With Steve in care now, and my dad struggling to cope with his health and living circumstances, having close, loving and enjoyable relationships with my children, their spouses and their spouses' families is a priority second only to my relationship with the Lord. As they move from home, marry and pursue their careers, it takes an effort for us to spend time together. Special occasions are great, and I love celebrations as well as anyone (probably more); but small, personal visits are rewarding in a different way. That's when I get to know my kids well as adults. Their career accomplishments, ministries, setbacks, and perseverance in the face of those setbacks, shows that the faith their dad and I instilled in them works--Jesus is real and active in their lives and in their marriages as well. I give enormous credit to the parents who raised their spouses, too. Our extended family is an incredible network of support--calling them "in-laws" seems too detached a term!
It often happens, I know for me, that after the most serious and difficult trials have been resolved, and I'm able to dissect the details of the process, the quiet, yet stunning realization comes that "Jesus was there all along!" Strength and endurance are built in no other way than through trials. And strong, enduring marriages are built by overcoming, with prayer and in unity, one trial after another, one victory after another, as we go from strength to strength.
Habakkuk 3:17 sets forth a hymn of faith and a test of character for every believer, single or married:
Though the fig tree may not
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off
from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls--
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my
The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like a deer's
And He will make me walk on
my high hills.