Fatherhood has taught me forgiveness

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The whole concept of a dad can be challenging for some men. Many have grown up without having a dad in their life. Some of us even had dads that had to work outside of the home, for days on end, to support the family. Anger, resentment, and even a quest to fill that dad-shaped hole can occur.

I am thankful for the men that God brought into my life, as my dad was out working to provide for our family.

I am thankful for my Grandpa Ayers. For him sharing his love for the outdoors, radio controlled everything, and tabletop games. For showing me and my brother that slingshots, knives, and guns are cool toys (when properly respected) to play with. I’ll never forget our late nights playing Chess OR my Grandpa letting my brother and I build our own fires (FIRE!). His unexpected death at 60 years of age still haunts me in some ways. I have found that grief is ever changing but forever there. I am thankful for the time he invested in my siblings and I; thankful for the time that I got to spend with him.

Photo by Jordan Sanchez on Unsplash

For the longest time, I retreated into negative emotions concerning my own dad. Unable to see the bigger picture of what it means to provide… unable (still unable) to see through the family fog-of-war of the example his dad left him with when it came to interacting with family. For years, even as an adult, I’ve wanted more from my dad… But I’ve learned that whatever it is I have wanted from him, I have built into my relationship with Wyatt. Letting the past go, letting anger go, has allowed me to see my dad for who he is instead of who I wanted him to be.

My dad, Steven, is an amazing guy. He is funny, insightful, and a hard worker. The older I get, the more I appreciate him AND realize how much I am like him. I wish I had been able to push past what is deemed, in Christian circles, as a “father wound” sooner. Arriving at a point where I can accept my dad for who he is is priceless. Being able to see the bigger picture, where other men were allowed to step in and teach me and my siblings, and not resent that, is liberating.

All of the above to say, Father’s Day is this weekend. Chuck Lawless reposted a piece this morning that resonated with me titled “8 Reflections on Being Childless and Celebrating Father’s Day“. I encourage you to check it out.

These greeting card holidays can stir the emotions!

Happy early Father’s Day.

A Friday Confession

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I used to pray, God, use me however you want. I used to sing loudly, with tears in my eyes, God, where you lead, I will follow. (Tears because I didn’t want God to send me into the backwoods somewhere without air conditioning.) I prayed with a bigger picture in mind; I sang open to the will of God for my life. The subtle current of wanting adventure, thrills beyond the everyday life, thrummed beneath the surface of my prayers. As The Killers sing in their song “Read My Mind”:

I never really gave up on
Breakin’ out of this two-star town

What I was really praying was, God, I’m willing to follow you as long as it means new places, new people, and a lack of monotony. 

Photo by Camille Puche on Unsplash

When I graduated from college back in 2006, I thought I’d get married and leave Longview forever. My big plans were to go back to Southern California, get an amazing job OR start a video game ministry, and life would go on. But then economy imploded… and God has used those 12 years since graduation to shape and form me into something new. I’m not the same guy that I was, and I recognize that as being good.

Do you ever feel like Moses, living in the wilderness with his wife and father-in-law? Being prepared, by God, away from the limelight, in safety? Do you ever wonder if you are being taught to just focus on and impact those around you? I do. Our world is all about the big, the bold, the blaring Coldplay stadium anthems. Anthems that silently whisper to us that if you aren’t doing something big, in life or for God, then you are a failure.

Here is where I want to land: You are not a failure.

In the Bible, God consistently uses those the world does not know for His glory, purpose, and Kingdom. I think we have to pray that our hearts align more with Him and less with the overwhelming expectations the world and even Christian culture can put on us. You can make a difference for His Kingdom where you are, right now. You don’t even have to move. Even though Switchfoot might dare you to.

Our Actions Impact Others

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Our actions impact others. Period. 

Recently I was reading about a guy named Jonah. Jonah was told to go to a city that was known to support terrorism. Being that the city of Nineveh’s reputation that wasn’t all that positive, Jonah decided not to go. In the process of running from his mission, Jonah ends up putting the men on the boat he escapes on, and all their cargo, in jeopardy. Jonah’s selfish actions not only almost cost the sailor’s livelihoods but their very lives as well. All of this could had been avoided had Jonah been obedient to God telling him to go to Nineveh and speak His word to the people.

Our actions carry life and death consequences. Period.

When Achan heard the news that that the battle hadn’t gone well, he must have known deep within his soul that it was his fault. 36 people had died. The battle of Ai was supposed to have been easy. Something was wrong and Israel’s leader, Joshua, knew it. After some heavy sifting of thousands of people, Achan stood at the forefront. He confessed that he had been disobedient and had gone against what God had said about taking things from Jericho. Achan had disobeyed and had stolen from what was to be devoted to God. Because of his actions, Achan, his family and all of his possessions were destroyed by rock and flame.

Bible stories are easy to gloss over, especially after you have heard the same stories repeatedly. I personally find that it is easy to miss the bigger narrative that God is writing. In the above two examples of Jonah and Achan, both men did not take into consideration the consequences of their actions on others. In Jonah’s case, the men and their cargo could have perished in the storm; In Achan’s case, Achan and his family suffered due to his disobedience. Both stories have gotten me thinking about the ramifications of my own actions. How will my daily actions impact my:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Workplace, etc.

I want to encourage you today to look at the bigger picture.

How have your actions impacted those around you?