tells our children what is most important to us.
When it comes to being a parent, there are things that we can never comprehend the importance of until you are put in the situation. In the short six months I have been a parent, I have realized a lot. To me, the most important thing I have realized is how I can be a father that points my son to his creator.