Fatherhood

18 Things I Want My Son to Know About Life

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18 thingsRecently, Douglas Groothuis shared some advice that he gave a young man about to begin college. I thought it was tremendous, practical, simple, and yet profound wisdom. I hope my son, who is currently almost three, will heed this wisdom as he grows into a young man. So Hayden, when you read this twelve or fifteen years in the future, my heart’s desire is for you to act on this wisdom.

I will post Dr. Groothuis’s advice in bold and add some of my thoughts.

 

 

1. Study the Bible for the rest of your life.
Son, what is found within the pages of scripture is life. Choose it. Study it. Swallow it. Digest it. It will return a yield like you cannot imagine. Don’t read it simply to acquire knowledge. Do what it says (James 1:22).

2. Attend a Bible believing, teaching church.
Churches are like people. None of them are perfect. Find one that teaches truth and is living out what scripture teaches. Get involved in what God is doing. You need the support, encouragement, and accountability that you will find in church. You also need to be faithful to sing praises unto God and hear His word spoken. Find a church that doesn’t dumb down the gospel. Look for a church that thinks and engages culture.

3. Read Christian classics.
Don’t be deceived in thinking that “old books” offer no wisdom. On the contrary, they are pearls of wisdom. We stand on the shoulders of those before us. Be sure to check out Chesterton, Pascal, and Augustine to name a few.

4. Learn basic worldviews and why Christianity is rationally superior and true in all its affirmations.
This is a call to live an apologetic lifestyle. Know what you believe. Know what others believe. Why is Christianity more compelling than alternative worldviews? I have studied it for myself and continue to ask the hard questions. I have wrestled with doubt. You must do the same.

5. Beware of worldliness.
To avoid worldliness you have to be diligent, focused, and not chase everything that glitters.

6. Always be thinking of how to advance the mission and kingdom of God.
Regardless of your vocation, there is work to be done in God’s kingdom. Regardless, God’s will is going to be accomplished and someone will do His work. You get to decide whether you want the privilege of being involved.

7. Don’t waste your time and life. See Psalm 90
Life goes by in a blink. Make your time matter. How do you do that? See number 6.

8. Listen to other people, culture, God, yourself.
Many people have good things to say. You have good ideas. God always has good things to say and His ideas are never wrong.

9. Pick your friends carefully and be a true friend. See I Corinthians 13.
Good friends are hard to find. I can count on one hand the life-long friends that I have that have been closer than a brother. Distance and time does not diminish friendship. True friends forgive and are honest with one another. They have each other’s best interest at heart.

10. Remain sexually celibate until marriage and chaste within marriage.
Want a great sex life son? Then don’t have sex until you get married. I know this may not seem true, but trust me. This is where my wisdom knows better than your naiveté. Don’t ruin an amazing gift.

11. Marry someone not terribly unlike you.
This will diminish the potential conflicts in your marriage.

12. Marry only a Christian.
This is the most important quality in your potential wife. There will be times where your mutual faith is the only thing that can get you through difficult times.

13. Give as much as you can, make as much as you can, invest as much as you can.
There is nothing wrong with money. Make as much as you can without sacrificing your family. Know your priorities. Life is about relationships and not having things. Yet, I want you to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Help others. Finance God’s kingdom. Invest your money and live wisely. Live like no one else early on so you can live like no one else later in life.

14. Read Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 often: on youth and age before God.
Don’t put God off. Live for Him now. This is how you build a life devoid of regret.

15. Don’t lose the best things in life by oversaturation in electronic media.
Electronic media is great. It has its place. Enjoy it. Yet, make sure you do more of what you love (spend time with family, grow your natural talents, expand your interests, etc) and less of what you like (electronic media).

16. Read as much as possible on many topics.
You will be smarter, better at conversing, and find that knowledge is very empowering. Leaders are readers.

17. If you want higher education, do not put it off.
Love knowledge. Get as much school as you can. I hope I have set an example for you in this. I hope by the time you read this list and take it seriously that I will have attained three masters degrees and a Ph.D. You will never regret education.

