Thursday, March 12, 2015

Waiting Room Reflections

I find myself once again sitting in a hospital waiting room while my bride undergoes the knife. This time she is having surgery done to her left knee to repair her meniscus and have something else done which requires cleaning or some other blah, blah, blah. Medical jargon is not my strong suit, nor do I pay attention very well it seems.

During our married life, Cheryl and I have been to the hospital for numerous trips, most of which have been for her, so I have often found myself sitting in waiting rooms of one sort or another.  It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "waiting on a woman".  I've been in waiting rooms for her while she dealt with kidney stones multiple times (all during pregnancy with Noah), when she messed up her knee once before and of course with each of the kids being born, with the exception of when she forced me to watch the c-section for April's arrival. (I saw more of Cheryl than I ever wanted too that time).

Suffice it to say, I have had plenty of experience in waiting. Thankfully I'm easily entertained, and I don't mind being alone. The best waiting experience I had however was the kidney stone trips. This is because St. John's hospital has the best greasy cheeseburger ever made. I always waited until they wheeled Cheryl out, then made a mad dash to the snack bar for a double cheeseburger, fries and Dr. Pepper.  Wish I had one of those now.

So waiting isn't all bad, and it's interesting listening to the people sitting here too. One thing which amazes me is how unaware people are of their surroundings. What I mean is, they talk and act like they are the only ones around. You learn an awful lot about people and their families if you listen. And what is sad is you don't have to strain very hard to hear what they are saying because they are SO loud. I really wonder about people some times.

Well the waiting is almost over so time to finish this, strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Finding My Voice Again

For a good many years, I have known what my role is in the body of Christ.  I've walked with a singular vision of what I felt God wanted me to do. Then change hit my life, and with it a lot of uncertainty, and a small dose of anxiety too. Not debilitating anxiety where your life comes crashing down, but the type of anxiety where you really don't understand where you are in life and what it is you should be doing.

My friend Amberly Bell spoke yesterday at church and asked the question, "Do you ever feel like there is more to this life than just existing?"  This is one of the many questions which have run through my mind in the past several months.  I feel there is way more to this life, except I find myself daily just going through the motions hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. Do you ever feel this way?

It's as if I've lost my voice, and now need to find it once again. This is not a place I enjoy. The uncertainty of it all is truly unsettling.  I have a responsibility to my wife and family to provide for their needs, and I'm happy to do it, yet lurking in the background always is the thought that there is something more to be done.  Yet, there never seems to be enough time to do the things it feels I should be doing.

I used to be a prince of the city, a business man and now I'm just a cog in the machinery of the company I work for. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my job and the men I work with, it's just I've had to reinvent myself, and the freedom I used to have to pursue some of the things I felt God wanted me to do I no longer enjoy. Wow, this is starting to sound like a pity party.

I know I probably do more for the Kingdom of God than I realize, it's just where is my voice now? What is it I'm supposed to say? Have I just laid down what God has told me to do, or is it time to change roles in His Kingdom again? I'm a little confused at this point and need to spend time with Him in prayer seeking the answers, which is what I should always do. (Even though this should be apparent to me, I still need reminding).

So with that, I guess I'll sign off for today and go spend a little time in my Father's Presence. Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It's What Dads Do

What’s it like giving your daughter to a man in marriage?  What thoughts are traveling through my head as we get closer to the day of the wedding ceremony?  How will I react at the moment I see my baby girl in her the dress she said yes to?  Have I poured my life into hers enough?  Did I do everything possible to help make her a success in life?

These are just a few of the questions in my brain right at the moment.  And the actual day of the wedding, who knows?  I know I sure don’t.  But wait, I remember now, my heavenly Father knows the beginning from the end, and everything in between too.  He knows what Saturday will bring, and how we all will act/react to the day.

I’m sure there’ll be stress enough for all of us, but then I remember again Jesus telling us to give all of our cares to Him, because He first cared for us.  He said take My yoke, because it’s easy.  I think there is something there for me.  Thank You Holy Spirit for reminding me of this, now help me walk it out.

I know I’m not the first dad to give away his daughter in marriage, and I won’t be the last for sure.  I’m not scared for Dylan and April; I’m actually excited for their life to get started.  I see great things ahead of them, even though there will be difficulties in their future like all newlywed couples face.  One thing I do know about my baby girl is she watched as her mother and I faced life together and she has learned what it means to be a team.

