A Boy and His Dream

This morning we did something that we’ve done a few times before. We took one of our kids to their next and most exciting adventure yet…and then drove away. It’s always hard, but this one was different.

My son Jon (about whom I have written before) is on his way to Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. In about four months he will come home and go to college. And, when he returns, he will be a different person – a different man – than the one that we hugged goodbye today.

I’m so excited for him. All of his life, from the time he could even formulate the words, he has wanted to be “an army guy.” He is living that dream – with all of the hardship and hurt and the exhilaration and adventure that goes with it.

And I’m anxious for him. He is away from friends and family. He will have very limited contact with any of us. And he will be pushed physically, mentally, emotionally, and probably spiritually like he has never been tested before.

Continue reading A Boy and His Dream

My Best Teacher

Just over 22 years ago I became a father.

As I have written over the last several days, being a dad has been a laboratory in which God has taught me so much about His love for me and my relationship with Him.

One part of being a father that I have not yet touched upon has been the front row seat I have had for the most amazing mother I have ever seen.

My wife is a great wife – but that’s for another day. She is a world-class mom. The ways God has taught me about Himself by watching her be a mom have been amazing…and difficult…and priceless.

I have seen the way she has taught our kids, affirming the right things, correcting the wrong things, always pushing for more because they are capable of it. I have seen the way she somehow knew what they needed and what they wanted – and the way she somehow managed to get those things to be a lot closer together than it seemed to me.

In recent days, as I have seen her wrestle with the growing pains of a family that’s growing up, I have seen her heart break when she couldn’t get all of her chicks in the nest at once. But I have seen the incredible joy that overflows her heart when all of her kids gather around her table and she gets to feed them and care for them and laugh with them and just be with them.

This just might be the sweetest lesson I have learned – and the reason I am most excited about this Father’s Day. I get to watch my love revel in the joy of having (almost) all of her kids together.

But, as we begin our Father’s Day celebration by gathering in our Father’s house for worship – to sit at His table and laugh and sing and feast upon HIs Word together. And I think I’m beginning to understand, maybe for the first time in my life, what it means to Him.

For this and all of the incredible lessons, I have to say to my best friend, my partner, my lover, my life – my beautiful wife – thank you.

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She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: (Proverbs 31:26-28)

The Lion Heart

I have spoken and written much of my constant battle with fear. It has been too strong a force for too long a time in my life. If I had to choose a fictional character to represent me, it very well might be the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz.

I have come to understand that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the strength to face the fear – and thereby overcome it.

God has used my role as a dad to teach me a lot of things in myriad ways. But one little, hard-headed, rough-housing boy has been, perhaps, God’s most powerful tool over the last several years in renovating my own heart.

My son Andrew – known to many by Drew and many others by Andrew and by close family as Drewby – is one of the most courageous people I have ever known in so many ways. And through him I have grown in courage and strength to face many of my fears head-on.

Let me be clear. It has not been easy. It’s not easy to discipline a kid who is not afraid of much. I could write a book of stories of difficult situations we have endured. But in each and every difficult step, God has taught me so much.

The stories bring lots of laughter. This boy stole a not-fully-baked cinnamon roll off the pan while it was still in the oven – at about three years old. About that same time I turned around one day while working out in the yard to see him standing there eating a stick of butter like a candy bar. Of course, as soon as I saw him, he took off running.

He just has a passion for what he loves. For instance, brownies…He was staying with his aunt & uncle one weekend when his aunt woke to him closing her bedroom door about 5:30 on a Saturday morning. She got up and put him in bed with her (this was while he was still little and cute and cuddly). A while later, when Aunt Liz went to the bathroom, Drew made a break for it.

Liz heard him in his room struggling with something. As it turns out, he had awakened early and gone to the kitchen and retrieved the pan of brownies off of the kitchen counter and taken it back to his room. Aunt Liz found him mad as a hornet because he couldn’t get the lid off of the pan.

I have watched that little boy grow into an amazing young man. I have seen that passion come to bear on different things, especially football. But lately, as he has let go of that game that was so much a part of his life, I see him directing that passion toward becoming the man God wants to make of him.

I have tried to teach him to be a man of God. He has taught me to be a man of courage. I pray that this, my lion-hearted son, will ever be a passionate, courageous man of God.

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion. (Proverbs 28:1)

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