Our journey to walk WORTHY (Eph 4:1)

Tag: Family

Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

Recently I finally submitted a long overdue Lifelong Learning Assessment (LLA), a paper that I wrote in college for credit I earned outside the classroom. Considering the motivation of our blog is to genuinely share our experiences in hopes they can encourage and inspire others, I thought this debrief of our of courtship and marriage could be a great read for our followers.

With that said, below I have posted my LLA submission on the topic of Marriage. Since this was a 10 page assignment I went ahead and broke the subtopics into separate post hopefully making it easier to read through. Also, in order to demonstrate learning from my experience the paper had to outline the learning cycle through each of Kolb’s four stages of learning (Concrete experience, Observations and reflections, Generalizations, Applications), through three separate subtopics.

Enjoy and please comment with any thoughts or feedback you have at the end!


Love has been called many things: a metaphor, a battlefield, a headache, a losing game, and yet often referred to as “the greatest thing.” Although, beyond all the speculation on the concept, many young, and often still maturing individuals, “fall in love,” which results as the premise for starting a family of their own. Considering that the foundation for how an individual understands the entire world can often be traced to their family institution or lack thereof, it is strange that the basis for instituting such a large responsibility is often decided by “falling” into a feeling that cannot be fully conceptualized. For this reason, I find it valuable to share my experience regarding this important decision. Unlike most Hollywood scripts written on this subject, this is not a plot about how “the boy gets the girl,” (it is overplayed and clearly not as valuable), rather this is a story about how the boy keeps the girl. Covering the process of courtship, the early marriage stages of family development and the function of the family.

  1. The Process of Courtship
  2. The Early Marriage Stage of Family Development
  3. The Function of the Family


In summary, I want to encourage you to challenge what you understand about the institution of marriage, especially its relationship to the family organization. Consider the very real concept of love and the influence it has on such a large area of your life. Love is not just the basis for starting a family, but it is foundational to the entire structure; without it, marriage and families cannot weather the storms that will inevitably come into their lives. It is important to approach such a commitment with an experienced and mature understanding of unconditional love, as well as, a young passion that can revitalize and rekindle that commitment. Thankfully, the greatest picture of love has been forever inscribed on our hearts and in God’s Word. Therefore let us be wise and model the example of Christ for our loved ones so that they too can experience the blessings of true love in their life.


  • Eggerichs, Emerson. “The Crazy Cycle.” Focus on the Family. N.p., 2005. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Graham, Billy . “Responsibility of Family.” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. N.p., 27 Jan. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Harris, Joshua. I kissed dating goodbye. Sisters, Or.: Multnomah , 1997. Print.
  • Henry, Matthew, A Commentary on the Whole Bible, vol. 1, Fleming Revell Company, Old Tappan, New Jersey, p. 20, n.d.
  • Hinnant, Greg. “Why God Created Marriage for a Man and Woman.” Charisma Magazine. N.p.,
  • 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Johnson, Jim. “Pitfalls of the Modern Family.” Preston Trail Community Church. N.p., 27 Aug. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Lisitsa, Ellie. “The Sound Relationship House: The Positive Perspective.” The Gottman Institute.
  • 3 min read, 28 Nov. 2012. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Macy, Tom. “Sex and the Single Person.” Tom Macy. N.p., 12 Sept. 2013. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Norman, Rachel,. “The Dangers of a Present But Absent Parent.” A Mother Far from Home. N.p.,
  • 18 Jan. 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Piper, John. “Sex and the Single Person.” Desiring God. N.p., 1981. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.
  • Watters, Candice. “Should a husband place ministry or family first?” Boundless. N.p., 18 Feb. 2014. Web. 02 Jan. 2017.

This article is part 3 of 3 subtopics from the “Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

The Function of the Family

Concrete Experience

From the moment my wife and I returned from our honeymoon and were handed the high school ministry at our church, ministry has always been a focal point within our family. God was always the center of our relationship, therefore serving Him and giving back has always been a driving motivator in our lives. After a couple years, kids began to enter the picture and our approach towards ministry began to change. At first the changes were subtle, but as a new child entered the picture, and as each began to grow into the unique individuals that they are, the choice to do ministry was not as simple.

Our kids were growing up so fast, and although we never wanted to a miss a moment, it was clear that we couldn’t be both fully present in ministry and our children’s lives at all times. At times our kids were praying for the needs of the hurting all around us, as they asked God to feed the people they saw on the street, or to find a home for the kids that were in the foster care system. Then there were moments where they cried for attention, not wanting to wake up early for church, or spend quality family time not at home together. The struggle to balance family and ministry was and is a difficult task with no clear instruction.


