Hi, for The Salvation Army, this is Sara Nelson. And I'm Bernie Dake.
Thanks for joining us, and welcome to Wonderful Words of Life. We stopped grilling. Well, that, but we stopped wearing whites. Oh, yes.
Now, I don't know if that rule totally applies anymore, but traditionally I think that's what the rule is. Well, I don't know if our listeners have seen my picture. I'm not what you'd call a fashion mogul. I'm a fairly simple guy. I wear lots of blue. You know, I'm simple. I wouldn't know the difference between white and not wearing white, except that I tend to always get some kind of sauce on my shirt if I'm wearing white. Yeah, that's pretty much that's bound to happen if you've got a white shirt on.
All right, so fall is coming for sure. Today, we're going to give Terry and Donna the week off as we get to share a beautiful testimony of parenthood from two people that we love so much, Bill and Deborah Maccabee. And I think we both get to say they were our bosses, not too terribly long ago, but they're also friends. They're people that we've been in the trenches with as it relates to work in the Salvation Army. But they're people who have been authentic, and they've shared life with us. I have a lot of respect for them, more so Deborah than Bill. Well, that's true for most of us. Just kidding.
They're both great. I think all of us probably have Bill Maccabee stories, and we could go on and on about those. But, you know, one of the things, you know, since you mentioned he was our boss, one of the things I loved so much about him was just how engaged he was with the people that he led. Like, you remember him just walking around and talking and just being very real and forthcoming about his own life. So we love the Maccabees, and we're so excited that we're going to hear from them through this interview.
I hope you enjoy their story as they share several powerful pieces of advice to the parents out there. Music Our first one was born, and he dropped, you know, if you drop the pacifier, you got to boil it, sterilize it, and, you know, all that. If he grunts, you run into the room. Second one comes, you drop the pacifier, you rinse it off.
The third one comes, you drop it, and you just, like, wipe it off on your shirt and shove it back in. Yeah, he's there. Yep, he'll do your part.
Didn't kill him. He's all right. I'm Bill Maccabee. I'm currently the divisional commander for the Salvation Army in the great state of Georgia.
I'm Debra Maccabee, and I'm the director of, divisional director of women's ministries and officer development for the Georgia division. Bill and I have been married. It will be how many years? Forty-three years.
Forty-three years in June. Indeed, I checked that before we sat down. Good boy. And we have three boys. We have William, Bill, and we have Matthew, who resides with the King of Kings now, and we have Jeremy, who lives here in Georgia. Those are our boys. And they're all three Salvation Army officers, which is interesting to us because we didn't raise them to be Salvationists. I think we kind of agreed on that pretty early when we started. We wanted them to be men of God.
Men of God. If that was in the Salvation Army, great. But it's interesting that all three of them ended up, they're not following in our footsteps, they're making their own footsteps, and that was pretty important to us.
But it was interesting to watch that. Our youngest son was a pilot for Delta Airlines and left a very nice career. I was a little bit bummed out about that, proud, but we got some flight perks with all that kind of stuff, so it was kind of disappointing. But all three boys have done very, very well. It was part of our family narrative that you've got to do what you do, and we will love you and support you. I mean, that goes without saying.
Whether it's part of faith, I think, as a child, if they went off the straight and narrow, so to speak, we would love them unconditionally no matter what. Period. End of paragraph.
End of story. And we tried to assure them of that, and I think as a result of that, they made their own decision. Discipline was different for all three. You know, I could say to one, I'm not proud of you. And that was just devastating.
One would be a lecture, one you could put in the room, and they would just create all kinds of things. Funny story, we would take things away from them. You can't play baseball. We'd take their glove. We would take everything away, and our middle son, Matt, I remember one particular time, we'd taken away everything he had. Everything. There was nothing left to take away from him, and he was looking at us like, what are you going to do now?
So we decided in the scripture, the year of Jubilee, where everything was forgiven, so we decided, we gave him everything back only so we could start taking it away again. So that didn't have that big of an impact on him. He really was, he was a strong-willed child. I mean, extremely strong-willed, and add-on attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity. I mean, all of that meshed together, so we knew we had to parent him differently than the younger and the oldest.
I mean, there's no manual that comes with parenting. You learn a lot in being people of faith. There is a lot that is given to us by the Holy Spirit, who guides and helps and directs. Now, looking back at it, being an old guy and watching them now, I think one of the things that I learned, and I think that I would say to parents of children now, is that they really did listen. I didn't think they were listening to anything, but now it's such a warm feeling, and Debra and I, when we visit them, you hear them saying some of the same things that we said to them. You hear some of the principles of family, they did listen, and the investment in them kind of comes back in other generations.
