It's incalculable the impact that one godly couple can have on generations to come.
And it was my desire and I knew that it was Blair's desire and that though we came, we both came from broken homes, the Lord brought us together in his sovereignty so that we might leave a godly legacy. Welcome to Family Life Today, where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Ann Wilson.
And I'm Dave Wilson. And you can find us at familylifetoday.com or on our Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. So growing up in Finley, Ohio, this little town, I was always jealous of this one family, the Barons.
Were you? That's my family. Yeah, I mean, they were known in our town as this really close-knit family. Now, I know it wasn't as great as we thought from the outside, but I always was jealous of your dad. Because, you know, he coached me and I knew your brothers. I played sports with your brothers. And every time I was near your family, it felt full of joy, felt fun, a lot of laughter. And you guys were addicted to sports, so that was awesome. But I think a lot of people in that town felt that about the Barons.
I don't. It makes me teary just because I just lost both my parents. And they did create that. Like, they were fun. People wanted to be at our house, not so much because of us kids, but because my dad. People would sit down and he would say, tell me your story.
Tell me who you are. How did you get so great? And he was great at complimenting other people, wasn't he? And he loved you.
It helped that you were a good athlete, too. Well, it was the kind of family who never wanted to leave their house. You wanted to stay there. It felt warm. It felt inviting.
And I would leave. And I remember getting on my bike and pedaling. Or then later, going home to an empty house with just my mom, who was drinking to hide her pain. Now, we're bringing all that up. I've already been crying.
We just started. I feel sad for you, too. And you're hearing on the other side of the room, you've got Shai and Blair Lynn in here. This is day two, talking about your family. And Blair, you wrote a book called Finding My Father.
So obviously, you've had a similar experience. But again, let me just first say welcome back to Family Life Today. We're so glad to have you back.
Thanks. It's good to be back with you guys. And Shai, it's really good to have both of you here to hear both of your stories and the similarities, too. And the struggle of wanting to have that relationship and also forgiving our fathers. Because I think our listeners, I mean, even me, having a great dad, there are still things that I had to forgive. I think this relates to all of us.
Yeah. And so obviously, we've heard a little bit of your story. But even as you hear us talk about that, did you ever feel that in your life? Because you both lived in homes that were fatherless, in a sense, like mine. Did you feel a similar desire to be, I want to be around a family where there's a dad and there's something there that I don't have? I remember praying. Actually, my grandmother, who was a source of strength, kind of the backbone of our family on my mom's side, and a strong believer. And she would pray for us, and she would pray that we would have a godly family. And I remember at 13 years old, praying, I want to have a godly family.
Now, I had no idea what that even meant. But that was in my mind, that was in my heart. That that's what you wanted.
That that's what I wanted. And it's so sad because there weren't many models where I lived. So I would look out at the different families that lived around us or when we lived in an apartment building below us or to the side of us. And it wasn't really anything that I saw that I wanted to model, sadly.
And so it's crazy. When I was a child, I actually would have like an imaginary family, which is really sad, with a dad. You know, so most of what I saw when I thought of a family was something on television.
The Cosby Show. Yeah. You know, yeah.
And Shai, you're shaking your head. Very similar for me. So I didn't know that there was anything other than single parent homes because all of my friends, it was just their mom. So the idea of a dad even being in the home was foreign to me.
And yet look at you two now. I mean, I wonder if your grandmother praying that for you, did that give you a sense of this is what I want as well? Absolutely.
And then God answered that prayer. Absolutely. Yeah. So as you as you guys get married, was there a desire? I mean, you've got three kids, right?
Was there a desire to say- Well, not before we got married. Well, yeah, you didn't have any kids before. Yeah. You've had them since.
Yes. But I know when Anna and I got married, there was two things going on in my mind. She, again, came from this great family. And again, we're not saying perfect, because even as I got in there- And there was no faith going on. I saw all the dysfunctions.
Yes, there's a lot. I can tell you stories. But anyway, it was just sort of a typical family, but there was a dad. And I didn't have that. So when we got married, I had two things in my mind. One was I was scared to death to be a dad.
I wanted to be one, but I was afraid I didn't know how. Yeah. Let me share this, Dave. On our honeymoon, we go out east to the East Coast, and we spend two nights in Boston at this great hotel. We're all excited, and we're kind of adventurous. We're like, let's take the subway. Let's explore the city. So we're exploring, and on the way back, we get lost on the subway.
And I love adventure. I'm like, who cares if we're lost? We're together.
