As some of you might know from my poem My Son, I view children as Gifts from God and we parents as temporary custodians. This is a true story……

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Many years ago, my wife and I were very active in church and involved in several ministries. At one point, over a period of 3 years, we used to spend 3 weekday evenings and most of Sundays involved in church activities.

One late Sunday afternoon, we returned home and found our 3 children waiting for us. Apparently, they had been discussing among themselves and complained that we were never around when they needed us.

In essence, they debunked that oft heard ‘quality time’ argument that some working parents hid behind. This post is not to criticize that argument but to share what worked for us.

We requested some time to wind up our commitments in church and plunged into the greatest ministry of all – the Ministry of Family.

The parish priest and many parishioners coaxed us to return, both subtly and overtly. We held fast…and seeing how our children turned out…we have no regrets about making GOD wait.

I believe, unlike our local parish, HE understood.

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55 comments

  1. I have always felt that God is where we are, not where people think we should be. I’m not good at quoting scripture (or anything else for that matter lol) but one of my favorite things is about “when two or more are gathered in my name… they are in the house of the Lord”… I try to keep his roof over my head at all times!! 🙂 You are a fantastic writer..

    1. Ah, you are back as you mentioned and with such lovely sharing too.
      If God is omnipresent, which He is, He is everywhere. But I suppose some need guidance and encouragement – so they go to designated places of worship, which is marvellous…but not when they start imposing their needs on others, I reckon.
      Peace, Eric
      P/s Thank you for your compliment about my writing.

  2. Hi Eric, wonderful post. Thank you for sharing it with me.
    God definitely understands our children’s needs and I love the fact that church is also readily available on TV now, for the times we are unable to attend, especially in the middle of the night, or early in the morning.

    You are right on about children enjoying our presence, even if playing in another room. Different homes have different needs and it is our job to determine the best possible outcome for each child. You sound like wonderful parents who would do anything needed to address their needs. 🙂

  3. Of course, you know, Eric, you did not make God wait, you made man-made institutions wait. It seems to me you and your wife were serving God every second you spent with your children while rearing them “in the way they should go.” Wonderful post, by the way. You have such an amazing ability to share open-heartedly without ego.

    1. Thank you granbee,
      Interestingly, the parish priest criticised me for “keeping God waiting” and he quoted phrases like “stay awake, as you don’t know when He knocks”. I remember retorting…God can wait! Sad, really sad as I shouldn’t have spoken to him like that because all of us are like lost sheep some of the time. Peace, Eric

      1. Hello Eric, I agree wth granbee that you share without ego. It’s lovely to read and you and your wife were in no way keeping god waiting, you just didn’t fall in with the priest’s plans…take care, Jane

    2. Well said, Granbee. I was thinking similar thoughts. It’s easy to get caught up in the expectations of our religious groups and friends also, giving little thought to what God would rather have us be doing. Perhaps the only time mentioned here when God might have been kept waiting was before the change for better and greater “quality time” with the kids.

      1. @dinkerson

        Thank you for joining in. This is much appreciated.
        If I am cynical, I might say that people (including some church elders) have their own agendas. For them, God…he is just a crutch to be shoved into the ground and used.
        But in reality, most people read aplenty but learnt little, I reckon.
        God bless, Eric

  4. Eric, you conveyed such an important message and your post was very touching. I believe this is a time when God understands. I’ll admit, when I read the title, I wondered what you could be writing about and loved the twist at the end~ 🙂

    1. Hello Lauren,
      “…your post is touching…” Looks like you have also made sacrifices for family.
      The title…yes, it was deliberately provocative to attract readers…I suppose the business person in me gets loose, ever trying to make the sale. Glad you took it with a smile,
      Eric 🙂

      1. I really liked this one, probably because I can relate to it…with us, our kids come first and their age doesn’t matter. Our son is 16 and our daughter is 20; yes, they’re more independent, but then again, there are new stages as they get older. We try to do what is best for them and keep their interests at heart…the nice thing about these ages is we have more time alone! 🙂

  5. I’m so glad that for the period of time our children were growing up I lived and worked on an educational campus. The children had access to us both outside their school hours and knew they could visit in our offices at will. There were times of the day that were “sacred” times. Meal time was family time, and the evening up to their bed time was for them. After that I was free to go back to the office or prepare for my classes. Now they are married and have their own children, those children are their ministry as you have rightly pointed out and they take that seriously. Memories of their growing up are precious to them, and to us. I do feel sorry though for the single parent who cannot meet this ideal, not because they don’t want to, but because they need to earn to support their family.

