Posts tagged Children

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?

It’s Labor Day…Again!

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Don’t you love holidays? Labor Day was nice last Monday. I had the day off to get ready for labor day today. That’s right, it is finally here. Actually, it got here much quicker than I had anticipated. Today around 12:30 P.M. we will be welcoming our new baby girl into this world, Hadley Brittland Fults. We are pretty excited, although, the overload of pink is certainly a change of pace. What have I gotten myself into? I can’t wait to find out.

In a very short time I will get to meet one of my new best friends. I will get to watch her grow. I am allowed the privilege to teach her about life, help her find her own way, and tell her about the Creator who gave her life in the first place. What a humbling responsibility and privilege.

Since I will be up to my neck in dirty diapers and late night feedings, I will not be writing as much as I usually do this week. I will certainly post tidbits here and there, and maybe a few pictures, of our brand new little girl. So feel free to check back for updates if you like. Since I knew I would be preoccupied this week, some other talented writers will be sharing their thoughts here throughout the week. I hope you enjoy what they have to say.

Please keep us in your prayers. To all of you who journey with me, read my thoughts, and share your own at times I want to say thanks for doing life with me.

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

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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?

Losing the Wonder

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There is nothing more joyous to watch than a child experience things for the first time. Tonight, I was throwing a football to Hayden from across the room and he thought it to be magical. Never in his short 16 months of life has he experienced a ball hurling straight toward him. He continually squealed with delight.

It is like that with a lot of things. Yesterday, he figured out how to “fall down” and proceeded to do it over and over. Today, he had an ice cream cone all to himself for the first time. I am convinced that in that moment you would be hard pressed to convince him that there could be anything in life better than ice cream. The wonder of it all, the newness of creation, the unfamiliarity with disappointment all culminate into smile after smile plastered across his face.

Isn’t it interesting to watch how a child, filled with wonder, will engage in the same activity time after time without growing weary of it? Recently, I heard Ravi Zacharias speaking of his experience raising his three children. He spoke of the differences between reading a story to a three year old, a seven year old, and a ten year old. The three year old found mystery in the line, “And the boy walked up to the house.” It took more to engage the seven year old, but fascination ensued with, “And the boy walked up to the house and opened the door.” For the ten year old, this was old hat. It takes a little more to intrigue him. He was pulled into the story with, “The boy walked up to the house, opened the door, and a lion jumped out.” This is a simple example, but it captures the essence of how we operate.

The older we get, the less we see the wonder in life. We lose heart. We take life for granted. Excitement is traded for familiarity. Adventure falls by the way of what is safe. Busyness leaves little room for finding delight in the simple. Making money minimizes the importance of relationships.

I was reminded of how transient life is today, as a good friend of mine was in a serious accident. We have the tendency to think that time will march on with us in tow, along with those we love, but eventually we will no longer keep time with the parade. What a shame to find ourselves at the end of the parade no longer enjoying the wonderment of life. What a pity it would be to have forgotten how good life is and the joy to be found in the simple.

When was the last time we attempted to look at the world with a fresh set of eyes? When was the last time we laughed at the simple? How long has it been since we acted foolish, just for the fun of it? Has it been a while since we told those we care for how much we love them? Have we kissed our spouse long and hard lately just because we can? Have we found ourselves enraptured by sunsets that paint the sky in brilliant hues of orange or soft shades of periwinkle? How long since we spent hours just talking to the people we hold dear?

Life is fragile. We break so easily. Let’s not lose the wonder.

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

Best of 2011 – Number 4

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We are still counting down the most viewed blogs of 2011. This one is entitled: “I Done Been Pooped On.” It is number four on our countdown and was originally posted in November. It is one of my great, not so great, memories. Kids teach us lessons we will never forget.

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.
Josh

Some Thoughts On Trust by Jared Hollier

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This is our very first guest post. It is by Jared Hollier who blogs over at www.badlydrawnbible.com. You should really check out his blog. He draws really horribly but has some amazing stuff to say about life at www.badlydrawnbible.com. He is pastor of Peachtree Baptist Church in Jasper TX and he talks about that some at www.badlydrawnbible.com. Okay, so I am being repetitive, but I would really like you to check his stuff out. Enjoy the post for today!

My wife and I are the proud parents of two boys- Sam is two years old and Nate was born in August of this year. And even though we read all the books and sought lots of advice, we quickly realized that parenting is roughly 10% knowledge, 40% figuring it out as you go, and 50% luck. (As in, “We’re lucky everybody is still alive at this point.”)

One of our most recent discoveries is that Sam, the two year old, doesn’t handle sugar well in the evenings. We first realized it on Halloween of this year. Our church had their Fall Fest that night, and Sam, being the pastor’s son, was getting candy from everybody. I know for certain that he ate two mini bags of M&Ms, a fun size Snickers, some Skittles, Twizzlers, and a Blow Pop, but I’m sure he had even more than that, we just didn’t see it.

When we got home that night, we bathed him, put him in his PJs, and he was in bed around 8:30. Then he woke up crying and screaming at us at 10:00…and again at 11:30…and 1:00, 2:30, 4:30 and for the last time at 6:30.

It was kind of a rough night.

Our first thought was that the sugar was to blame, but we weren’t 100% positive until the week before Thanksgiving. Again, we were at the church, this time for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. Sam had eaten a good dinner, and asked for a cupcake. I obliged, he ate a cupcake, we went home. Same story- bathed, dressed, in bed by 8:30, woke up screaming four times during the night.

Confident that we had nailed down the culprit, we agreed that avoiding sweets in the evenings would be the best plan.

But we forgot to share the rule with everybody.

One evening last week, my mom came to watch the boys for us while my wife and I went out to run some errands. She had planned on cooking dinner, but got caught up playing with the grandkids instead, and just raided the pantry for something quick to eat.

Sam had apple juice and Pop Tarts for dinner that night.

Sugar water and sugar cakes.

And once again, the scene played itself out. Crying at midnight, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30.

Sam’s a kid, so he loves to eat that stuff. He’s never going to turn down a Pop Tart or a bag of M&Ms or a big glass of KoolAid- they’re delicious! But we have to tell him no. We have to draw the line, even though his two year old brain doesn’t understand why we’re doing it.

As parents, we get it. We know that if he has that Snickers at 6:00, nobody is going to sleep well, and his stomach is going to hurt, and there’s going to be lots of screaming and crying. The quick fix of happiness he gets from that candy is not worth the trouble it causes.

But don’t we act the same way?

Consider the things in your own life that God won’t let you have. Maybe it’s a sin you enjoy, but you know the scriptures tell you to avoid it. Maybe it was a new job that you wanted, and you feel like God failed you when it slipped through your fingers. Perhaps there’s some opportunity, or chance, or goal you want, and it feels like God is telling you, “No.” It’s frustrating, right? Makes you want to clench your fists and grind your teeth and beg for it- “Please, God, please! Just a little? Just this once? Please can’t I have it?!?”

As parents, we understand why Sam can’t have sugar late at night, and as Christians, we have to trust that when God withholds something from us, He’s is doing what’s best for us. The truth is that He is a good Father. He is kind, loving, generous, faithful, gracious, and giving, and when His answer is, “No,” we have to take a deep breath, unclench our fists, loosen our jaw, and trust that He knows what He’s doing.

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