Viewing entries posted in 2018
It’s been over 30 years, but I still remember him. His name was Rick, and he helped lead our class of Jr. High boys at church. Rick was a practical guy, a “use it or lose it” mentality towards things in his life; in fact he passed on having living room furniture in his house because he never planned on using it, and instead he spent the money on a boat and took people out on the lake and invested in cultivating Kingdom relationships. Rick took that same practical mindset to the lesson we were studying that morning.
We carry them like stones in our pockets. Throughout the day we hold them in our hands and rub the rough edges with our thumb. We pick them up without even thinking. Carry them with us where ever we go. Worries. Cares. Anxieties.
She sat on the bed, the anger still slowly simmering like a pot of hot water that had just overflowed. We started talking about the root of the frustration that had brought us both to this place. There is something you learn very quickly when you become a parent, your children have a way of exposing all your own shortcomings right in front of you. We both know what it’s like to boil over.
Sometimes I wonder how different my life would be if I were as willing to repent as God is to forgive. I’ve been known to carry the weight of conviction around with me a lot longer than I should. Most of the time I’m just like Eve, hiding in the garden hoping my sin will never see the light of day.
Their story has captivated me the last few weeks. As a dad I can’t even fathom the idea of my son stuck deep in a flooded cave with his teammates and coach, days of wondering if he was even alive. It’s hard to imagine what it’s been like for that group of Thai soccer players trapped for a week in a dark cave before the first rescuer finally showed up. Day after day of thick darkness and suddenly a search light pierces the despair and a voice promises that help is coming!
"Promise you'll never leave me."
It's a question that's probably been asked a million times. I know I've asked it. And it has been asked of me. In sweet moments of love we may have made that promise. We may have held the hand of our child, or a friend, or a lover and whispered back "never!" But even as the words are coming out of our mouths we know it's a promise we can't keep.
As she blew out those candles I couldn’t help but think about the countless nights and long days we spent wishing, waiting, praying for her to finally come home. Just a few years ago we were still separated by 9,000 miles and even more miles of red tape keeping us from being a family united.
The tradition of the arrow started when my first born daughters graduated from High School and continued through this weekend when my youngest walked across the stage to receive his diploma.
Letting go is hard for parents. For our children's whole lives it's our responsibility to protect them, guide them, and nurture them. And then, just like that, they're grown and moving into a dorm room or an apartment and we're just supposed to let them fly. That transition can be hard, on kids, and especially on parents.
I’ve always been an expert at foreboding joy. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. Seeing the glass as half empty. Cynicism. When you live from a place of fear it makes it hard to trust people. Makes it hard to trust God too.
Thankfully God is patient and has gently pursued my heart year after year with big and small reminders that He always has been, and always will be, faithful.
"You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," was a phrase I heard often growing up. It set the tone for how I would approach life; if you help me, I'll help you. It was meant to encourage us to do things for others that they couldn't do for themselves, but there were strings attached. An expectation of reciprocation. And a way out of future help if the favor wasn't returned.