Words Hurt: Bad fathers are Evident…So are the good ones.

 

Hello,

It’s been a while since I have written anything.  Life has been happening and is still happening as we speak.  With school, my upcoming marriage, and children, time seems to get away from me.  This isn’t any excuse, per se.  Just an observation.

Speaking of children, I would like to talk about fathers for a second.  Yes, we get that annual day where we have the opportunity to be celebrated but there is a lot that is unseen during the other 364 days.  Now, I do not claim to be an expert in the art of Fatherhood, nor am I downplaying the art of Motherhood.  What seems to be prevalent are the numerous opinions and think-pieces about how there are so many bad fathers out there without too many opinions of think-pieces about the good ones:

The good ones that, despite lack of whatever, they still manage to sacrifice what they have so that their children get what they need.

The good ones that are trying to do the best that they can.

The good ones that are managing a career, school, etc. without neglecting their children.

Those guys.

Again, I am not trying to shame mothers in any way.  I just want the record straight.  When fatherhood is reduced to the showing of bad opinions, unresolved feelings, name calling and general disdain, it takes away from the MEN out here taking it to the max.  In other words, there could be a reason why “part-time dads”exist that have nothing to do with them actually being part-time.  Maybe, just maybe, their “part-time” status is not their doing.  Maybe, their “full-time” status has been reduced because of said issues above.  IT JUST MAY BE NOT THEIR FAULT!

For the Gentlemen doing the best that they can, this does not give you the option to slack off or stop.  This means that, despite what may be said about you, you keep doing what you’re doing…if not more.  Don’t let the words of some dictate how you help raise your children (some of this is directed right at me).  Stay focused, stay involved.  No matter the situation or circumstance, your impact matters.  You were given a gift(s) from God and the very least you can do is show appreciation by being present, involved, and dedicated.  That’s only the minimum.  The more you add makes it that much sweeter in the end.

Until next time…

(Photo courtesy of voicemalemagazine.org)

Love in the Lunch

I was at work the other day and it was time for lunch.  I went to the fridge in the break room and took my lunch out. I opened the bag and put my container in the microwave to warm up my food.  When it was done I went to my desk to start eating.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  However, when I looked in the bag I saw a note.  It was a yellow sticky that read, “Have a good day at work babe.  I love you.”  Did I mention that my fiance was here visiting? Well, she was.  She was here for 10 days from Wednesday before Father’s Day until yesterday morning.  Normally, eating leftovers isn’t really a big deal but, there was something special about what was in the bag today.  She put love in my lunch.  This may not seem like a bog deal to some of you out there reading this but, to me, this was extra special.  For starters, I didn’t know she slipped the note in my lunch bag.  Second, she did it when I wasn’t really expecting it. Third, I wasn’t in the best mood since my car is acting up, yet again.  All I know that there was not in my bag that I did not expect and it was right on time.

This makes me think of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2).  You see all throughout life we have the opportunity to do things to and for people.  We have the chance, every single day to do something good.  The key is that you have to do it in love otherwise, what’s the point? If I tell you that I am going to do something for you just to let you know that I did something for you, that’s not what it’s about.  If my service to humanity is insistent upon itself, I’m not doing what Paul, more so what Christ has been trying to teach us.  In fact, it’s just a bunch of noise for my own gratification.  Not cool at all.

I said all of this to say that I love the Love in the Lunch.  It really made me feel special and it definitely made my day brighter.  I’m looking forward to more of the same and can’t wait until I can’t return the love.

What Ministry Has Taught Me While Working in a Library

I have not posted anything here in a good while so I pray that everything is going well with you.  School, work, fatherhood, and ministry have taken up quite a bit of my time as of late.  Hopefully, if things slow down, I will be able to share with you a little bit more.  In the meantime, I’m asking for prayer and patience.

I’m not sure that some of you know but, I work in the library system.  I got this job almost 3 years ago.  To be truthful, this was not my first choice–I’m in the IT field and I kinda miss it–But I’m still thankful in the long run because this experience has given me a glimpse of what the Pastorate feels like.  Let me give you a few examples.

