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)

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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.

Thursday Rant

Well, here we are.  Approaching another summer.  So far, things are pretty much even keel for me. Definitely some challenges that I had to overcome.  Still, new challenges are ahead so for that, I am grateful.

I think I’m really going to try something new this time around.  I’m really going to rely on my faith.  Now, I know this is probably sounding strange coming from me but, let’s face it; we ALL have issues with faith and its lack of use.  The Bible teaches us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11:6)  This being said, we have to learn to adjust our faith so that it is at the forefront of our decision-making.  Lately, I have tried to use my faith but, I got in the way.  Too early, in fact.  God will always do things in His time and, when we deviate from that, it can prove disastrous.  You end up missing out on things that you could have very well had, if only you would have just waited.  I am a true witness to this.  I lost what would have been mine but I rushed it.  I was way too eager to seize the opportunity.  Was it fear? Was it pride? Was it selfishness?  Was it even all three?  Those are questions that we have to ask ourselves when we’re faced with this type of situation.  What am I afraid of if I wait? What happens when it doesn’t happen and how will that make me look?  What’s wrong with me having this? Everybody else does.  I WANT ONE TOO!!

Last time I spoke about removing the bandage in order to heal.  Well, this goes hand in hand with that.  The healing process has to begin but you have to trust God that He will heal whatever pain you have, regardless of whether it was self-induced or not.  Paul told the church in Corinth that he had a vision as well as a thorn in his side.  Apparently it was pretty annoying since he asked God to remove it three times.  This is when God spoke to him in verse 9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)  This means that, even though I am going through a period, even though my heart may be aching, and even though I feel like it can’t any better, God’s grace is sufficient.  It always has been, it always will be.  We just to trust and have faith that it is so…

The Organism: Stronger Than The Building

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

 

There has been a tragic event that has happened.  My former church has been burned.  The church where I was raised.  The church where my Dad was Pastor for 17 years.  The church where my oldest was baptized.  The same church where I delivered my very first sermon is now in structural ruin.  I’m trying my absolute best to not let my anger show at this time so, I am asking God and you for forgiveness.

One of the things that we have to remind ourselves of is that the Church is NOT the building where we worship.  Granted we have called said buildings and structures “churches” but the actual church that was established by Jesus Christ is YOU, WE, and US.  Paul made this very clear in Acts 17:24 that God DOES NOT live in temples that are built by man.  Yes, these buildings that we construct are meant for us to worship together corporately and to hear the Word of God preached to us.  Make no mistake, however, if the building collapses, or is destroyed, the church still lives because we are it! Paul goes on the say that cannot think that God Himself is like some piece of gold or a brick.  The children of Israel made that mistake in the wilderness.  We can’t keep thinking that.  Especially when we know better.  Yes, there will have to be a rebuilding of the building but Jesus said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church that HE built.  The one not made my human hands.

I’m encouraging all of my friends who are still members there that, while buildings come and go, YOU are part of the organism.  Therefore the Church still stands…

 

A Plank, A Fork in the Road, and A Blindfold

If you’ve ever seen some of those old pirate movies, there was always a scene where someone, who was caught by the pirates, forced to “walk the plank”.  The plank I’m speaking of was basically made of wood and stretched out from the side of the ship.  The prisoner had to literally walk on that piece of wood, to the edge, and fall off into the water.  Did I mention that their hands were tied and that they were blindfolded?  Yeah,  that too.  Needless to say, right as the prisoner was taking that last step, the hero of the film would come in at the last second and save said prisoner from certain death.  If you’ve never seen that, try this scenario.  You’re walking along a path and you come to a fork in the road.  You have to choose which way to go.  You have no idea what awaits you but, there is still a choice to be made and, no you can’t just sit there at the fork in the road! You have to make a decision.  Oh, by the way, you’re blindfolded.  What to do?

 

Well, Proverbs 3:5-6 says to trust God with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding.  This means that you shouldn’t go into something without faith.  Sure you can go straight ahead and with whatever decision you want to make but be careful.  That path you choose may not be the best one for you.  Plus, you’re going in blind so, how can you even see where you’re going?  If and when you trust God, He will put you in on a path of His choosing.  Sometimes, it’s a blessing and sometimes, it’s a blessing to others, and sometimes, it’s a lesson.  You never really know what’s ahead because, well, we’re not God.  He is God so, he already knows what’s in store for you.  You can keep the blindfold.  Just be sure you’re trusting the right person.

Wednesday Confessional

I’m a Dad. I’ve been one for almost 14 years. I can honestly say that there have been some trying times in these few years of fatherhood. Like some Dads out there, there is always some question as to whether or not, we’re actually doing a good job. Make no mistake, I am so thankful that God has given my boys to me and I will forever be grateful. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m doing it right. Sometimes, I wonder if my sons will appreciate that work that I do for them. I wonder what goes on in their minds when they’re with me for our time together and even when we’re not. What can I change to make things better for them? There are so many questions out there that have been asked but haven’t always been answered.

When my Dad was alive, he was quite busy when I was growing up. Being a PK is definitely not as easy as some may think. In fact, that microscope that we PKs are thrust into tends to get more annoying as we get older and start making decisions for ourselves. Now, many years later, my boys are PKs. Something that they never asked for but, alas, they are. I think back on when I was growing up I did spend a lot of time with my Dad. Granted there were times when he was busy at church or even when he was teaching. One thing he never did was neglect me. I got corrected when it was needed (quite often actually), and then there were times when we would go watch a game or even just go to the park to throw the ball. He even tried to teach me how to play tennis! When I left to go to the Army, I was on my own. No more seeing Dad everyday or even eating dinner with him and my Mom. I was a soldier and a man. But I wonder, if he asked the same questions I’m asking now. Did he question if he did a good job as a Dad? I wish that I could have asked him when I had the chance.

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Happy Friday Folks,

It a cool and overcast day here in central Florida. It’s also Friday so I’m ready for the weekend. How about you?

One of the biggest and greatest challenges we face daily is the process of waiting. Man, oh man. Waiting can be EXTREMELY frustrating. Whether it’s good news or bad, we hate having to wait for either. I’m in the process of waiting for a few things myself and, I can assure you, I don’t like it! LOL You would think that those in the entertainment industry would take a hint when we have to “tune in next week” or when we have to wait for the sequel to the movie we just saw at the theater, that we do not like to wait for anything. I mean, why do we have to wait what’s considered “so long” for something we’re obviously looking forward to? Is it too much to ask that we get what we want right now?

“I’ve been waiting for the right person to come along but it’s been years…”

“When are they going to call me for that job I interviewed for?” (my personal favorite)

These are things that people are asking all day, everyday, yet all the while we are in the same boat…waiting…for something.

I had to take what Psalms 27 said and apply it where it needs to be applied:

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

I also had to realize that what God told Isaiah was also meant for me:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

There will always be a time when we are sitting and waiting for something. It’s almost impossible to not have to wait. That is a fact of this life. I can only encourage you as well as myself that sometimes, the wait is necessary in order for whatever it is you are waiting for is done correctly. Think about it. When your food is being prepared just the way you like it, do you take it out early? If you enjoy a medium well steak, do you take out while it’s still rare? When you have alterations done on clothes you want to wear, would you rather have them fit wrong? I’m sure you know the answers to all of these questions as I do. Speaking for myself, this is a big lesson for me to learn daily.