“Is She A Down Syndrome?”

Recently, my wife and I packed up the family for an afternoon of hiking and exploring in Helen, Ga. We could not have asked for a better day. The kids loved the hike, the weather was perfect and memories were made.   After our hike we had dinner in Helen and we walked around the quaint little mountain tourist town.

My children are Ty (8), Karis (5), Katie (5), and Joy (22 months).   Joy has Down Syndrome(DS).   To be real honest this last detail about Joy is mostly irrelevant in our family.

To us she is just Joy.

She is a great blessing to all of us and rarely does her genetic condition affect us. This is so true that most of the time I forget she even has DS.

On our trip I had forgotten…

I walked with my older children, held my wife’s hand, and pushed little Joy in her stroller.   As we ate ice cream and waited to get our balloon animals, a well meaning young lady looks at Joy and smiles and says to Charyl, “Aw, Is she a Down Syndrome?’’

It doesn’t take long to come back to the stinging reality that our little girl is different and when other people see her they notice Down syndrome and not Joy.

As we walked back to the car that afternoon I had some big old crocodile tears well up in my eyes. As a parent nothing hurts more than when you feel like others do not see the value in your children in the same way you do.

While the conversation was innocent and the young lady was kind, I could not help but feel pierced in the heart by her words, “Is she a Down syndrome?” To a person who does not have a child with special needs this question may seem completely innocent and appropriate but somewhere in the last 22 months I have become one of those overly sensitive parents. Please forgive me. This is not like me.   I am not a particularly emotional or sensitive man.   I rarely cry, in fact I see this as a flaw in my character that I do not feel things as deeply as others, but I have become very sensitive about Joy.   I almost cry as I type this…because I can’t help but desire for people to see Joy as I see Joy. I want them to see HER and not her “Syndrome.” I want others to value her as I value her!

So, NO! She is not “A Down Syndrome.”

She is JOY!

She is made and crafted in the image of God.

She is valuable.

She is beautiful.

She loves to follow her sisters.

She loves to give hugs.

She has a smile that lights up the world.

She has siblings that can’t wait to get home from school to play with her.

She claps and cheers for everyone.

She wakes up happy.

She likes to help her daddy cook.

She is very opinioned and will not eat her carrots no matter how you try to sneak them in.

She is resilient.

She brings hope.

She is her mama’s heart!

She is her daddy’s heart!

Every life God creates carries the stamp of divinity. If we will take the time to get to know people we will be shocked by the beauty we can find in each soul.

I did not ask for, nor did a want to have a child with Down syndrome.   It will always hurt my soul that Joy will struggle with simple things that typical children take for granted.

In spite of my desires God knew better than I did.

I am so thankful that God knows what is best for me when I don’t know how to ask. I am so thankful He brought JOY into my home.

God’ s greatest gifts are often disguised as presents we think we don’t want or don’t need.

When you see a family that has a child with special needs, if you desire to interact with them, ask the person’s name.   Every person is more than their disability.   Say an encouraging word. The family probably needs to hear it.   Find something good you see in the person with disabilities and complement their ability.   It may be as simple as saying, “You have a beautiful smile.” It may mean the world to that family. Be kind and considerate.

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KNOWING THEIR HEART MAY KEEP THEM FROM BREAKING YOURS

How do we keep our children from throwing their lives away and breaking our hearts in the process?

A few weeks ago I dropped my 5 year old twins off at Vacation Bible School (VBS) at our church. Both daughters cried and would not let go of me when they arrived with their group.   They made quite the scene as I attempted to pull away. I was frustrated with them and scolded them and told them to go to their class.   Looking back I know the day will soon come that I will be dejected because they will no longer want to hang on to me, instead they will want to let go of me. I have been told by a number of parents with grown children, “When they are little they step on your toes and when they get older they step on your heart.”

I have seen many broken-hearted parents with teenagers and young adults that have gone astray. I cannot help but believe that while young people will make their own decisions, there are some very practical things parents can do to keep their children from going down a path the leads to misery.

Recently, I witnessed some pretty disturbing things among teenagers and preteens. Here are a few:

Middle school age children, both boys and girls, addicted to pornography.

