Tag Archives: Fatherhood

Learned Along The Way

I’ve learned all there is to know about parenting and being a dad…..False.  This morning, I find myself doing a great deal of reflecting about life as a parent.  Today, my oldest son, Shawn, turned 21 years old.  21…Wow!!!  I look back and think where did it all go?  How did 21 years pass by so quickly?  When going through some pictures for a birthday post, I Shawn21ran across a picture from Shawn’s first Christmas.  I look at Amber and me and think how young and clueless we were at the time.  What we did know, however was that we loved Shawn and each other very much and were going to do the best we could to raise him and our next two kids up right.

I recently had a young couple ask me if there was a good book on parenting that I could recommend.  I looked at them and smiled.  While I know there are a number of books out there that would provide some great and helpful advice, the best recommendation I could give was experience.  Learning what works as best for you and your family along the way and just like with your life, learning from mistakes along the way, because yes, we will all make mistakes when it comes to parenting and raising our children.

I’ve been blessed with a beautiful wife who took the role of a mother very seriously, just as I took my role as a father very seriously.  Have we got it all right?  No, we haven’t.  The glory of it all, however is that we learned together through the mistakes we’ve made, communicated with each other, called each other out…okay okay, she called me out, when needed.  While we didn’t get it all right, we worked through this together.

Later in the game, God became a big part of the equation.  As we grew in deeper relationship with Him, we grew closer together and it because apparent that we were missing a key element.  Raising up a child in the way he should go.  Continuing to point our kids to God and encourage them to make Him a center part of their life.  We realized that we could only take them so far, so what would we do with the time we have left with them.

For me as a dad, I often wonder if I’ve guided me kids enough.  I’ve learned how important the role of dad is in the lives of their kids and have seen so much heart ache when dads do not fill their role.  Again, while I’ve stumbled along the way, I’ve learned where to point our kids to and then surrender full trust in the God that He will lead them the rest of the way and they will continue following His lead.  Train up a child in the way He should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it Proverbs 22:6.  That’s exactly where this verse is leading.

Now, what we also have to be okay with, I have learned, our own mistakes aside, is that our kids are going to stumble along they way as well, just as we did.  Do we come to the rescue all the time, or do we, again, surrender them to the Lord?  To guide me in this, I’ve incorporated a version of the daily prayer from Ransomed Heart as a part of my daily walk.  It’s not just for parenting, but from surrendering every part of my life, my heart, and domain to God each day.  Check it out here.

Again, the bottom line, at least from my own “expert” opinion, is that the best of parenting as dad or a mom, you learn along the way.  Be okay with stumbling and making mistakes, as they will help hone your abilities and when you can recognize and own the mistakes, you’ll be better off for it and your kids will appreciate that in you as well.

 

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Exciting Growth

WAH_BootCampI get amazed every day at the works of the God and how He works in our lives and in those around us.  As I wrote the other day, a year ago, my life was forever transformed when I venture out to Colorado for the Wild at Heart Boot Camp. The Lord transformed me in such a way, causing me to change the way I live and the way I look at life.  It also changed my outlook and approach as a husband and dad.  I had always done the best I thought I knew as a husband and father, but I was still falling way short in many ways.  I didn’t know how to truly be godly husband and father and lead my family the way they deserved to be led and the way God has called me to lead them.

The transformation has been tremendous in that it has resonated from my life to my wife and children.  They are the most precious people in this world to me and to see them respond has been so amazing.  I think we’ve always had a strong marriage, but I truly believe that my wife, Amber, and I are closer than we have ever been with a truly Christ centered relationship.  To see Amber grow has been so amazing.  It used to be that we would argue over matters of faith, because I was dragging her along in it.  I didn’t know how to approach it.  Now she is so alive.  In God’s Word daily getting to know Him personally and then our conversations on what we read and just life are so full of substance and life.

For my kids, they have grown a great deal as well.  They are all very quite and reserved like their parents, but they have responded in so many great ways as well in their desire to learn more.  Our conversations have deeper substance about life and faith.  It’s not just about superficial things.  They are realizing the priorities in life and are each excited about using the gifts God has blessed them with out in the world in a such a way that glorifies Him.

baptism_deadtosin_0005_group-1-e1321461157261With all this life change, this Sunday, January 31, one year to the day from when I nailed the stake in the ground to follow Christ no matter the cost, I will be Baptizing my wife and our 3 children.  It’s such an exciting time for our family and huge testimony and statement to how far we’ve come in just the last year.  To stand before our church family with my family as they also have nailed that stake in the ground is just beyond any words I can really put together.  I am proud of each of them for being willing to take this step in obedience in their walk with Christ.