18. Try to stay out of major debit.
Debt enslaves you. It can keep you from serving God. When your life is consumed with debt you will find you serve money more than God, even if that is not your heart’s desire. Deny your wants. Live within your means. Save for what you want.

Son, I hope you will take these thoughts into consideration. You have to be intentional about life. Enjoy it, but be aggressive. Nothing moves unless it is shoved. You won’t get a “do over.” Make your life count. God wants to use you. Live it to the fullest.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Apologetic Wednesday: Love Then Logic

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Love Then LogicIt is roughly one o’clock in the morning. It is a pretty familiar scene for me. I sit working in front of my computer in a dimly lit living room while the rest of my family sleeps. I watch my son over a monitor that streams live to my cell phone. As is often the case, he wakes up crying. I walk into his room to console him. He wants in my bed. I pick him, hug him, and place him gently beside my wife. He snuggles into her and is back to sleep in an envious matter of seconds, safe and secure.

I enjoy this time of life. My children are dependent upon me. I can allay their fears, bring comfort to their hearts, kiss away their pains, and shelter them from an often toxic and harsh world. Yet, I know one day they will make their own way. Their decisions will be their own. It will no longer be I that guides their every step.

Early yesterday morning, I read an article before I began my day. It was written by Rachael Slick, which is the daughter of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry founder, Matt Slick. In her article she tells about her childhood, which she seems to paint as restrictive, sheltered, and legalistic, and her journey into atheism. She recounts all the time that her father spent pouring into her good reasons to embrace Christianity. Then one day, she thinks of a question that she cannot answer, and walks away from her faith. Though her article does not make it clear, she seems to walk away quickly without really wrestling with the question that sent her spiraling away from the center of her Christian universe. It is also interesting to note that the question she felt posed a great problem for the Christian is really not problematic for belief in God.

As I read her story, I felt deeply saddened, but I also felt the crushing weight of responsibility. As a father of two, I hope I can instill into my children the love of God and why faith in Jesus Christ is reasonable. Why? Because I know that what they believe about God is the most important thing about them. Yet, as I read her article, it caused me to think about my own children and their journey through life as they formulate their own worldview. What if my children also decided to depart from the faith? What would I do? I would love them. Plain and simple, I would love them. There is nothing that can ever separate them from my love. No decision they could ever make can change the fact that I love them, and always will.

I have seen so many Christians who allow a host of different things to form a chasm between them and the people they love. Yet, we would do well to remember that there is nothing that can kill love, it is we that choose to withhold our love and affection.

As I read Ms. Slick’s article, it seemed (and I am psychologizing here) that though her father poured philosophy into her young mind early on and taught her to employ sound logic; she might have missed out on something she needed much, an understanding of God’s deep love and experiencing that love. We must remember that love isn’t something to be earned. It can only be given. It is the same with God. We can’t earn it. It is something He gives freely.

As Christians and Apologists (if you are a Christian you are called, though some to a higher degree than others, to be an apologist and have a reason for the hope you have) we need to remember that it is our love that must precede our logic. Do I want my children to develop solid answers for what they believe? Absolutely! Do I want my kids to remember their dad as being a defender of truth, who sought truth regardless of where it leads, and studied hard to make a case for Christianity? You bet! But long before they remember my arguments I want them to remember my love, because without a heavy dose of love from their dad my arguments won’t seem to carry much weight. In fact, without my love all of my words will just sound empty, like a “clanging symbol” that is beat annoyingly.

Let’s continue to redefine the way the world views Christianity. We are not a group of people scared by current scientific research. We do not cower down to the philosophies of the secular mind. We are not sheltered and fearful of “being bullied.” We have reasons for what we believe. But can we, as believers, please employ love before logic? Can we make sure that the world knows God’s love and be ambassadors of that love? Can we make sure that Christianity isn’t just a cognitive exercise, but also is a love story between God and His creation?