This is amazing. And Dave starts getting mad. We get back to the hotel room. He totally shuts down. We've been married three days at this point. And I'm like, what's wrong? So you just had to bring that up, huh?
Didn't know we were going there. Yeah. We haven't talked about this in a long time. He starts crying. The hardest that I've ever seen him cry. And I'm thinking, what's wrong?
Yeah. I can remember it like it was yesterday, and it was 40-some years ago. I was sobbing very strongly. And I remember trying to understand what I was feeling. And I was overwhelmed. Two weeks before our wedding, we went to the family life, weekend to remember, that now for 30-plus years, we're speakers at.
But we sat there as an engaged couple. And it was the first time in my life I had ever heard a talk from the Word of God about what a husband looks like and a dad. And it was great.
It was awesome. I've given that talk thousands of times now. And you had never heard anything like that before?
Oh, nothing. I didn't grow up in a Christian home. I was probably a year and a half old as a follower of Christ. So the good thing was I, for the first time, heard what a man of God and a husband and dad should look like. The bad thing is I remember walking out going, I'll never be able to do that, partly because I didn't have any model.
That's sort of a victim mentality, but I was like, I'll never be able to do it. So that's what happened on that moment. We get lost. I'm supposed to be able to navigate our way through Boston.
I've never been there. But I think what happened is I felt overwhelmed that night. I think I said, I'll never be the man you need. Yeah, you said, I can't do this. You don't get it like, I don't know how to do this. And the good thing is now when I teach that, I say to the guys, if you're feeling overwhelmed right now, that's where God wants you. That's right.
He wants you to go, you're right. You won't be this man, but I can if you let me. So I say all that to say there was this fear, but there's also this excitement like, I get to change a legacy. Yes, yes. How did you guys walk into it? Was there any of that going on in your life? Yeah, so when we got engaged, I proposed to Blair at the Lincoln Memorial in D.C. a few feet away from where Martin Luther King gave his I Have a Dream speech. Seriously?
That is cool. Did you know it was going to happen? I didn't know, but the whole church knew because when we came back, everyone was crying and I was like, oh, OK, I see how this is, OK. And the thing that I communicated on that day and which we had already talked about before was that it's incalculable, the impact that one godly couple can have on generations to come. And it was my desire and I knew that it was Blair's desire to have a godly legacy and that though we both came from broken homes, the Lord brought us together in his sovereignty so that we might leave a godly legacy.
And that's what we began to walk in. Shai, when you're saying that, here's what hit me. The Ten Commandments, Exodus 20. I know you're familiar with this. You're a pastor, man, you preach this stuff, right?
You probably don't have a spoken word on this, I don't know. Verse 4, it's one of the commands, you shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on earth below or in the waters below. And then he says this, you shall not bow down to them or worship them for I, the Lord your God, I'm a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me.
And often that's all I heard. And so I realized, wow, I came from two alcoholic parents, adultery, divorce. You know, there's going to be this sin that could possibly be transferred through me to the third and fourth. Nobody ever read the next verse.
It's actually, he just keeps on going. He goes, in verse 6, he says, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. So when you were just saying that, Shai, I was like, you're living out the other side of that.
Like, I don't know. There's this beauty of the righteous man and woman. I am going to extend that for thousands of generations. And you get to, we get to change the name and the legacy. That was part of what you guys were hoping for as you got married.
Absolutely. And praise be to God. Yeah, that he loved us first. That's why we're able to love him. And we praying that it would impact so many generations beyond ourselves.
And it's amazing to be able to think often about Shai. What was the scripture that you shared with me? It was like, God can raise children for Abraham out of stones.
Yeah. You know, and just to see that the Lord, you know, though you've dealt with very hard things, not having our fathers in our lives, that doesn't have to be the end of the story. God changes our story so often for his glory. And you think about the new birth, that's what God does, right? He regenerates us.
He makes all things new. The old has gone, the new has come. And as we were just talking, it reminded me of our children. So we have three kids, 10, 7, and 6 right now. You guys are in the middle of it.
Gee whiz, those are great ages. They're busy. And one of the things that struck me a while back was we were talking to the kids and I was telling them about a cousin that they have who had a child out of wedlock. And one of our kids looks to us and says, wait, where's his wife? And I said, well, he doesn't, they're not married. And he said, wait, how can someone have a child if they're not married? In his mind, it was unfathomable that you could have a child without being married and that's all he knows with us. And so that was just a moment of, man, like the Lord is doing it.
