Daddy Confessions: I Dropped My Son Off At School 1 Year Early

The-One-Big-Mistake-Every-Consumer-MakesI have the awesome privilege of dropping my daughter, Aniston, off at school three days a week.  Usually I will first drop my son Easton off at the house of our amazing family friends who watch him before school though.  The only exception to that rhythm is on Thursday which is my day off during the week and apply known as “daddy day.”

Well this last Thursday I dropped Aniston off and got distracted by Christmas Card delivering, hellos to fellow parents, quick thank you’s to the teachers, and a kiss goodbye to Aniston.  I started down the hall to leave and nearly got to the exit doors when I realized something.

I forgot my son.

Yep, sure enough I totally walked out of the classroom and left my little  11/2 year old boy behind.

I sheepishly slinked back in the room to find him completely fine and playing at the toy makeup station.  Clearly, the therapy needed later will swell beyond just abandonment issues based on the toy selection just mentioned, but that’s for another blog.  Anyway, I scooped him up, ate some crow from the teachers and headed out the door.

Not that it’s ever a good idea for you to leave your child, but it’s especially frowned upon when you are a pastor at the church you just left your child at.  Talk about feeling like a dingy and the most under qualified human being in the world!  Just know I will joke that I simply dropped him off at school a year early or something like that if you ask me later.

As parents, we all feel like we are doing a poor job at this whole parenting thing.  We worry that our kids will grow up to hate us, we won’t teach them the right stuff and they’ll flunk out of school, they will marry a career felon and end up selling drugs, or they will become a famous comedian whose entire body of work centers around the mistakes you made raising them.

Wait…

Ok…

Maybe that is just my wife and mine’s fears?

Regardless, you have your own concerns too, but I’m here to tell you to hang in there.  You are not alone and in fact Jesus’ parents would tell you the same thing.  After all they may have had the Son of God under their roof, but that didn’t make them immune to mistakes in parenting.

Luke captures one of these famous parenting flubs in Luke 2.  We pick up the story after Mary and Joseph had made their way to Jerusalem with a now 12 year old Jesus.  They finished their time at the temple and decided to head home.  As they head home we read this.

“After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.  Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.” Luke 2:43-45

Yes, you read that right.  Mary and Joseph LOST Jesus and didn’t know until they had travelled for an E-N-T-I-R-E day!  I’m feeling better already about myself since I only made it 50 yards before I remember Easton was gone.  Check out what happens next.

“After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.  Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”Luke 2:46-49

I hope you didn’t blow past it, but It took them THREE DAYS to find him!!!  Are you kidding me?

I know that I almost lost a future Cincinnati Red’s Second Baseman and inevitable Hall of Fame inductee, my son Easton, but at least I didn’t lose GOD the King of the Universe!

Come on people!

One job:  Don’t lose the Son of God.

Yet, through my sarcasm there is a message that goes beyond making us feel better about not being the best parents all the time.  The message is deeper and speaks to the priorities we have for our kids.  Jesus said that He “had to be in (His) Father’s house” because that is where he was the most alive.  In the times of Jesus, the temple was where the presence of God literally resided so why would the Son not want to be by his Dad?  Mary and Joseph may have lost him, but he was truly never more found than at the moment.

The reality is that we will lose our kids someday.

They will move away, go to college, get married, and start their own lives apart from us.  We want that.  They want that.  God wants that!  But what is most important is HOW they are leaving.

  • Are our kids leaving brought up in the ways of the Lord or have we left them to “figure it out on their own” because we didn’t’ want to “push anything on them”?
  • Will our kids know who God is because they were around Christian men and women, in church each week to hear God’s message, and living out their faith with you as the example?
  • Will our kids grow up to be the God fearing men and women of faith we want them to be or will they float in the sea of religion with us hoping they will land on the shores of Christianity?

Yes parenting is hard and we all fail, but I would much rather fail while striving to make Jesus the center of our homes than passively parenting hoping they turn out ok.  I would rather have them stumble and fall in life (which they will), but have God as the center of the world so they are not crushed.  I pray that our kids would want to come to church so they could be “in their Father’s house” and connect with Him not in a sterile religious way, but in a vibrant relationship.  That’s the true definition of success!  It’s not in trophies won, ribbons pinned, scholarships awarded, or millions earned.  It’s in whether or not your kids know Christ or are lost.