Ms. Slick, though you may not believe in God, He still loves you. To my own children, I will always love you regardless of the decisions you make. To the rest of us, may we remember the words of the Apostle Paul:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38-39

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Ounces of Eden: Why Adults Should Be More Like Kids

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Ounces of EdenMy son loves bugs. I think there is something innate in every male around the age of two that compels them to enjoy all things creepy-crawly. Now, he doesn’t like touching bugs mind you. He has a fascination of them from afar. Tonight, when I was taking our dog out for the 18th time, I noticed something I hadn’t seen in a while. A little light twinkled on and off at various points across our yard. A Firefly, the most romantic little guy in the insect world. Think of it, he can create his own ambiance every time he takes Mrs. Firefly out.

I managed to catch the little luminaire with wings, placed it in a jar, and brought it inside for my son to ogle at. When I came inside I told him that I caught him a very special bug. I turned out the light, and we watched as this marvelous creation did what it was designed to do. It glowed. Hayden was beside himself. “That bug has a flashlight”, he exclaimed. Well-spoken Hayden, I thought, a bug with his own flashlight. Imagine that.

We watched our small friend flicker around a few more minutes, and then we set it free to be a tiny beacon in sea of black. That was it. One boy. His dad. A tiny bug. Two full hearts. A gentle reminder.

This week started out kind of crummy for me. I had been sick with an odd virus (that makes your skin feel like it is being burned off). I was cranky, tired, stressed out, anxious, and feeling as though I didn’t have what it takes. Do you ever feel that way? That your dreams, hopes, and aspirations would just as soon smash you flat, scrape you up, and then crinkle you between their fingernails as the wind disperses the bits and pieces at random? It was a perfect storm for me to be a complete curmudgeon. Yet, bad weeks make gentle reminders burn brighter than they normally would. Tonight, as we gazed at a tiny, resplendent creature in the pitch-black of our living room, I was reminded of how good life is.

As I watched my son, it occurred to me that adults should be more like children for a number of reasons. In fact, at times I watch my son with jealous eyes. It seems when we are young we lack the perspective to enjoy childhood for what it is. Yet, it has long been my conviction that children never grow up. They just get bigger bodies, more responsibilities, become more driven by fear, distracted, and lose much of the wonder for the world around them.

I know that as “bigger children” we can’t ditch our responsibilities, but maybe we would do well to be more like children at times. Consider the many wonderful ways that children approach life. Early on, children aren’t insecure. They don’t worry about what other people think about them. They aren’t scared to ask questions. They aren’t anxious over the future. Very little, if any, shame mars their tiny hearts. They have no problem enjoying themselves. They take risks. They love freely and deeply. They trust others and aren’t cynical. They view the world with fresh, vibrant eyes, and they find wonder in everything they lay their eyes on.

When you begin to analyze the lives of children, one cannot help but be taken back to Eden. The infancy of mankind. What must that have been like? I think we can know, though with extremely limited capacity, by looking at the lives of children. We know that in Eden, mankind was corrupted and sin entered the world. The freshness and wonder of Eden was crushed under the weight of sin. So also is it with children. Eventually the world tries to squeeze every ounce of Eden out of the hearts and minds of all. Yet, regardless of how hard the world tries, one thing cannot be erased. The Imago Dei. The image of God.

At the fall, the imaged of God was effaced, but not erased. We all bear God’s image. It is the last ounce of Eden that remains with us all. At times, we get greater glimpses of Eden. When we become more like our children, I believe we are closer to what life was like at the beginning, and what life will be back when He returns. In the meantime, we get to struggle in a post-Eden world. Yet, we should strive to take Eden back by learning from our children.

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. –Matthew 18:3

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What quality do you most admire about children?

