Richard and Barbara Hill had suffered two miscarriages between my sister’s birth and mine. My birth was anticipated with much fear and joy. I was born on April 27st, 1979. My mother named me Jonathan meaning “gift of God.” Though I do not remember them ever saying it, it was evident in the way we were raised that my parents believed that all children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127).
My father was a gentle but strong man. Most of my childhood he was a church planter in Montana. He would pastor a small existing church, lead a bible study that would develop into another church and work a full time job. Montana was not known for its job market and often my dad would take seasonal low paying jobs just to help our family make ends meet.
Despite the overwhelming drain and stress of being overworked and underpaid my father was the priest in our home. He lead us with a family devotional in the morning and family prayer time at night. He was the first to discipline us, but always with love…I never saw my father lose his temper (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6 & 15).
In my denomination women are encouraged to take seriously the highest office of influence over a man (motherhood). My mother has influenced my walk with Christ more than any other individual. She did it by being a Godly mom (I Timothy2:12-15, Proverbs 31). Often I would rise early to use the bathroom in early hour of the morning and catch my mom in our living room with her bible open having a daily quiet time.
More than just the habits my parents exhibited I saw their faithfulness in the small things. I remember having a desire as a young man to be so like my mom and dad that I asked how I could memorize scripture. My parents loved God and they loved to be with the people of God. Every time we were gone on a Sunday we would be in a church service at another location on our way to where ever we were going (I John 1:7). To this day I can count on one hand how many Sundays I have not attended worship service in my life. Not because I am trying for perfect attendance but because we so loved God that we couldn’t help but want to be with His people.
I saw my parents face trials with a patient endurance. There were times that the ends would not be meeting and we would see God provide for us in miraculous ways (like a giant bag of pinto beans or a check in the mail). My parent’s faith was unwavering and I learned by observation what it looks like to face difficult and dark days with an eye to see Jesus Glorified (James 1:2-4, Hebrews 12:1-2 )
I was off to a great start, but later around the age of 14 I would face a trial of my own that would expose my complete lack of faith in God. I was trying to live in the world of my parent’s faith, but came up short when the pressure was on. It was time I learned just where I stood in the world apart from God and without hope. Check back tomorrow as the story continues with…
- My Story: A Trial that Proves a Faulty Faith (Part 2)
- My Story: Lost in a Religious World (Part 3)
- My Story: Waking up from a Dream (Part 4)
- My Story: Living with Passion and Purpose (Part 5)
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