Teenagers cutting themselves with razor blades to ease the pain they feel.

Teenagers contemplating or even engaging in a same sex lifestyle in 8th grade.

Middle school and high school age children taking pictures of themselves naked and sending them to their boyfriend or girlfriend.

Teenage Stress…

Teenage Depression…

Teenage Despair…

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These are scary accounts you might expect to hear from hard on their luck, inner city kids, but that is not where these came from.

These stories came from upper middle class church kids at youth camp.

I recently was the evening speaker at my church’s youth camp. There were 323 sixth through twelfth graders along with over 100 adults. The students were awesome and God moved in a big way.   There were students giving their lives to Jesus, surrendering to ministry calls and many tears of brokenness over sin.

The reality of what kids are dealing with today versus 5-10 years ago is amazing!   Sin is still the same.

The internal struggle is still the same but availability, access, and the cultural moral compass have changed.

I would like to offer what may be some helpful thoughts for Christian parents and youth leaders.

Youth today are further down the sin path then they were ten years ago.   Let me explain what I mean.

Ten years ago at youth camp there were usually a few boys struggling with pornography.

Today most of the guys are struggling and many of the girls are struggling with pornography.

Ten years ago you never would have thought to talk about kids struggling with same sex attraction in a church camp setting.

Today most of the youth have accepted homosexuality as a normative behavior.

I can remember in 8th grade it being pretty scandalous if you were kissing your girlfriend, and yet this generation has self-identified homosexuals in 8th grade!

All parents know that there are no guarantees in parenting but there are patterns and there are some wise decisions we can make as parents that will help our children. Here are some ideas that I think Christian parents must consider.

It may be (It probably is) worse than you think – When you hear about kids struggling do not automatically jump to the conclusion, “That’s not my child.” Maybe they’re not…but maybe they are. Most parents of teenagers who are seriously struggling do not know their kids are struggling.

Praise your children for things that are praiseworthy – It is very easy and even natural for us to see what is wrong with our children. We correct them and try to change their behavior to make it what is acceptable. It is so important that we parent according to the gospel. Jesus calls believers His children. When His Spirit convicts us of our sin it is a calling up and not a pressing down.   Satan uses fear and guilt. Satan reminds us of how bad we are and how we could never be accepted.   Many times I am afraid Christian parents employ Satan’s strategy in parenting.   We shame our children. We scold them and tell them how bad they are.   God’s Spirit of conviction in our life is different. He convicts us of sin, not to shame us, but to call us to be who we already are in Christ.   We are a son or daughter who was adopted into God’s family through the blood of Jesus. He tells us we are to act like who we already are…His children.   I am working to remind my kids of who they are and not who they aren’t. Find what they are doing and encourage them.

IT is OK to tell your children that there are things that are NOT ok!   We must not let the insane illogical world of culture dictate what is true in our homes. We live in a day of illogical confusion. We have laws to save endangered birds and also have laws that make sure we have the right to kill our own children in the womb. Our politically correct gibberish is creating a generation of confused young people.   Parent, it is ok to say that a white woman who claims to be a black woman is actually wrong and confused. It is ok to teach our children that a man that thinks he is a woman is not a hero but a very broken person in need of finding his identity in Christ. It is ok–no, needed–that we teach our children that a romantic relationship with someone of the same sex is not ok. It is important to teach your children that it is not ok to look at pornography.  This list could go on for a long time but basically you must teach your children truth based on the Bible and basic common sense. These are lost in our day.

Teens are begging for their parents to help them. They would not say it that way…in fact they would not verbalize it at all. The thing they think they want least (their parent’s love, discipline, and instruction) is the thing they are crying out for most. They are drowning!   Teenagers from the beginning of time have struggled with sex…body’s change and hormones rage.   All adults wandered through the awkward years of adolescence, but today is a day like never before. For centuries gone by, sexuality has always been a curiosity to teens but always something that was subdued until a time of marriage.   A man’s strong desire for sex would drive him to work and to be a responsible man.   A young woman’s virtue was her highest prize.   A combination of unlimited free pornography, unlimited Internet access and most kids having smartphones has changed everything! Porn is the ocean in which our children are drowning. Some just feel like they cannot do anything to get free.