Clocks Stop

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Clocks SopThis week I didn’t post a blog on Wednesday. I’ll be honest. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that I failed to post. I always enjoy preparing for the content that goes out on Wednesdays, yet this week, no post. You know how it is. When you fall short of your own expectations you get frustrated with yourself. I generally try and post three times a week. I try to be consistent with doing that. Not because I have some massive following or because I think a lot of people will be frustrated with me for failing to come up with content, articulate my thoughts, and share them with some shred of creativity. I try to post three times a week because that is the goal I set for myself. Because I have decided to be a writer, and writers write. I have learned that you have to write, even when you don’t feel like it, but perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

The reason I didn’t publish anything on Wednesday of this week is because Tuesday night I had a choice. I could stay nestled on the couch with my son watching a movie that has become one of our favorites or I could say, “You keep watching. Daddy is going to do some writing.” I decided to stay firmly planted on the couch. Why? Because when I am staring at the tail lights as my son pulls out of the driveway headed to college, that one Wednesday 16 years in the past where I failed to publish a blog will hold little significance.

I have been learning a lot about time as of late. When I was younger, I murdered a lot of time. It wasn’t until later, as it is with most of us, that I came to understand that A.W. Tozer was correct when he said, “When you kill time, remember it has no resurrection.” We can’t reclaim lost time. There are no redo’s. Eggs can’t be unscrambled. We will run out of time long before we run out of money.

With that being said, maybe we should really pay attention to where our time goes. I do my best to make sure that I give priority to moments that can never be reclaimed over doing things that I love, and I do things that I love before I do things that I like. Special moments with my kids can’t be reclaimed. Once you miss it, it is gone. Sure there are other special moments, but I would prefer to miss as few of those as possible. These take precedence over doing things that I love, such as writing or reading. This week, choosing to spend time on the couch with my son was the better option than writing a blog.

Then there are things that I simply like doing. We all have those things that we like. Watching television, playing or stalking people on Facebook, listening to music, whatever it is that floats your boat. But, I find to better myself with the things I love it requires doing less of the things I like. If I want to be a better write or have a better grasp on ideas, I have to spend the lion’s share of my time doing things that I love (reading and writing) instead of doing what I like (watching movies or reading pointless posts on Facebook).

Now, don’t get me wrong. We all need time to do the things we like, but not at the expense of the things we love. And we all need to dedicate ourselves to what we love. Our passions need to be fueled and our talents utilized, but not at the expense of irretrievable moments.

We are a nation that has gotten lazy with our time.  Kurt Cobain lamented in the 90’s, “Here we are now, entertain us.” This captures the American Psyche. Entertainment is king, when really, much of the time our entertainment kills time that we could be spending on things that matter or things that we love.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is we really need to find balance when it comes to how we spend our time. We need to live with the end in mind. We need to live in such a way that at the end of our lives we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that we invested our time wisely. Just like the clock on the wall, our lives will one day come to a stop.

Teach us to number our days. –Psalm 90:12

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Lost and Found

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Have you ever lost something important? What did you do? Did you sit around, hoping it would eventually turn up, or did you keep searching until you found it? It probably depends on how important it was.  Around my house, I feel like we are constantly looking for things. Our little boy is frequently putting things in random places. My wife has knack for misplacing (her word for losing) various items as well. Honestly, I think they are both in cahoots just to watch me tear the house apart in a frantic frenzy. The most common items I search for are: remote controls, car keys, debit cards, and cell phones (which are always on silent when they are lost). I hate losing things. It is such a frustrating experience. Generally, things get lost when you need them most, or when you are in a hurry.

Last Sunday night nothing could have prepared me for what got lost. It was my two-year old son. We had just gotten out of church, and several of us stayed around visiting and catching up afterwards. All of the exits were locked. My wife and I were both keeping our eyes on our son as he ran and played with several of the other children. Out of nowhere someone asks, “Where is Hayden.” My response was, “He is right over here playing with the kids.” I walk around the corner and I see the kids, but my kid is missing. No big deal. I check the bathrooms because sometimes he meanders in there. I walk in and the lights are out. I call out and no answer. I quickly check his usual spots all to no avail. We check the sanctuary. No Hayden. We look, and one of the exterior door are cracked open.

