Monthly Archives: October 2014

Halloween – Trick or Treat?

Interesting takes on the holiday, with a Christian perspective…


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My Honest Journey – Facing a Life With All Girls

1910602_10154328481390246_6139702880396853286_nMy wife and I have been blessed with three beautiful girls. I have several friends who have only girls, and we had a camaraderie of sorts. There was even a name given to us…DODO’s (Dad’s of Daughters Only). We have an understanding between us. We felt guilt when our desire for a boy crossed into the arena of discontentment. We would admit there were grass is greener moments in our minds, when thinking of the house with boys. They get to watch the Lego Movie (still haven’t seen it) and I’m stuck with the Barbie movies (I may or may not be hiding these in high places in the house, oh they are torture)…or they are out in the yard playing catch while I’m doing craft time. But, we also found refuge during the quiet moments with our daughters that seemed to be rare with the wrestling, high-energy, everything-turns-into-a-gun moments with sons.

And there were moments of shame. Whenever discontentment or jealousy reared its ugly head, we were reminded of friends that struggle to have children. We have beautiful girls, precious gifts, and how could these thoughts even cross our minds. We were ashamed as we prayed for our friends who desired to just have one child.

Now before you think me and my friends are barbaric chauvinist from the dark ages who only wanted sons to tend to our land and take over our throne, let me explain something. These thoughts of dissatisfaction were rare. In fact, it typically just lasted a short time after the ultrasound, and other times sprinkled in, which were oftentimes caused by others (see below). But for the other 99.9% of the time, we treasured our sweet little girls. We enjoy the snuggles, being their knight in shining armor, protecting them from the monsters under the bed, their sweet spirit, and having the special bond that daddy’s have with their little girls.

That being said, this week I faced another one of those moments. My wife and I are expecting our fourth child, and with three girls preceding this child, I was beginning to pick up on a pattern. Since the title of this article suggest I need to be honest, I will. There were many prayers for this little one to be a boy, including my daughters who wanted a little brother. On the way home to pick up my wife for the ultrasound, I had an honest conversation with God. I confessed my need to be content, and my greatest desire was for the health of the baby. I told God my desire for a son. I prayed a paraphrase of Hannah’s prayer “God if you will give me a son, I will give my son to you” (which is a prayer for all of my kids). But if God deemed me better fit for me to be a dad of all girls, I wanted His will and would embrace it, just like I have lovingly embraced all of my girls.

So we walked not the doctor appointment, with shaky knees and trembling hands. My wife laid down, and I held her hand. At first, I thought I saw on the monitor what I had seen three times before. And I began to prepare myself for a life of all girls…four girls. But, to our shock, the ultrasound tech said “Daddy, looks like you got your wish”. I said “What? What does that mean”. She revealed (no details needed) to us on the screen, it is a boy.1688627_10154720898175246_854536271837639991_n

Am I excited? Absolutely. I was overwhelmed with tears of joy that day. But I can’t help but think of the club I once was a part of, and I owe them something. As I turn in my resignation from the DODO club, I would like to speak on their behalf to save them from future harm.

So on behalf of my fellow DODO’s, let me just give you, especially those that have never been at our tea parties, some advice…

  1. Please do not say “I’m sorry” after we say we have all girls. Unless it is your fault, there is no need to apologize.
  2. Please do not say “just wait until they are a teenager”. Believe me, dads with daughters will gladly wait for teenage-dom. In fact, most of us would welcome Jesus coming back before that happens, so reminders are not necessary.
  3. Please do not say “I’m so glad I don’t have girls”. That is equivalent of saying “I’m so glad I don’t have your face, it must be awful to have that face”. Now you know how that makes a DODO feel.
  4. Never insinuate that having boys is a “man thing”, that somehow those that have boys are more macho, manly, or have greater bravado. It takes just as much “man” to raise a daughter as it does to raise a son.
  5. Please do not ever say “having boys is the best” to someone. It stings a little.
  6. We appreciate you telling us our daughters are cute/beautiful , but please stop short of the “hope you own a shotgun” comments, reminders of boys/dating makes us weak at the knees. (Yes, I’ve had people actually say to me, “Your girls are beautiful, I hope you own a shotgun”. Not kidding.)
  7. Encourage them. Daughters need their dads. In fact, from what I have read, the relationship between a daughter and her dad has profound significance and tremendous influence on their future decisions, relationships, well-being, confidence, and self-worth.  Give them a shot in the arm, your prayers, your godly advice, and your encouragement.

 

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What is Your Life?