He's starting fresh with the next generation. I love one of the things that you say in your book, Blair, you say we don't need to hide that father wound. We don't need to pretend that we aren't really that affected by our father's absence. Like I'm thinking that like so many of us do hide those wounds. Right.
That's right. And we don't know, we often are not aware of how we're being impacted by our father's absence. And even when we talk about the statistics, there's so many statistics which show like, you know, sociologists are very clear that fathers matter. You know, it's so evident because when you look at, for example, you know, whether it's the obesity rates or you're more likely to come in contact with police, just not having your dad in the home. You're more likely to be suicidal not having your dad in the home. Something that we dealt with that was very close to home was the infant mortality rate doubles when the dad is not in the home. So I talk about in the book when my mom told us that she was actually going to have another child.
And later, unfortunately, my brother passed away and it's like, who would have known, you know, that these were the statistics that it was kind of in a sense stacked up against us. But how the Lord is like, I can look at you, I can shield you, I can cover you. Because I'm like, I didn't even experience many things that many other people who are fatherless experience. I think the Lord shielded me from a lot, teen pregnancy or even going to jail or things like that. But even in that, the Lord says, I can still, I can cover you. I can still make all things new where you can create a legacy. And it doesn't actually have to mean that you have to get married and you have to have biological children.
I even talk about this in the book. Legacy looks like discipleship. It looks like pouring your life out, you know, as a single sister or brother.
It looks like, how do you pour into the next generation? How are you going to leave a mark and show the love of Christ to the next person coming along? And so, yes, may God's name be praised through all of us.
Regardless of the situation that we're in or the season of life that we're in, you know, we're here to bring his name, glory and praise. And as I hear your story, I can't help but think of all the fathers you have in your church in a way and the couples. Would you say, like, what would you be like without that community? There are tangible examples of men that I can point to over the years who have, you know, it's been a community thing. So it hasn't just been getting everything from one person, but just kind of, again, gleaning from different people over the years. And, you know, I think about things like family worship, which is something that I had no concept of. We didn't even eat dinner at the table when I was growing up, you know what I mean? What did that look like when somebody told you about that? Well, it wasn't him telling me about it. It was him showing me. He was inviting us over for dinner.
And then after dinner, taking time to open up the scriptures and sing with his kids. And so it was modeled. And I was like, wow, this is great.
I've never, I didn't have a category for this. And that's something that we've instilled in our home. And then we've been able to invite others in in the same way that we were invited in. So do you do a family worship?
We do. What's that look like? Yeah, what does it look like? So after dinner, we'll open the Bible and, you know, we're going through the book of Mark now. And so I'll read the passage.
Usually the previous text. So we'll do a recap of what we did before, asking the kids questions about it. Every day? Every week? As much as we can. Yeah.
Yeah, as much as we can. So you bring the kids in, you're asking them questions. Asking questions about what we just read. So you read?
It's just after dinner, so we're all gathered at the table. Yeah, we're already there. Yeah. Yeah, and then we'll read the next passage.
I'll ask them questions about it. And so we'll have a discussion. Sometimes it goes for 10 minutes.
Sometimes it goes for 30 minutes, just depending on how the discussion goes. And then I'll connect it to the gospel. How does this relate to Christ wherever we are in the Bible? And then we'll sing, pray, and that's it.
We're done. And then we also, we like sing right before bed too. You do? So we love to sing. Let's hear you sing something. What are you saying? Can we do that? Every night?
Can we sing one of your songs? Oh, what? Yeah.
Love you. Wait, what happened? What are we doing right now? What just happened? Blair said you're going to sing a song.
That's what just happened. I mean, we could sing together if you like. Okay, let's do it. I got a guitar. So this is before bedtime. You'll sing this song over your kids. We sing different songs every night.
Yeah, different songs. Will they sing with you? Or do you sing with them? No, they sing with us.
And then we pray. Yeah, so one of the things we did very early on, and we've been singing since, you know, Sage was a toddler. And so even, I mean, so they've just kind of, that's all they know. Yes. Yeah. So now actually, and one of the pastors, so when I moved to Washington DC right before we got married, there was like a two month window and I was staying with a family, one of the pastors at our church. And I remember him saying, we've been singing with our kids since they were six months old, you know?
And I just thought, six months old, wow. You know? And yeah, we just kind of, you know, as you learn and grow and you see what other families are doing and you say, oh, let's do that, you know, or no, we're not going to do that.
You know? But that's something that we've, we've kept and it's been beautiful. I have recordings of our oldest Sage singing Holy, Holy, Holy at six months. At six months?