We need to give them a plan.  It is not enough to say pray and read your Bible. They don’t need shame. They need help. They don’t need you to yell at them.   When most parents find out their children have some great sin issue or struggle they blow their top, yell and scream, and threaten to lock their children up for the next 10 years. Most of the time these kinds of reactions only cause more separation between the child and parent.   Parents should be hurt and even angry that their child has drifted into the deep waters of sin, but they must use that deep emotion to help their child develop a plan for getting out!   Some issues need professional help. Sometimes it may be some simple levels of accountability.   Every situation is different and requires wisdom and a long term plan for help. Maybe you are thinking, “I have no idea how to get my child help!”   Start with the local church you attend. Ask a pastor. That is what they are there for. If they cannot help you, they can point you in the right direction.

We do not need to put undue weight on them.   They “need” a cell phone because everyone else has one. We give them one because every other parent has given their child one, but what if they actually don’t “need” one.   What if giving them a phone is not helpful but really the weight that pulls them down in the ocean of porn. Remember a phone is not a phone anymore. The thing they use their phone for the least is actually calling people. It is an eye gate to the world. It is an information center. It is the key to everything social.   Their phone holds the key to everything they will find their identity in. Is that what you want for your 12 year old? It is the object that shapes our child’s worldview.   I don’t even know if they make “just phones” anymore. Be very slow in making the decision of when your child will get a phone. Be very fast in taking their phone away if they are struggling.   I don’t let my 18 month old play with knives because she will hurt herself. Most young children are not ready for smart phones when they receive them. We are giving our children a tool to hurt themselves.

Parents must make sure their children have safe, Godly people to talk to other than themselves.   At church youth camp I was again shown the importance of Godly spiritual adults.   I was reminded that the day will come where my children may not feel like they are able to talk to me about a particular subject because I am their authority figure and I make the rules. They must be able to talk to someone!   I am so thankful for youth pastors, girls’ directors, small group leaders, and Sunday School teachers because they are that safe harbor where kids can go to talk. You must get your kids around Godly adults and leaders other than you that you trust. If they are not going to talk to you, then who will they talk too?

God’s Word is the best counselor. I am starting to get on a regular basis questions that I was never asked 5 years ago. Things like: “I have a child that is a girl, but wants to be a boy. What do I do?” or “How can I help my child who is attracted to the same sex?” or “My child is in Middle school and has been sexting. What do I do?”   Because these issues are different than issues parents have dealt with in the past sometimes we feel inadequate…which we are.   I have found that the best advice for parents is not something new, but something old. We must choose to believe God’s word and use it as counsel.   While the problems may be complex, the answers are simple.   We are sinners in need of Jesus. When we repent of our sin and live in a way that is pleasing to God, eventually our heart changes. Transformations are rarely overnight…they take time, but God’s word is true and He knows us better than we even know ourselves.   We must choose to believe about us what God says about us. The best counselor a parent can know is their Bible!   Most parents feel inadequate to help their children because they do not know what God’s word says or where to find it.   Here is a novel idea for all parents: Read your Bible everyday. Pray for your children everyday!   Don’t miss church and be among other Christian parents!

The Theology of Yoga Pants

1 Peter 3:Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

It is that glorious time of the year known as spring.  In our hyper-sexualized culture as the heat rises clothes start to come off. To say our culture is obsessed with body image would be like saying Antarctica is kind of chilly.

As someone that cares about Christian women I want to give a little pastoral/fatherly counsel. I find there are less and less young ladies that have a Godly father or male role model to speak truth into their lives. I would like to speak to Christian females as a loving father, as if I am talking to my three girls. These are some things I will tell my girls as they grow up, they may be helpful to some of you grown women as well.

Everything you wear says something about who you are and what is in your heart. While most women would not verbalize this, or even think about it, they want people to look at them. They want others, particularly men, to think they are beautiful.   Today, people spend countless hours at the gym and tons of money in order to make their bodies look a certain way.  Most of the time people say that diet and exercise is for their health but if their hearts were exposed it is really about 10% for their health and 90% so they can look good (this is true of both men and women).  They have been told since the time of childhood that princesses are beautiful and wicked stepsisters are ugly.  From almost the moment of birth little girls are taught that so much of their value is found in their looks.

