Thankful for much

By Heather Walton

As today is a day to highlight that for which we are thankful, I want to share some of the blessings in my life.

  1. Twenty-two years ago, I met a man who changed my life and my eternity. His name is Jesus, and He is my creator, my savior, my best friend, and my reason for living. He has given me the promise of eternal life in heaven, which is beyond imagining, and He has given me an abundant life now, which I never could have predicted for myself.
  2. A year ago today, Terry and I got our marriage license. We’ve been married for eleven months, and I never cease to be amazed by how much we love each other. It’s an incredible thing to love and to be loved, to be married to my best friend, to spend my life with someone who has such similar goals, hopes, and dreams, and to experience a second chance at love.
  3. Though I experienced the loss of our unborn children this year, I am so blessed to have given birth to four healthy children and to have three step-children. My life is filled with kids, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  4. My family and in-laws are wonderful people who help me, listen to me, and regularly show me love.
  5. I have many supportive friends who have helped me through difficult times and have rejoiced with me through good times. I know that I can call on several godly women for counsel and understanding.
  6. God has chosen to use me to develop a ministry to families looking for educational alternatives. In 2013, I began a school that I thought would be very small, but it has grown to 82 children in preschool through high school. I was not the most likely candidate to run a school, and I had no idea what God had in store, but I believe that’s exactly why He chose me–so He alone would get the glory.
  7. Though I initially had a good deal of strife with my ex-husband, we are now able to work together in a civil manner to co-parent our children, and this is to their benefit.
  8. I live in America. This is a true blessing, as long as we can keep our perspective on heavenly treasures, rather than earthly treasures. I am thankful to live in a free country where I have all my needs met. There are many great countries in the world, but I am glad to be an American.
  9. I am healthy. This is often taken for granted, but it should never be. I have known so many people who have battled great illnesses, some of whom lost the earthly battle at young ages. So in their honor, I will appreciate my own health.
  10. I have a roof over my head, a full fridge and pantry, a running vehicle, and plenty of clothes. Though I have gone without a paycheck from time to time, I have never gone without having my needs met.
  11. I have two children waiting for me in heaven, who will never experience any of the pain of this life. I don’t have to worry about whether they will accept Christ, because they are already in His presence. This doesn’t minimize the fact that I wish they were in my arms, but I am looking for the good in the situation.
  12. I have been blessed with grief. Over the past few years, I have experienced some of the most difficult situations of my life, and I have become a more compassionate, understanding person because of it. Though I would trade the situations that caused the grief, I wouldn’t trade the growth they have brought.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015! To God be the glory; great things he has done!

Family Photo 11-15

A tribute to five fathers who have shaped my journey

By Heather Walton

Cate graduation family

Terry, me, and three of our seven children on my oldest daughter’s high school graduation day.

Dictionary.com defines “father” in the following way:

Father
noun
1. a male parent.
2. a father-in-law, stepfather, or adoptive father.
3. any male ancestor, especially the founder of family or line; progenitor.
4. a man who exercises paternal care over other persons; paternal protector or provider:
a father to the poor.
Throughout my life I have learned that the only perfect father is our Heavenly Father. Regardless, all of the fathers in our lives shape us into who we are.
The first father I knew was, of course, my biological father. I’m told that he was essentially a good man and that he adored me. I wish I could remember him that way. However, children often remember people by the strongest impressions made on them. My dad died of cirrhosis of the liver at age 29. Unfortunately, my memories of him are scarier than they are tender, but I have to trust that he was a man who wanted to love me, but who put his alcohol first.
I went 7 years without any kind of father in my life, as both of my grandfathers died within a year of my dad. When I was 15, my mom remarried, giving me a step-father. By this time, I had an active life. Between school, a part-time job, friends, and a serious boyfriend, I didn’t spend much time at home. I left for the military at 17, right after graduation. Because of my age and a full life, I didn’t form much of an attachment to my stepdad at that point.
At 18, I eloped with that serious boyfriend, who also was a soldier. Six years later, he became the third father in my life–the father of my children. We had two daughters and two sons together before our 23-year marriage broke up. Because of those children, he is still in my life as a co-parent.
During the divorce process, my stepdad and I became closer, as he began giving me fatherly advice and helping the kids and me out in ways that we’ve needed and appreciated.
My stepdad walking me down the aisle at my wedding.

My stepdad walking me down the aisle at my wedding.

Six months ago, he got to walk me down the aisle, as I married the fourth father in my life.

I have seen my precious husband lead his biological children and my biological children in a Godly way. Together, we have seven children. Like each of the fathers in my life, except my Heavenly Father, Terry is not perfect, but he is committed to being the father God has called him to be. I never expected that my children would have a stepfather, but I’m so glad that they have the example of this kind, patient man who exemplifies 1 Corinthians 13. He hasn’t had an easy road with his kids or with mine, but God is blessing the fruit of his labor, and I can see it happening day by day.
Not only is Terry my children’s stepfather, but he is the biological father of our child, a child we will not meet here on earth. I suffered an ectopic pregnancy a month ago, and the grief is real as I consider that today is Father’s Day. I believe we would have been great parents to this child, because we have about 40 years parenting experience between us. Much of what we have learned about being good parents was discovered through making mistakes. Often that’s the most effective way to gain wisdom. However, we will not get the chance to parent the precious child we lost–the child we both were so excited about. We simply have to trust that our little one is being raised by the only perfect Father there ever was.
No father compares to our Abba in Heaven, but I know that I wouldn’t be who I am today without all five of the fathers I’ve had in my life, from my biological father to my Creator. To dads everywhere, however imperfect, I say, “Happy Father’s Day!”
Our whole family at our wedding. Our children were the wedding party.

Our whole family at our wedding. Our children were the wedding party.

%d bloggers like this: