So, it's Father's Day weekend - yes he get's the weekend because 1 day just isn't enough! Father's Day to us is a day that we think is pretty much 1 of the most important days of the year. A day to celebrate the great Fathers in our lives!!
Now that my own earthly Father is gone, it's a day of reflection for me personally. What was, what I always hoped & dreamed for and what could have been. To be honest it could be a sad time for me because my own Dad was not emotionally there for me. To have a husband that is 1,000,000 percent there for his children...sometimes it shows me even more what I missed out on. The Lord has brought great healing to me as I watch and witness the way Ray loves our children - God has used him to help heal my heart. But still, going through the journey of life, I wonder what I could have done different and the regrets I sometimes have. Could I have prayed more, could I have done something that would have made my own earthly Father - love me in a way different way. Not in a physical way or a financial way - we were taking care of very nicely. He was there pretty much every time I had a big event in my life. But I can remember only a few times when he was there emotionally for me. And the saddest of all - I don't ever remember 1 time that he was there for me spiritually. I don't doubt that he prayed for his children and loved us and was proud of us - I know all that to be true. But children/teenagers/young adults - need to feel all of those things. Parents must - physically be there, financially take care of them, emotionally protect their hearts & most important, spiritually guiding them!! They need to see love in action!! I don't blame my Father for the ways he was absent and that's taken me a long time to say and really mean. I know that he did the best he could for alllll the circumstances that he was given. So even though my earthly Father is gone I still want to honor him on this Father's Day for his hard work, for our family. He provided for my Mom to always be home with us kids and we always felt secure that our daily needs would be met. I'm so grateful for that. I know the day is going to come in heaven and I'll see him again - and that overflowing love will come out of him because he will be free!!
So, what are we to do to see that our son is there for his children? How are we to be SURE that his daughters are raised with the assurance that their reflection of God is 1 that can bring trust to their hearts & minds? That has been our journey as we've parented for 27 years. To raise children that can trust in a Heavenly Father for everything - I don't mean some things, I mean EVERYTHING!!! We want our son to be that Father and my daughters to be able to submit & follow a man who spends every moment of every day living for the Lord and right after that, he lives for his family.
So, I'd love to honor and brag on my children's Father on this special day! The day that we get to spoil him, celebrate him, encourage him & BLESS him - with our words & deeds & GIFTS. I think anyone that is around Ray Baker for more then a day will know 3 things pretty quick...he loves Jesus, he loves me and he loves his children!! Just in that order! Because you see, that's the order that God intended us to live. As Fathers and as Mothers, ANY other order - is OUT of order. Jesus - Job - wife and kids --- is out of order. ANY other order is out of order!! Ministry is the biggest thing that people get tripped up on but even that comes AFTER! There isn't any other thing under heaven that is more important to my Baby Daddy then his Heavenly Father - ME - and our 6 children!! Do you even understand the security I feel knowing that is the order he lives his life by! Do you comprehend the security & love our children have knowing that their Dad would move heaven and earth for them!! It's because it's the order of God. Everything just works! If you want it to be God - You - Job then PLEASE don't get married & have children! OK, I know I'm preaching/teaching but I think this is a subject that needs some attention. It's our passion so it's what we like to talk/write about. Some talk about abortion or adoption or many other passions. Our passion is family & everything that goes with it. If families aren't strong then every other problem comes from that. We wouldn't have an abortion issue if Fathers were the Fathers that God intended. So it's a very important topic that's very important to God!! It's a mirror of Him, His Son, His Kingdom -- that's something that MUST be important to Dads!
I wanted to share with Ray and my kids some of the moments I've loved seeing Ray be a Dad & walk a bit down memory lane. Who doesn't like to do that? You aren't American if you don't like that. Some are funny, some are sad, some are moving & ALL have helped heal my heart!