We have to realize that we will lose our kids inevitably, but while we have the chance we can let them know the name of Jesus as Lord.  We have to make every effort to have them be found by Christ so they won’t be lost for eternity.

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A Christmas Heart Tattoo

Cute_Heart_Wallpaper_jmkbuI’ll be honest I am really considering getting a tattoo.  I feel my super white skin is a tattooer’s dream canvas and I’ve been keeping it from them for too long.  Ok, so I don’t think like that, but I do think I want to get one.  After all my little brother Brandon has some ink already and I can’t let him get too far ahead of me. 

The problem I run into is always the same however.

“What should I get?”

I’ve gone around and around of what I want to put on my body since it will last forever.  It’s ranged from Bible verses to Pound Puppies to even a glow in the dark picture of Stewart Scott from Sportscenter that can only be seen in a laser tag arena, lit up by black lights, and when he glows you can read the word “BooYah” on his left arm.  Ok, so I really only have thought about Bible verses, but I had to sweeten the pot a little.

A tattoo is a permanent fixture on your body it is true.  And, yes, there are some people out there that will tell you you’re going to hell if you get a tattoo.  However, those guys must have missed the verse in Revelation 19 where Jesus comes back riding a horse, wearing a robe dipped in blood, with a tattoo on His leg.  I mean if it’s good for Jesus, it’s good for me.  But I do agree that it is a big decision and not one that you rush into.   Ask any Spring Breaker that rushes into it and then later regrets getting Kermit the Frog riding in the Barbie convertible on their forearm every time they go for a job interview.  All that to say, I still don’t know what I want, but when I do get one it is going to mean something deeply to me and I want to be proud of whatever marks me forever.

So I write this just days before Christmas here in Chicago.  I’m preparing Christmas services at church, putting finishing touches on gifts for the kids, and mentally preparing to fly to Utah to see family the week after Christmas.  I’m in a bit of autopilot mode because it seems to be the same thing year after year.  Yet, I can’t help but stop and ask myself “What should I be getting out of Christmas?”  “How am I being marked this year by Jesus even after all these years of celebrating?”

Sure, I could just roll through the season checking off the list of things I have to do and get to do, but I feel like there is more.  I feel like I’m supposed to be changed by what we are celebrating.  After all, Christmas is meant to remember God sending his only Son to the earth to save mankind from their sin.  It’s not just an excuse to go into deeper Credit Card debt once a year believe it or not.  There is so much power in what we are celebrating that I want more than just holiday cheer.

Then it hit me as I was studying in Deuteronomy.  While Moses was addressing the Nation of Israel on the cusp of entering the Promised Land he encourages them to not just go through the motions but stop and have this moment change them.

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them to your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Deuteronomy 11:18-19

It wasn’t enough for the people just to walk into this new land, it had to mark them.  It had to change them.  It had to influence their lives, souls, and beings.  It was more than a new address it was a fulfillment of the promise of God started years prior with Abraham.  God wanted them to tattoo this moment on them forever so they would not forget.

God wants that for me and for you this Christmas too.  He wants us to tattoo the meaning and the hope of this season on our heart, mind, and soul.  He wants us to impress the reason we celebrate on our children early and often in their lives.  God is asking us to stop and mark this moment so permanently on our lives that every day we wake up, take a step, or lie our head down we remember Jesus and his love.

Don’t let this season passively go by with it only making an impact on your wallet.  Dig deeper into the reason we celebrate and allow Jesus to mark you permanently in the way you parent, love, serve your spouse, give, use your time, and forgive.  A Christmas Tattoo could be the best gift you ever give yourself and it will be a visible reminder to your soul that Jesus is more than a Season, but He is our Savior!