At this point, about twenty people go in every direction, some out the front doors, others out the back, and some stay inside. I quickly run to the front and make sure he is not anywhere close to the road. Thankfully, I don’t see him close to the road, but then again, I don’t see him anywhere else either. Nausea starts to ripple through my stomach. Where is he? He isn’t one to wander. Where can he be? Please, God, help us find this sweet little boy. I walk back inside. Everyone else has moved outside to look so I start to sweep the inside again. I run into the sanctuary and something to my left catches my attention. He is playing in the floor of the sound booth completely oblivious to the frantic search going on around him.

Relief. I am flooded with a heart of thankfulness. I found him. He is okay. He is safe. I scoop him up and squeeze him. In that moment he has no idea how relieved and thankful I am to have my arms wrapped tightly around him. My son that was lost is now found. What incredible joy. I cut my celebration short in order to tell everyone else to call off the search. I had found him. No longer did I rejoice alone, we all gave thanks. Everything was alright. My son was safe.

In those short couple of minutes I collided headlong with a new perspective on the degree of the Father’s love for us. I had previously thought I had somewhat of a grasp on the extent of God’s love for His children. What I thought I knew about God’s love was shattered in several extremely long minutes.

I would have given anything to find my son. There is no extreme I would not have gone to in order for him to be wrapped safely in my arms. How much more so is the Father’s love for us? He paid the ultimate price.

He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
-Philippians 2:7-8

Ever since mankind willingly chose to separate himself from God, He has been seeking us. Even though our souls have become twisted and we desire to hide, He has been seeking us. Though we have tried to do things our own way and rebelled, He has continued to search for us.

He is always there with arms wide. A Father that longs to embrace His children. What joy he finds when we are found! We will never know what pure love is until we run to Him!

Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.‘  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.  -Luke 15:8-10

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

God, A Baby Girl, and Some Clarity

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Last week, a new baby girl entered the world. I have a little life entrusted to me that will one day call me daddy. When I met Hadley for the first time, I was flooded with emotion. A sense of wonder and awe washed over me. God uses children to speak into our hearts in a significant and unique way. Our children touch us in ways that nothing else can. The night our daughter was born, I lay in a hospital room on a lumpy, uncomfortable pull out couch. A box fan hummed as the balloons from gift baskets buffered against the window. As I lay there my thoughts turned to my family, specifically the two beautiful children God has given me. I considered how much I love my kids, and how much I know that love will grow.

Then the verse came to my mind, “For God so loved the world.” Everyone knows that verse. It is recited repeatedly. It is one of the first verses children learn in Sunday school. People hold it up on signs at sporting events. It has been called “the North Star of the Bible.” It is hard to truly get your arms around that verse without having experienced being a parent. What I thought that verse meant growing up has deepened as my love for my children expands.

For God so loved. What does that mean exactly? When it comes to my children, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I would gladly lay down my life to protect them. I would go to great lengths to see them taken care of. What a tremendous parallel. Is it no wonder that we call Him Father? What lengths He has gone to that we might have life, and have it to the fullest.

When I was growing up, there were several instances where I questioned my parents. Why are you doing this? Your decision doesn’t make any sense. Why are you being unfair? Why can’t I, when my friends are? Why don’t you do this instead of that? There were times that I was aggravated with my parents, thinking they should change the way they see certain situations, or that they should do things differently. Now, having children of my own, their actions are abundantly clear. I don’t need anyone to explain to me why they did what they did. Though as a child I lacked the perspective needed to understand. It is curious how time and a change in perspective provide one with so much clarity.

So how does that relate to how we see God? For Christians and skeptics alike, there are often times where we question God. We wonder why He behaves the way He does, or doesn’t give us the answers we want the moment we want them. We question why He allows certain things, or why He remains hidden at certain times. We desire to know why He doesn’t intervene in certain situations, and why bad things happen. At certain points, we might even shake our fists at God.

What if, at our present juncture, we lack the perspective to see things with clarity? Just like when we were kids we questioned our parents only to see things in lucid detail as our children came along, maybe it will be the same with God. Perhaps one day everything will make sense when we are given that moment of clarity.

