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Timeless truth in a changing world

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Family life

Sweet Words

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By all accounts, yesterday was a completely sub-par day. Work was…meh. My toddler had been fighting a cold for a couple of days. My wife had picked up said cold the previous night and was drained of energy. We were hosting a guest at the house who—you guessed it—was also sick. I had just returned from picking up my toddler from a not-so-good day at her daycare, and I still had to finish up my own work day. Then I had to address and work on some other business matters. Oh, and I had to make dinner, too. Yeah.

Our evening wound up being what my wife and I have coined a “Jekyll and Hyde” night. One minute was all smiles, giggles, and happiness. The next was a complete 180° turn filled with fussiness, crying, attention-craving, and meltdowns. So it was up to me and my five-month-old son to take care of our lovely ladies and house guest. While it wasn’t the most difficult situation, neither was it altogether easygoing. But we managed and got through it. Our toddler was put to bed at her normal time, and the rest of us were able to take a few minutes to decompress and relax before hitting the proverbial hay ourselves.

Then 10:15 pm came. Toddler was awake, wailing, and needing another dose of medicine. And then it happened. In the midst of her crying, I heard that sweet word: “Daddy.” My heart both broke and melted at the same time. Just over two hours ago I wanted nothing more than a break from adulting and parenting. But now, in her time of need and distress, all of that went out the window. Nothing else mattered. She wanted and needed me. And I was more than happy to do whatever I needed to do to help her.

As I sat and cuddled with her after getting her calmed down, I thought of how hearing my child’s voice crying out to me compares to how our heavenly Father feels and responds when any of us, His children, cry out to Him. It doesn’t matter how or why we call to Him. It could be a simple thank you. Or a request for something we want or need. Or an utterly desperate plea for help in a moment of our deepest distress. No matter the case, our Father loves to hear us call His name, and He, like all parents, will do anything to help His children.

My mind then turned to the book of Psalms, and how many of the Psalms are written in a state of need and distress. A couple of verses I found particularly apropos were:

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. – Psalm 18:3, 6

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. – Psalm 116:1-2

It’s comforting to read verses like this, and to know that there are many others throughout the Bible that talk about God listening to and answering us when we call to Him. He truly is our loving Father. And now as a father myself, I am coming to understand more fully how and why He loves us so unconditionally and will always be here for us. It doesn’t matter what we have done, what sort of a day we’ve had, how long it’s been since we last reached out to Him, or even how we seek comfort in Him. Nothing else matters to Him. He knows that we need Him. And He is more than happy to do whatever He needs to help us.

 

(Special thanks to guest author Anthony Hessler for the post!)

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Off to a Bad Start

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The morning started off as any other. That is, badly. The kids were whiny. They didn’t want what I’d made for breakfast. Complaining abounded. They were being mean and insulting one another. I was irritated and prone to snap at them. It was not a great start to the day, and I certainly didn’t want to continue into the rest of the day with these attitudes. Something had to change, but I didn’t quite know how to go about that.

Continue reading “Off to a Bad Start”

Why I Don’t Do Christmas Anymore

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I’ve decided I’m not going to decorate for Christmas anymore. I made the mistake of putting up our tree with the kids this weekend, and it was a disaster. While I’d love to be instilling happy memories for the kids in our annual Christmas decorating, I’m afraid the opposite could well be true. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there was much fighting, and in the end we had two broken ornaments and two children in tears. So much for quality family time. Who needs this, anyhow? So I’m done. No more decorating for me.

(Click here to continue reading the original post from the website Raising Godly Children.)

Countdown to Christmas

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There are 22 shopping days until Christmas (as of the posting of this blog). Xmasclock.com even has an official countdown, down to the second, if you’re really curious. And before then, there are presents to buy and wrap, cards to mail, decorating to do, cookies to bake, concerts to attend, parties to plan… Sigh. And all this in only 22 days? It’s enough to make a person want to curl up and hibernate until it’s all over. And in all the shuffle of the month of December, it’s very easy to lose sight of the season of the church year called Advent. Advent is a short season—only four weeks at most. And many of us would love to make Advent more meaningful if only there was time to do it. Well, good news. Here are a few links to activities that require no planning and very little time to incorporate them into your family’s routine:

Continue reading “Countdown to Christmas”

I’m Just a Mom

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Being a mother can be a thankless job. Much of what you do goes unnoticed unless it doesn’t get done. Your kids will rarely, if ever, thank you. Quite the opposite, actually. From a toddler throwing a tantrum to a teenager slamming a door in your face, your kids may well give you the distinct impression that you’re ruining their lives. A mother’s daily tasks are repetitive and mundane. Oh, we try to glamorize motherhood. We’ve invented clever terms like “domestic engineer” and “household manager” to describe the mother’s role in the home. But at the end of the day, the truth is that every domestic engineer is just a mom.

(Click here to continue reading the original 5-13-18 post on the website Raising Godly Children.)

 

Everything that Hinders

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I’m going through something of a mid-life crisis right now. Oh, don’t worry—I’m not running off to buy a cherry-red convertible. I wouldn’t be able to fit all my kids in it anyhow. Nor am I scheduling a facelift quite yet. It’s more of what you might call a time of reflection. Not long ago I attended the funeral of a woman who was twice my age. That was sobering. What if half of my life is already over? Am I living to my fullest potential? Then I thought about my kids. One of them only has four years left at home. Am I teaching him the skills he needs to be a responsible adult? Have I instilled strong morals? a strong work ethic? Have I equipped him to be a faithful witness to a world hostile to the Christian faith? Have I been a faithful witness? Has my life been fruitful and productive? Or have I been selfish with my time?

Continue reading “Everything that Hinders”

A Letter to My Teenage Son

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Dear Son,

This weekend you turned 14. Congratulations! You are turning into a young man right before my eyes. You are a bright and talented individual with your own unique personality. I am proud of the young man you are now, and excited to see the man you will become. I suppose it’s only natural at a birthday for a mom to stop and reflect on the passage of time, so indulge me for a few minutes and allow me to impart some wisdom from one generation to the next.

Continue reading “A Letter to My Teenage Son”

Are We Failing Our Kids?

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“There seems to be a general sense that the current generation of parents in America is failing their children. We aren’t preparing our kids for adulthood or teaching them the life and social skills they need to know. Kids are in something of a crisis, growing up not knowing how to be grown up.”

Do you ever worry that you’re failing your children? I do. And sadly, many parents are failing their kids, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. Read more about it in this article I wrote for Raising Godly Children, Are We Failing Our Kids?

Growing Out of Faith

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This morning I dropped my daughters off at school and they both walked in without looking back. This is quite a change from the beginning of the year, when my kindergartner would cling to me for dear life before I left. I had to walk her down to her classroom, help her put her backpack in her cubby, and give her a dozen hugs before leaving. After a few days of that routine, we shortened it so that her big sister walked her to the classroom, so long as I stood in the entryway where she could see me until she got to her classroom. Then when she got more comfortable with school and more self-reliant, I was able to wave at her from the doorway when she turned the corner to go to her classroom. And now she doesn’t even bother to look back. She’s on her own.

Continue reading “Growing Out of Faith”

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