Fighting the War for Your Family
by Tim Hill
Published on December 14, 2023

Fighting the War for Your Family

(A personal story from mine and Paula’s journey of rearing a family while in ministry and leadership)

The Most Difficult War

In the past I have waged war with the enemy over various matters. Of all the challenges I have faced, nothing has ever arrested my soul more than when navigating through struggles that concern my own family.

As most know, Paula and I are parents of three beautiful daughters all of whom are grown and enjoying their families and varied careers. Each of our girls is a wonderful and unique blessing in our lives, and they’ve each brought us tremendous joy through the years. Like every family, we’ve had our dramas, too. Our family portraits, complete with smiling faces and formal poses, do not tell the whole story. What I’m about to relay is more in line with our reality and the reality most people experience.

We had just returned from commencement exercises on a Saturday in 2008. One of our girls had graduated with a business degree, complete with a 4.0 grade point average over four years. She had even been selected to give one of the speeches about her university experience while completing the program. We laughed, had a cookout, and beamed with joy as we gave her gifts and celebrated the grand occasion. She had worked hard and had overcome the deep disappointments that come with being uprooted and moving frequently to follow her parents in their ministry assignments.

Fighting From Our Knees

On Sunday morning, she awakened early, packed her car, and moved to Ohio where she quickly found a good job with a bank in Columbus. Gifted in music and as an incredible lyricist, she began to write songs that caught the attention of a producer and promoter of rock music. It wasn’t long before our daughter called us to say that she would be giving up her good job making good money to travel with a rock band. Success came quickly as they acquired recording contracts and toured throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Though we were extremely proud of her talent, our hearts became heavy as we followed her tour schedule on the internet, realizing the kinds of venues where she was performing.

On many nights Paula sensed alarm in her spirit and would find her way to our child’s bedroom and fall across the bed in tearful intercession. She did it so frequently that on the occasions when our daughter would visit us at home, she would ask about the smell of Paula’s perfume emanating from the bed. According to the press releases and music reviews, they were attracting a large fan base. Yet Paula and I continually agonized over this path our daughter was traveling.

As we traveled around the world preaching and giving altar calls so other parent’s children could be saved, we were fighting privately for our daughter’s soul. More than once while I was preaching or carrying out church business, I was under a barrage of heart-seeking missiles of condemnation from the enemy. I remember one night in Spain watching as hundreds of young people responded to the opportunity, I extended to them to accept Christ. While I rejoiced at that moment, I later went to my hotel room and muffled my groanings in a pillow as I wept for my child. I could only find sleep after reading aloud every scripture I could find about household salvation and then claiming them as personal promises for my own family.

Years went by. Years of Paula walking down the hall and falling across that bed. Years of my following the band’s tour on their website and then wishing I hadn’t, because I’d rather not have known the kinds of places they were playing. Years of putting on the face and taking a deep breath before walking on a stage to try to help somebody get through their own spiritual war.

I’ve learned along the way that there are some things you’ll go through that are more about your endurancethan your achievement.

I’ve learned along the way that there are some things you’ll go through that are more about your endurance than your achievement.

Paula and I often inquired of the Lord. Through those times, we found the drive to keep praying and carrying on our ministry to others. To this day, I don’t know exactly what occurred. But I don’t need to know and haven’t ever asked. What I do know is that one day, my daughter called home and told her mother the band was ending. She then shared an encounter that came as a result of a friend’s testimony of grace in her own life. It wasn’t long until our daughter returned home and began a new journey that came with trials and tears, ups and downs, setbacks and victories. Paula and I leaned heavily on God’s grace during this particularly difficult season and as a result experienced joy even in the midst of struggle.

God’s Mercy Endures Forever

That young lady is now in her mid-thirties and far beyond my watchful eye and discipline. The best I can hope for now is good and godly influence. She has founded two businesses, purchased her own home and has become a landlord and even buys her dad dinner on occasion. Yes, there have been difficult times of relapse and a regression of the journey. There have been multiple gut-wrenching dad/daughter exchanges where the unstoppable force (her) collided with the immovable object (me). Life is what life is-a journey of ups and downs, victories and disappointments. There is no pretense here that all is perfect or anything that resembles it. Not unlike you, days and decisions still present themselves as their own unique reasons to go to my Father in prayer on behalf of all of my children and family for that matter but God is good and that thing called “mercy” keeps doing what it does-enduring forever.

God is good and that thing called “mercy” keeps doing what it does-enduring forever.

Soon, I won’t be the General Overseer of a denomination but I will be my daughter’s father and that’s what will matter most.

Keep Believing

To every pastor and leader who is fighting for the soul of your children, hold on. To the hundreds who after hearing our story, or after reading it in one of my books, identified with a church leader who experienced similar tears and heartache as you have, hold on. To the dozens of leaders and pastors who know our story and have called me or asked for a private meeting seeking prayer and advise on how to navigate the storms in your family, hold on.

We’re in this together and there are more of us than you will ever know or imagine. Satan wants our kids because he wants us.

Hear me, Pastor. Your child’s struggle does not disqualify you from leading and preaching the gospel of Jesus. I’m sure I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded as a dad.

Your child’s struggle does not disqualify you from leading and preaching the gospel of Jesus.

Like that time, I gave that “I’m not financing your road trip to Hell” speech. That went over real well with a teenager. NOT!

I had borrowed that line from some fire and brimstone story I had heard another preacher tell. It sounded good coming from him. No, I didn’t always get it right and still don’t. I’ve dissected Proverbs 22: 6 every way it can be cut. Sometimes I still feel the tug-o-war in my own heart and I haven’t had a teenager in my house for over 10 years.

But the last time I checked, Second Timothy 1:12 still rings true also…”For I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”

Yes, that includes your children.

(This article is written with the knowledge and expressed permission of my daughter and family and lifted from the book, The Amos Paradigm published in 2014 and later The Speed of Favor published in 2016.)

Bishop Tim Hill, D.D. is general overseer for the Church of God, where he leads the international ministries of more than 8,651,920 million members, and nearly 42,000 churches in 191 countries and territories worldwide.   

A graduate of Lee University, Hill previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the denomination, holding various positions, and was director of Church of God World Missions.  

Bishop Hill is the author of more than a dozen books, including the recently released Furnace Grace. Other writings include six books of sermons and 150 gospel songs. Many of his songs have been recorded by the nation’s top gospel musicians, choirs, and contemporary and traditional artists. Hill has traveled extensively throughout the United States and around the world, ministering in denominational and interdenominational conventions, camp meetings, and conferences.   

Bishop Hill is married to Paula, and they have three daughters and five grandchildren.

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash



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