Beauty= good

Ugly = bad

Yoga pants defined – tight (usually black…black is slimming you know) pants that cling to every fabric of your skin.  These pants are appropriate to wear at home with your husband and are great to go underneath a dress or long tunic…however when you leave your rear end uncovered you are pleading with every man in eye shot to check out your backside.

WHAT WOMEN CANNOT UNDERSTAND

Contrary to popular opinion God made men and women different.  Women and men are wired so differently it is impossible for a woman to understand how a man’s mind works (It is doubly impossible for a man to understand how a woman’s mind works).  Men are visual.  God wired us in such a way that when it comes to the female form we do not miss much. If a woman is wearing something that is tight fitting, too short, too low cut, etc., a man will notice. He may not admit he notices, but he does.  I can hear the rebuttal from women now, “Men are just a bunch of dogs and should learn to control themselves.” Perhaps your argument it very sound. Men are geared with a deep sexual desire that God gave them to express in the joys of a marital relationship. But saying men are like dogs does not change that fact that men are looking.    Christian men are looking. Ladies this may creep you out but you need to know, OLDER (think grandpas…eww) men are looking.  You see, the desires of a man’s flesh never changes.  Whether he is young or old he has to constantly deny those sinful desires and seek to honor the Lord with his mind.   If you love your brother in Christ and do not want him to see you or think of you in a way less than holy then consider these few questions and ponder them in your heart:

ARE YOU ADVERTIZING WHAT IS NOT FOR SALE?

When you put a “For Sale” sign on something, if it is interesting people will check it out. If you put a “FOR SALE: CHEAP” sign on something they may want to buy it if they have to pay very little. When you wear clothes that are immodest, you are advertising to the men all around you that you are cheap. God made women in His image and He never meant for them to be cheap.  The Bible says that He bought our redemption not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.  If Christ would pay this much for your soul, why would you advertise your body as cheap?  I will tell my girls that they are very valuable and when they find the man God has for them to marry, they will know because he will marry them before he tries to sleep with them. If you’re dressing in a way that is immodest, would you consider that you are inviting men to think about you in a sexual way?  According to the Bible, this way of thinking should be reserved for your husband.  Christian men should see Christian women as daughters, sisters, or as mothers. Do you want your Christian brother to think of you as an object of lust, or as a sister in Christ? The way you dress WILL influence how he thinks of you.

ARE YOU MAKING OTHERS FOCUS ON A PART OF YOU THAT WILL SOON FADE AWAY?

Your looks are not around for long.  Even the most beautiful woman may have 40 years of stunning physical attraction. What happens after she has passed her prime? What happens when your perfect curves begin to sag?   What happens when that beautiful skin begins to wrinkle?  If you have made others value your looks then you are quickly losing your value. If you value comes from, “the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit” then as you get older you only become more precious to God and others. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

ARE YOU TAKING WHAT GOD MADE HOLY AND MAKING IT COMMON?

There is a Proverb that says, “A beautiful woman who lacks discretion

is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.”  Can you picture gold, the most precious of metals, in the nose of the most vile animal? A pig spends its days in the slop and has no need or concern for the value of gold. A woman who is immodest is taking the gold that God has given her and putting it before pigs (sorry guys).  You are so much more valuable than your vessel.  You are not a body that has a soul, but you are a soul that has a temporary body.  Your body will soon wear out.   Help people look at you for what is lasting about you and not what is quickly fading away.   Here is what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:15 “Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ?”

HERE ARE A FEW BASIC GUIDELINES THAT MAY BE HELPFUL.  

Wear Yoga Pants/Tight Pants in private and not in public unless you are covering your backside. You should not wear clothes that cling to you.

NO BIKINIS.   Bikini = wearing your underwear in public.  Even with most one-piece bathing suits you should probably cover them with shorts. I know this sounds dramatic and archaic but trust me on this one.

You should not wear clothing that draws men’s eyes to your breasts.

