Every parent dreams of what their family will be like one day. The golden years, if you will. I imagine thanksgiving day meals at my house, where Ella and her husband and three kids, and Pax and his wife and two kids will gather to carve the traditional bird. Erica will have decorated the house for the festivities, and it will look and smell like Christmas in the fall. We’ll have two dogs then, and a five bedroom house in San Diego, right on the ocean (hey, it’s my dream. I can live where I want!) Erica and I will be happily married and all of my kids will be godly and serving the Lord, whether in full time vocational ministry or as a committed Christian serving in their local church and community. But I have a small tinge of fear and doubt that rushes into this dream…A bit of a smack of reality right to the face. I know I will probably never be able to afford the house in San Diego, that was a far fetched dream right from the start, but the rest of it isn’t in the bag either. I learned this from my own experience. As a child, I had a certain view of my family and how it would all be when I got older. Christmas at mom and dad’s, hanging out with my two brothers, celebrating Christ’s birth and singing carols while we played an assortment of instruments (one brother on the piano, the other on the guitar, I’d play something, my mom would play the violin or hammer dulcimer, and my dad would be on a snare drum) But life doesn’t always work out the way we think, does it. Some of you know, my parents got divorced shortly after I graduated Bible college. My parents who were married for 27 years and who claimed to be Christians. They had always taught me that God hated divorce, and that it should never be an option in marriage. I took my cues from them, and I had always wanted a marriage like my parents had, until that day. I also have a brother who is an atheist. I don’t know what happened, he was always an older brother who I really respected, and still do to this day. He is very smart and I think that has caused him to struggle with his faith more than the rest of us. Now, we are spread out in three different states, in completely different stages of life than I had ever imagined we would be and it kind of puts a grey cloud over my dreams of what the future will be like. I will certainly do my best, to be the husband I need to be, to be the father I need to be. My family will always come first. But even then, faith is a personal thing, and there are no guarantees that my kids will both follow Christ. I would like to think that Erica and I have a solid marriage, but I’m not naive to think that there aren’t things we can work on, and that I need to work on in order to have the strongest marriage possible. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have anyone to talk to about this. It is a very personal thing and I can’t believe I’m putting it on my blog, but then again, that’s kind of what I’m hoping this blog is all about. Sharing real life from a Christian dad’s perspective. And real life dads think about this kind of thing. We all have pasts and family backgrounds and they go a long way in shaping the kind of parents, spouses and people we are. And we can all encourage each other through the good and the bad. Through the hopes and the fears. Anyway, that’s enough blog therapy for me for one night, thanks for listening.