1.  Everyone that comes in needs help in some way.  My branch is open Monday-Saturday.  During the times that we are open, there are several people who come in that need help.  Some of these people are regulars and some aren’t.  This is not unlike your local churches where we have some members that have been there for decades but there are the occasional visitor that will come to worship.

2.  There are some that want your help.  Of the people who visit the branch on a daily basis, there are some folks that really need your help.  It could be looking for a book to read for themselves or their child or looking for directions to a location in the city or faxing paperwork to various agencies or even needing help with research on the computer.  At the church, there are folks that come to worship but they are in need of prayer, healing or a question regarding scripture.  They come because there is something missing in their lives and they feel the church is the place where they can get it.

3.  There are some that don’t want your help.  This is interesting.  There have been many times where a patron has come into the branch and did not or does not want your help.  I could go into several reasons why but that could take a while but to give you one example, we offer free computer classes every week where I personally teach basic computer skills.  Remember those folks that come on but don’t want help?  Well they fit into this category because sometimes, my class attendance may be two to three at the most.  Again, the church is parallel to this scenario.  Some folks will come but will refuse to the help that we offer.  Like the library, there are several reasons why but there are too many to name here as well.  Remember the ones that have questions about scripture?  Well, a lot of churches have bible study during the week with a regular attendance of just a few so, where are the folks that have questions?

So what is my point to all of this?  Well, it’s simple.  Since I have been in ministry longer than I have been at the library, I had to come to terms with the fact that both places are a lot alike.  The only thing in common from my perspective is that I’m at both places and I am also there to serve the folks that come in.  Is it frustrating? Sure.  Are there days where I don’t want to go to either place? Definitely.  However I have to remember that it really isn’t about me but who I am serving and who I am trying to help.  It can be draining mentally and sometimes physically but when it’s all said and done, I know I will be back to do it all over again.

Ready for Sweet Sixteen

Happy New Year!!  Well, we have made through and past 2015 and now, it’s time to see what’s in store for 2016.  I pray that you have you all had a great holiday season.

I can say that this year has really been a good one overall.  There have been some trying times but there were definitely more good times than bad.  I was able to do a lot of preaching last year.  That was a real blessing because it was something that I had not expected.  School has been going fairly well.  As of now, I am a sophomore in college.  Talk about an accomplishment.  Schoolwork, being a Dad, being a Minister, and working full-time is one thing that is not for the faint of heart.  To be honest, I didn’t think I had the energy to get all of this done.  When I tell you that this was all because of God’s grace, believe me, it was.  Now, I am ready to do it all over again.

Another thing that 2015 taught me was that I was able to love again.  I really thought that I had lost that gift but, it was there all along.  I just needed someone to give love to.  It was a hard battle to fight since I pride myself in looking at things logically.  Logic had to take a back seat this time otherwise, I would have missed out.  Once again, God did exactly what He set out to do.  Now I am engaged to a woman that really loves me despite my short-comings and in spite of my logical reasoning.  In other words, she wouldn’t take no for an answer and neither would I.

Well, I think that is all for now.  I will talk to you all again, soon…

P. K. Minister: The Sophomore Years

Well, here we are again.  I do apologize for not being so active in this space.  Things have been really busy on my end.  I hope and pray that you have been as equally successful in what you’re doing.

I just got word a few days ago that, after the fall semester, I will be a Sophomore at Liberty University.  You have no idea how excited I am about this.  I am almost done with my first year of college!  I honestly did not think that I would have gotten this far.  This is nothing but God’s grace and mercy.  Granted I’m not pulling a 4.0 or anything like that but, I am doing my best under the circumstances.  I am continuing to pray for strength and guidance, as I press on to my goal.  The classes themselves have been very enlightening and assuring me that there is so much to learn out there, especially when it comes to the Word of God and His Theology.  There were some days that I totally felt like my head would explode from all of the information.  It’s definitely been a challenge.

Can you believe that Christmas will be here soon?  I promise you that it seems like just yesterday we were saying “Happy New Year”.  Things seems to always go by a lot faster not that we’re in adulthood.  Not enough hours in the day when you’re working and raising kids and going to school.  You’d think that I wouldn’t have time for anything else.  Luckily, I was allotted some time so that I could take a mini vacation.  I was able to visit Chicago for the very first time a few weeks ago.  It was really cool seeing some of the things that I have only seen on TV and to also try some Harold’s Chicken for the first time.  I was not disappointed.  Most importantly, I was able to spend time with my Sweetheart.  It was her birthday that weekend so, I wanted to make sure that I was there for that.  I never really thought I could actually get into this long-distance relationship thing.  Seemed like a lot of work to me.  Well, to be honest, it is even though it doesn’t feel like it.  Probably because we spend a lot of time talking or shooting a text here and there.  We can’t forget about Skype!  That tool has been a blessing to us.  Getting to look at each other while we talk is a great thing when you have a few states distance between you.  We make sure we set aside time just for that reason.  Sure, it’s usually only an hour but I’d rather have that than no communication at all.  Basically, you make it what you make it. If that doesn’t make sense, try this:  Make the best of your situation in order to have a positive outlook.  Was that scholarly enough? LOL

My boys are definitely growing up!  I have a 3rd grader and a Freshman in high school!!  I’ll reference the above paragraph about how times can slip away from us.  They are becoming young men.  They say that life is full of new challenges.  Well, the three of us will be facing some together.  Two boys growing up in a crazy full-speed ahead world and their father trying to make sense of it all.  BRING IT ON!!!

Well, that will do it for this session.  Stay blessed folks!

WWYD: What Would You Do?

Last weekend, my oldest asked me, “Dad if you could change something in your past, what would it be?”  That was definitely a random question from him but, not unusual.  He’s definitely the analyst between he and his brother.  We had just seen the latest Terminator movie so, I am going to assume that this is where the question came from.  Anyway, as we pulled into Target to waste some time before going home, I thought about his question so that I could give a halfway intelligent answer.  I said to him, “I don’t think I would change a thing.  If I were to go back too far, then you and your brother wouldn’t be here.  If I didn’t go back far enough, then I may not be where I am at this point in my life.  I’m cool where I am.”

That conversation made me think a little more.  What if we were able to go back and change some things in our lives?  I’m not just talking about the bad stuff.  I mean, anything.  If I could change the fact that I got out of the Army and stayed in, I would have more than likely been deployed to God knows where for God knows how long.  More importantly, there would be a question of would I make it out alive?  If I could change the fact that I was laid off more than once, there’s a possibility that I could have been a decent job making good money.  The flip side is that I could have missed out on some of the experiences that I have had that, quite frankly, have given me some life lessons that I so desperately needed.  I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that the things that have happened in our lives have all be for a reason.  Yes, some of them have been bad choices and other good ones.  If you’ve made some bad choices in your life, I pray that you have learned from them so that you can be better than who you were back then.  If you’ve made some good choices in your life, I pray that you can appreciate them and hopefully cherish them over and over.  Here’s the rub:  The bad choices are only relative to the time that they occurred.  I’d like to think that the so-called bad choices enabled me to grow, learn more about myself, push abilities to their limits and, more importantly, learn how to rely on God.  If every choice I made was good in my eyes, then what would have really learned? How could I grow as a man, father, etc?  How would I learn how to rely on God?  Definitely something to think about, isn’t it?

The next time someone asks you “what would you change?”, think about where you are now and what you could lose if you did change it.  I’m pretty sure you’d be happy where you are.

What does it take?

Sometimes, I really dislike trying to be happy.  I know that sounds pretty strange but, it’s true.  You hear it all of the time, “I’m trying to be happy.” or, “I’m trying to be in a happy place in y life.”  The question I want to throw out there today is “why do her have to try so hard to be happy?”  Why does it have to take so much effort? Why do we have to waste so much energy just TRYING to be happy?  Shouldn’t being happy not require so much effort? Why should we have to do whatever it takes to make us happy?  Why can’t happiness just show up?  These are some of the questions that I ask myself as I’m just sitting and thinking.  What about you?

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