I think listening, they did listen. The other thing I look back on now is all the times that we had to say no, and they were so ticked off with us, but now to hear them, they were glad that we held a standard. I want to tell you, it hasn't been a bit of roses for us with our children.
We have gone through some incredibly deep waters, so everything wasn't rosy, everything wasn't wonderful. It all makes sense in hindsight. Faith is absurd unless you're looking in the retrospect. Faith does not make sense right now, and if a parent is listening to this and going through what we went through, we're witnesses, we're testimonies, and the voice right now is a testimony to the fact that they do hear and they do listen and they come back. Well, and the important lesson I think in all of that was during all of that, Matt in particular knew, we don't like what you're doing and how you're acting, but we love you.
Kids are going to do crazy things, and I think if we're their respite, if we're their safe place, if we are their unconditional love home, then that will come back in the end to be a salvation piece. The great ending to Matt's story is that he was saved, he accepted Christ, and he went as far the other ways. He was an extreme kind of a guy. He was an evangelist. He became an evangelist. He had a heart for people. He did not have any breaks when it came to helping people, and he went to heaven. He was working in Hurricane Katrina, and he had been there for a couple of weeks and was exhausted and done all that work. He went home for three days, and he was redeployed back to Texas where the heat was just, if you remember, it was just awful. And he worked 24-7. Even when he should have been taking time off, he found a group of people. So he worked so hard to help people, he became exhausted and dehydrated and had a brain aneurysm, and he went to heaven with his boots on.
It sounds like a really sad story, but I want to tell you, when I go to heaven, I hope I got my boots on because I'm afraid I'm going to be sitting doing a radio talk show or sitting behind my big shot desk. But Matt is a real hero to me. He led a lot of people to Christ.
A lot of people came to Christ as a result to him. Oh, listen, anger, golly, I went through all of it. I went through three years of total silence with God. God went absolutely silent. I played the part because, I mean, I'm a Salvation Army man, and I played the part.
I acted out, but silence, silence. And once I got through that valley, I think, first of all, you got to admit you're in the valley. It's the valley of the shadow of death.
You go there. I think grieving and mourning is incredibly important. This is a very over-generalized statement. We don't allow people to grieve. We don't allow people to mourn. If you're a person of faith, if you have an effervescent personality, if you're a fun-loving guy, and I don't know that we ever grieved, so we had to be careful that we didn't get out of that step of anger. I was angry for a while.
I was angry for a long time, and it became a process for me with other people speaking in to my life, with me having an understanding of what it meant for him to go to heaven. You know, it's acknowledging that I'm in the valley. It's defining who I am in that valley. You'll get out of the valley. I mean, there's ways of getting out of the valley. When I get out of that valley, have I defined who God is in my life?
If he's the God of everything going great, if he's the God of the valley, certainly he is. And going through that made no sense at the time. If I could look back at that now, man, I wished I had the ability to write, to say to people, the valley is real. You've got to admit you're there. The pain is real. There is an anger because there's no understanding. I stopped.
This is going to sound cliché, but I promise you it's not cliché. I had to stop asking why and start acknowledging who. Why is, why anything? Why am I sitting here right now?
So why is important, and we should ask that, but the focus has to be on the who. And it's okay to be in the valley. My experience was, well, how I dealt with it was a little different.
I was definitely in the valley, not reading scripture. I just didn't feel like it. We performed.
Yeah, didn't feel like it. And the interesting thing is we got tons of cards. I felt bad for our mailman. And they all had scripture. So although I would not physically open my Bible, there they were in my face. And I acknowledge that now, that that probably was a gift from, it was a gift from God. But for me, I was in the valley, and I had, and all of a sudden it hit me. God's okay with me being mad at him, and he's okay with me being in the valley, but he doesn't want me to stay here. So my, we have a sign in our house.
Surviving is important, but thriving is elegant. We want to thank Bill and Deborah Maccabee for sharing their story with us. If you'd like to hear an extended version of our conversation, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcast, or you can visit SalvationArmySoundcast.org. The Salvation Army's mission, doing the most good, means helping people with material and spiritual needs. You become a part of this mission every time you give to the Salvation Army. Visit SalvationArmyUSA.org to offer your support.
We would love to hear from you. Email us at radio at uss.salvationarmy.org. Call 1-800-229-9965 or write us at P.O.
Box 29972, Atlanta, Georgia, 30359. When you contact us, we'll send you our gift for this series. It's totally free for listeners like you, one per household, while supplies last. You can also subscribe to our show on iTunes or your favorite podcast store and be sure to give us a rating. Just search for Wonderful Words of Life. Follow us on social media for the latest episodes, extended interviews, and more. And if you don't have a church home, we invite you to visit your local Salvation Army worship center. They'll be glad to see you. This is Bernie Dake inviting you to join us next time for The Salvation Army's Wonderful Words of Life. Music
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