And no matter what things I wonder about their future together, I know they both are wondering about this too.  The major difference is I have the benefit of age and more mileage on me.  I’ve been down the married road for twenty-six years now, so I know a few more things than they do only by virtue of having walked this road longer.  And while I can be there to help when they have questions, it will be up to them to actually walk it out and become one just like Christ said.

Mine and Cheryl’s role now will be to become even bigger cheerleaders for the two of them.  Just like when April was a little girl we didn’t shelter her from things, but allowed her to go through certain things in order for her to grow, we will be there to answer questions in the future, but will always encourage her to face the situations head on with Dylan and work them all out.  In this way they will grow as a married couple which can help others in the future.

I have mixed emotions right now for sure.  On the one hand, I want my baby girl to stay and live with us forever because she brings a joy to my home unlike any other.  But at the same time, I want her to go out and do for God what He has planned for her.  I know this is the best thing for her, and there in lies the bottom line of parenting….doing what is best for your kids. 

So while I love my baby girl and never want her to leave, I know in order for her to become the woman God has created her to be, she must.  I know I will stay this mixed emotional mess for a time.  And even as I will walk April down the aisle and give her to Dylan, along with my blessing to go and become the best married couple they can be.  It’s because I love my daughter that I will put her happiness above my own; it’s just what we dads do.  Please pray for me.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Where Are The men?

I'm on vacation this week, and due to this I was able to watch as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the United States Congress yesterday. Now I don't want this to be a political statement, even though you will figure out which party I follow idealistically if you read all the way to the end. The real thought behind my post today is really, where are all the men nowadays?

I watched as the Israeli Prime Minister spoke and thought to myself, "This guy gets it."  What I mean by that, is he gets the fact there is evil out there in the world which wants nothing more than to destroy any way of life other than theirs.  I loved it when Prime Minister Netanyahu compared our constitution with Iran's constitution.

"The people of Iran are very talented people.  They're heirs to one of the world's great civilizations.  But in 1979, they were hijacked by religious zealots - religious zealots who imposed on them immediately a dark and brutal dictatorship.

That year, the zealots drafted a constitution, a new one for Iran.  It directed the revolutionary guards not only to protect Iran's borders, but also to fulfill the ideological mission of jihad.  The regime's founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, exhorted his followers to "export the revolution throughout the world."

I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark.  America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad.  And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that."

What impressed me the most was not his knowledge of world history but the way he described the differences between the two ideologies.  Make no mistake, these religious zealots do not want peace, they want their way and no other.  Now before you go all crazy on me, I know there have been religious zealots on the Christian side of things too.  I do not condone the actions of the crusaders who brought their supposed holy war to the Middle East.  Nor do I think those here in the United States who put on white hoods and scream their hate speech are correct either.  Hate is hate, plain and simple.  It doesn't, nor can it solve the problem's we face in the world.

And while I do not like hatred of any kind, I do feel there is a time and place to stand up for what is right and true.  Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  And unfortunately what we see in this day and age is a whole lot of nothing.  What I mean is, there is all kinds of talk; what to do, which sanction to put in place, etc.  But no real action.  It's like the bully who continuously stalks his victims on the playground.  The kids being bullied all stand around and talk about how much injustice is in their lives and how they wish things would get better.  But until one of them stands up to the bully and punches him in the nose, it's all for naught.

In the movie Open Range, starring Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner, there is a great scene which I think speaks to this topic, take a look.


"You're men aint' ya?"  What a great line, and so true.  There used to be a time when being a man was applauded.  Of course that was the time when men actually stood up and did the right thing, not for what it could do for them, but just because it was the right thing to do.  I know I probably sound like one of those he man women haters, but I'm not.  I see my gender's role as the primary protector and provider for the women in our sphere of influence.  My wife and daughter first, then the other women in my life; those who are like sisters to me.

In order to do what is necessary, Congress will have to put down their political aspirations, and stop worrying what it will do to their image if they actually act like men and do the right thing.  I mean come on, even Heath Ledger's Joker got it right.

I wonder what the original signers of the Declaration of Independence would say if they could see our national leaders today?  I imagine they'd be full of questions.  I thank God for the men and women who do stand up for our country, and try to fight the injustices they see each and every day.  They are out there...we just need more of them. 

