Empowered To Connect

My wife and I have had the incredible privilege of attending the ETC Conference this past weekend. God has met us in miraculous ways to encourage and inspire us to lay a foundation of connecting with our children for the purpose of empowering them to walk in healing and wholeness.

Joining My Kids Right Where They Are

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Last night, while watching an episode of Parenthood, I was reminded how important it is for me to not only invite my kids to come with me when I’m running errands and help me with various projects around the house, but to choose to join my kids right where they are, doing what they’re doing, expressing excitement when they’re excited.

Sometimes this is easy. When one of my kids saves their money and is able to purchase something they’ve had their eye on for some time, I can quickly join in their excitement and express how proud I am to see them save and patiently wait to make their purchase. When my oldest son uses his imagination to create something totally new from his stock pile of Legos, I can share in his joy and spend time taking in what he has created.

However, I have a much more difficult time getting jazzed when my youngest son takes the time to find me in my office to show me a pair of jeans that his Mom just bought him at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. He was absolutely thrilled to have such a treasure and proceeded to skip his way out of my office with a big smile on his face. Despite his obvious joy and complete happiness, for some reason my first response wasn’t to jump up and down and pass out high-fives and exploding fist bumps.

But I want it to be.

I want to put myself in their shoes, no matter how small they may be, and join them in their excitement. I want to choose to get pumped about whatever it is they bring to me, no matter how big or small it might seem.

When it comes to my kids, it’s not about proving to them that I’m an adult and I’m above these things. They don’t need to be reminded of that. What they need from me is genuine interest in the things that they find important.

And who knows, perhaps I’ll learn to not take myself so seriously and enjoy these moments to become like a child again. I can’t imagine I’ll come to the end of my life wishing I hadn’t taken the time to become the fool with my kids over their new pair of pants or that coloring project that is so very colorful, and yet completely elusive when it comes to knowing what it is.

Here’s to joining our kids right where they are.

Overlooked?

Strength for the weak

During the days when God was speaking through the prophet Isaiah, there were a number of Israelites who were feeling as if they were unimportant and overlooked by God.

God used his servant Isaiah to speak truth to them so that they would be encouraged and remember that God is the everlasting God and he doesn’t grow weak or weary. He is the one who gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Are you feeling as if you’re overlooked by those around you, even God? Does it feel like God is distant and doesn’t take notice of you and your needs? He is closer than you think.

Hagar learned a valuable lesson about God’s nearness and that he is a God who sees. You can read the whole story in Genesis 16 and be encouraged today that you are indeed not overlooked, but rather, God sees you and your need and is ready to empower you to walk in his strength today.

Fight

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“If you live horizontally, people will look vertically to God.” – Hugh Halter

This book, Flesh, by Hugh Halter is challenging me to consider how my life is impacting the lives of others for the glory of God. The latest chapter that I read focused on the idea that faith without works is dead. There is so much injustice and so many people for us to fight for that we can’t afford to abandon our ability to work to help abolish some sort of injustice by only focusing on our vertical relationship with God.

What excites me is that this isn’t something that I need to accomplish on my own. Embracing activism or advocacy with others not only allows us to accomplish more, but can be just what we need to stick with our convictions and not give up the fight.

As I think about what makes me mad or sad in the world, I find myself coming back to the fact that my family has decided to take a stand for orphans by fostering and adopting. This has been an incredibly difficult journey, but one that we know God called us to.

In addition to advocating for the fatherless, I’m curious about what our home church might embrace locally. Hugh Halter recommends something called Barefoot Church Primer as a study for communities of faith who are interested in discerning together what cause to partner with. I can’t wait to take a look at this material to see if it’s a good fit for us in this process.

What, or who, can you be an advocate for today?

Your Love Never Fails, But Mine…

I found myself struggling to love my kids today. Not sure why, just selfish, I guess. I took a break, picked up the guitar and started to worship God by singing the Jesus Culture song One Thing Remains. As I did, God reminded me very quickly how His love for me was a never ending love. Right then and there I found myself making a commitment in my heart to trust God’s power through the Holy Spirit to be a more loving husband and Dad.

I’m reminded in God’s Word that I am to Praise the Lord because he is good to us, and his love never fails. (1 Chronicles 16:34 CEVDCUS06)

Spirit of God, help me to be a person of praise because You are always good and Your love goes on and on and on.