Just Give it Time

Hope, Leaving a Mark, Parent

I was sitting in High School Bible Study and the teacher asked this question: “Who do you turn to when things are going crazy in your life? When you need advice?” Some students answered friends, adults, or Google. Then the teacher asked, “What about your parents? Do you ever go to your parents?” There was some muttering in the room so I raised my hand and said, “Yes, I turn to my parents.” Everyone over the age of twenty in the room was in full agreement with me. We all had reached an age where we know something that our teenage friends haven’t learned yet.

It seems that somewhere between the age of twelve and fourteen, aliens come and abduct our children. They implant an inhibitor chip deep within their brains. For the next five to seven years teenagers think that their parents are embarrassing, stupid, and absolutely out of touch with reality. Most think that anyone else in the entire world has more skill, more wisdom, and better answers than their parents.

Parents, in the middle of those teenage years there will likely come a time when you may be convinced that you are dumb. You might even catch yourself thinking,”Maybe all the teenagers are right. Maybe it isn’t them. Maybe it is me who lost my mind. Maybe I have lost my grip on reality. Maybe I don’t really understand what it is like.” Fight that temptation. Slap yourself in the face or get someone else to do it for you. Don’t fall for that trickery. Just pull out an old journal or think back on your high school days. You will remember quickly that you were a teenager and that you do understand.

Then somewhere around age twenty to twenty-two, that inhibitor chip miraculously disappears or is somehow reabsorbed into the bloodstream. All of a sudden, parents have all the answers. They know what to do when you get in a wreck or the car breaks down. They know what to do when your boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with you. They know what to say to calm your nerves when you have a big interview for your dream job. They know how to help you cope with a child who will not sleep and they even take that child for a night or two so that you can sleep. They know how to have a good conversation. They have wisdom and good words of advice. They are still parents, but they are much more than that.

But for now, the struggle is real. I want to encourage you to stay the course. Continue to love your children. Care for them. Seek what is best for them. Don’t mortgage your child’s future because you want to be their best friend. Discipline them if they need it. Encourage them when they need it. Laugh with them when they need it. Cry with them when they need it. Pray with them and for them because they will always need that.

Don’t just batten down the hatches and weather the storm of the teenage years. Step on deck, look that storm in the face, and say give me all you’ve got. Be that stalwart consistency that your son or daughter needs when the turbulent winds of Middle School assail them. Be that safe haven of refuge they need in High School when they feel like everyone is out to get them. Love them with the love that only Christ can give you.

Teach them His word and his statutes. Rebuke them when they sin. Correct them when they have strayed off of the path. Teach them how to follow Christ. Train them in righteousness. So that as they grow they will be servants of God who are thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

And always remember this: It is only time that separates them from turning to you for help, answers, and friendship.

Coming Home

Leaving a Mark, Parent, Uncategorized

“Home is not as much of a place as it is somewhere that you belong, somewhere that you are accepted.” Tim Keller

Over the past several years left the country to go on a mission trip. Our church has been very involved in missions over the last decade, and I decided to try to go to as many places that I could in order to share the gospel, encourage believers, and do whatever was needed.

There are two things that I like about traveling. Enjoying the journey and going home. I have been blessed to travel to many great places in the world. Over the last several years, I have fallen in love with all kinds of people. Some of them were specific people who are now very dear to my heart. But, generally I have come to a place that I just love people. I am amazed and intrigued by the differences and similarities of cultures that I have visited. There are things that are quite different such as languages, dress, gestures, and food. Yet there are similarities such as friendship, laughter, affection, and need for Christ. I love seeing the beauty of the world that God has made. I love exploring new places (new to me anyway). I enjoy trying new foods and drinks (this is something that I especially like to do. I think it all started with my first trip overseas to Japan in 1994. I even brought back a lot of soda cans with me because I was so intrigued by the exotic sodas.).

As much as I love the journey, I love coming home. Tim Keller says that home is not as much of a place as it is somewhere that you belong, somewhere that you are accepted. Within the past seven years, I have gotten married and been blessed with three wonderful children. Every day since my wedding has been an adventure of new things and a deepening of my understanding of home.  So whether I am coming home form a long trip or just a day at work, one of my favorite parts of coming home is the outpouring of hugs from three little people and a beautiful, loving wife who make the return home as good as the exploration of a new place.

He Knows What We Need

Faith, Leaving a Mark, Parent

I am blessed with wonderful children.  Some days I think I am a great dad. Other days, I’m okay. And then there are days when I am simply lousy.

Sometimes my children need things, and I can provide for them quickly. Sometimes I can figure it out before they ask. Other times, I get lucky and guess the very thing they need. Most times, I have no clue. I do my best to give them what they need, but I often fall short (according to their standards at least).

This morning my son needed something. I didn’t know what. I could not motivate him to get going or to get dressed. Nothing was right. His clothes did not fit, his shoes, hurt his feet, he did not want anything to eat. He probably needed compassion at that moment, but I had none to give. I was pretty lousy in showing love and compassion. I wanted him to wipe off his tears, deal with it and get going. He couldn’t.

After I dropped him off at school, I was pretty hard on myself about being a dad. When my shortcomings were about to wipe me out, I was reminded that I have a perfect Father. My son has a perfect Father who knows exactly what we need.

Jesus tells us, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (Matthew 6:31-32)”

We have a Father who knows what we need and when we need it. We do not have to worry about things in this life. He have a God who knows what we need and desires to give us those things.

I know I am going to miss the mark again for my son. I am going to let him down. I am going to discipline him when I should have shown him grace. I am going to let him get away with things that he should not get away with. I am going to fail him and disappoint him.

But, in the midst of all of this, I am going to do my best to point him to the Father that will never disappoint him. The one who will never fail him.The one who will never leave him or forsake him. The one that will give him exactly what he needs when he needs it.

Today, I urge you to trust in the Father who knows exactly what you need and desires to give it to you.