Posts tagged Fatherhood
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.
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?
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.