This is a testament of what can happen when, as men, we take the steps to truly lead our wives and our children in a real and godly manner.  I have this resolution on a wall in my house that concludes with “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15.  That was hung up nearly 4 year ago, but it was not until 3 years later that it became real truth.  That I shed the poser and false self and begin walking with God as I was supposed to be and my family has responded to this.  My wife just glows with the light of Holy Spirit now.  Her beauty is even more tremendous than it has ever been.  Our children, while they still battle as teenagers with daily life, have really come a great distance as well and you can see the Lord’s work in them.

HisFavorite-01We are all God’s favorite.  He has had us in mind from before the beginning.  In John 17:22-23 Jesus, in His prayer to the Father says, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  I’m thankful to have realized that through Christ we are united now with the Father and that He loves us as much as He loves the Son.  To now reflect the love of the Father with my family, they now know they are also loved deeply by me and the Father.  They know where I stand now, no longer waffling back and forth unsure of life, but now with the confidence of 10 men knowing where I stand now alive in Christ and they are responding.  It’s tremendous and the Lord’s work will continue as we are now stronger than ever before.

“A man ought to live so that everybody knows he is a Christian… and most of all, his family ought to know.” – D.L. Moody

Break the Cycle of Fatherlessness

This Sunday, we celebrate an important day; Fathers Day.  A day where we recognize Dads and thank them for all they do in our lives.  As men, Dads have a very critical role to raise up children.  It’s a role that I have taken very seriously myself to ensure my kids grow with sound character, a heart for God, and a desire to live according to His purpose.  I believe that this is such a critical aspect of raising children.  If they are geared toward God in life, then He can begin to go to work on their hearts and guide them as they become adults and He leads the rest of the way.

Unfortunately, there is a problem.  There is a continued growing trend of dads who completely check out in one way or another.  They abandon their responsibilities and leave their kids to fend for themselves to figure things out.  All too often a mom is left to play both roles.  This is a big problem. It’s a heart problem.  All too often these guys, I won’t call them men, are so focused on themselves that they refuse to put any sort of priority into being a dad.

This does not just have to do with guys who leave their families.  There are also guys who are there, physically.  They are still married and are around, but they don’t father their children.  They checkout in a number of ways.  Some are so focused on their own career success and selfish ambitions that they are always emotionally checked-out by the time they do come home.  Many other checkout in number of other ways.  The simple fact is that there is a big heart problem with many guys today.  They refuse to be the men they are called and created to be.  They refuse to the warriors for Christ they are meant to be to raise up their kids with heart for God.

So what happens?  Our kids end up severely wounded in a number of ways and then often times as they grow-up, unable to cope with these wounds they cycle begins to repeat itself with the next generation.

We have a problem men.  Our wives and our children need us.  We have a specific call to raise our children in Truth and to love God first.  Not abandon them to figure it out on their own.  Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says that we are to, “Love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall team them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up”  We are teach our children to love God first with all that they are.

Paul said in Ephesians 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke your children in anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers do not exasperate (aggravate) your children, so that they will not lose heart.” 2 John 1:4 says, “I was very glad to find some of your children walking in Truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father.”

We have an important responsibility men.  All to often this is forgotten for many number of reasons whether the dad is in the house our now.  There was a time when even I was not aware of this responsibility.  It starts here though.  When we teach our children to seek God first and to love Him first, the kingdom is theirs and they can truly live the life that they were meant to live.

It’s an incredible responsibility that God has entrusted us with.  Even if you have father wounds in your life that you’ve had to deal with, you can break that cycle.  You don’t have to continue that trail of brokenness.  You have that choice.  You can break that cycle now.  Seek God’s intimate counsel. Don’t let the enemy bring you back to your own wounds and sins that may cause you to checkout from your kids lives.  Break the cycle.  Be the son of God you were meant to be and let that reflect in how your kids are raised to be children of God as well.  It starts with us.