Archive for June, 2011

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A New Look…

June 30, 2011

Today I googled ‘How to write a good blog post’? Over the past months I’ve felt a deep dissatisfaction with my recent foray into the world of internet blogging. Is this discontent the result of my incessant pinning to be liked and popular?

Perhaps.

Is it because the odd person has commented on the overwhelming length of my blog posts?

Is because my wife won’t read some of the posts?

Is it because my brother in-law told me in Phoenix, ‘call your blog what it really is, preparation for your next book. You’re basically writing chapters anyways’.

Maybe, it’s because there are no pictures, or my content is sometimes quite offensive.

Either way a change is afoot. Most of the things that blogs say make blogs great are noticeably absent from my blog. I like to think I’m a rebel but I’m not sure there is any cause. I’m challenging the norm for what?

For example, pictures. People like pictures. Even I like pictures so I can’t hold it against them. I blog about my baby boy but never display his photos. It’s quite an oversight given how cute he is.

Also, my blog was creepy looking. It was really dark and dreary. It gave the impression that it was a blog about the end of the world. As a result our intern, Rachel Raymond, has changed the look of my blog. It is now far less depressing.

Lastly, I admit my blog posts are long. Too long. A reader needs a pot of coffee and a friend to slap them in the face every 15 minutes to get through my posts.

Basically, instead of always working in my blog I’ve taken a step back to work on my blog. To readjust, to evaluate, to improve in any way that I can. I’ve tried to turn my ‘critics’ into coaches.

This is a good lesson for life. I once heard a speaker say, ‘we are so busy living in our lives that we forget to take a step back to work on our lives’. To evaluate, to readjust, to grow were were can. Sometimes we need a friend to help.

Thanks to Rachel for helping me work on my blog.

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Commands and Cribs

June 22, 2011

No parent wants their child to have a weirdly shaped head. For the first couple months of our son’s life, he was always lying on his back and we were afraid the back of his head was starting to look abnormally flat. I realize his character will be more important then the shape of his cranium but still…we were concerned.

It was our parental desire for a boy with a normally shaped head that caused us to begin to practice ‘tummy time’. ‘Tummy time’ is when you put your infant on their stomach and they lie there like a beached whale. It’s a great photo opportunity.

Kaeden hated it with an intense passion that erupted from his 2 month old vocal chords. He’s not shy about voicing his displeasure.

Eventually Kaeden learned to roll from his stomach on to his back. So his mom and I would put him on his stomach for ‘Tummy time’ and he would immediately flip on to his back. We’d flip him over again. And he would flip back. I wrote in an earlier blog that it began to feel like an act of defiance.

It still does.

Things have changed now. Kaeden is starting to become more mobile. Not only can he flip from his stomach to his back now he can turn from his back to his stomach. But he still dislikes being on his stomach.

Here is the situation we now find ourselves in. Daddy puts Kaeden down for a nap and leaves the room. Two minutes later, the sound of crying shatters the serene stillness that silently signifies that glorious space in a parents day: nap time. I go into the room to discover that he has rolled onto his stomach and he is stuck. He is flailing about to no avail. He’s tangled in the clutches of his blanket and he’s not getting on to his back without outside intervention.

I flip him over and leave the room. Two minutes later more crying. I go back in. Kaeden has flipped onto his stomach again. Dad comes to the rescue.

I go downstairs. 3 minutes later. More crying. Once again the boy has turned onto his stomach. I applaud his effort but am disappointed in his lack of foresight. I roll him over.

1 minute. 2 minutes. 5 minutes. Silence. He’s learned his lesson.

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But I’m not sure if I’ve learned mine when I consider my relationship with the God, who is also called a Father.

I act in a similar manner to Kaeden when I sin by breaking God’s commandments. God loves me. He knows what’s best for me (and all of us). If we were like a car, God has written the owners manual. He knows how we’re supposed to run and has communicated that information to us through his Son (Jesus) and his Word.

But we often do the opposite of what He tells us to do (instead of putting oil in the car, we put sawdust in it and then wonder why the car doesn’t run right), and unlike Kaeden, we often know we are doing it. Then we get into a mess and cry for God to bail us out. And often He graciously does because God is a good Father. Or sometimes God lets us feel the consequences of our actions because God is a good father.

You think I would have learned my lesson by now. I’m pretty smart. After all I have a blog. But God is smarter than me. I should do what He commands instead of rolling into sin and then ‘crying’ when it gets uncomfortable.

God’s commands aren’t meant to solely constrain us, or limit our freedom, but to promote our liberty. Freedom from guilt, self-inflicted suffering and the insanity of sin.

I wish it only took me three times to learn that lesson. I would leave God less of a mess to clean up.

My wife says, ‘Amen’.

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The 6 month shots

June 3, 2011

I hate shots. Always have. I guess I’m not very unique in this regard. After all, who likes having a needle jabbed in their arm?

Not healthy people.

There is at least one thing I like less than getting shots. Taking our son to get shots. Several weeks ago he had his 6 month shots. Now he is old enough to be aware of what is going on. He can look at me with pleading eyes that seem to beg for rescue.

‘Why are you doing this to me dad’? ‘I thought you were a safe place’? ‘Why would you let this woman hurt me’?

Don’t tell me its all in my mind. I heard it in my heart; the non verbal accusations. I’m thankful he can’t actually talk.

Why would I put my son through such an traumatic endeavor purposefully? I pinned his arms down for heavens sake.

Because I know its for his good. These shots will contribute to his health and well being in the long run. They will fortify his body against future disease. I’m letting my son suffer momentarily because I love Him.

Kaeden’s perspective is limited. He knows nothing of this. All he ‘knows’ is that his dad is letting some strange woman poke needles into his thigh. And it hurts.

If he could talk I wonder what he might say; ‘I thought you loved me dad’? ‘ I thought you had my best intentions in mind’? ‘Don’t you have the power to rescue me from this’?

From his perspective he can see no good reason why I would allow this painful event to happen to him.

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I don’t know why we suffer what can seem like gratuitous evil. I don’t know why God lets it happen. But I do know that if God is God than the chasm between his understanding and my own is far greater than the gap separating the comprehension of a 6 month old and his daddy.

If God is big enough to blame for suffering, He is big enough to have reasons for it that we can’t fully understand. So when life sticks its needles into our souls the questions we need to ask ourselves in the moments of clarity are, ‘Do we trust Jesus’? ‘Is God sovereign and good’? If so, there is a sanctifying purpose for this sorrow. When I grow I may even know what these trials were all for.

Or maybe not.

Either way through it all God holds us in his proverbial hands and whispers to our souls through His Spirit words similar to the comfort I offered my son. ‘I love you’, ‘It’s okay’, ‘It will be over soon’.

I believe that. And it helps.