Amber is driving…and other emotional things!

hide and seek“Ready or not…here I come!”

I used to shout those words after counting to 100 (or close enough) and then charging out to find my hiding compadres, but I never thought that a game of hide-and-seek would contain my parenting mantra.

“Ready or not…I’m now and forever a dad.”

“Ready or not…my baby is starting Kindergarten.”

“Ready or not…my little girl is at her first sleepover.”

“Ready or not…she’s heading away for camp.”

“Ready or not…the Barbies are gone…the makeup is out…and there’s suddenly another woman living in our house.”

As you can tell, I’m a bit sentimental this week, because Amber just got her driver’s license (and Maddie has recently turned 13). No matter what I do, they both keep taking these giant steps toward independence.

Ready or not…Jessica and I are now parenting young women. And it’s awesome. And even when it’s not so awesome, I love it! I’m so grateful that I get to parent and protect and frustrate and watch over these young ladies.

They’re delightful, a dazzling mixture of beauty, personality, intensity, and charm. They’ve taught me so much, and at every stage along the way, they’ve pulled the best out of me.

I’ve learned how strong a feminine soul can be. I’ve learned how fierce a father’s heart can beat. And I’ve learned that whether or not I’m ready, God is ready. And He is not stingy in dispensing His wisdom and grace.

Whether YOU feel ready or not for your parenting (or general life) assignments, you are. Because, if you let Him, God will walk beside you, upholding and empowering you.

In The Horse and His Boy, the young boy, Shasta, got lost and had to ride his horse slowly through a dense, impenetrable fog. Bewildered and alone, he suddenly became aware of a presence and a voice that was moving alongside him in the dark. Unknown to Shasta the voice belonged to Aslan, the Lion King of Narnia, and throughout the entire night, Aslan spoke to Shasta about his history while guiding him back onto the safe path.

Even in the times when we lack clarity and direction, the voice of our king, Jesus, will guide us too.

Ready or not…you’re ready…because of the One who walks beside you.


Sagging faces soaring hearts

oldyoungWhy does gravity have to pull us down as we age? Why can’t we age in reverse direction, growing more taut, smooth, and muscular with the passing of each new decade? Certainly, we older people would appreciate looking “young” more than the younger generation who so effortlessly appears so.

Why do we have to slump and sag as we age? Why can’t we grow ever stronger, sleeker, and more powerful through the years?

Perhaps we can. But to do so we need to look a little deeper than our bodily exteriors.

In the New Testament there seems to be a direct correlation between the decaying of our bodies and the renewing of our souls. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 the Apostle Paul said, “…though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

It seems that our bodies and spirits are capable of moving in two different directions at the same time, down toward the ground and up toward the heavens.

It’s almost as if we’re walking billboards, advertising eternal (zoe) life in the midst of natural (bios) life.

We touch that eternal life in transcendent moments—in worship, with loved ones, through art, in nature—and we are convinced that we were created to live forever with the God who loves us most. But then we duck back into the rat race and feel the inexorable pull of gravity, drawing us ever closer to the grave.

Perhaps a perspective shift would help us. Rather than bemoaning the pull of old age and frantically trying to preserve our youth, what if we set our spirits free to soar? What if we invested in the life that Jesus spoke of, an eternal kind of life that begins in His presence and extends beyond our mortality? That’s the kind of life we were destined for.

So go ahead and do your push-ups, stick to your cardio, and drink lots of water—but remember that real life is upward, where your spirit naturally soars.

Unimpressive miracles

Bee Happy

My body took a minor beating this weekend. I was stung by a bee, developed a fierce ingrown nose hair, and tweaked my shoulder while weightlifting. Strangely, I didn’t react to the bee sting until two days later when I woke up with swelling, redness, and a noticeable heat emanating from the sting site. On the same day, my nose hair became more painful than the bee sting, and I almost dropped a cup of scalding coffee when I extended my shoulder at the wrong angle.

The combination of these mild maladies was enough for me to remember that I’m no longer eighteen, and to attempt leveraging some sympathy out of Jessica. However, the craziest thing happened last night when I was sleeping.

I started to heal.

This morning the swelling was down on my arm, I could touch my nose without crying, and my shoulder is well on its way to recovery. Granted, it’s not the most impressive miracle in the world but it’s still a testimony to the amazing, God-given power resident in the human body. Even as we age and move closer to our final days, our bodies continue to work miracles of physical healing, reminding us that life is still at work in the midst of death.

The Apostle Paul said it this way: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Goodbye Barbie!

English: Barbie Portrait

The day I have always dreaded has come upon me.

Maddie has officially said goodbye to Barbie.

After years of immersion into Mattel’s world of fun and fashion, Maddie has traded in her Barbie Dream House for an iPod touch.

I know it doesn’t mean that she’s not a little girl anymore, but the fact that I’ll no longer see her in her room surrounded by Barbie clothing and accessories is traumatic nonetheless.

However, just as I’m about to lament the rapid passage of time, I’m reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” As much as my doting father’s heart wishes that Maddie would be a little girl forever, I certainly understand her need to give up and grow up.

That’s the way it is for all of us. Continued maturity demands that we relinquish the past and lean in to the future.

I hope you’re committed to a lifetime of spiritual growth and maturity. I hope you’re like King David and the Apostle Paul, ever-yearning for new and deeper experiences with God. I hope you’re not too attached to yesterday.

And I hope you’re not secretly playing with Barbie when none of us are looking. 🙂

The cult of youth

I think I need to stop whining about being forty years old (especially since I’m almost forty-one).

I’ve noticed that in some of my recent sermons and speeches I’ve been consistently making jokes about the inevitable onslaught of age and how much I do not love getting older. However, I want to make sure that I’m not subtly falling in to the snare of our culture’s obsession with youthfulness.

It’s wonderful to be young and filled with promise and potential, but it’s equally wonderful to grow up and begin walking in the reality of that potential. Today’s society worships youthfulness and decries the advancement of wrinkles and gray hair; however, the Bible views the process of aging quite differently.

  • Proverbs 20:29 says, “The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head.”
  • Additionally, Leviticus 19:32 says, “You shall rise up before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God.” That’s an interesting connection. One of the ways that we revere God is to show proper respect for those who bear the splendor and glory of old age.

I want to revere Him in that way.

So you can call me out on my silly anti-aging comments. I might not love the process of saying “adios” to my youth, but I love the strength and glory that awaits me in my more mature adulthood.