Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

15 May 2014

Being a parent means never stopping learning about love

I'm not a "kid" guy.  Well... I didn't used to be at least.   In fact, my son was very close to being the first baby I ever held.  My wife was in the same boat.  We weren't the babysitters, we didn't ooo and ahh over babies or even feel the deep emotions that others seemed to.  I couldn't picture her as a mother and she couldn't see me as a Dad either.  It's not that we didn't want to have kids.  We did.  We just didn't have context for... any of it really.

But for the last 12 years (starting from the moment that God set our kid-world in motion with the words "Life can't be about YOU anymore.  You've gone as far as a life revolving around yourselves can take you") I've been on a steep and harrowing yet gutturally poignant journey into understanding kids, fatherhood, myself AND my Lord on a deeper level than I knew existed. 

The last few weeks I've been pushed to new... and challenging depths.

A few weeks ago we had the extraordinarily talented Jacob Moon tell his family's powerful story at Freedom House.  Unable to conceive a child and, while aching inside, they were invited by Compassion Canada to travel to El Salvador to experience their mission with children.  They almost couldn't do it, but pressed on responsibly.  Divinely, a little girl named Sara attached herself to them and they sponsored her... but the impact ran much deeper.  The love they felt for a child that was not of their own flesh unlocked an incredible chain of events, culminating in the couple adopting two young boys from the CAS system in their hometown... restoring their hope. 

As Jacob told the story of love for, and even sang the song he wrote for Sara, I was convicted heavily about the depth of God's love and the shallowness of mine. My wife and I have sponsored 2 kids through Compassion faithfully for 11 years.  God said, "If you can afford one here, you can afford one there."  He was right.  And we did.   We've never missed a month.  But there are times where we have more month than money.  And my first temptation is the Compassion sponsorships.  I know is sounds awful. It never gets through the first wave of thoughts... but it's there. Sorting through piles of mail the other day, I found more unopened letters from our children than I care to count.

God spoke to me and said, "That's because you've never really let them into your heart."  And he was right.  These are HIS kids that he's entrusted a small portion of parental care and love to ME, to distribute on HIS behalf.  And money is not enough.  To do that... my heart needs to dig deeper than I thought it could go.  How though?  How does one make the heart grow?

On Sunday I looked at a row of little girls in our church seated at the front.  They are there each week and my daughters are a part of this cute little gaggle.  Often I'll see various combinations of them pressing into worship, eyes closed, hands up.  When my daughters aren't in that mix, even if its my friends kids, I'll smile responsibly and be about my business.  I'm not a "kid" guy by nature.  But in 12 years... I've become a MY kid guy.  When MY daughter is worshiping... I can't look away.  It's the GREATEST thing.  MY girl taking steps toward Jesus.  I can't think of another thing I'd want to look at. 

On Sunday God stopped me saying, "That's how I am.  That's how I feel when you worship me.  You are all MY kids."   This may not sound profound, but it IS when it's breathed into life by a loving, patient God who picks his moments.  It felt like 12 years of gracious, parental marinating for a moment where simple truth (that I've heard conceptually a million times) came alive.

I love life.  When you walk with the Lord, he truly never stops guiding you deeper... and deeper... and deeper.  We can and MUST be willing to deepen our love for God and others because there are so many more lessons to learn that we won't have the honor of learning and beauty that won't get to be a participant in if we're hesitant to deeper our love. 

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