My son loves when I tell him a story before he goes to bed. I like to think it is because he thinks I am an excellent story teller, but the truth is he simply knows that he can stay up for those last few minutes if I tell him one.
Sometimes, it is a story from his Children’s Bible, and other times it is more of a biographical tale of something that happened when I was a child. Lately, I have made up children’s stories. They usually have a hidden lesson. He loves it when I make them up.
Two nights ago, I made up a story that was loosely based on another story I heard when I was young. You may have heard a similar version, but the story was about a man who prayed and asked God to make him strong. This man prayed and prayed because he was a weak man who really wanted supernatural strength. He desired to be a superhero (my boy loved that prayer). Everyday, God told this man to go outside and push on the same large boulder. This boulder was immovable, and each day this man became more and more frustrated because he could not move it. He questioned what the point was if it could not be moved. He was also frustrated because he had to walk a long way through the woods to get to this boulder. Daily, his body would ache as he attempted to push this rock. He would wake up every morning sore and dreading the next attempt. He continued to obey, though.
After 3 months of this strenuous routine, this man became angry with God and decided to stop praying for this transformation. He believed God was good, and that He could do anything…he was just tired of praying. He pledged to God, however, that he would do it one more time. So, he began his trek through the woods to find the large boulder.
He was halfway to his destination when he heard a weak cry for help. He moved around to see where the cry was coming from and he noticed it became louder near a large hole in the ground. He looked in the hole and saw a little boy who had fell and was hurt. The man reached down and easily pulled the boy to safety. The man soon realized that his months of pushing made him stronger than he ever was. God had answered his prayer. He was a hero.
Sometimes we feel so helpless that we forget that God is working in our lives. We focus on our inadequacies. It is His strength, mercy, and power that matter…not our might or understanding.
Never stop praying. Even when it seems like the object in front of you seems immovable. Perhaps God is changing you while you are praying for the situation to change. Keep pushing.
Love you all.
There you are…quitely lurking away from view. Your prey doesn’t see you and you are getting ready to pounce. One wrong move and you will scare them away. You can’t afford to make a noise or you will lose the hunt. Everything is riding on this moment…then you strike. TICKLE MONSTER!!!!!!!! Your heart and life instantly fills with laughter as your children succomb to the power that comes with identifying pressure points on the body meant for tickling. You are a father. You are awesome and you know it. Then, as soon as it started, it abuptly ends in a crash! You just broke something. Something Mommy really likes. Kids and Daddy are now in trouble. Oh, but it was worth it.
There have been so many times during my work day where I will start laughing simply thinking about my kids. I will look at a picture on my desk, and start cracking up. In that picture, my daughter is making that face. You know what face I am talking about. I can’t help it. I love them so much. Fatherhood is the most rewarding discipleship ministry I am involved in. It just is.
Fatherhood, in general, is like that…it is not all perfect and happy, but the reward is amazing. The problem is, fathers are becoming an endangered species. The male reproductive contributor has not been decreasing in popularity, but fathers have…why is this?
I think there are 5 main reasons why fathers are becoming an endangered species.
1. It is difficult– When it comes to discipline, consistency, and the expectation of provision, the role of a father becomes harder and harder when one is fully involved. Mommy definitely has an extremely hard job, but both parents should be active in the life of a child. Sometimes it is easy to default to anger, lethargy, or a general disconnection with th fatherly role. In my personal experience, it is hard to work a full day and get home in time to play with my children a few hours before bed time. It can be taxing and I find myself turning my mind and heart on autopilot. Dad, fight this temptation. Don’t allow yourself to become jaded or remote.
2. Sometimes work comes before family– This is a dangerous attitude to be in. It is easy to default to this mode when we feel like the full provision of the household rests on our shoulders. We become stressed and determined to make sure that our sweat and effort will produce more and more. Granted, this is the most traditional view of a father, and many households do not reflect this expectation, but there are so many that do. We have to remember that we are not alone in our fight and we are not called to venture through this role alone. Relying soley on our strength will eventually lead to collapse. Do not worship your work, and let yourself believe that you are defined by your occupation or how much money is in your account. We shouldn’t walk away from our responsibilities, but we can not forsake our first call.
