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I often pray over my children at night, and one of the prayers is that they will become the boy or girl that God has intended them to be — that they live the lives he has in mind for them. This blanket prayer makes me feel safe that God is in control and that he knows their God-given potential. Whatever hopes and dreams I have for them might be limited to my own mind, but God’s mind has no limits.

God certainly has high hopes for us, right? He knows how we are made, how we are wired and what great potential we have inside of us; especially since he created us in his own image. My thoughts quickly go to the hope that I am around to see these achievements in my children. I think of the old man, Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit revealed that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah of God. My hope is that like Simeon, I can see the potential reached in my love ones before I’m gone.

One core principle that my wife, Amy, and I agreed about when we got married was that we would raise our children to know God. Our most cherished verse that we shared 15 years ago was from Deuteronomy 18, which says:

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

We’ve learned over the years that the “teaching” doesn’t necessarily mean that we make our children memorize the old testament. The ways of the Lord are better learned by example. Life moves very quickly, especially when you are in the thick of raising your children. It seems like yesterday when my children grew out of the diapers stage and into the “homework every night” stage of life. With four children, from kindergarten to fifth grade, these are the years that I would like to bottle up and store as memories for a rainy day. We try so hard to teach our children in the morning and at bedtime and in between. But sometimes life gets a little too busy, and you just need to teach by example.

One example of this “teaching” that has been playing out recently is that Amy decided to run for a seat on our local school board. Admittedly, at first I didn’t buy into the idea. This seemed to be such a huge endeavor to take on, especially while juggling children’s schedules and also working 20 hours, part-time, for the school district. But the message Amy heard from the pulpit and the Holy Spirit was loud and clear: she needed to quit her job so that she could be more effective as a volunteer. The school is an institution that she grew up in, taught in, and wholeheartedly believes in the value of giving to and raising our children in. The recent sermon series from Dr. Dan Meyer about power and how it should be used for good, not for personal gain — including the recent sermon about institutions — spoke such a clear affirmation to her about her desire to volunteer.

What I have been noticing mostly throughout her campaign is that Amy is finding her own voice. Her opinions and ideas came from within her … a drive … a destiny, maybe. She is becoming who she is supposed to be. I’m watching her become who God has intended her to be and I’m happy to be cheering her along. Our children are watching, too, and my prayer for them is that as they watch, they would write the word of God on their hearts and minds.

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