    1. Hello Ian,
      The beauty is you worked it to fit around your family needs and yet gave your best to your students (the children of other parents). Wonderful!
      And you are so very right in observing the severe challenges faced by single parents.
      Kind regards, Eric

  6. God loves children the most and He never fails to stress this. That says it all ! Right and important choice you made.

  7. I don’t think you made God wait at all. I think God was in your relationship with your kids, & in tending to that, you were tending to Jesus. The only ones you made wait were humans. the church is made of humans. & we definitely see humanness in places like this. It’s a shame they weren’t more understanding. But if it means anything at all, i think you did the right thing 100%.

  8. Hello Eric, a great post and yes you both know you did the right thing for your family. I was only talking to Em yesterday about my decision to work from home when she was born…she is nearly 19 now and although she has her own life those bonds that were forged in the beginning till hold strong…they still need you to be there to listen, make favourite meals and weave the familiarity through their lives that is their foundation. God is in the detail. Jane x

    1. Hello Jane,

      Many parents can relate to your fulfilling journey and many probably envy you for having made the right decision years ago, a decision that for whatever reasons might have eluded them. And I am sure Em is now a lovely young lady, thanks to your nurturing – and also one of your best girlfriends, I would presume.

      Thank you for your visit and very welcomed sharing.

      God bless, Eric

  9. Lovely and timely. Funny how that works ehh? I am a stay at home mom and will be until college beckons BUT I find I volunteer an awful lot at school etc etc. I can tell when my son is feeling the pinch. As a 13 year old I thought he would need me less. My father in law told me 10 years ago these would be the MOST important years to be there and listen. He was right. I need to BE HERE for my son. Period. That is the highest calling and I need to Listen to God and my son.

    I can say no to this and that. I MUST say YES to God and my son.

    thank you for a well written reminder. I needed that.

    Peace, Jen

    1. Hello Jen,
      Truly, you are marching to the highest calling…
      Your father-in-law is absolutely right and your son is one lucky lad to have you for his Mom.
      God bless, Eric

    1. Hello J Marie,
      Welcome to the discussion.
      You are absolutely right…we can serve our King everywhere as HE is the omnipresent employer.
      Peace be upon you and family,
      Eric

  10. Thank you for saying so. I too have spent years in the help of the Church and have seen when the “doing of things” have over-run the real important things. Christ was always focuses with family/love-ones first. As his love was why he came.
    The balance of all things in our lives should not stress us. I have always found that His grace is a great help.
    God Bless.

    1. Hello James,
      Glad to know that you too had struggled and settled on the right decisions. This is well done of you and you have every reason to be poud of it.
      God’s Grace upon you and family,
      Eric

  11. You are so right….he would have it no other way. He said our bodies are the temple. So it makes perfect sense that the greatest ministry is in your own home, or wherever we happen to be. Good for you for your decision to make your family first! Blessings, Celeste. 🙂

  12. Great decision on your part. I truly believe God wants us to care for those in our home with quality and quantity. I’ve had the same issues with both my job and the church and have likewise held fast to my beliefs. I’ve had a good career, but not as stellar as others and that was fine. I was home when I needed to be.

    Nancy

    1. That is it, Nancy! Wonderful, my dear – Yes, quality of care comes from ‘being there’ when needed.

      Sometimes the children are too busy with activities in their room, but they draw comfort simply knowing that we are ‘there’. Although they don’t say, they feel loved when they return to find us pottering about the house – our presence transforms the place into their home!

      God bless all parents for their sacrifices and all children for steering us in the right direction, Eric 🙂

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