Living through 5 pregnancy, he deserves a $1,000,000. All the nights that we had a new baby that he woke up WITH me - couldn't do much but was there to get a diaper or just be up because I was. Then there was all the nights of me and him literally arguing over who got to hold our sick baby! I'm THE MOTHER, give me my baby! Him wanting to nurture them and be there for them just as much as me - man oh man! ALLL the softball, football, basketball, gymnastics, volleyball, baseball practices and coaching jobs - what AMAZING memories!! Having daughter #1 - #2 - #3 - #4 - and then a SON!!! Every moment in the delivery room when you cried. You coaching me through a natural labor & delivery with Rach & never even thinking about leaving the room for 1 sec. Then the minute we were alone for the 1st time, with every baby, you'd bring them to me and we'd PRAY - we would bring anointing oil or find something for you to anoint our newest gift!! Then you'd pray, laying your hands on their tiny head & give them back to God, and tell Him He could trust us with them!! How we prayed over their little bodies and their minds and their hearts and their future and their spouses! You prayed for their children right then. It's moments like that I will never forget! Every skinned knee, every stomach bug (OH MY), every fever!! YOU WERE THERE!! The movie nights that we'd have and make forts in the living room. All the trips to the movies! The chic-flicks that you've grown to love because you wanted to share them with us girls. What a guy!! The sponge hair rollers you'd help me take out on Sunday morning & the toiletries you've bought! There's this special look that I see on your face sometimes when you look at 1 of the girls and it melts me. It's a proud look and a look like you are the most AMAZING daughter on this earth! They feel it and I know it! The way you taught Grant to mow. The "talks" you have with him about how to treat me & the sisters because 1 day he'll have a wife and he BETTER treat her this way. The day we had THE talk with him, uh huh, mems!! All the times you've had "dead man talks" with Grant & all the talks to come. All the Love Wars we've had & our children have seen that example. The trillion times you put me before yourself is the greatest example to our children. All the birthday parties that you made them go to because you couldn't imagine if that child wouldn't have many kids there. Every gentle, gentle word that you've spoke that calmed our home. ALLL the wonderful vacations that we've been on and how you worked soooo hard to let us go make every memory!! Every opportunity to make a memory - you wanted us to take it! All the b'day cakes your decorated for the kids! The times you fell rollerblading with Sarah & that 1 time you came in so distraught because it finally dawned on you that you were getting older! Every $$ you've let me give and that you have given to help someone and show our kids what a giving LIFE looks like. For all the recitals, ball games, speeches, plays, preaching - you never, ever missed!!! Every tire you've changed, every rescue you've done on the side of the road, every alternator you've changed with your son-in-love. ALLL the songs you've sung in our home with the start of 1 word! Every encouraging word - you're so beautiful - "you are an amazing man" to Grant - you can do anything - you're sooo wonderful - you're the BEST -- the encouraging words are too many to list!! The "talks" with boys. The boys that came to say that God said I'm going to marry your daughter and you saying, He didn't tell me. The prayers you prayed when 1 of them would come to you with a concern. The way you love Austin like he was your son from birth. The day he asked you if he could date Hannah & the way you handled that. Then THE day I'll never forget when you came back & told me he had asked for her whole heart!! The things you said to him...about how you expected him to treat your baby. Then, the wedding day of your 1st daughter to be married...the look when you saw her for the 1st time in her wedding dress and how nervous she was for her Daddy to see her. The pride in your eyes that you were giving a man your daughter that day and he was going to get the most precious gift!!! How proud you were that she was so ready to be his selfless, Godly wife, that would bring him nothing but joy! How our girls have trusted your leadership in our home & the place the God has given in as their spiritual authority - what comfort & security they feel. All the counseling we've done with young couples. The times you've been woken up in the night because someone is sick or someone had their heart hurt by a boy or someone needed to talk. For all the emergency room visits with the kids. You're ALWAYS there!! Every time you've pursued me still, after 30+ years and showed our girls what that looks like & what they should expect! Every flower you've brought me, just because, every precious fb comment you send me - speaks volumes to our kids. For the 27 years that I've NEVER had an outside job because you wanted me to make a home and a sanctuary for our family. The 3 jobs you've had at times so I could stay home. For all the late nights that you didn't care I stayed up because teenagers were in the house... Every bouquet of flowers you've brought our daughters on their b'days and on Valentine Day! For every dinner you've made - the 1's when you've made something out of nothing! All the cleanup from toilets running over (even from famous people)! The people that you've let live on our home soooo selflessly! WOW!! All the weddings you've performed. The tears you've shed with the girls when their hearts have been broken. The way you've guarded and protected their hearts. The way you have the keys to their hearts until you give it to their husbands. The times you've knelt down in front of them to repent when THEY'VE been in rebellion - because if the homes out of order it must come from the top (thank God that's not been often). The years of homeschooling along side of me! The time you stood in our classroom & drew on the marker board a tree & the branches & the roots & so perfectly taught about abiding on the vine. The time you explained to the older 2 why you must spank them and what the word of God says about it. ALLLL the spankings you gave when you came home after a tiring, long day and you'd look at these 4 little girls and ask them - how did you treat my wife today? - The tireless way you've disciplined that has developed 5 of the most incredible people I know!!! How sometimes you'd cry after you spanked them. How 1 of the girls (she knows who she is) trusted you so much and asked for a spanking because she knew it would get rid of her rebellion. Thank you extra for listening to me sing to our kids in the car with my same songlist of songs, HA! For all the bull rides, the sleepovers in the tent outside, the throwing of balls, trips to the pool, teaching them to golf, the car rides to somewhere, for all the times they'd ask you "what's that building Daddy?" and you had the most serious, unique answer (when it was all made up.) For giving our girls a love for all sports & sitting down with them & explaining the games - even when they didn't get it and asked the dumbest questions. For making our home a home that has LAUGHTER!!! The way you have developed in them that they can do ANYTHING!! I don't think you'll ever know how much it means to me that you love our children so fully and completely!