At six months. You have genius kids. Well Sage is a genius. Well, I was at our middle son, Austin's house and they were putting their kids to bed, but they do the same thing. They sing over them. I got teary when he was doing like, this is the best, we can do this.
We prayed every night together. Well, that's what I was thinking. If there's a family listening and they're like, okay, I can't imagine us singing with our kids at night, which in one sense might well take a risk.
You could end up going there. Kids usually love it. But what would you say to a family that's like, we're not, we're not church planters, we're not pastors. We don't know the words like you guys do, but we want to do a family worship devotional. We want that to be a part of our family. What would you tell them?
Where would they start? Yeah, I mean, all families are different, but at the same time, I mean, we are commanded in scripture. Certain things are commanded, right? So we're called to sing to one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. And that doesn't have to be limited to the corporate gathering on Sundays. And in fact, I believe we should see what we do on Sundays as an outgrowth or an overflow of what's already happening during the week so that the kids don't have this sharp dichotomy between Sunday and everything else, but it's just like, well, no, we've been worshiping God throughout the week.
And then now we get to worship him with the corporate body of God's people. So to that person, I would say, you don't have to be a pastor. You don't have to be a scholar. If you have a Bible, you can open it. You can read it.
You don't even have to be, have the gift of teaching. You can just read the passage. So even if it's just 10 minutes of opening a Bible, reading the passage, discussing it, praying and call it a day, even if it's just that, just that small step of faithfulness, God will honor that.
Yeah. There's no law. It's not like this is the way we do it and you have to do it that way. The Lord can be praised in so many different ways. Even if it is just taking two minutes to read one verse every day, you know, or every other day.
His word won't return void. Yes, it won't, you know, or to stop and just pray with your children to pray for your children. And I just think, I think about my grandmother who prayed for me so often, just about every day, she prayed for me. I was sharing recently as she got older, she had dementia and my aunt would say she would still pray for her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren every day. It was so a part of who she was, that intercession.
And you know, we need to be interceding for our children. And I think it's beautiful for them to hear our prayers if possible, you know, so just trust the Lord. Even again, if it's a two-minute prayer and reading one verse. And I would say too, we have this, especially before our kids are driving, we have time with them in the car, like car time is amazing of not just catching up with them, but praying. I just got into that habit when they were infants, buckling them in, I would just pray out loud. And that just became so normal that we're praying before school, we're praying after school.
How'd your day go? We pray about the things that went on or the good or the hard things. And we always say mealtime, bedtime, drive time. Those are great times.
Those are moments to seize. You know, earlier, I thought you were going to sing, so. What happened to that, Dave? I think they were kind of reasons out of that. I don't know.
They were almost there. You still going to sing? You got one? You got like a chorus? You're listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Blair and Shai Lynn on Family Life Today. Will Shai break down and sing or will he leave his wife hanging? We're going to find out in just a minute. Plus, we'll hear a story that's going to encourage you if you've ever felt like your family devotion time is just going nowhere.
That's coming up in just a minute. But first, have you ever found yourself doom scrolling? You know, like where you just keep seeing post after post of a world losing its mind.
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That's 1-800-F as in family, L as in life, and then the word today. All right, now, will Shai leave his wife hanging or will he join her in song? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forevermore, to him be glory forever, amen, amen, amen. Okay, so we actually got you to sing, which was amazing.
Yeah, I mean, literally, Shai, when you said, I'm not singing it, and then she hit one note, you're in. Hey, just now, picture this, like I'm thinking of being in my bed and my parents singing over me. Imagine that, like as growing up, can you imagine what you would feel? Like they, your kids don't know any different because they've had it their whole lives, but the power of the gospel being sung over them every night.
Amazing. Yeah, I hope you keep doing it when they're teenagers. Because I can imagine it'd be like, Mom, Dad, you know, maybe not, but you know, you get to the age where it's like, but I think they love it so much.
Don't stop. They may say, hey, not tonight, but they're gonna love it. Do you remember a brother who mentioned about family worship and the impact of it? Can you share a little bit? Yeah, there's a pastor friend of mine who was sharing how they had Bible time family worship every day. And the youngest son, when he got 18, he was about to go off to college. And this was the most kind of unruly child of all. So when they would have the time, he was the one that always had to be disciplined. He was loud.
He was kind of running all over the place. And at times, the dad wondered, like, is he even paying attention? And so when it was time for him to go to college at 18, he, the son was standing in the living room just, and he started to tear up as he was staring at the couch. And the dad's like, well, what's going on? And he said, you know, dad, for my entire life, I sat there on that couch as you faithfully open God's word. And now that I'm about to leave, I'm really going to miss it.