 

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4 Reasons Satan Wants You To Get A Christmas Divorce

image4 copyMy heart has been troubled recently by the number of marriages that are in crisis.  Some are small blips on the radar were one person says something they wish they hadn’t and in 3 days – 1 month they will be fine.  However, there are others that seem to be at a breaking point and near the cliff of divorce.  These are great people who know what is right and are fighters by nature, but yet it seems that the will to keep going has been zapped from them.  

In my quieter moments of prayer, I felt God reminding me to check the calendar.  It’s Christmas.   The happiest time of the year for Christians as we remember the birth of Emmanuel, God with us.  We celebrate, sing songs, watch goofy cartoons on TV, and hoards of people will flock into churches all over the world even if it is just for their yearly pilgrimage.  Yet as the holiday cheer is flowing in the worlds of the Believers it is a painful and tortuous reminder to someone else.  Satan and his minions of evil.

You see this Christmas is the ultimate reminder of when their battle was lost forever.  It reminds them they are doomed for eternity in hell.  It reminds the darkness of the world that they will never be able to defeat Light.  But unlike some of us, Satan will not go down without a fight.  Before Jesus closes the books on Evil for good, Satan is determined to bring as many people as he can down with him.

I believe his greatest and most focused target is marriages and what better time to turn up the heat then around Christmas.

Here are 4 Reasons why I believe Satan wants you to get a divorce this Christmas.

#1 – A Christmas Divorce Will Ruin Future Christmases

If you want a bad, sure fire way to remember a college spring break then get a bad tattoo.  If you want a sure fire way to have pain in your future Christmases, then get a Christmas Divorce.  Divorce is usually a long term solution to a short term problem.  Your future may look bleak right now, but believe me that Satan is lying when he says it will be better if you were divorced.  Don’t let Satan fool you, you can make it through!

#2 – A  Christmas Divorce Will Destroy Your Kids

One of the saddest things I see is a family torn apart at the holidays.  Sure kids of divorced families rake in extra presents at Christmas.  Usually it’s because each parent tries to compensate for the lack of quality time they spend with their kids at these times.  I’ve yet to hear of a child cry themselves to sleep at night for more Fisher Price stuff, but I do know of kids that would give anything to have their parents back together.  Satan wants you to believe that the best gift you can give your kids is for your to be happy.  Don’t believe it.  Happiness is fleeting but joy comes in the morning for those that trust in God to get them through.

#3 – A Christmas Divorce Fills You With Bitterness and Unforgiveness

A Christmas Divorce will also give you a lump of coal in your spiritual stocking called Bitterness and one of those disgusting green and white candy canes called Unforgiveness.  Satan wants you to be as miserable, lonely, depressed, and hopeless as you possible can.  Believing that ending your marriage will solve your problems will play right into his hand.  Don’t believe his lies!  Keep fighting and know that God wants you to work together to get over this hump and you CAN!

#4 – A Christmas Divorce Takes The Focus Off Jesus and Onto You

As I said, before Satan hates Christmas because it is all about Jesus, God’s Son, The Savior of the World, Emmanuel.  The entire world seems to turn their attention towards Him this time of year even if just for a moment.  Satan hates that.  The damage caused within a family from divorce is visible and heart breaking.  The damage caused by divorce in your spirit is soul breaking.  A Christmas Divorce is allowing Satan to turn your head away from Jesus and onto yourself.  It becomes about my needs, my happiness, my future, my satisfaction, and my desires.  Christmas is about God giving up His desires for eternal perfection and instead taking on human destruction.  What we need to do at Christmas is not throw in the towel, but rather put the towel over our arm an ask “How may I serve you out of love?”

Please know my heart.  If you are being abused or are being cheated on I believe God would want you to get you and your kids out of the environment.  However that is only 5% of the people in the world I believe.  For the other 95% please keep fighting for your marriage.  Getting help is not giving up.  Getting help is showing true strength by reaching out for counseling, a pastor, a friend to come along side you so you can beat Satan in the face for good.  God wants to see your marriage survive and thrive.  Let Him in so you can do that.

So keep Christ in Christmas yes, but more importantly keep Christ in your marriage and fight through any struggle you may have knowing that Emmanuel is with you.

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