Jan 21, 2011

Welcome to the world Joshua Lee

Yesterday was a historic day in the Haines' household.  We were honored and excited about the birth of our fourth son - Joshua Lee Haines.  To God's glory, he is healthy and measures in at 8 lbs, 8 oz.  He was born at 7:56 am.  This was Alison's third c-section so his arrival was a little better scheduled.  We were surrounded by our family.  Josh had lots of arms to hold him throughout the day.  We were especially surprised by how excited and helpful Josh's oldest brother Nathan has been.  Nathan spent all day watching over him, changed a diaper, and held him a lot.  Drew and John David are also very excited that their little brother is here.

We believe that Josh is going to be a special baby in a lot of ways.  First of all, his announcement was certainly a surprise.  Alison and I had finally gotten into the routine of having all our kids in public school.  Our days were to be filled with baseball and legos and not diapers and poop.  Our house is usually very loud, but now that volume will be filled with the cries of an infant.  Alison and I talked the other day that beginning with my first-born until my third, John David, was finally potty-trained, we had over 8 years where we had diaper duties.  Our monthly budget had some freedom without the added $40/month expense for diapers.  Not so now.

We also find humor in the age difference now in the kids in the house.  Our other kids are 11, 10, and 6.  When this son graduates from high school, his dad will be 60 years old.  My friend Jason said yesterday that is classmates will say, "Why is your grandad always bringing you here?"  When Josh is my oldest son's age (11), Nathan will be graduated from college.  Our hopes for an empty nest with some personal time have been delayed for some time.  However, we also know and affirm that our first calling here as parents is not to get the kids out of the house ASAP, but to raise our sons as ambassadors of the gospel.  God has given us another chance to model the gospel through our words and actions. 

Joshua is also a reminder to us that our sovereign God gives us the gift of children.  While we do a lot with family planning, God is the one who provides for us.  Psalm 127 reads, "Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward."  We know that the immediate future will be filled with sleep-deprived nights, diaper duties, and the constant question "Who missed the toilet when they were peeing?"  We also know that God has rewarded us with great opportunities.  There are great challenges every day to parenting 4 boys.  Their rooms are never clean.  They crunch chips all over the couch. 

Psalm 127 also reads, "Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are the children of one's youth.  Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them."  God has given me another arrow in the arsenal of the gospel.  I am humbled that he considers me a warrior trustworthy enough for another arrow.  There were many days of my youth where I wondered if I would have a family or sons as my heritage.  God has provided to his glory!  One of my goals and challenges as a pastor and Christ-follower is to help men to understand the weight and privilege of their gospel responsibility as dads.  The epidemic of detached dads in the church has weakened our effectiveness.  I love throwing catch or shooting hoops with my boys.  However, my first responsibility is not to make sure they bat .400 or can throw a perfect spiral.  My first priority is not teaching them how to land a trophy buck.  My first priority is to nurture these arrows until they are ready to fight in the battle and then carefully aim and release them into the world as agents of the gospel.  It is a heavy task and one that almost every man feels inadequate at.  However, an arrow that misses its target and lies shattered on the battlefield has missed it's purpose.  I take pride in the fact that the heavenly Father has now handed me another arrow.  It will take some time to nurture Josh.  I have to remember these facts when I reach down for another diaper.  I have to constantly quote these verses when I am cleaning food off the floor.  But, I am grateful...


Lloyd said...

Matt, you have surely been blessed by God, for he has given you a beautiful family. Your comments really touched my heart and I will be praying for you, Alison and the boys that God will take care of you and lead you as you raise them for God's glory.
Mike Richardson