“Let us build up these towns,” he said to Judah, “and put walls around them, with towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the Lord our God; we sought him and he has given us rest on every side.” So they build and prospered.

-2 Chronicles 14:7 – Spoken by Asa, the King of Judah

To give context to why I chose this verse to reflect my year, we need to rewind to Oct. 9th of 2016. My son Isaiah was born at a healthy 6 pounds 11 oz and arrived quicker than any father reading understands. I was caught between a world of emotions but non other than the concern to build my home correctly so that my son would become a man of God one day.

To say something is vastly different than doing something. I rapidly learned that becoming a God fearing father over night is no easy task. In fact, being a God fearing PERSON is difficult enough, how on earth would I know how to be a father on top of that!

God called Asa the King of Judah to build and lead his people during time of war. He build up a city and protected it and was rewarded by God with rest and prosperity. When I read this passage of scripture, my spirit resonated with the world rest after the period of hard labor,¬† building and constructing, and following God’s instruction. I could relate this to the last 12 months of 2017.

My wife and I moved to a new home, I changed jobs, my wife quit her full time job and picked up part time to spend more time with our son. If we could pick a song for 2017, it would have been “Changes” by David Bowie¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl3vxEudif8

Everything changed from 2016 to 2017 and I had to learn to rely on God and not on my own strength. I felt like Asa in Judah, needing to fortify my heart and home in order to not lose my sanity. In the busyness of life, I did not spend the amount of time I should have in prayer or reading the Word. I was often running day by day, meeting to meeting, week after week, stressed and exhausted. My wife and I argued more than ever before, and it mostly stemmed from my lack of listening. I couldn’t hear my wife clearly because I wasn’t taking the time to hear God clearly.

So what have I done? What steps have I taken as the father and husband in our home? How did I begin making the promise I made on Oct. 9th 2016 that I would raise my son to become a man of God someday? Let’s just begin by saying, it is all still coming together slowly. I have begun building my home like Asa build the city piece by piece.

The walls around my home is my local church. Where I get nourished spiritually and walk and talk to other fathers and leaders. The towers in my life would be my bible study group–where I am held accountable and where we share our struggles together. The gates in my home would be ME! As the father, I am the gateway for sin to enter our family. I need to be the first line of defense against calamity. This could be financial calamity, spiritual calamity, mental calamity, in-law issues, you name it. As fathers, we need to view ourselves as strong gates to our home with Jesus by our side. And finally, the bars–what would this be? This would be protections we put in place so our son does not grow up without boundaries. My wife and I began telling our son what is right and wrong from the very beginning. We started reading him the bible from the very beginning, and we are teaching him manners and character from the very beginning.

As 2018 approaches, I desire to listen to the Lord as Asa did. As parents, we need Rest, and that is what God provides when we build our hearts and homes correctly and seek his direction in all things.