Nov 25, 2010

Things I Am Thankful For...

Sons That Love Me In Spite of My Flaws

Today, as I spend time with my family, I am especially grateful that my Heavenly Father has blessed me with the honor of bring an earthly father.  I didn't get married until I was 29 years old.  I wondered for many years whether it was part of God's plan that I would be married and have children.  God blessed me with the most beautiful redhead I have ever seen.  In our first year of marriage, we were excited to find out that we were pregnant.  We hoped for a boy and even named him "Noah".  However, Noah never made it into this world because of a miscarriage.  Through the pain and sorrow these questions still remained.

We welcomed Nathan Thomas Haines into this world in October 7, 1999.  From the beginning, Nathan has shown exceptional intelligence, a caring heart for people, and a desire to excel.  He has a very active imagination, usually starting sentences with the words "What if...?"  He has an artistic and creative mind.  He can usually be found drawing something or creating a new ship out of Legos.  He loves to play baseball and go places with his Dad - especially sporting events.

Andrew Scott Haines joined our family on February 2, 2001.  Drew has always marched to his own drumbeat from the beginning.  As a baby, Drew had a horrible case of reflux and would randomly spit-up on you.  He is by far our most emotional child, vacillating between emotions very quickly.  Drew also is an extremely intelligent child.  He usually brings home very good grades from school.  All of his teachers have remarked about his intelligence.  He also loves to read and sometimes likes to create his own stories.

John David Haines became son #3 on April 5, 2004.  He's always been the baby of the family.  He loves to be right in the middle of anything his big brothers are doing.  He is the most physical and touch oriented of our children.  His favorite thing to do is to "wrestle" with his dad.  (I love it too.)  He loves to snuggle at night with mom watching TV.  He's in the first grade and has shown a lot of the academic potential of his brothers. 

We are waiting on son #4, Joshua Lee Haines, to join us.  Anticipated arrival is January 20, 2011.  The announcement of his arrival was quite shocking to say the least.

As I was in the Dominican Republic last week, I had a lot of time to think about how blessed I am to be a dad and how much I take it for granted.  You can imagine that with three boys under 11 that our house is filled with energy and noise.  It can also be filled with a lot of drama -"Dad! They're bothering me!", "Dad! He hit me!", etc.  Many days the tyranny of the moment and the need to bring calm to the situation leads me to forget just how blessed I really am.  I have the unique opportunity to take three guys (soon to be four) and shape them into young men who love the Lord Jesus Christ.  I get to model the gospel in a real and tangible way to my sons.  I don't do a very good job of it.  I am afraid that many days they get an angry tyrant instead of the Lord Jesus Christ.  I sometimes sacrifice relationship for peace and quiet.  I think that sometimes I treat them as burdens rather than blessings.  However, most every day I have at least one moment where God uses them to show me just how blessed I really am.  I am thankful that while I am, like everyone else, an imperfect earthly father that I know (and prayerfully they do too) a Heavenly Father that treats us as sons and not slaves, gives us grace in our failures.

Last week in the DR, I was confronted with two stories about how fragile life is as a dad.  In one case we heard about a 14-year old kid who was fighting a very deadly form of cancer.  In another we heard a pastor tell about losing his 19-year old son in a car accident.  It was a not-so-gentle reprimand from my Heavenly Father about my attitude towards the boys he's blessed me with.  On this day, I am grateful that my sons look past my faults and still love me as dad.  I am blessed more than I deserve.

(Now I have to go. Someone's hitting someone.  Someone's told me for the ninth time they are bored.  Someone's asking when the turkey's going to be ready...)