This 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What have you quit that you need to pick back up?
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.
What has being a dad taught you?
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.
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 we‘ve fallen into?” –J.R.R. Tolkien
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
This past weekend Hayden turned a year old. He had a complete blast at his birthday party. We are blessed to have so many people that love us and are willing to invest in Hayden’s life. It was fun to watch him take the whole day in. From seeing so many people he loves in the same place, to destroying and devouring his cake, opening his presents, and then playing with his new toys.
Over the weekend, I had some time to reflect on the past year of being a dad. It has been an incredible journey. I just wanted to share some of the things I have learned and some of my favorite aspects of daddyhood.
My favorite part of the day is waking up, going into his room, and seeing his eyes peeking over the crib. I flip on the light, he smiles with squinted eyes, and squeals in delight to see me. I love sneaking into his room in the middle of the night to check on him and see the strange sleeping positions he manages, like a tiny slumbering contortionist. I enjoy watching him try new foods and watching the joy splash across his face as he shares his food with the dog. It makes me smile to see the things he finds funny. You never know what will strike him as hilarious. It is amazing to watch his personality come out moment by moment.
I truly was not prepared for how being a dad would change me, teach me, and reveal so much insight into my own life. On the negative side, it has revealed how I am often selfish. It took a tiny person to show me how often I think about myself before other people. It has been a joy getting so many opportunities to put Hayden first. He has also been a lesson in patience. A lesson I did not realize how much I needed. God is still grooming patience in my life.
There have been so many positive things I have learned through being with and watching my son grow. It has provided perspective as to how much my parents and Heavenly Father care about me. You just don’t realize how much you can love a child until it is your own. Whenever Hayden has a meltdown and cries hysterically over something, I get to calm and reassure him, even though it usually is nothing to be upset over. How many times is this the case for me? I have a meltdown. I get upset. I react to things going on in my life, and God is smiling saying, “This really isn’t a big deal.” It is also calming at times to see how carefree he is. He has no worries or concerns. Sometimes I wish his childlike outlook came more naturally to me instead of fretting over things beyond my control.
Hayden is a constant reminder of what life is about and a reminder to smile several times throughout the day. I cannot imagine life before him. I look forward to watching Hayden continue to grow. I feel like I am waiting on my best friend to get old enough to have conversations with me and do enjoyable activities with me. I am excited to see what God will do in and through his life.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
This past Thursday, Devon and I ran errands most of the day in Beaumont. We were heading to the mall (you can’t not go to the mall if you are in Beaumont) when we heard “the noise” coming from the back seat. Hayden makes this distinct grunt when he is in the process of making his special mud pie recipe. We get to the mall and Devon announces “oh boy, it is a cracker packer” (this is our term for a diaper so full that any wrong movement will cause it to shoot/squirt/ooze out of the diaper).
So,we go into emergency management mode. She grabs Hayden and I grab a diaper, wipes, and open the hatch to the back of our SUV. She lays him in the back, and we go to work like an EMT about to try and revive a patient. Devon makes one wipe, I grab the diaper and dispose of it in a bag. We are practically out of the woods. Before I could get another diaper under him, he decides to turn back on the soft serve machine and poops everywhere. I go to put a diaper under him and he poops on me. Devon moves to the other side of the SUV to get him away from the poop and he poops on her. So here we are, Hayden has poop all over him, I have poop all over me, Devon has poop all over her, and there are three rather large doo doo pies on the carpet in the back of my car. By this time, I am not frustrated. I am way past that. It was a pooptastrophe. We now refer to it as the poopocalypse of 2011.
So what did we do? We cleaned him up. We cleaned ourselves up. Then we walked through the mall poop free. Late that night, I cleaned the carpets in the car. We all laughed about it much later that evening. As Hayden was laying there, he was pretty helpless. It was pretty chilly that day, and Hayden was laying naked in the back of the car, covered in poop, shaking from the cold. He needed someone to clean him up.
On the drive home as I thought about this whole event, I couldn’t help but think about myself. God comes to us in the same way. There we are, covered in poop, and if we are willing, He cleans us up. He gives us a new set of clothes. Just like a Dad, He has compassion on us, and He wipes us clean. He shows us kindness if we let Him. I am so thankful that He cleaned me up. Now that I am clean and have a new set of clothes, I want to let Him know how thankful I am.
“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” – Romans 2:4
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Tomorrow I get the privilege of being celebrated for Father’s day. I really didn’t know what to expect. I feel like it is an elite club where you get the equivalent of a birthday present just for taking care of your child. A perk, I am all about added benefits. The real blessing though is just getting to be a dad to my son. Had someone told me three years ago that a day would come when getting puked on in the face (or worse, much worse) wouldn’t really bother me I would have given a condescending smirk to communicate the idiocy of such a comment.
Honestly, it feels slightly strange to be a dad. It is an odd assortment of emotions; I find it humbling, worrisome, exciting, humorous and curious. It is indeed a strange tale I have fallen into, to borrow from Tolkein. Devon and I are trying to enjoy each moment with Hayden for what it is, without wishing he would be at another stage. Each moment, though frustrating at times, is fun in it’s unique way.
More than anything else, fatherhood has made me appreciate and understand my dad, and God in a whole new way. So many times as a child I couldn’t understand why my dad or God did the things the way they did them. It is all about a change in perspective. Maybe sometimes, we should just trust a little more until we get the perspective we need, if it ever comes.We can rest in the knowledge that there is someone that transcends us who has a Father’s heart and loves His children.
Happy Fathers day to all the men in this elitist club known as Dads. Here is to many more years of being puked on, cleaning up, wiping tears, and calming fears. May your tribe increase and may you continue to gain perspective as to the love of the Father.
Walk Good. Live Wise. Be Blessed.