And he just broke down. And it was just so encouraging to hear that it was small steps of faithfulness over time that God honored that. Sometimes you're not sure, is this making an impact? You know? And they're running around and they're not saying, dad, mom, thank you, that was incredible. Especially when the kids are young, there's vomit all over the place, you know what I mean? They're tickling each other.
It's like, what's happening right now? And so, yeah, that was really encouraging to hear. And yet you have a real passion for teaching children, not just your own. You've written a book on how, you know, parents can help transfer their faith in their kids. Yeah.
So there's a book, which is God Made Me and You, which is basically how parents can disciple their kids in appreciating God's diversity in creation. And then there's an album called Jesus Kids. He only wrote an album. Yeah, that's all. Yeah. There's an album called Jesus Kids. He's a guy who almost didn't want to sing. I know.
Right. And Jesus Kids is, it's a children's album and it's basically, it's a tool for parents to encourage their children in the gospel. And so I have a song called the Gotta Know the Books, which is basically the books of the Bible in rap form, which is a way to teach, yeah, the books of the Bible. You may not know this, but I play that all the time. Oh, really? And one of our granddaughters, our middle son, Austin's, his kids can do all the books. Really?
They played it. I'm like, who is this guy? He's amazing.
He's sitting right here in the studio. I know. Praise the Lord. And so, yeah. We're not going to get you to do it, are we? We're not. That's not going to happen. But I'm going to tell our listeners. You gotta know that. No. If I start, maybe.
No. I'm telling you as listeners, if you have kids, you need to play this. Put it in your car, play it. Because your kids are going to start singing this.
I love it because it's also, as I'm listening, because I've listened to the whole thing, it's incredibly theological. That's right. And you have these pockets of teaching in there of catechism. That's right. That's right.
It's so good. Yeah. Where'd that passion come from? Where'd the idea come from?
Which idea? You know, I'm going to do a book. I'm going to write music for kids to learn theology.
I think part of it is my love for C.S. Lewis and just seeing the power of stories for children that are theologically grounded and just how that can live for generations to come. And again, we're talking about legacy and music is such a powerful tool, such a powerful gift from God. It enables a person to hear something and be able to recall it because it's memorable.
It's a singable melody. And so having worked as a Christian hip hop artist for some time and then having kids of our own, it was like, it was a no brainer. Let's do something that can help, you know, by God's grace to shape and disciple children. One thing we learn from Jesus time in this world is how much he loves little boys and girls. Big crowds follow Jesus, hoping he would heal their sickness. Jesus showed compassion and healed them with the quickness. Some wanted to hear his lessons. Others asked him questions. Some brought children to him, hoping that he would bless them or maybe pray for them, lay hands on the babies.
But when they saw this, the disciples got angry. What do you think this is? He's not a babysitter.
Is he? Send the kids away. Don't you see the teachers busy? But Jesus said, they can come if they please. The kingdom of God belongs to ones like these. So please let the children come to me and don't hinder unless you become like them heaven you won't enter.
So kids look to the cross where Jesus hung and receive eternal life because you're not too young. You've been listening to Dave and Anne Wilson with Blair and Shai Lynn on Family Life Today. Their book is called Finding My Father, How the Gospel Heals the Pain of Fatherlessness. You can get a copy at familylifetoday.com. You can also find links to Shai's album Jesus Kids and his book for kids called God Made Me and You. Again, that's at familylifetoday.com. Maybe this summer you've glimpsed some character in your kids that really just kind of need some help. Hey, I know I have.
But how do you tackle that kind of stuff and what's it look like to locate and address your own blind spots? I love this quote about Family Life's Art of Parenting Small Group Study. It says this, we had a very diverse study group from six different countries. It was an amazing experience of evaluating how culture and upbringing impacts our parenting styles, sometimes in opposition to the truth of God's Word. We all agreed that this course was instrumental in reorienting our beliefs and practices toward Christ-centered parenting. That's amazing. Maybe the art of parenting could sharpen your awareness and tactics too. Even better right now, you can save on all our small group studies with the code 25OFF.
It's two-five-o-f-f. It's exactly what we need in parenting and life right now. Learn more at familylifetoday.com. And tomorrow, why does God give men and women different roles? And what does headship in the home look like?
It's a touchy subject. Tomorrow, David Ann Wilson will be talking with Joe Rigney about just that. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of David Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life, a crew ministry, helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
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