3. We think kids come before spouse– Now, I know that many families are single parent households, and this will not apply to everyone, but I think it is still important to say. Your spouse comes first. Why do I say this? I say this because God has put you together for a lifetime…to grow, love, and team teach a new generation. Your children will be with you for 18-21 years…your spousal relationship will be for a lifetime. Plus, your kids need to see affection, respect, conflict resolution, and laughter among their parents. If you are a single father, your child needs to see the respect for the people around you. You are an example to them.
4. We are not fully involved– This is a simple one to understand. Quantity time and quality time are both important. Not valuing these things can be detrimental to fathers. It’s okay to look foolish while acting in a spontaneous make-believe play. It is okay to knock things over while wrestling. It is okay to care about what kind of diapers, crafts, and education your children is receiving. In fact…it is amazing.
5. The role has been under emphasized– One of my pet peeves involves this very thing. An example would be found in the countless times I see people posting questions on social media asking for parenting advice. The question always starts like this, “Okay Mom’s, I have an opinion question…Junior is not sleeping at night and I was wondering…” Did you catch it? Just one time, I want to read a question that says, “Dad’s! What ways have you gotten your kids to eat vegetables?” It is a minor thing, but we have done this to ourselves…fathers have almost been removed from the conversation of the daily operations of parenting and this is unacceptable. We have to reclaim this…
I realize that there are men out there that have been praying for a long time for the opportunity to be a father. I know many in this situation, and I propose we take some regular time out of our day to pray for those in this situation. It can be hard to wait/ fervently pray any amount of time for God to bring this blessing.
Love you all. Fight the good fight.
Walking up the mountainside with my father that day felt very natural. We were traveling there to make a sacrifice to the god that my father called Yahweh. This was the only god that my father worshiped and he seemed to act as if he really spoke to this god. They actually had an intimate relationship…like they were best friends that had been through so much together. Father seemed a little upset and even nervous while we were heading to the altar site that day. He would not look me in the eye and he would answer my questions with short replies. He was talking to Yahweh the whole way. At first the conversation with Yahweh was friendly but then the mumblings sounded more frustrated. Nevertheless, my father seemed determined to give God honor.
After a long walk we finally made it to the site and set up the altar. I soon realized that dad forgot the offering. Obviously we were going to have to go back and get it. This happened one other time before and it was a long day. We had never been to this site before and I was looking at the two servants that were with us and they didn’t seem to notice. I should have said something before we left but I wasn’t paying attention. When I was about to mention the lack of a sacrificial animal my father turned to me and I noticed something alarming. His eyes were puffy, and his beard was soaked with tears. I could tell he had been crying for a long time. My memory went back to the night before when I was awakened by the sound of violent sobbing. Father was upset about something, and he was even pounding the walls…So, EVERYONE was awake.
I then mentioned the fact that we did not have a sacrifice and he looked as if he was angry that I mentioned it. Rather rudely he snapped back at me “God will provide a sacrifice”. Ok then, remind me never to mention something like that again….he was obviously in a bad mood that day. He picked me up and put me on the altar. I wasn’t sure why but I imagined it was to test the sturdiness and how much weight it could hold. Then he raised the knife with his hand shaking. Wait……what was happening? Was I about to be the sacrifice?
Just then we heard a rustling sound. After that, a wimper… It was a beautiful and majestic ram caught in a bush. I then heard a booming voice and I could tell that it was God but I couldn’t understand the words. Dad did though… My father jumped higher than I have ever seen him jump and started laughing as if he were crazy. He kissed me and tossed me to the side like we were wrestling around at home. God provided a ram for us to sacrifice.
Later I found out more than I ever wanted to know about that day. I was the one that God asked my father to sacrifice. His beloved son. I can’t imagine the pain that my father was feeling after God asked him to take this step. Looking down from my current perspective, and knowing what I do now I have made one main observation about this current generation. I have noticed that sometimes God asks us to do things we don’t understand. If we are obedient, blessings always follow. It’s rather simple really…but applicable to all generations.