Category Archives: True Confessions – First Time Dad

True Confessions of a First Time Dad: My Son Plays The Drums On The Potty

Drummer

 

 

 

 

 

One of the great poets and philosophers of our time, Gloria Estefan, once said:

Rhythm is gonna get you

Rhythm is gonna get you

Rhythm is gonna get you

The rhythm is gonna get you tonight

This may very well sum up my son perfectly. Since the moment he became aware that he had appendages Easton has been tapping, banging, slapping, and knocking on things to make sounds. He can listen to a song on the radio and within seconds will announce to me, “Daddy, hear da drums?” Fortunately, he doesn’t need much to feed his rhythmic addiction. Here are just a few examples of his need for beat.

  • He literally turns the kitchen upside down emptying our Tupperware draw to get the right tom sounds.
  • He uses empty oatmeal cans at Mimi and Papa’s house as his trap set, but soon realized he needed a seat to sit on so he quickly modified his set up to use a can as a throne.
  • He found that the empty cups they give you at Cracker Barrel for the kids milk are perfect sized drums. He turned them over, unwrapped the straws and went to town to the chagrin of the Cracker Barrel customers. That wasn’t enough though as he quickly realized the lids looked like cymbals. Soon I heard, “Daddy, cymbals!” This meant that I was now the cymbal holder and he was Alex Van Halen.
  • Whenever he eats, as he chews a bite will bang out a beat with the end of his fork.
  • He is mesmerized at the drummers and “Miss’r Kevin” in church. He dances and keeps a beat on me or Cherie as we hold him during worship.

My son is a drumming freak! Our good friend Mr. Don was kind enough to give him a used pair of drumsticks awhile back and you would have thought he gave him chocolate milk in a non-sippy cup he was so excited. Well those drumsticks have been used on pretty much everything which is exciting and horrifying if you are on the wrong end of one of those bad boys. But what took his obsession to a fever pitch has to be the other day when he needed to drum on the counter while he went potty.

To put it lightly, Easton is not the biggest fan of potty training. In fact, he will willingly ask for the changing table over the potty any day regardless of the “encouragement prize” offered. But the other morning, he decided that drumming while he pooped was cool. I can only tell you that it worked awesome! My fellow parents understand that any successful potty moment is amazing regardless of the methods needed. Here are a couple pictures just to see my man in action

. IMG_7352 IMG_7351 Although my son is awfully fond of the his drums I see a bigger and deeper thing at play in him even at two years old. I believe my little buddy is experience true worship. He is enjoying and loving the moment he is in and he is expressing that through tapping, through singing, through laughing, through giggling, and through any other way he can at his little age. Worship is more than just music though, it is about expressing your love and joy of God in all that you do. The Psalmists were brilliant at articulating this comprehensive worship experience.

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name,

It is good to praise the Lord

    and make music to your name, O Most High,

proclaiming your love in the morning

    and your faithfulness at night,

to the music of the ten-stringed lyre

    and the melody of the harp.

For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord;

    I sing for joy at what your hands have done.

How great are your works, Lord,

    how profound your thoughts!

- Psalm 92:1-5

 

Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary;

    praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power;

    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

    praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,

    praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

    praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

- Psalm 150:1-6

So do you hear the drums when you are worshiping? I don’t necessarily mean the actual drums, but the drum beat of God in your soul? Do you sense God stirring something in you as you wake up in the morning or when you are at work? Do you feel like God has designed you for something great? Does your spirit light up when you think about all He’s done for you and your family?

It’s time to start living your life by following the beat of a different Drummer.  God is waiting for you to believe that the life He has for you will dwarf anything you’ve ever experienced.  It won’t always be pretty and you will have problems, but there will be a purpose, passion, and meaning to it you’ve never thought possible.

As you become less and He becomes more your world takes on a whole new focus. You begin to realize all that you are and all that you have is because of Him and we begin to finally worship.

So grab a stick and start listening to God’s cadence for you life.  Believe me, your life will never be the same…in a good way.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I’m Surviving Kindergarten..Kinda

school

There she went.

She marched right in the door, hung up her backpack, washed her hands and sat down to get to work.  No sign of a sniffle, no elongated hug, and not even a hint of leg clinging.  Part of me was proud and a bigger part of me was crushed that my sweet little girl was ok heading off into her next adventure.

My baby girl had entered the realm of big girl status as she became a kindergartener.

I nearly wet myself.

How did it happen?  This little miracle who was hooked up to oxygen and breathing machines as a newborn is now untethered and ready to tackle the world.  I sometimes don’t know what to think when I see her growing up.  I mean I know this is how the whole thing works and deep down I want her to grow up, but a big part of me also…doesn’t.

  • I want her to stay as my little Beeger and snuggle up with me when she wakes up in the morning.
  • I want her to have just a little trouble saying her “S’s”.
  • I want her to use big words she hears Cherie and I say and then ask later what they mean.
  • I want to be able to watch her sleep at night like I did when she was in the NICU so I can stroke her hair and tell her daddy loves her.
  • I want to help her tie her shoes so I feel like she still needs me.
  • I want lightning bugs to excite her and princesses to be cool.
  • I want her to ask me to dance with her and throw her up in the air again and again.
  • I want my little sweet girl to stay little….

But I know I can’t…I know she must grow…I know God has big plans for my little girl.

One day the world will know my little girl not because of who I am, but because of who God made her to be.  She will be a leader, a wife, a mother, but more importantly, I pray, that she loves Jesus.  My deepest desire is that she follows God’s grace-filled path all the days of her life and leans into the truth of His love.

Yet, there is something that has kicked me in the butt the past few days, weeks, and months.

What my baby girl knows about God starts with what she sees in me.