So for now, can we just rest in the fact that God so loved the world? Can we be both comforted and frightened by the fact that God holds the world in His hands, and no sparrow falls that He is not privy too? Can we simply find solace knowing that God is in control even when things feel out of control? Can we be reminded that as a parent loves their children, so does God love us?

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

My Son’s New Four Letter Word

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The Fults house has recently elevated a four letter word to rock star status. It flows like water in our house, thanks to our 19 month old son, Hayden. We hear it all day every day. His new favorite word is “cars”, except he usually turns it into a six letter word and pronounces it “carths”.

Just a few weeks ago, I could count on one hand the number of times a day I heard the word “cars”. Now, it is ubiquitous (I love that word); I can’t even tell you how often I hear this word. Driving down the road anytime we see a car, I hear the word. In case you hadn’t figured it out, one passes countless cars on even the shortest trip. It is as if he is stuck on repeat in the back seat, cars, cars, cars, cars…..

He loves to ride in cars, he loves to play with cars, he loves to make car noises, but more than anything he loves to watch the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. The movie basically stays on at our house indefinitely. It seems our television is stuck in a never ending cars loop. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he says is, you guessed it, cars. Even when he isn’t sitting down watching the movie, he still wants it on as ambiance.

After a couple of weeks on this steady diet of Cars, my wife and I started to notice something. Without really even trying, we have the movie memorized. I am almost certain if you play the movie on mute I could do all of the dialogue. We even quote the movie pretty often. Lightning McQueen (“a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics”) has permanently invaded my conscious and subconscious.

The fact that I have memorized this movie over the span of a couple of weeks made me realize something. If we want to develop a skill, become better at something, or grow in certain areas it takes repetition and doggedness. The problem, all too often, is we are quitters. In fact, I will go as far as to say we are a generation of quitters.

I think my generation has a problem with quitting. We have a problem with wanting other people to do things for us. We have a problem with being committed and mustering up the moxie to trudge ahead. When the going gets tough, so often, we decide to stop. We quit our marriages, we bail on our jobs, we ditch the diets, we leave the goals for the New Year by the way side in February, we go to church when it is convenient, we start blogs and write three posts and then we are done, we find new friends when the current ones upset us, we stop witnessing when we get shut down.. I could ramble on and on about the many things we quit, myself included, but I think you get the point.

How different would our lives look, would our families look, would our world look, if we were finishers? If we decided to push through, challenge ourselves, be committed, and be finishers, instead of jumping ship when things get hard? If we keep trying, and trying, and trying we might surprise ourselves. If we just keep getting up when we are stuck, we might accomplish some really amazing things.  If we stay committed, even when we don’t feel like it, have the time, or are tired, we might just be glad we did.

Repetition. Practice. Commitment. Doggedness. These are important words.

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. –Philippians 3:14

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What have you quit that you need to pick back up?

Lessons from Daddyhood

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Yesterday, I got to celebrate my second Father’s Day. I could have never fathomed, prior to being a dad, the joy, wonder, and excitement that comes with the job. Every new day is an adventure.

Being a father is also an exercise in self awareness. My son is like a smaller version of myself in so many ways, and he reflects much about who I am back to me. My flaws and strengths become apparent in the way he relates to me. Sometimes he evokes a sense pride in the man I am, and at other times, he shows me the long road ahead in my life to becoming more like Christ.

Throughout the journey of fatherhood, I am continually being taught an abundance of life lessons. It is both fascinating and humbling that God can use such an innocent and naive human being to teach you so much about life.

My son reminds me to enjoy the moment, to be present. We have no guarantee of tomorrow, so we have to enjoy the day for what it is. I tend to gravitate to the future, which is good in some ways. Obviously, we have to make plans for the future, but we can do so to a fault. I have learned that some things can wait. Enjoy what is before you at the moment, because tomorrow that moment is forever gone.

Hayden has also taught me to find joy in the little things, to see the world with a fresh set of eyes. With age, the excitement of life tends to wane. We take for granted the simple pleasures. Enjoying life with a child will either give you a fresh perspective on how to enjoy the simple and mundane, or it will drive you to stifle the whimsical side of life. I would much rather enjoy the wonder with my child and re-experience the world with him than seek to distance myself from the silliness that accompanies it.