Those are mostly silly, funny things. Those are just a thumbnail of these AMAZING 27 years of being parents together - but the most important is the eternal things, that is what matters the very most to me and of course to you. Thank you for your devotion to Jesus. Thank you for being an example of Jesus and not just speak about Jesus but LIVING a life that is a true reflection of Jesus. The way you serve our family - can't even be written in words! The spiritual things that you've sown into our children's live's, will live on for generations!!!! 1 scripture that you kinda switched up a bit but has been your parenting motto is from Mark 8:36 - What good is it for me to gain the whole world, yet lose my family. - Nothing & I mean nothing, was going to get in the way of you losing a minute w/ your family - to lose 1 of our children to rebellion for 1 day because our home was out of order, was too much to you. Fortune, fame, self, nothing has been more important then the gift of our family to you. The greatest thing is out of our devotion has come a "ministry" that we've always dreamed of. Touching 1 life at a time! So let's go on, the time Sarah was in India for 3 weeks and you fasted the whole entire time! The trips you've gone on with the kids & their bands. The numerous times you've toted Sarah's guitar and amp to places she was going to lead worship. The spiritual Father you are to SO MANY!!!! The way you can explain the word of God to our children and they have this awesome lightbulb go off. The time that each came to us and wanted to receive Jesus into their heart and we knelt beside their bed and prayed with them! EVERY sickness or fear - you would take authority over! Any spirit of fear had NO chance in our home! Thank you for giving them a love for prayer & for worshipping & especially for God's word. For all the MANY mthly times in a house full of girls & you just handle it like a champ. For not believing the lie that sibling rivalry was "natural" but that our home and our children were to live a life of peace. Now look honey, they adore each other!! I know they'll guard that peace in their homes!! Every single youth camp you went to and youth service!! All the Sunday morning church services that you TOOK our family to. The nights of theological discussion in our living room between all of us. Sarah's blog is perfect and I can't say it better & I don't need to http://sarahjbaker.com/2012/06/14/dads-be-doers/. You are a DOER!! The times you've had the honor to baptize our children and MARRY our daughter to her husband. Let's talk about all the children's church service we led, the object lessons you'd do that were sooo animated. The way you worship the Lord is such an example. The young men you impact and lead is a sight to see. Your living example is just amazing. So constant and kind, you are. Your thirst for God's word and for His Kingdom, is so passionate. The countless prayers you've prayed for our children, the confessions that you've spoke over them and the blessings you've said and believed for their lives...Babe...we've got some AMAZING fruit!!! Daughters that are so secure in their worth & that has been made evident because you've shown them - now, they know their worth in Christ! Hannah is the most AMAZING wife & the rest will be too! And an amazing young "Man" in training, your mini-me son!! I can't even imagine the man he will become under your leadership. Our precious son-in-love & the other 3 to come - what love you already have for them. Our daughter-in-love will have the best 2nd Father.
ALLLL of the above has been a HUGE reason that we have such incredible, Godly, humble children. It's been worth it all! I can't hardly stand to think how amazing their children will be!! And the Grandpa you will be - OH MY!! You my sweet, precious husband - you have led our family in the most Godly way. I thank you for every second of every day of these last 27 years - you ARE the most incredible Father! Thank you for selflessly putting God 1st & then our family!! I love the way you love us...