Archives For parenthood

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image credit: CreationSwap user David Sunnock

I’d finished getting ready for work one early morning, ready to walk out the door, when I heard a little cry from my newborn. So I set my bag down and walked back into the room to make sure she was okay. She seemed fine, so I gave her one last hug and kiss. I was ready to put her back in her crib when it happened.

Vomit.

Not just a little dribble of a spit-up. I mean full-on, projectile vomit all over me. Which, if you were wondering, is a great way to start your day. It’s delightful, really.

Then the whole situation get even better.

Because she didn’t just throw up on me. She threw up on herself.

She started wailing, crying big ole alligator tears while simultaneously pushing out her bottom lip, which started shaking in frustration and sadness and discomfort. You’d have felt sorry for her, like I did. I’m sure of it.

As I was working to clean her up, her crying woke up the rest of the house. Lovely.

I finally got her cleaned up, snuggled back in her sleeper, and nestled back in her crib.

At which point I realized that the vomit all over me was unnaturally cold.

I love my baby girl, but that was disgusting. Warm vomit is bad enough. But to have it on you so long that it actually gets cold? That’s another level gross. If you haven’t experienced it, just trust me. I won’t wish it on you.

Love may be found in the happy, pleasant moments. But I believe it’s realized in the vomit.

The hook

We are the vomit-y little newborn. Our lives are a mess. We have broken marriages, broken relationships, and a streak of pride we’re embarrassed to admit because we’re too prideful.

We’ve got a past we want to hide. A present we try to sensationalize. And a future we’re entirely uncertain of.

We’re addicted to attention. To positive reinforcement. To the “perfect” image of ourselves we think we have to live up to.

We are too lazy. Too disciplined. Too hidden. Too open.

We eat too much. Too little.

We enjoy life too much. Or not enough.

Even on our good days, our righteousness is sprinkled with, “What’s in this for me?” or “I wonder what others will think of me?” or “Will I get paid for this?” or “These people need me because I’m so awesome.”

Our generosity has an edge of hesitating, momentary greed at best. At worst it’s mixed with a self-serving, looking-down-your-nose pride.

We’re not perfect. Not at all.

And Love acknowledges that. It doesn’t look at the vomit and say, “Mmmm…yummy.” Love acknowledges our nastiness and loves anyway.

Love recognizes the nasty and dives in.

Love doesn’t act like you’re perfect. It acknowledges how gross you are, yet loves you still.

Love doesn’t act like it’s not hurt. Like it doesn’t smell the stink. It sees the vomit on you. On it. On the floor. And in the fibers of the carpet.

And whispers hope as it wipes our dirty face.

God is Love. (1 John 4:8)

We look at our lives and wonder why, if God truly does see all of our junk, He’d still love us. We’re sitting in our own filth. Helpless. Hopeless. And afraid. It’s as if God looks at us in that moment and says,

Go to work now? And miss out on an opportunity to show you love once again? To let you see your dirt, and show you that I still love you? Miss out on an opportunity to wipe your face clean, put new clothes on you, and tuck you back in? Not. A. Chance. I’m your dad, and I love you no matter what.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – The Apostle Paul, Romans 5:6-8

Love may be found in the happy, pleasant moments. But I believe it’s also found in the vomit.

 

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Raising Men

Ben Reed —  October 17, 2011 — 6 Comments

I love being a dad. Especially a dad to a boy.

I don’t necessarily know what I’m doing…I’m learning every day, and I’m loving the journey.

At the mall just the other day, I heard a dad telling his son,

No. No. No. Be careful. No. Don’t jump off of that bench. It’s not safe. No. No. Be careful.

And it rubbed me the wrong way.

One thing I’ve learned is that raising a boy often goes against your natural instincts. Especially my wife’s natural instincts.

A parent’s natural instinct is to protect their child. Which, no doubt, has prevented countless tears in my house alone. Parents want to protect them from

  • falling
  • jumping off of things
  • jumping into things
  • climbing things
  • eating things
  • putting fingers in things
  • putting things in the trash
  • getting things out of the trash
  • coloring the wrong things
  • going outside
  • rolling in that
  • touching that

But if you’re going to raise a boy to grow into a man, you’ve got to fight against your natural instincts at times. Here’s a principal I’ve learned in the 3 years I’ve raised my son:

If you say ‘No’ or ‘Be careful’ more than you encourage your son to take a risk, you’re limiting your son’s potential.

Boys long to be dangerous. They want to take risks and be adventurous. They have a God-given desire to do things that could very well cause them bodily harm.

And in a flash, your God-given reaction to protect meets his God-given desire to risk.

We want our children to feel the freedom to innovate, try new things, and take risks when they get older, right? To not be held in bondage by social norms and cultural expectations. We want them to be willing to take bold and courageous steps of faith. No?

I understand that those risks need to be shepherded, but they need not be stifled. ‘Be careful’ shouldn’t be the two words that come out of your mouth more than any other. Next time you’re getting ready to say, ‘Be careful,’ try inserting the words, ‘Let’s do this!’

Instead of forbidding them from taking risks, be with them and encourage them while they take the risk. Show them that it’s okay to be dangerous sometimes. To go on an adventure. To do something that momma may not approve of. To try something they’ve never seen anyone else try. To attempt something that may not pan out.

I’ve seen young boys that are scared to death to take even a small risk. They’re afraid of falling and hurting themselves. They’re afraid of failure.

So they never try.

It’s sad, really.

Boys aren’t meant to just be caged up. Boys are testing out the ropes of manhood. Don’t cut those strings.

 

 

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join_now

…you can walk into church without anybody knowing you

…you leave church without anybody knowing you

…you’ve backslidden

…you want to grow in your faith

…you want to help others grow in their faith

…you need a place to serve

…you need a place to grow

…you need a place to belong

…you’re curious about God

…you don’t even know where to start

…you are a new believer

…you are a mature believer

…you are divorced

…you have children

…you cannot have children

…you “have it together”

…everybody else knows you don’t “have it together”

…you have a great family

…your family is rotten

…you don’t have any family

…you have lots of friends, but none that share your values

…you don’t have any friends who encourage you

…you don’t have any friends who hold you accountable

…you don’t have any friends, period

…life has fallen apart

…you know life will soon fall apart

…you have lots of free time

…you don’t have any free time

…you don’t have parenthood figured out yet

…you don’t have marriage figured out yet

…you don’t have singleness figured out yet

…life is tough right now

…you find that living the Christian life is difficult

…you erroneously think living the Christian life is easy

…you can never seem to think of things to pray for

…you have a house (or apartment) that can seat more than 2 people

…your story is still in progress

What would you add to this list?

 

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