At first I didn’t realize how my pace towards ministry changed when I got married. Andrea and I were both so motivated to serve wherever God had us, we genuinely believed that our marriage would enables us to do more than we ever could have done alone. As we became parents both of our perspectives were challenged, our hearts to love our students and to love our children were being defined for the first time. It was never a question that we loved the people in our lives, but how do you ensure that those people know you love them?

Although ministry was a focal point within our marriage, what would be its place within our family? Furthermore, what would be the purpose of our household? As parents you quickly learn to embrace the responsibility of survival; that we will provide and protect our children to the best of our abilities. But more than keeping them alive into their adulthood, we begin to consider how we would raise them to be mature individuals, godly men and women, and possible influential leaders of their generation. Unfortunately, parents cannot force family values into the hearts of their children, but by building pillars of character into them you can impact the world in a way that cannot be accomplished in the absence of a family.

Abstract Generalizations

The function of the family relies so much on God’s teaching to each individual: “husbands love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25), “wives submit to your husbands” (5:22), “children obey your parents” (6:1), “fathers, do not provoke your children to anger” (6:4). These instructions are true because they identify deeply rooted aspects of our rebellious nature that God understands about us regardless of our belief in Him. For example, the instruction for husbands and wives is one of “Love and Respect,” and Dr. Emerson Eggerichs clearly portrays this interdependency between the husband and wife through what he calls “The Crazy Cycle” (2005, Emerson). This cycle is observed when a wife disrespects her husband in some way which leads him to be unloving to her, in response she again shows him disrespect and the cycle continues until one of the two heeds the instruction of God’s word, “each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33, NIV).

To be a husband and father is a choice to enlist in God’s design, “joining God in the creation of new life and training them in the fear of the Lord is spiritual warfare” (Watters, 2014). As the head of the household (1 Corinthians 11:3), husbands are to provide vision and maintain perspective that will direct and keep the family unit operating as one. As a husband surrenders his will to God’s authority, and his wife respects his leadership, she then demonstrates obedience for her children to participate in.

Scientifically, this divine structure is sound. As acclaimed psychologist Dr. Gottman points out in his counseling of marriage and family, a fundamental principle of relationships is “influence;” allowing yourself to be affected by others (Lisitsa, 2012). All relationships have the potential for influence, and rightfully so we must be on guard against toxic influences (1 Corinthians 15:33), but the family structure provides a framework of trust that bypasses all defenses one could put around their heart.


As we embraced the changing seasons of life, we learned to welcome our roles. Our balance for ministry and family was no longer a task to complete or some mark of achievement; rather it was a barometer to maintain perspective. As a husband first, does my wife feel that I love her and do I know she respects me? As parents, ensuring to always love our children first, we made every effort to communicate to them that our love and our understanding of the concept comes from God’s demonstration of it.

From these foundational, family first perspectives we could function as a family outside of our own household. Just as God’s love could not be contained, my family can now see how my love for them is not reserved or favored to one another. Likewise, our family’s love for one another is not kept isolated to ourselves, but as family we go to meet the needs of those in our community; extending the patience, grace, and love that we practice in our home.

A family, no matter the size or stature, should represent the human pursuit of unity. Not absorbing and embodying one singular personality, but building one another up in such a way to produce the best of each individual. The process of family teaches us to put aside our innate selfishness and to support one another through an unchosen bond of trust and loyalty. It is unfortunate in our day and age that too often this establishment is abandon; not only for the family involved, but the community they inhabit.

Continue reading:
Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

This article is part 2 of 3 subtopics from the “Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

The Early Marriage Stage of Family Development

Concrete Experience

Now that I had a clear understanding of how to approach marriage, I was able to intentionally pursue a wife. On March 6th, 2002, I asked my now father-in-law to court his daughter with the intention of considering marriage. With his approval Andrea Balderrama and I began our courtship dance, which led to a promise, then eventually an engagement, and lastly our wedding day on May 22, 2004. A few years later God blessed us with our first born son, David-Nicholas. Shortly after that we had Logan-Matthew. And finally this past year, our daughter Aria Linda.

With a full-house comes a full gamut of responsibility. For years I tried to balance the different demands of being a husband, father, brother, and son, but being a leader, provider, counselor, and friend among other things is not an easy task. Often I experienced seasons of focus on a single role because of the overwhelming nature of each. As I intentionally made daily decisions to become better at each position I would make strides in one area only to find myself lacking in another. It was becoming clear that, like most people, I wanted these relationships but I didn’t always want the responsibility that came with each.


Now, over a decade into marriage, I begin to understand and fully grasp things that are foundational to the very institution. For example, if only I realized the significance of our wedding day in the context of family I might have emphasized and practiced my role as a husband sooner than later; foregoing the overwhelming reaction I had when children became part of the equation. As I pursued marriage I had set my sights on a long lasting relationship, divorce proof and unbreakable, but as the years passed I began to see that what I should have pursued from the beginning was family. Those vows were not just the beginning of our lasting relationship, but they were the beginning of a family of two.