Skirts should go past your knees and should have enough material that you can still walk when wearing them.

 

If you are in doubt about something don’t ask another girl or even your mom.   If dad is in the picture ask DAD! And when you ask him and he shocks you with his opinion, have the respect to listen to what he says. Remember, Women DO NOT THINK like men. If you do not have a Godly father or grandfather to ask, seek the advice of an older Godly woman and go by the basic guidelines I have listed above.

The point of this blog is not to be offensive, but to remind my sisters in Christ of their great worth and value.men-staring-at-woman  I hope it is helpful.

 

The Horror Of Having A Child With Down Syndrome

Horror!  That is quite a word.   It is a word that makes me think back to when I was a kid and saw my first Dracula movie.  I was so scared that I had nightmares for weeks (Now vampires sparkle but that is a blog for another day).  Horror is a terrifying word and yet when people think about their supposedly healthy child being born with the condition of Down syndrome (DS) the word Horror comes to mind.  It is almost like a death sentence.   This is not what you expected.  This is not what you had hoped for.   So much to learn…so much to do…so much to think about.

Since our daughter Joy was born with DS everyone one asks me, “How are you and Charyl?”  “How is Joy?”

I have to be completely honest with you.  I am not going to hold back the bitter truth…

Joy has been the most delightful child I could imagine!

Here are some real horrors we have experienced with our little Joy

THE HORROR OF SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT – Joy is now 11 weeks old and she has slept through the night since we brought her home.  Our other children have not been sleepers.  We went almost a solid year without a good nights sleep with our twin girls.  Joy’s awesome sleeping schedule has allowed Charyl and I to be able to quickly adjust to the needs of a family of 6.

THE HORROR OF SNUGGLINESS – Apparently snuggliness is not a word but I am making it up because it so accurately describes Joy.  She is the cuddliest child imaginable.   I have nicknamed her “Snuggles.”  She is like having a little warmer full of love on your chest.  If you could somehow package love and hold it in your arms my little girl would be what you would come up with.

THE HORROR OF SUPER BIG SMILES, TONS OF BABY NOISES, AND PLAYFUL EXCITEMENT – I don’t want you to get the impression that Joy sleeps all the time or does not interact.  She loves to interact with everyone she comes in contact with.  She is very social.   She “talks” all the time.   She loves for her brother and sisters to talk with her and play with her.

I will not say that our experience with Joy is typical of all parents who have children with Downs.   Many children have open-heart surgery during the first few weeks of their life.  Some children with DS have many different health issues.  However, I will say that the joy found in parenting a child with DS seems to be unanimously wonderful across the board.  I have had the opportunity to meet a number of parents who have children with DS and all of them have such a deep love and appreciation for their child.

The only real horror of downs is the same horror I have for all of my children.

It is the horror of fear.

The horror of fear of the future that has not yet come and may never be.  Fear and worry are brothers from the same father, Satan.  They say that worry is a down payment on something that you may never need to pay for.

Fear is satanic in nature.   When we worry we are saying to God that we cannot trust Him with our future.   We cannot trust Him with our children.

2 Timothy 1:7 God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves.

I cannot speak about what God has in the future for Joy, or any of my other children.   I can speak of what I know.  I know that God has been faithful to my family and I.  I know He WILL continue to be faithful.  Joy’s DS has just given us one more reason to trust our heavenly Father more, for that I am eternally grateful. IMG_3069 IMG_3244 IMG_2933

A Dad’s Proverbs 7 to His Girls

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Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It gives so much wisdom on how to live the day-to-day life.   Proverbs gives particular insight to young men and how to watch out for sexual temptation (Chapters 5 and 7) that could derail their lives and ultimately kill them.

I wish there was a chapter in the Bible like that for girls.   I have 3 girls that I want to be pure young ladies.   I want them to know what to watch out for.  I am writing this as an open letter for my girls to read and if you would like you can read it as well.  I am in no way comparing what I write to scripture.  These are just a few of my thoughts that I want my girls to consider as they grow up.

WATCH OUT FOR BOYS!  A COUPLE OF DON’TS!

