burning the fuzz off your thinking

It has been a while since I have posted anything on my blog.  I didn’t quit blogging or writing, I just took a breather.  You know when you do something so much that it becomes a chore?  That is what writing became like for me for a little while. It’s like when God gave the hungry Israelites manna and they worshiped God because He fed them, then after a while they bitterly complained because they were sick of manna.  Then God gave them quail, and guess what, they got sick of that too.  Sometimes you need to take a big deep breath and step back from things just so you don’t ruin it.  That is what I did with this blog.  I really believe in the idea of reclaiming the beauty of a life with God.  I love calling people to restoration in Christ.  However, I didn’t want to publish junk and ruin the blog.  Therefore I did what was I though logical and just decided to not to post anything for a while.  As it turns out, I feel refreshed and ready to engage in writing again.

Fred Smith once wrote, “I learned to write to burn the fuzz off my thinking.”  As it turns out, when I stopped writing for this period a lot of fuzz built up in my thinking.  It is hard for me to articulate clearly what I am thinking without writing it down first.  So in the coming weeks, days, months you can expect to see some more content gracing this page.

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father to the fatherless

For some reason for the past seven years I have been working primarily with students who have grown up in a household that lacks a father.  There are exceptions but by in large dad is out of the picture or might as well be. 

I wonder if these dads know the anger that their kids have.  I wonder if these dads realize that they are getting their kids off to a tougher start than others.  I wonder if they realize the affect on their child’s sexual identity or I wonder if they realize the lifetime of hurt they have caused.  I really wonder these things because like I said, I work with these kids, not dads who abandon them.

This weekend I found out that some friends were going through an adoption process, it didn’t really click to me until I got home but one of the ways that God is described is as a father to the fatherless. (Psalm 68:5) In the New Testament it says that we are the sons and daughters of God and that we are adopted into his family.

I always thought of the impractical nature of, God as a father to the fatherless,  “You should meet my dad, he’s so metaphysical!”  Children need a hand to hold, they need a face to grab, and they need to see the reality of their father in their lives.

It is so heart wrenching to see these kids and their issues when I know what it is like to grow up with both parents who were fully present.  God as father to the fatherless is a nice thought but not too practical, unless you think that you might be the physical extension of God’s hand into a child’s life.  God could be calling you to be the physical reality of a spiritual adoption.   What if God’s solution to abandonment and fatherless kids are adoptions and mentorship’s?  What if you are God’s solution?

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reach

When Emma was six months old she had this toy that we call, “Dr. Star.”  It was a music box that projected an image of a star on the ceiling.  You can’t just go to Target and ask for “Dr. Star” because it is a name we just made up.  I have an odd habit of giving her toys back-stories. But that toy put her right to sleep; she stared at it and went out.

Lucy is now six months and a little more difficult to please.  She doesn’t buy into the Dr. Star fanfare.  Lucy sleeps fine for all of her naps, but to go to sleep at nighttime she wants to be held.  She wants to feel the love.  I know it’s okay to lay her down for the night when she stops rubbing my arm and face.  When I hold Lucy before she goes down I get the sense that all she wants in the world is to feel her father or mother. She simply wants to know that she is loved.  Sometimes when she is crying all I have to do is rub her back and she is better.

This all got me to think that there are times in our lives when life is difficult or we feel pain.  During those times we just want to reach out and be comforted.  Just like the women who had been bleeding for twelve years who took a risk and reached for Jesus.  Just like Peter as he began to fall through the water and reached out for Jesus.  We all have that innate grasp that reaches toward the heavens in times of trouble.  But I guess the question is who or what are you reaching out to?  When times get tough, what is your first instinct to reach toward?

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he who has an ear

The summer of my 10th grade year my brother and I went to spend a few weeks with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Colorado.  While we were there I met my Aunt’s sister, Dasa, who is an especially interesting woman.   She is the kind of person who could tell stories for hours and you’d never get bored listening to.  I remember this one story she told so clearly because it was amazing to me how God still speaks to his people.

Dasa tells the story that she was in a church service and she felt God impressing on her that she should go comfort the person in front of her and tell them, “everything is going to be alright.”  Like most people, Dasa thought she was going crazy and she stayed where she was.  She kept getting this urge to comfort the person when suddenly a man who she didn’t know, came from across the room and put his arm around the person and whispered something into that person’s ear.  A second later the man turned and walked up to Dasa and said, “it’s okay I took care of it,” and walked away.

That story kind of freaked me out.  I have always heard people say that God calls people to do His work and if they don’t then He’ll raise someone else up.  This story makes that idea pretty clear.

But have you every consciously tuned someone out?  Maybe in a staff meeting or at home, you just consciously started thinking about something else and you stopped listening?  I think if we stop listening long enough then we will become selectively deaf.  My Aunt’s sister Dasa got a huge reminder to listen to God and these days she doesn’t get around much and listening is what she spends most of here time doing.  I was reading the Sermon on the Mount the other day and Jesus said not to go on babbling like the pagans do but to go to a quiet place and pray.  Many scholars think that Jesus was referencing to this line in the Torah when he said that, “when you address the Holy One, Blessed be he, let your words be few.” (B’arkhot 61a). The story is a reminder to allow you to hear God.

My question is, if we stop listening, are we then setting our selves up to become deaf to a God who whispers in silence?   When you think about it, that guy you tune out when your wife is talking but the TV seems to be louder, or when you simply faze someone out, we are training ourselves to become deaf.

There are many useful classes and skills that you can find on listening.  Many lecture and write books, articles and blogs about listening, but what are the consequences if we stop listening?

Who have you made the effort to stop listening to?  When was the last time you listened to God?  When was the last time your words were few?  I wonder if this is why Jesus always walked around saying, “he who has an ear, let him hear.”

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fully present

Today I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing my post on women in ministry while Emma was eating some lunch. I guess I was so into what I was writing I didn’t even notice Emma talking to me. A second later I noticed Emma throwing her food across the table. I started to reprimand her when my wife stopped me and said, “she’s been trying to get your attention for a while now.”

It was one of those moments when it just all clicked. I’ve worked with students for years and give me one minute with someone and I can size up their daddy issues. I’ve worked with so many teenage girls that are desperately seeking their father’s attention. Now my daughter is throwing food, just so I would pay attention to her. The crazy thing is that I shut my laptop and started to pay attention to her and she started eating her lunch again. She probably didn’t realize the significance of what she was doing but it made a huge impact on me.

If you’re a dad to girls, they are desperately seeking your attention. They want your affirmation, they crave your approval, and they want to feel loved. If you are a father to boys your absence in their life will bring anger, resentment and dis-attachment in every area in their life. Your prescience in your kids life is so much larger than you can imagine. Your presence in your kids lives even teaches them what God is like.

Sometimes kids get in trouble, sometimes they get bad grades and sometimes they appear perfectly good on the outside but are screaming internally. They don’t do this for their own good, they do this because they want your recognition. Think about it in terms of a mathematical equation, the more attention and love you give your daughter, the less she will look for it somewhere else.

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