Take a look at James 4:14.  What a profound question in the heart of that verse…”What is Your Life?”.  James decides to answer the question with a reference to the brevity of life.  But the question got me thinking.  At the end of my life as my life flashes before my eyes, how will I answer that question?  Even in my 30’s, reviewing the slide show of my life in my mind brings numerous emotions to the surface such as joy, excitement, wonder, curiosity, fear, grief, triumph, sadness, bewilderment (junior high days), pride, thankfulness…you get the idea.

But as I keep going back to that daunting question, “What is Your Life?”, it is not easy finding a defining moment or answer for that question.  That is, until you take a deeper, more spiritual look at your life.  What determines a successful life is not necessarily the moments you had on earth, but what was done for eternity.  The little girl I sat with on the steps of a Backyard Bible Club and led to the Savior, the moments of reading God’s Word to my kids, or the acts for others that were purely motivated to simply share the love of Jesus…these are the moments that determine my life.

I encourage you to take a look at this video, and through the tears that will probably form in your eyes, think about your life in rewind.  When your eyes close in this life, will they open to an eternity in paradise?  The only way to know for sure is to ask God to forgive your sins, and put your eternal destiny in God’s hands, and trust Him with your life.  For more information go here, or watch this video, listen to my sermon from yesterday, or comment below.

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7 Lessons from my Mission Trip to Nicaragua

God’s Peace. When you are doing something that brings glory to the Father, He will give you the peace you need. Leaving your family and kids for a week is not easy. Leaving your wife and kids for a week to leave out of the country is a whole new level. I’ll be honest, it was a struggle to say goodbye as my little girls gave me their final hugs to their daddy. But, as soon as I entered the airport terminal, and immediate feeling of peace and security overwhelmed my spirit. God gave me His peace right when I needed it.

Sometimes Things Get Dirty. The low-light of my trip taught me a great lesson. I was having so much fun playing soccer with the kids after our gospel kid’s program. One of the kids kicked the ball to me, and as I attempted to head it into the “goal” (two tree branches in the ground), my back foot slipped out from under me and I landed head first in a huge mud puddle. I was covered in mud from head to toe. But it was in that moment that God taught me. The pastor’s son began to take off his shirt to give to me to wear…a young man, who I later saw wearing that same shirt (probably one of the few he owned) was willing to give up something for me, whom he just met. Talk about being humbled.  Not because I was full of mud, but by this young man’s willingness to give.  Lesson learned. Be willing to give, even when you have little to give.

Gratefulness. No running water for 4 days. Houses made of plastic and tin metal. Toilets flushed with a bucket. House walkways covered in trash ankle-deep. Kids abused and neglected. If I can’t have gratefulness after this experience…shame on me. And shame on me for any covetousness I will have for the rest of my life.

Significance of the Program. In America, a puppet program may be boring or even weird for the kids. After all, it’s tough to compete with Pixar, Dreamworks, and Sesame Street. But where we were, these kids had very little. It made our program more significant. Not because we wanted to the focus of the attention, but because we wanted to bring these kids something very special. It really put things in perspective.1966743_10152986984257345_1638882985323562529_n

Minister Like a Mission Trip. Oftentimes we go all out for mission trips and pour our hearts into these trips. There is no reason this should not happen here. Do I have the same passion for the kids in VBS, AWANA, and Sunday School? I hope so. But reality is, there are times when I become complacent. Lord, help me ministry everyday with a passion for sharing Jesus and his love with kids, in Central America, in Africa, and in America.

God’s Grace. When you see little kids bringing their toddler siblings to these programs, often feeding them with a bottle and putting them to sleep, you can’t help but see God’s grace. I saw God’s grace in how a little girl brought her twin baby brothers to a feeding center and the little boys did not make a peep. I saw God’s grace in a 5-year-old boy who brought a one year old to the children’s center and never heard the little girl cry. “Let the little children come to me”…well, I saw this happen right in front of me. I saw how God allowed these children to come, by His grace.

Be in the Moment. If I was transparent, there were times where I could have mailed it in, and just taken a rest from a full trip. One such moment was after teaching an adult Sunday school class in a small rural church. Instead, a little girl caught the corner of my eye. She was three, and as cute as could be. I reached my hands out during the final songs of the service, and she jumped in my arms. Her grandmother in front of me, with a big smile on her face. I asked where her mother was, and I recognized the Spanish word that came next…muerta. Her mother was dead, and the grandmother was taking care of her, and 3 other siblings. My heart broke as I held this little girl in my arms. If I would have mailed it in, I would have missed these hugs, I would have missed this story, I would have missed the opportunity to tell the grandmother I would be praying for her. Lord, help me be in the moment more in my life. I don’t want to miss these moments.

Thank you for all your prayers this past week. God truly blessed, and my life will never be the same. I’ve always said that mission trips are life-changing. And after this trip, I’ll say it with an even louder voice.

 

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