I think it's safe to say, that most of us have a dream for our lives. A house. A family. A couple cars. A career that you love. Vacations, trips, attractions, and memories of all the wonderful things you experience. Yeah, we have dreams. But what about when those dreams never materialize?
Let's just be honest, sometimes life's not what we expected. Through the ups and down, twists and turns, we sometimes find that our experiences lead us to places we never would thought we'd visit. And while we once held onto the dreams of what life should look like, too often we stare reality in the face as we deal with the life we now live.
Sure, maybe there are some who might say they're living their dreams, but for most of us we're just another twist or turn from where we thought we'd be. But even when life is less then you expected, there is plenty for you to reflect upon that will remind you of greater blessings.
For Amy and I, 2016 has already proven to be a year of unexpected change. Together we are facing some new experiences and life-changing decisions that we have never had to consider. For 19 years our family core values have kept us living in way that we come to know and love. But now we are stepping in life changes that are forcing us to make some major changes to our core values and our family structure. And honestly, I don't know if I'm ready for such changes.
Regardless, change is apart of life. And sometimes we have to take the changes and move forward. You see, I do have a dream, and part of that dream is maintaining our family values. So in the face of change, and life not being what I expected here is what I'm doing.
1. Reminding myself that God is still the author and creator of my life, and His plans, purposes and timing are always perfect. I once heard someone say that when we complain about our life situation, we actual communicate that what God is doing is wrong. I’m not sure I see it that way. You see, I’m not saying that God isn’t still in control of my life. All I’m saying is that right now, I might not be fully understanding what God’s doing. To state that public just makes me human. But I believe that God is big enough to handle my frustration. After all, doesn't David share his fears, frustrations and disappointments? Yet, David is a man after God’s own heart. Yes, I might not be thrilled with how things are now, it doesn’t change my view of God. I’m not walking out on Him. I’m not blaming Him. Instead, I am reminded of my great dependance on Him. God’s plans, purposes and timing ARE perfect. And I still trust Him.
2. I’m going to continue to chase my dreams. At the end of March I posted, Taking Control of What I Can Control, on my ministry blog. In it I shared how I did’t want to settle, and that I was taking control of what I want. I do have dreams for my family. There are things I want. I have career goals. And I don’t think that the things I want are bad or wrong. But too often, when you're in ministry and you chase your dreams, you ruffle feathers and people begin to question your heart and work. Truth is, I love working in student ministry. I don't want to stop doing student ministry. But I would still love to speak, train, and resource other youth workers. I would love to earn enough of a salary that Amy could continue to stay home and care for our children. And I'd love to be able to plan ahead a bit and think about what life might look like when Amy and I have a bunch of grandkids running around.
3. I'm going continue to make the most out of every moment I have with the family. One of the things we are learning right now is how to balance life as Amy picks up a couple part time jobs to help supplement our income. Suddenly family life has become more challenging as we navigate this new season of our marriage. But as we juggle schedules and responsibilities, I'm getting the opportunity to do things I've never had to do. This is creating time to be with the kids when it's always been Amy. When we are all together, that time is a bit sweeter. It makes me want to take that time and just enjoy it, even protect it. And after making the decision last year to be more intentional with our family time, that decision is only amplified.
Yes, life isn't always what we expected. But God is still in control and God is still working out His purpose and plan in our lives. Can He handle the occasional complaint or question from His children? Yes, He can. And it's okay.
So when life comes in ways that we least expect, or when things don't go quite how you had planned or dreamed, don't throw in the towel. Instead, remember God is still God, that your dreams can still be your dreams, and that life is now; enjoy the moments that you have now.
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6.
This is a familiar passage to most parents, especially to those seeking to raise their kids to know Christ and follow after Him. But sometimes we wonder if by what we see in the day to day, will we ever see this played out in our home?
At the beginning of the year, Jay and I sat down to evaluate our family and set some goals for things we wanted to change in the new year. Because of the move and stress of a church plant, we felt that we needed to create more family fun, more times where we laughed, and more times where we enjoyed being together. What's the point of planting a church to encourage people to love and follow Christ if we aren't loving the people we live with? We wanted the love of Christ to be displayed in our home more than anywhere, because we are passionate about our kids knowing and following Christ. Honestly, there have been more days than not that we wonder if the kids are catching anything we say.
But we know Gods Word is true.
This weekend we took our 4th and youngest son and dropped him off at summer camp for 2 weeks. He's 9 years old. The most common response I get from moms when I share that he is going to camp for 2 weeks is, "I could never do that, 2 weeks is a long time, I would miss them too much."
