I have recently finished my summer holidays and I am now back at school for another term. The six weeks off was a great opportunity for me to really enjoy my little family. While it wasn’t the most exciting or even most restful of holidays, I absolutely cherished the moments I got spend with Haley and the kids.
My children – when I think about these three little souls that my beautiful wife bore, I am overcome with indescribable emotions. They are such a blessing to Haley and me. I can’t imagine life without them.
With those feelings of happiness, contentment and excitement that I feel daily, other feelings consume me also.
I do struggle with worry for my family, I struggle with anxiety about their wellbeing and every single day I have to place my wife and kids at the foot of the cross, because this world is a scary place, bad things happen to good people.
As a father all I want to do is defend and protect my loved ones from the evil that exists. I am mature enough in my faith that I know I cannot do it alone.
That is why Jesus remains my rock and my faith fully entrusted to him, because even as the defender and protector of my family, I cannot save them from everything, because there is so much that I cannot control.
The catalyst for change
As I often mull over the responsibilities I have as a husband and father, one particular thing has been circulating my thoughts for a while now. These thoughts were later confirmed by a phone call I received from my mother.
I remember the call vividly. Out of the blue my mom calls me and tells me that she has a strong feeling from the Lord that I need to go and get a full health check.
In that instant I was absolutely terrified. You see my greatest fear in life is not death, or how I will die, but rather that leaving my family on earth, alone, without a husband or father. Nothing keeps me up at night more.
For a while now I felt the Lord has been slowly tapping me on the shoulder in relation to my health and fitness, even down to the things that I eat. Now I think I lead a pretty normal life, one that I think most people actually live. I eat fruit and vegetables (begrudgingly eat vegetables) and every now and again I find some time to exercise, a couple of times a month maybe, if I’m forced to. A lot of people can’t believe that I’m not fit or that I don’t eat my five serves of vegies a day. I certainly look the part. (Thank you God for the good genes).
I have been reminded of how important it is to live the best life I can possibly live, not so much for myself, but for my kids. It’s funny thinking about what life was like when Haley and I didn’t have children, or even thinking about life before I was even married.
Most of us would say, we all lived a pretty selfish, self-centred life. Every experience was for me, every dollar I earned was for me, every choice I made was for me.
How all of that has changed. My every inclination, my every thought now is about raising my children, and making sure they have the best, most safe life I can possibly provide for them. This brings me joy more than you can understand, but when I eventually went and got my blood results back from my health check-up, what the doctor told me hit me like a sledge hammer.
Don’t worry, I haven’t got a terminal diagnosis, or anything particularly serious going on. I have high cholesterol and it is largely due to my lifestyle. The doctor said that it is good to catch it early especially since I am in pretty decent health, but he did encourage me that I needed to eat better and I need to actually exercise or things might end up much worse.
No more excuses
Now I can make every excuse under the sun about why I don’t exercise regularly, or why it’s a battle for me to actually eat a full complement of vegies. I think most of us would come up with some variation of the same excuse. But on reflection, it is unacceptable in light of my responsibilities as a husband and father.
Some things I cannot change, some things I cannot stop and there are some health conditions out there that cannot be helped, but when the doctor says that my current lifestyle will increase my chances of a heart attack or stroke one day, I know that’s on me.
As previously stated, my greatest fear is leaving my family behind if I die before my time. I need to think of them more in regards to my own mortality, to give myself the best chance of being there for them through all of their milestones.
My new year’s resolution is not for me, but for my family, and this is something as a parent and spouse that I simply cannot ignore.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has three beautiful children Chelsea, Nathan and Ryan.