Our journey to walk WORTHY (Eph 4:1)

Tag: Parenting

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

Coffee, Pray, Repeat

Why did I break down and cry after getting this free Dutch bros today? Was it because this mommy is once again worn out and the precious coffee people took mercy on me? Or maybe it was because the Lord knew I would need to know He loves me and sees this “Mombie” trying to function on two hours of sleep? Probably both.

You see, I seem to forget how hard it is to raise a toddler, and this time I was blessed with the “she never sleeps,” kid. Thanks, Jesus.  I know David and Logan were babies once and had their difficulties too, but now they sleep like happy little logs, and I think God graciously allowed me to forget their trying times so we would keep having kids. ? So we keep breeding, and I keep running to social media to vent about it all as if something new is happening, except this time I’m writing to myself and to you all because I know there’s a lesson here….

In the midst of my complaining, joking, venting, and humorous retelling of my night-capades with Aria, I’m forgetting that the more I invest worry in this one area of her little life, the further I am from seeing the big picture. Even with children, God never gives us more than we can handle without Him.

I’ll be the first to admit it, having kids is HARD. Why do I ever expect anything less? Completely worthwhile and awesome, but So. Much. Work. Why is that? Because pressure makes diamond (no wonder labor is so intense). In order to mold, shape, and craft these precious people, it takes all of me, my blood, sweat, tears, and other forms of liquid. It’s about putting focus beyond their physical and behavioral needs, consistently building trust, commitment and reassurance that I will always be there for them in the middle of the night, just like my Heavenly Father is for me each time I cry out to Him.

Jesus has reminded me over and over that my children are exactly who I was equipped to raise. Sleep issues and all. And yes, God can move mountains and give us peaceful nights, but having Aria has stretched me to see grace through the bags under my eyes. She helps me grow confidence in knowing each child is wildly different and I’m going to just have to do my best and stop looking across the playground at the other babies playing perfectly. It’s never a good idea to take my eyes off of Aria anyway.

“My children are exactly who I was equipped to raise”

Our kids are the ones we prayed for (technically, David was an accident, but we still like him), rejoiced over, and I get to stay up with them at night and breathe in the scent of a real miracle and blessing. If I look closely, Aria sleeps as much as her busy mamma does and that scares me a little. I think this means I will be chasing her ambitious heart like my mom chased mine.

So to the other tired moms out there, I raise a coffee-brimmed glass to you and am remembering that today I will put on LOVE, not disappointment that my life isn’t perfect, I will pull on COMPASSION, along with yoga pants because skinny jeans with buttons are too much work (and not as nice). I will lather PATIENCE, and lots of deodorant because I didn’t have time to shower…again. And that’s okay. For now, I have all I need for today…and hopefully tonight. And if you hear me complaining, just smile and tell me “It is well.”

“Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of the Messiah, to which you were also called in one body, control your hearts. Be thankful.” -Colossians 3:12-15 HCSB

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