Our son is with his buddy from Somerset. They are filling their days with all kinds of fun activities, making memories that will last a lifetime. And I'm sure they are dropping into their bunks at night completely exhausted.
The most important thing for us in sending him to camp is knowing that he is surrounded by people who love Jesus and are speaking His Truth into our son's life. Part of us raising our children is learning to slowly let them do things without us so they learn independence and are ready to face life when its time for them to fly the coup. We believe in doing that a little at a time.
Do I think he may get a little homesick? Yes, at some point I'm sure he will be. Does that make me sad? Yes! Of course I would like to make his life as easy and painless as possible. But my long term goal is for him to be independent of me and his dad and to always know that Christ is with him all the time. We want him to experience opportunities to test his faith and to see that God is faithful while he is still in our home. Yes, I miss my son but more than anything I want him to have a faith apart from me and if that means doing things that are a little painful now, then I'm willing to do that.
The day after dropping our son off at camp, our oldest son, who is 17 said something that made me realize that our work and prayers will and are paying off. He said, "Hey mom, we should go get Asher a bunch of stuff and send him a care package cuz he would love that and that was my favorite thing when I was at camp."
Now, that may not seem like a big deal to you but Logan and Asher generally have little in common, being 17 and 9, and the two having completely different personalities. Our conversations in the house often revolve around choosing to love each other because God commands us to. Its not always easy but we want Gods love to be displayed in all that we do.
When I heard Logan's suggestion, I felt a sense of joy and a small reminder in my spirit of Proverbs 22:6 and the importance of training a child, and of course, God's faithfulness.
Hang on parents, you will see the fruit of your labors as you diligently train your children to love the Lord.
- the higham family
Hi we're Jay & Amy, and we've been married for 19 years and are super blessed to be busy raising our 5 kids; 4 boys and 1 girl. We juggle the adventures of life and ministry and share what we are learning as it relates to marriage, family, raising kids, serving in the church, and chasing afer Jesus. Raising a family is hard work, especially in today's culture. But our hope is to encourage you and your family, as we live for the glory of God.
We are so excited! 4 Higham's are getting ready to head out on their first mission trip!
In just a couple of weeks, Amy and our 3 oldest boys, will join with a group from our church, for a week-long missions trip to Kentucky! A total of 16 people will be making their way from Western PA to a community in Appalachia Kentucky.
We're excited because we've been wanting for our teens to expereince the incredible oportunities that come through short-term mission trips. Amy and I (Jay) have served on a number of short-term trips in our teen and young adult years. As a youth pastor, Jay took teams of students on trips. Now we have a chance to send our boys!
The trip will be a week long mission that will serve a region that is desparately deprived. Ranking as one of the poorest areas in our country, our team will join dozens of others from all over the area, to share God's love, mercy and grace. Through work projects, children's ministry and sports ministry, our group will have the opportunity to work closely with the children and families of the community. Our host organization, Big Creek Missions, has been working with this community since 2002. Their commitment is to make a difference in the lives of the people in this community.
The trip will take place from July 19th through 26th, 2015. We would love to ask you to pray for the trip and the team! Most almost everyone on the team, this will be their first missions trip! So your ongoing prayer support will be needed and greatly appreciated!
We would also like to ask for your prayer support for our family. While Amy is away, I (Jay) will be home balancing church work, the 9-5 work, and the remaining 2 kiddos'.
For the safety and privacy of our team members, our family, and the trip, I are keeping this post brief. While we want to share the trip and our prayer requests with you, we also want to be aware of privacy issues regarding a trip like this. But if you would like specifics of what to pray for, or how you can financially support our family or the trip, please contact is via email. When the trip is over, we'll share some of our expereinces and what was learned while away!
If you would be willing to pray for us, simply comment below! We would love to know who your are so we can thank you!
- the higham family
It's one of my favorite books of the Bible, Genesis. This morning at Harvest Church, we started a new series the focuses on the book of Genesis. Over the next couple of weeks we will study, verse by verse, chapter by chapter all the exciting things that Genesis has to offer. Join us and discover the awesome God who goes demonstrates his amazing love for us as he carries out his purposes and plan for man!
Take a few minutes to watch the video from this Sunday!
Thanks for watching! Be sure to check in with us each week as we study the book of Genesis. If you would like to see the notes from the teaching, click on the link below that leads you to the website of Harvest Church. And if you are in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh, let me invite you to come and worship with us! You can find directions and details about Harvest Church on the website!
Harvest Church :: www.HarvestChurchToday.org
Thanks for taking the time to read The Higham Family Blog. Each week we try to share new content about something we are learning, something we love, or something to offer encouragement to the family. We love to hear from our readers, so please share your thought in the comment section of each post.