Yong men have a deep sexual desire, especially in their teens, that they have not yet learned to control.  Because of this you must be wise and discerning.  Here are a few things you should not do.

Don’t sit on their laps.

Don’t kiss them.

Don’t give them full frontal hugs.

Don’t be alone with them.

Don’t share a blanket with them.  A lot can happen under a blanket.

Don’t start something you do not intend to finish.

Don’t start ‘dating’ until you are in a season of life where you are ready for marriage.  This is NOT 16 for most girls.   Do not awaken love until its time.

Don’t listen to them.  They will say whatever they have to in order to get you to make them feel sexual pleasure.   Their words, although they make you feel good, are shallow.  They have not had time to develop character that you will desire in a husband.   The man you want to marry will be a man who will seek first to honor God and then you and only after marriage will he one day be intimate with you.

YOU ARE SO VALUABLE!

God says you are valuable and I say you are valuable!  It is hard for a young man to see past your exterior.  Your body is one of the greatest gifts you will ever give.   The times we live in have cheapened sex to be as random as a hug or handshake but God never meant it to be so.   God meant it to be a mingling of two souls.   He wired your body and soul together.  You will have a deep emotional attachment to whomever you share your body with.   Save your body for your spouse.   Wait until marriage to have sex.  This will strengthen your marriage in years to come in a way that you cannot imagine at the present time.

BE CAREFUL

Be careful of the Internet.  Facebook, snapchat, twitter, and the 1000 other things that will be invented before you read this could be your undoing.  Don’t take a picture of yourself and put it online unless your dad has approved it.  Never take a picture of yourself and send it to a boy.   You never know where it may resurface.   I will help you with this.  Pictures and comments will be online for eternity and they could harm your future.

YOUR DRESS

The way you dress is a reflection of your heart.   If you dress provocatively it is a clear picture that you need attention and you will do whatever you have to in order to get attention.  Do not worry about how the other girls dress.   If you are a Godly woman with character then the right man WILL notice you at the right time.   Modesty does not hide a beautiful woman — it reveals her.  Your mother is a gorgeous modest woman and she can help you find modest fashion.  If you are ever in doubt about whether you should or should not wear something, ask me.   I will give you an honest answer.

A BIG CHOICE

Choosing a spouse is the second most important decision you will make in your life after choosing your God.   If you believe your mother and I love you then allow us to have a very strong voice in helping you choose who you will date and marry.  No one loves you like your mother and I and we may be able to see things in your potential suitors that you may be blind to because of infatuation.

LOOK DEEP

We are all somewhat superficial.  Please look at a man’s character more than his appearance.  As a young person I am sure you desire a man who will be attractive to you.  I can promise you that if you marry a man who loves Jesus with all his heart, over time, he will become your “Prince Charming.”   Proverbs 31 says of a woman that, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”   The same can be said of a man.  Look for a man who fears the Lord.

GRACE COVERS ALL SINS

Remember that Daddy and Mommy are praying for you.  No matter what decision you make in regard to your future husband please know that I am praying for you and for him.  I am praying God will give you wisdom and discernment that one day, if the Lord wills, you will find a man who loves you as much as I do…that might be impossible.

6 FATHERING TRIPWIRES

A tripwire is a passive triggering mechanism. Typically, a wire or cord is attached to some device for detecting or reacting to physical movement.  Tripwires are frequently used in boobytraps, whereby a tug on the wire (or release of tension on it) will detonate the explosives.

Tripwires are almost invisible and usually when a soldier has discovered the wire it’s too late.   These tripwires have killed thousands in battle over the years.   I believe there are many tripwires that can be explosive in the home.   It is important for dads to recognize these tripwires in their own lives before it is too late and they do permanent damage to their children and wives.  It seems that so many people are damaged for life because of some wound their dad has inflicted upon their heart.  Daddy wounds can take a lifetime to heal and sometimes never do.   Here are 6 tripwires I believe all dad’s need to be careful not to cross

 

THE WORK WIRE – All me were made to work and a lazy man is really no man at all.   If we are honest something happens when we get a family.  We deeply love our children and our wife but coming home feels like a lot like work.  It is work.  The work of being a father and a husband is often more emotionally taxing than our actual job.   In order to avoid the stress of dealing with problems at home many men simply work longer hours and use work as their excuse not to come home.  Anyone who says that a stay at home mom does not work is crazy.  I know if I were a stay at home mom there would be many days I would be glad to deal the corporate workplace instead of whining, potty training, and 1000’s of “I’m Hungry’s” and “She won’t share’s.”  When you are tempted to work late remember that your time at home is short and your kid’s and wife desperately need you.  You may bring home a paycheck, but it is even more important that your bring yourself home to serve your family.

