Life from the rear-view mirror

Parenting on Purpose….Vol 90

Yesterday’s message at Northridge Church in the series “Weird…because normal isn’t working” was about family. It was very convicting. I did a lot of squirming in my seat.

One of the main points was… intentional leadership in the home. I remember seeing a few of Nate Miller’s first few points and saying to myself…people actually do that?

I always had the good intentions…I just didn’t put much of those intentions into intentional behavior.

Our kids are pretty well grown…and as I sat listening I couldn’t help but think back and evaluate my parenting skills from the rear view mirror. It wasn’t pretty. You can use all the rationalization you want but in the end, every parent exercises leadership…intentional or not. I don’t want to say that it’s all on the parents…as our kids have real life-choices to make…and they do make them. But I think a good test of whether or not we got it right (at least for the Christian parent) is if our kids are following after Christ or someone/something else. Don’t get me wrong….we all want our kids to be happy and successful. But If I could only have one thing for my kids it would be that they know Christ as Savior and follow after him.

Thankfully once we’re parents…we never stop being parents,,,we may have less influence but they still listen. I am a 60 year old kid and still listen to my 85 year old parents…so all is not lost. Choices that our kids made early in life maybe because of our poor parental example can be overcome. Kids once far from the Lord can come close to Him. Wounds can heal. Broken hearts can be mended. Relationships restored.

But we never get a second shot at the first time. I wish I had known enough to take better advantage of all the “first times.”

It was a hard message to sit through…it brought back memories of some ugly behavior (on my part), and seemed to highlight myriad mistakes I know I made. By the end of the talk I was wishing I could go back and start over…parenting intentionally…unselfishly….the first time.

It’s a small comfort that we are all going to make mistakes as parents. We are going to blow it one way or another. We are going to see things in our kids as they grow that we know are more than just our DNA in them, but rather behavior we wish we had never modeled…habits we wish they had never learned from us.

This morning…at a much later start in life (but with all of our kids still at home)…I’m committing to be intentional with the way (and the style) I parent. Not because I think I can change all the dumb things I did back in the “first times” of family history…but because I’ll always be a parent to my kids. And as long as I can still fog a mirror and utter a few words…I can still be intentional in the way I live and the way I parent. You can too!

dugz4 January 3, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink

I know a wounded soldier…Vol 89

I had a conversation with a friend a day or so ago who has been walking with the Lord for a long time… but today is finding that he has more hope than faith. Christian friends…even pastors and church leaders have betrayed him and let him down. Where before he accepted the sovereignty of God, now… He doesn’t understand how God allows senseless suffering and death. He looks at church and instead of seeing fruit in ministry, sees a leadership agenda that is often controlling and sometimes more about what leadership wants than what God wants. But he admits he doesn’t really know what God wants anymore because it’s been a really long time since he’s opened his Bible to see what God says or listen for his voice.
Church has become complex, confusing and political. The music that used to encourage and excite has become unfamiliar, boring and loud. He still serves but his service is hollow…it’s mostly out of obligation… not loving sacrifice.
I started right in with the pat Christian platitudes. Looking for that drive-by gospel fix. Everything I shared was true, but it all fell far short of reaching the heart of this man. And what do I have to say but what God already said. I have no wisdom apart from his word. But I’m praying as I’m sharing, that God would give me something…some shred of encouragement for my friend. Some way to spark that fire that I had known in him for so many years.
He is no longer looking for the fellowship and accountability of other Christians. He’d rather not risk the hurt anymore. He hasn’t turned his back on God but wishes he could see God work in a way that he could point to and say beyond a shadow of a doubt that “God showed up here.” He’s tired, he’s discouraged…he’s hurting and he feels unloved by God.
I’m praying for my friend. And this morning as I share my thoughts… this song has been running through my mind. I first heard Steve Green sing it so very many years ago…but it’s never rung more true for more Christians in despair than today.

See all the wounded
Hear all their desperate cries for help
Pleading for shelter and for peace
Our comrades are suffering
Come let us meet them at their need
Don’t let a wounded soldier die

Come let us pour the oil
Come let us bind their hurt
Let’s cover them with a blanket of His love
Come let us break the bread
Come let us give them rest
Let’s minister to healing to them
Don’t let another wounded soldier die

Obeying their orders
They fought on the front lines for our King
Capturing the enemy’s stronghold
Weakened from battle
Satan crept in to steal their lives
Don’t let a wounded soldier die

A Whole Song .. 1984

dugz4 January 3, 2015 Leave A Comment Permalink