My wife, Pam, and I based our marriage on living out the promises of God: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him and He will do it” (Psalm 37:4,5). One morning I was telling God how He had already accomplished my “desires” list after 11 years of marriage—with the exception of one thing—children.
God gently spoke deep in my heart; “Mike, am I enough for you?” What? Would this mean God was never going to give us physical children of our own?
With brutal honesty I answered, “No you are not enough, you promised us children!” Again, gently the words “am I enough?” came to mind. Was God truly enough or did my demands set my purposes in life higher than God’s? More than 20 years later, the memory of that day is strong. I decided right there in my small office to not leave the room without settling the question: Was God enough for me, or not?
After a couple of focused hours in prayer alone with God, I emerged from my office and told Pam that I didn’t think we were going to have children. Pam and I went through much anguish in our souls, wondering why God would not give us children. We struggled to define what makes a family. Were we a family although we had no children?
During that time, God spoke deeply to Pam’s heart from Isaiah 54:1: “Sing O barren one … For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married” (ESV).
As I prayed for Pam through this passage, the next verse struck me: “Do not hold back, enlarge the place of your tent, stretch out!” (Isaiah 54:2). God truly was enlarging our family, as He gave us many sons in the faith from our ministry to Marines—we just needed to see our family through God’s eyes.
Throughout our 27 years of serving on staff with the Navs Military at Camp Lejeune, we poured the love of Christ into young Marines, sailors, and their families—people like Jon. Jon shares, “When I first came to Camp Lejeune I got involved with The Navigators and met Mike. He created a relationship of trust so I could share almost anything! He became like a spiritual dad and taught me so much about following Jesus!”
And the most amazing thing happened … Jon and others shared what they learned about God with others in the military, who shared with others. We do have spiritual children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren!
We don’t have to look far for people to invest in, sometimes they come ready to be discipled! When Steven* and his wife, Nancy*, recently moved to Camp Lejeune, they already knew about our ministry from others who had been through the base.
Steven shares, “I met Mike even before we were at Camp Lejeune. I knew of him from friends involved in Navs Military, and he visited a Bible study I was leading at another base. When I got orders for Camp Lejeune, I called Mike. While my wife and I still hope to have a family, we have learned the importance of spiritual children from Mike and Pam. Their kingdom-minded approach to life helps us focus on intentionality in our relationships with coworkers and neighbors. We decided to live on base while we are at Camp Lejeune, so we can connect deeply with others in the military; we consider ourselves missionaries on base.”
Pray that God continues to grow spiritual generations among those who serve in the military.