 

THE CHECKOUT WIRE – I have heard so many ridiculous excuses.  “I just don’t love the children’s mother any more.”  “Doesn’t God want me to be happy?”  “They are probably better off without me.”   Men use these and other reasons to check out on their families.  Real men stay.  They make it work.   They don’t abandon their children while pacifying their conscience with a monthly check.  Go to counseling.   Learn to forgive.  Get in a small group at a church where you can get support. But for heaven sake DON’T QUIT!

 

THE HOBBY WIRE – Fishing, hunting, golf, exercise and any other hobby that you may love are wonderful ways to enjoy life and relieve stress.   Be careful not to do them in excess.  If you are going to have hobbies make sure they are things you can do with your children.   Remember you will have time for hobbies when your children are gone.

 

THE VICARIOUS LIVING WIRE – If you are a dad you believe your children are special (If you don’t you should).   You believe your son is particularly gifted at sports and your daughter is the best dancer and pianist in the bunch.   I am glad you believe in your child.   You should offer them healthy support and encourage them to do and be their best.   But be careful not to push them to try to be something you want more than they do.  Don’t be the dad that curses the umpire out at the game.  Don’t be the dad that has a talk with or pay the little league coach to get your kid in the game.  Don’t be the dad that pushes your child to excel so much in their particular field that they no longer enjoy the joy of childhood.   Don’t try to make them the athlete, student, musician, or popular kid that you never were.  Let them be who God made them to be and love them for who they are, whether they make it to the big leagues or not.

 

THE GROUCH WIRE – Maybe you are with them but you don’t have fun with them.   You are so focused on them being perfect that you never take the time to laugh with them, tickle them, and play with them.   Leave work at work.   Turn of the TV and get off your phone.  Don’t take your stress out on your children.  I think we are all guilty of this one from time to time.

 

THE PORNOGRAPHY WIRE – This is one that is blowing up families everywhere.  Whether you are the good dad with the secret habit or the man who doesn’t try to hide this issue.  More families than ever are severely effected by the viral plague of pornography.   Pornography turns people into objects.   It turns your mind into an insatiable lust machine.   It makes your wife feel unloved and insufficient.  One result that may be most harmful is how it disturbs your children.  Your son’s will likely take on your dirty habit and not be able to see women as the treasure that God made them.  They will view young ladies as a object of their desire.   Pornography makes you awkward around your little daughter especially if her body is changing.  You cannot have your teenage daughter’s friend’s over without lusting after them and you cannot show affection towards your daughter as you should.   You become awkward hugging her and giving her the innocent affection that she needs and craves from her father.   If you can’t give it to her then she will find male attention somewhere.  She will probably find some hormone crazed teenage boy who will be glad to give her attention in all the wrong ways.  Your addiction could blow up her security for the rest of her life. trip-wire

HE NEVER TAUGHT ME TO TWERK – 6 LESSONS FROM MY DAD

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding

            There are so many horrible examples of fatherhood today.  The Lord graciously blessed me with a God honoring dad.  Maybe you didn’t have a great dad, through this blog I want to share my dad with you.   You can learn from him as I have.

The past few days my parent’s have been visiting with us in celebration of my son’s 6th birthday.  It has been such a blessing to spend some time with mom and dad.   As I am often reflecting on fatherhood I wanted to share a few truths that my dad’s life has taught and continues to teach me.