As life went on, stopping for no one, my wife and I had to adapt to our newly found roles together, and in essence, that was the beauty of marriage that I began to see. No matter what life threw our way we got to do it together; failures, successes and all. Married or not, life demands these attributes of us all, every relationship carries with it a responsibility. Family values, traditions, and worldviews are all defined within the context of family, so to take that responsibility lightly is to miss out on the biggest opportunity each of us has.

Abstract Generalizations

Fortunately, our approach towards marriage through our courtship season helped my wife and I grow in our thinking about the opposition we would face in our life together. I cannot imagine how couples handle the responsibility that comes with marriage without a strong foundation in God’s design for the institution. God purposed a different, but equal role between a husband and wife, “God first prepared the man for his wife, creating a deficiency only she could fill” (Hinnant, 2015). Out of man’s need for companionship God made for Adam a wife and helpmate, “made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved” (Henry).

It is said, “the family is the most important unit of society” (Graham, 2016), and what begins with a husband and wife eventually becomes a father and mother. Understanding our roles enables us to accept our responsibilities. “Children need to learn that being part of a family, a team or a class involves accepting responsibilities” (Focus on the Family, 2004). Parents shape their children’s understanding of these roles whether they intend to or not. Although, there may not be a clear right way to parent, there are definitely pitfalls to avoid, one of the most dangerous is being an absent parent. An “emotionally unavailable” (Norman, 2014) parent can produce a dangerous void in a child’s life, and a “child with no heart connection and a relational emptiness they will fill with someone, somehow” (Johnson, 2011). Therefore, very early when building a family it is vital to commit to this responsibility, not even to fully understand it, but to commit to the goal of raising a family.


My experience of starting a family at such a young age has taught me to embrace responsibility as a vital part of relationship. These years of first hand experiences, coupled with my fortified commitment to my wife and my marriage, have made the vision for leading a family clearer. It was never about finding “the one” but rather being the one. As a leader you begin to realize the power of your sphere of influence, and as a father and husband I began to see that my family was and is my sphere of influence.

With these motivations internalized, my wife and I began to foster family values in a way that strengthened our marriage and directed our family. We memorialized our last name (Worth) into a hashtag, categorizing what we do as a family in the form of “#worthit.” Like a modern day family crest we would pass on the standards and value of our family, collectively deciding to “walk worthy”, to encourage a strong “worth-ethic” and integrity in deed that would live up to our name.

Continue reading the next subtopic:
The Function of the Family

This article is part 1 of 3 subtopics from the “Lifelong Learning Assessment on Marriage

The Process of Courtship

Concrete Experience

To begin, like the majority of my generation, I was not raised with a concept of courtship, so the process and even the terminology was foreign to me. Although, I “dated” a lot growing up, some may have stereotyped me as a typical guy, but even still I did hope that someday I would discover “the one” I could spend my life with; I just didn’t know how to find that. My model of marriage was not a very healthy one as my parents divorced when I was twelve. As I matured towards adulthood the question of marriage became much more a reality, and for me not just the opportunity itself, but the commitment. I had vowed that I would not let divorce be an option for my future family, I would not allow that pain of separation to be part of my marriage.

Eventually I read a very thought provoking book titled, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Relationships and Romance” by Joshua Harris. To say this book got me thinking would be an understatement; it was the catalyst for my adulthood. Never before this time did I realize the side effects of my care free dating, nor the missed opportunity passed up to prepare for God’s future blessings in my life. In the opening chapter Joshua retells a dream he had of his wedding, in which multiple brides came to the altar. The vivid image he explained was used by God to convict him that every woman he had ever kissed was someone else’s future wife because they were not his. Chapter by chapter his journey through courtship was one I could definitely relate to as a man, and a God-fearing man who desired a lasting, satisfied marriage.


As I examined Joshua’s conclusions on courtship I began to really consider and pray about my own marriage to come, and what it would require of me to have the lasting commitment I desired. Much like a young entrepreneur who dreams of owning a business, it is naive to think the success of that business would come by happenstance. Instead, I realized it would require preparation, work, organization and many things operating together to eventually achieve success. Like many men, I wanted a successful marriage but had no idea what one looked like. Men that want the wife of their dreams, but they have no perception of reality to grasp what the husband of her dreams resembles. If the wife I prayed for was to be a God-fearing, husband respecting, beautiful in character, virtuous women, then what would she want with a lukewarm Christian like myself? Moreover, how would I ever lead a woman like that?

Abstract Generalizations

Consequently, it became very clear that the process of courtship would begin with a season of singleness; a time of preparation, an opportunity of discipleship. “Singleness is a gift” (Harris, 2003). That statement is so controversial to a culture that compares singleness to a death sentence. But John Piper elevated singleness by stating, “there are glories that can’t be shown in marriage but only in singleness” (Piper, 1981). Finally, more recently Elevation Church pastor, Steven Furtick teaching on “Times and Seasons” preached, “there’s a strength in this season if you can seize it” (Furtick, 2013). Therefore, it is evident that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), but what is not clear is how we are to enjoy and benefit from each season, especially if we are like snowbirds constantly avoiding the season we’re in. The wisdom from this observation is to see the beauty and the opportunity of each season, if it is one of preparation then prepare, if it is one of restoration then restore, but seize the opportunity of that season.


For myself this was applied in a transformational way, as I repelled opportunities for dating I drew closer in my contact with Christ. I found complete fulfillment in my relationship with Him alone and began to see the women in my life with the purity of Christ’s eyes, as sister’s in the Lord. A sense of chivalry was nurtured as I wanted a successful marriage not just for myself but for others as well. This meant protecting the hearts of the women in my life, and praying for the same courtesy from the men in my future wife’s life.

As I lived out this new conviction in my life not only did I begin to see God’s will for my life more clearly, but I realized the value of the foundation I was building. As I said before, it is actually pretty easy to find and pursue a bride, but extremely difficult to continue that pursuit with the same intensity through the many seasons of marriage when you foster short term thinking in your relationships.

Continue reading the next subtopic:
The Early Marriage Stage of Family Development

A Letter to the Medium Man

Kids are unique. We all know that, and still I catch myself trying to put each one in a category (birth order, introvert/extrovert, easy/expert level, glue-eater, etc), and “train them up” the same way. Sometimes we all get stuck “in the middle,” and I know I need that refresher that reminds me each one of my kids are bright individuals with different passions, goals, and personalities and will need individualized discipline, communication and even celebrations (we have one party animal and one house mouse). 😉 Here’s a letter we gave our “middle child” on his birthday to celebrate his journey of avoiding that middle life.


Your Daddy and I don’t know what it’s like being the middle child; Daddy is the first born in his family and I’m the baby in mine. We grew up with a different vantage point than you. Based on our formal research, (television shows), the middle child is often the one who has to fight for attention, follows in their older sibling’s footsteps, and is often overshadowed by the baby.download

But you, Logan, you have redefined what being the “middle child” is all about.

As your Mommy, I don’t see you as the forgotten kid, because you have such a unique, sweet, and serving personality that makes you shine with your big brother and baby sister. Instead of just following in David’s footsteps, you support your older brother and have become his lifelong built in best friend. The way you anticipate your sister’s needs can never be overlooked; you were made to be her big brother.

You’ll never have to fight for attention, because of Christ in your heart, He sees you and is with you even at times when we can’t be.

So now that you are entering your 6th year of life, we wanted to share 6 things we love about you:

1. You are Funny – I don’t know other kids who can pick up impressions like you or throw in the funniest joke when we least expect it. You keep us smiling with your silly and cheeky personality!
(“A cheerful heart is good medicine” -Proverbs 17:22)

2. You are Compassionate – How many times have you asked how I was feeling, or brought someone an ice pack? I can’t keep track, because your intuition to help others is who you are. You see needs that even as a Mommy I might miss. I know I can count on you to give a hug when it’s most needed, and you seem to identify with other people hurting.
(“Put on then, a compassionate heart” -Colossians 3:12)

3. Your Faith is Cool – It’s so neat to see how you are making your belief in Jesus your own. I love to hear your prayers that God would protect your family, (especially from scorpions), and you trust that Jesus will be with you when you are scared. You are not afraid to grow your faith, asking questions that are bigger than you to get the answers your heart needs.

4. You are a Friend – You’re a friend to everyone! Even before you know their names! You are a friend to the friendless, and you know how to include others in to the group. To have friends, you have to be a friend, and you sir, are a friend for sure!

5. You are Genuine – You have the most open heart and have a way of making people feel comfortable by truly loving them. Some people grow up hiding parts of themselves from others, afraid of how people will think of them, but you are 100%, one of a kind, yourself!

6. You Understand Family – You’re definitely a family man! I know you are shaping to be a young man who will someday lead his own family. The way you value family is wise, your test will be to never lose that quality. Its a good thing you are in the middle because you can practice being the glue that holds a family together.

So Logan, even though you’re the Medium Man in our family, remember that like you once told me, at Starbucks you’re a GRANDE! You’ve embraced the middle-ness and made it larger, greater, taller, and awesomer!

Love Beyond Words,
Mommy and Daddy

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