I've heard it said, if you don't stand for something, then you'll fall for anything.  Thank you Prime Minister Netanyahu for standing for something, and having the willingness to tell others what you think.  We need more men like him today.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Story Time

As I was pouring myself a cup of coffee this morning, I found myself whistling the theme song to The Odd Couple. Now before you think what is wrong with him, I did see the premier episode of the remake of this TV classic starring Matthew Perry a couple of nights ago.  What amazed me, was I was able to whistle the whole song.  This got me to thinking about a movie clip from Planes, Trains & Automobiles, take a look.

Isn't it funny how no one knew 3 Coins in a Fountain, but they all knew the Flintstone's theme song?   This is how I feel a lot of times as I talk about God and the Bible.  I mention a story from the Bible and I get a dull stare, but mention The Office or some other television series and their eyes will light up as I'm told about their favorite episodes. What have we become as a society?  

Before the advent of TV, people used to sit around in their living rooms and listen to stories on the family radio.  Without being able to see something, they were forced to imagine what they heard with their minds.  Depending on how good the actors were really made a difference as to how well they could imagine the scenes.
And even before then, people told stories to pass down from generation to generation their culture and history.  Storytellers were sought out in ancient times, and applauded for their abilities to tell a tale, and I'm sure the more animated they were, the more people wanted to listen.  You see a type of this in the movie Return of the Jedi too when C3PO tells the Ewoks the whole story of what has happened to them.

One of my favorite things to do is tell stories. I've been told I'm pretty good at it too.  I think it's because I get very animated when doing so.  Stories nourish something within our hearts.  If you've ever been around a little kid, you know they cannot get enough stories.
Eugene Petterson; the author of The Message is quoted as saying, 
"Stories are verbal acts of hospitality."  I love this quote!  When we tell stories, we are being hospitable, which is one of the things to hold society together.

And what better stories to hold society together, than Bible stories? These nourish our hearts in a way no other stories can. I think it's because not only are they fun to listen too, they teach us how to live too.  There is a great book called Egemeier's Bible Storybook which you can read to your family as a way to help them learn about God and His Kingdom. It was written in such a way as to make it easy to understand.  You can click the link which will take you to my friend Joe McGee's website where you can purchase your own copy.

I think it's time we brought story time back. I'm not saying to throw your tv away, but maybe turn it off once in a while and give your imagination a work out and read stories together as a family. Just a thought.

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To Infinity & Beyond

Too many times I'm left wondering what just happened. Let me explain.   It seems so many times I have in mind how things are going to happen in my life, only to realize they don't pan out anything like I envisioned them. 

Both of my kids are now engaged, my daughter marries in just over two weeks and my son a few months later. And because of this, there has been a lot of reflecting going on inside of me lately.  Mainly about how I  could've/should've done things differently.  I wonder now if they are going to be able to make it out there without me to help them?

I never would have thought this time in parenthood would be the hardest; you know the letting go and watching them become adults.  I still rember holding them in my arms and rocking them to sleep.  This is more difficult than I ever realized.

I'm like Buzz Lightyear in a way, I thought I had it all figured out, thought I knew who I was, and what mission I was on.  Only like Buzz in Toy Story, it's all come crashing down around me forcing me to realize what is really going on, and who I really am.  My role is just different now, not better or worse just different.  Now instead of holding them and rocking them to sleep, I'm co-signing for apartments. 

I will navigate this season of life with my bride beside me, make the necessary changes I need to and continue this walk of life figuring it out one day at a time.  And l'll start today by amping up my prayer life for them.  Because as unsure as I am about my place right now, I'm sure they are even  more unsure of theirs, because they've never been here before and I have.

So in conclusion, hold your babies close and love them a bunch, because the day is coming where they will move out and start their lives as adults.  And this is what we all desire isn't it?  So, "To infinity, and beyond!"

Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Can't We All Just Get Along?

So what's the deal with mankind and his inability to get along with one another? Why does it seem when you're on the end who's getting yelled at you end up feeling like you did something wrong, but you know you didn't?

And why is it the people God places in our lives to be our closest allies end up treating you like something the cat drug in?  I know for my part I have been on both the receiving and the giving end of these things, so I'm not just pointing fingers at anyone, just a thought I had before going to sleep.

You'd think we'd be a little nicer to each other, but instead talk ugly. I guess we just figure it's our family and they'll just love us anyway. But I know I always feel a little bit low in spirit after one of those kind of sessions.  How about you?

I know I'm going to try harder from now on. Strength and honor for the Kingdom and the King!