LOVE YOUR WIFE – My dad is not a typical romantic, in fact from a Hollywood prospective he is actually pretty terrible at romance.  However, my dad deeply loves my mother, she knows it and so does every one else.   Recently my mother has been through a physical ordeal with a botched surgery that almost killed her.   After over a month in the hospital she was able to go home.   Dad has been her nurse.  He has had to dress her wounds and help her in every way.   My mother also has many problems with her back and is not able to sleep on a flat mattress any longer.  She sleeps in a recliner.   I was talking to mom this weekend and we were discussing options for her to get a mattress that she may be able to sleep on.   I made the comment to her that I am sure dad misses having her warmth near him at night since they sleep in different rooms because of her back.   To that she said to me, “Oh, he doesn’t sleep in a different room.  Ever since I have come home from the hospital he sleeps beside me on the couch to make sure I am ok.”   Wow!  That is romance.  What a great lesson on teaching me how to love my wife.  I hope I can be like that one day.

SERVE YOUR FAMILY WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT – Being a dad is hard work.  Sometimes being a dad is no fun at all.  It means you park the car and run through the rain while you let everyone else off at the entrance.  It means you give up your jacket when someone in the family is cold.   It means you cut up your children’s food before you eat your own.   I have witnessed my dad selflessly give of himself and I can’t remember him ever complaining about it.   I can remember late one night when I as 18 or 19 and I acquired a flat tire.   I looked underneath my truck and I had no light and no way of changing the tire.   Who did I call?   Dad!   He’d been in bed for hours.  He came and helped me change my tire.  He smiled and told me he was sorry I had a flat.   He never complained.  I hope I can be like that one day.

BE INVOLVED – He watched “He-Man” with me, coached my little league teams (to multiple championships), took me camping, and took me to help him in the garden.   He took me fishing.   He took me to church.  He never missed a high school football or soccer game that I played in.   He even came and watched practice.   He was always the loudest one.   He had a nickname for me.   He called me “Tank.”  I can remember on cold nights in Florida during soccer season the crowd would be a dismal 20 people bundled up in blankets quietly cheering us on.   In the quite crowd I heard the loud voice of my dad, “KICK IT TANK!  GET EM TANK!   SCORE TANK!”  To be real honest it embarrassed me at the time.  Now with deep affection it brings tears to my eyes as I think about his voice.  Even today as a write this his support continues.  My dad and mom were supposed to leave on Monday morning of this week but they stayed another day because I am preaching a revival.   They stayed an extra day to hear me preach, to encourage me, to lift me up.   I hope I can be like that one day.

MODEL FAITH – I can remember many mornings waking up to find my dad on his knees praying (probably for my brothers and I) and reading his Bible.   Each week he calls me and prays with me over the phone.   He serves his church.   I don’t think he has ever met someone he didn’t like.  He seems to really think of others as more important than himself.   I hope I can be like that one day.

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LAUGH A LOT – My dad told me when he was growing up his nickname was  “Sunshine.”   I’m guessing it’s because he’s always laughing and smiling.   My dad has a high-pitched laugh that we heard often in our home growing up.   He is a fun guy that little kids are drawn too.  My friends always loved my dad when I was a kid because he always took an interest in them.  We never had “inside” dogs growing up.  One way my dad thought would be an effective way to wake my brothers and I up was to throw a Dachshund on us in the morning and allow them to lick us awake…not pleasant, but he thought it was funny.   I hope I can be like that one day.

BE MORE – I never had the chance to meet my grandfather.  Apparently he was a brilliant man.  I never got to meet him because he was an alcoholic.  He had so many gifts but alcohol would rob my dad of the father he needed.  It would have been easy and natural for my dad and his brothers to go down the same path.  Alcoholic’s children often suffer the same fate as their parents.   The Grace of God, a loving mother, the prayers of a Godly wife, and a desire in my dad to be the dad he never had made him different.  I have never seen him drunk.  He has never abused me in a fit of rage.  He chose to be different.  He chose to be more!   I know his prayer for me is not that I become him but that I become all that God wants me to be.  My prayer for my son is not that he walks in my path but that he takes the next step as a follower of Christ and lover of people.     I hope I can be like that one day…

These are some things I am learning from my dad.   My mom is even better J I will write about her soon.   What are some things you have learned (good or bad) from your dad?