BATTLE CREEK, MI – I will never forget how the sky looked that day. Puffy white clouds sat on a bright blue sky. It was a warm July day and my wife, Melissa and I, were about as excited as a young couple could be as we drove to our obstetrician's office on the day our little girl, Alexandra was due. It had been a long nine months, and especially so for Melissa with morning sickness, cravings, and the discomfort that often comes with pregnancy. We had followed every direction of the doctor, took every class in birthing and child care we could, and even Alex's room was ready for her. I will never forget the distressed look on the doctor's face as he tried for twenty minutes to find a heartbeat during Alex's last ultrasound. In tears, he told us that something had gone wrong and we were directed to go to the hospital to induce labor as soon as possible. And I will never forget making all of the required phone calls to family and loved ones, all of whom were expecting a very different message.
Later, as Melissa began to give birth, I momentarily forgot that Alex had already passed. Along with the anger and despair that quickly followed, something else began to grow deep inside my spirit. While I cannot explain it, I knew from that moment on God had created me and called me to be a father.
With God's blessing, Melissa and I went on to have three, healthy boys that we are very proud of and have had the honor of raising. Unfortunately, just like Alex, we lost two other children as well. One was a boy named, Brody, who was born with an undetected heart defect. He fought to live for 33 hours. And lastly, was a girl named, Morrigan, who died like her sister in the womb when she had an umbilical cord accident. My boys were her pallbearers.
I believe our children in heaven have given Melissa and I a particular understanding of what matters in this life. Getting ahead, taking pride in our accomplishments, possessions pales in comparison to the importance God has placed upon us as parents. For us, being a faithful parent is only second to,and an extension of, being a disciple of Jesus Christ. We have often been criticized and even mocked by others, including some of the churches we have served, for being so dedicated to parenting our children. Over the years, I have come to realize that none of our children's deaths was God's will, we were both robbed by the curse of the Fall, and I am sure it broke God's heart even more than it did ours. But by God's grace, all three of our boys have been raised in the church, been born-again, and display the kind of heart only Jesus can give. I believe the world and the Kingdom of God better places because of them. If you feel called of God to be a father, I hope you will take that privilege and responsibility seriously. The world and the Kingdom need sons and daughters who love others with Jesus' heart. I believe there is no other higher aspiration for one who is called by God to be a parent.
"Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, offspring, a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons born in one's youth. Happy is the man who has filled his quiver with them. They will never be put to shame when they speak with their enemies at the city gate," (Psalm 127:5, CSB).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Adams is Senior Pastor at Grace Fellowship Baptist Church in Battle Creek. John is from Southern Illinois and has been a pastor for 30 years. He and his wife, Melissa, live in Battle Creek, Michigan with their three boys, Connor, Riley, and Aidan.