At times, I can take myself too seriously. It is easy to fret over the many commitments and responsibilities that we have. Sometimes, our self worth becomes wrapped up in what we accomplish instead of who we are, people created in God’s image. It’s quite alright to be silly. There is more to life than what we do or accomplish. These things are very important, but they are not the entirety of life. We also must remember to enjoy life and learn to laugh at ourselves. We need to remember to slow down and have some fun on our brief journey through this life.

I feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful son. I am enjoying what being a father teaches me. These lessons are invaluable. I continue to have a greater understanding of my own dad. I hope my son is as thankful for me, as I am for my own dad. I also am able to gain a glimpse more insight into how the Father loves us. Our worth is not based on what we do. We don’t have to earn his love. He chooses to give it freely.

I look forward with eager anticipation to the years ahead. I am thankful for the title of father. If having one is this much fun, I can’t wait for Hadley to arrive in September.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What has being a dad taught you?

Lessons From An 18 Month Old

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A couple of months ago, Devon and I started praying with Hayden at night when we put him to bed. He sits in one of our laps while the other prays. We always say the pray as if he is praying. We put our hands together and offer up a prayer that might come from a toddler, and then we give an overemphasized amen. We then usually proceed to read a book, and about 7 out of 10 times he wants to read his bible stories.

Tonight, we were going through the whole bedtime routine and before we can even start praying he has his hands cupped together. Devon and I grin at one another, and I offer up his bedtime prayer. He gives an enthusiastic amen along with us, and then says, “More.” I ask him if he wants to pray again, he smiles with delight, and I offer up another prayer. The amens ring out, and as I get up he says, “More.” By this time, Devon and I are laughing, and I breathe yet another prayer.

Next, I let him pick what book he wants to read before bed, and as usual, it is his Bible stories. I exit his room and listen around the corner for a few moments as Devon reads him the stories, and he names the characters on each page.

Finally I made my way back to the living room, while thinking about the whole exchange between the three of us. Hayden gave me a vivid reminder. Isn’t that the way it should be for us as Christians? Shouldn’t we enjoy spending time with God? The times we are able to lean back in the safety of God’s arms and just enjoy talking about our joys, fears, concerns, problems, and blessings; then to have Him speak to us through His word should bring is delight.

Now, I understand, much of the significance of this was lost on Hayden. More than likely, he was just stalling to avoid sleeping and be able to sit with his Mom longer, but the application is still there. He wanted to delay going to bed, and “more” prayer and time to read his Bible. So often, I want to go to sleep so I rush my time with God.

Our relationship with God is like any other relationship. It only grows through nurturance. So maybe we should take the same approach. Instead of rushing our time with God, or skipping it altogether on some days, maybe we should seek “more.” I have a feeling if we did, the course of our week might be entirely different.

“It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with him; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.” -J. Oswald Sanders

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Big News!

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It is fun to have big news from time to time, isn’t it? Our son, Hayden, turned one this past November. It has been an amazing year watching him grow and learn. Honestly, I don’t know who has grown more, me or him? God truly uses your children to teach you so much about life, what is important, and about your relationship to Him. To see his dependency on me and his mom, forces me to daily be reminded of my dependency on God. We just found out this week that we will be expecting another child in September. Devon and I are extremely excited! We are going to try and sleep in every chance we get in the coming months. We ask that you keep us and the new baby on the way in your prayers.

I knew that 2012 was going to be a great year. It is off to a wonderful start. We are really ecstatic. So many goals we have been working toward stand a good chance of coming to pass this year. We truly find ourselves blessed with more than we deserve.

Thanks for reading and allowing me to share my thoughts and personal moments. Thanks for sharing yours as well. Thanks for walking with me. I hope that we all walk good this year.

“I wonder what sort of a tale weve fallen into?” –J.R.R. Tolkien

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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