It dawned on me as I was looking at the massive list of school supplies that my children needed for back to school while I was shopping for it, that honestly this normally would’ve upset me and made me disgruntled that I even had to do it.   But instead this time for whatever reason I had no issues and even became emotional. I think I was emotional because in the last year and a half or two years, I have come to realize that being a father and putting my children first is the most important thing I can do besides love and serve God. As everyone knows on social media, we see memories from years past pop up in our history and it’s amazing how much my children have grown and changed in the last two or three years. Life goes fast and we need to cherish every one of those moments. I’d like to share a little bit about my experience with that and what God has shown me.

Children are a Blessing

The Bible says that “children are a blessing” but when you first have children no one talks about the challenges of parenting.  The struggles of a baby waking in the night (all night….), the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare groceries and diapers, injuries from sports and the non stop diapers and puke!   But the  one thing that no one ever talks about that scared me the most was will I raise this child right. I had never been a father before, and it scared me to death. When we had our first child almost 17 years ago, I was scared that I was going to screw things up especially considering that she was already really sick and had over $1 million worth of medical procedures done to her in the first year of life. Other things that they never talk about are having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a constant messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches…. all of these things I used to look at as a chore or something that was not enjoyable. In the last year and a half, I have come to realize the sense of love and joy that stay-at-home mother’s feel when they are home with their children and doing everything for them and I now understand why my wife at the time loved it even on the hard days.  When I have my children, I am grateful to God that I do not have to work at all unless I choose to and I’m able to devote all of my time pretty much 24/7 to them and not let work calls or multiple devices get in the way. If you were lucky enough to be a stay at home parent, you are more blessed than you know.  The hand the rocks the cradle shapes the world!

But you also have the good things. You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning…. when they snuggle with you for no reason, when they tell you “I love you”. Or when they look at you and you just know by the look they’re giving you that they love you with every ounce of the heart. These are the things I’ve grown to appreciate even more the last two years and I try to soak in the magic of those moments in and never forget them.

I also remember coaching them in sports like t-ball or football or rushing to practices and ballgames,  toting them all over the countryside to let them play the game they love; no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes. One of my favorite things that I say is that my children have big ideas, big aspirations, and no money or no plan.🤣. I truly love being able to bless them with things I never was able to have as a child and I will never ever get tired of taking them to practice and see them get better and build more confidence in life and in sports. I wouldn’t change any bit of the blessings that I’ve had with his children over the last 18 months. Life is too short and I’m grateful that I get to spend it with my children. God knows what He is doing for sure.


When you become a parent and your children cry for 17 hours a day for seven months it’s easy to go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time…. a really long time. But in reality, life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days looks like. I cannot believe that my oldest daughter will be turning 17 in a little over a month. Suddenly hours turn into days.  Days turn into months, and months into years.  Before you know it, they are no longer babies, but independent kids that want to make all their own decisions and choices and no longer “need my advice”. That little person that used to cuddle nonstop and crawl up next to you in bed to watch cartoons… suddenly becomes this young adult who may or may not hug you in the hallway as they come and go.🤣

And then there are the sad times when I don’t have my children and the chaos and laughter that used to echo throughout your home gets filled with silence and solitude. Those are the hard time where you rely on amazing memories that you’re making with them now. As a dad, over time you learn how to parent a child who needs you to care for and protect them every minute of every day but have no clue how the whole “letting go” thing is supposed to work. So you hold on as tight as you can while wondering how time passed so quickly and feeling guilty for the hours and days that you missed. I believe God gave me a second chance with my kids and he can do the same for you. My children used to look at me like I was the man that made the sun rise in the day and the moon set at night. And that’s an admirable thing IF I was teaching my children, right. This whole process has made me reevaluate myself as a man, but also as a parent. I had to sit down and ask some painful questions and I needed to teach them who really was the man was that hung the moon and made the sun (Genesis 1:14-16).

Did I teach them the right lessons? Did I read the Bible with them and give them a solid foundation of faith? Did I read them enough books as a child or skip it because I hate reading? Did I Spend enough time playing with them or was I too lazy at times because I had a long day at work? How many school or birthday parties that I absolutely hated going to were there and did that affect them? Do they really know how much I love them? What could I have done better as a parent? And lastly what I had to come to grips with was what things do I need to re-teach them because they learned my bad habits. Those are the hardest. I decided to change for the better, and give my children, a solid foundation in Christ first.   All I can do is pray, hope, and trust that God will protect them as they start to make their way into the world alone (Jeremiah 29:11, Isiah 54:17)

Parenting is the most amazing experience of your life and at times leaves you exhilarated, while other times leaves you heartbroken. Now I get so excited knowing when my children are coming back and I will never turn down time with them.   I actually spend time before and after they arrive thinking about what we can do together and how we want to spend our days. But one thing is certain- it’s never enough time because no matter how much time I get with them I always want more.   I hate being separated from them at all but I have to understand the bigger picture.  God used what was meant for bad as good to change me and change my children forever.   The Bible says that children are a blessing, and I finally understand what that truly means. If you are a parent, I encourage you to take joy in those difficult times, and even the ones where you are exhausted because one day all those crazy days full of cartoons, snuggles, sleep overs, Christmas morning magic, ballgames, practices and late night second dinners… All come to an end.  I for one cant wait to see what else God has in store for the Stadings!