Does she see me say one thing on Sunday and act another way on Monday?  Is the Bible a book that gets dusted off once a year when grandma comes around or does she see me face down in it every morning when she wakes up?  Do we take her to church on Sunday so “mom and dad can have a break” or is church a place where she grows and learns about this God that loves her?  Does she see me living a kindergarten faith when I should have graduated into a higher level long ago?

To be honest it scares me to death, but I know that this is my greatest responsibility.  If I were to die with nothing to my name and with no one knowing me, but I raised children that loved Jesus then my life would be a success.  But if I were to live a life of worldly success and left with my children in the dark for their eternity I would be a failure.

Now, I’m not naive enough to think there won’t be bumps along the road as she gets older.  I know that she will not like me most days and that I will embarrass her.  I realize that she may want me to drop her off down the block so she won’t be seen with me.  I know that having a dad as a pastor won’t always be a “cool thing” to her, but without question she will know she is loved by me.  She will know that God loves her.  She will know that I can’t wait to see her grow into the woman of God she was destined to be.

I know God does the saving, but I need to be doing the exampling.

My prayer is simple yet powerful:

“God help my daughter see You in me today so that one day I might see You in her.” 

 

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: Sometimes You Just Have To Ride In The Cart

Speedy BabyMy son and I went to Target the other day (shocking I know) to get a few things.  It was a typical Thursday outing for us with Aniston at school and 2 hours of times to kill in the wintery Chicago weather.  Normally, we would have gone outside, but since hypothermia didn’t seem to be an attractive option we stayed inside.  Lil’ E was being so good that he didn’t even try to arm rake any of the glass spaghetti jars off the shelves for once!

Let me tell you that is a huge deal.

We had just finished shopping and it was time for check out.  This is a good thing because Easton knows it means we are almost out the door and that he gets to “help me” put the things on the conveyor belt.

Side Note: Doesn’t it always seems when you put things on that belt that they multiply in your cart.  I feel like Mary Poppins pulling stuff out of her bag as I unload.  It just keeps coming!

Anyway, this day we got in line and wouldn’t you know it we got stuck behind Coupony Couperson and her 35 boxes of mac and cheese to go with her 17 cases of Tic Tacs.  We were in for a long haul since Target only opens up 1.5 lanes out of their possibly 71 in the morning.  We were stuck.  It didn’t take long for Easton to be “done” with sitting in cart and started to fuss.  Before it got out of hand I decided to try something.

The fine folks at Target now have front facing, double seated carts for the kids.  Granted it makes you feel like you are pushing a “67 El Camino around the store, but they do drive like butter and the kids love it.  So when Easton started to get antsy I just decided to grab a seat right by him.  Yep, I popped a squat in the little toddler sized booty holder and we chatted.

You should have seen his face…he LOVED it!  He instantly went from fussing to talking about everything on his mind that no one understood but him.  His hands started making signs that made more sense than that weird dude at the Nelson Mandela funeral.  But what was so cool was that he totally relaxed!  We had a great daddy moment while the woman ahead of us checked out the last of her items so she could scurry back home to her Apocalypse bomb shelter and put away her rations.

This spoke to me on a couple different levels and no I’m not becoming a couponer.

First, it showed me how important it is to be present with your kids.  We all see parents that will ignore their kids while they text their girlfriends important things like their high score on Candy Crush.  Some parents will just simply endure their time with their kids until they can get home and turn on the Disney Channel.  Still others will look at their kids as if they are a nuisance and hindrance to their entire existence…as if they were the ones that chose to be born and now have inconvenienced them.

Our kids need us to engage with them and constantly reiterate that they matter.  This doesn’t mean that letting them watch a show from time to time is bad or that communicating with your friends is sinful, but when your kids have to beg for your attention something is wrong.  I have heard it said time and time again by older parents that they ”wish they would have soaked up the earlier years more because now that they are all grown up it’s different.”  I simply don’t want to be that regretful parent.  To do this we must realize it takes time, energy, and patience, but I believe it will make a world of difference in our kids futures.  The call can wait, but a moment with your kids will fly by never to be had again.

The other thing that this cart conversation did for me was remind me that this is exactly what Jesus did.  No, he didn’t conquer the Target challenge and spend less than $100 dollars, although that may have been a cool miracle to see happen!  It was much more powerful than even that.

Even though He was God Jesus often would get down on the level of the people he was ministering to so that He could relate.  Even beyond being the obvious incarnate God-Man, Jesus,  who become man to live amongst His creation, He went further time and time again to know us.  We see this in places such as when He hung out with kids, dined with sinners, stooped down to help the adulterous women, but one that stands out to me is when He chose his disciples.

One day Jesus ascends a mountain to pray about who He was going to choose to join Him in his close circle of disciples.   After finishing, He calls the 12 together together and then descends the mountain.  It’s here in Luke 6:17 where the good stuff happens as Luke says“He went down with them and stood on a level place.”  Jesus chose not to preach, teach, and minister from a platform, but from the bottom floor.  He chose to see them eyeball to eyeball instead of over the bridge of his elevated nose.  Jesus got on their level so He could know their level and He still does that today.

Our kids need this too.

They need us to hangout with them in the cart and they need us to tell them about God in a way they can understand.  Heck, they need us to tell them about God period!  After all, what good will it do if they know their math facts by they time the reach 4 years old by playing a Fisher Price game on the iPad if they don’t know who the Son of God is!?  Our kids need to see that God is important to us and worth our time to tell them about Him.  We can’t expect the Sunday school teachers or the pastors to do it all.  We are the most influential people in our kid’s lives so  we need to use that influence to tell them about who God is and what He’s done for us.

On their level…eye to eye…life to life.

So give yourself permission to sit in the cart from time to time.  Your kids will love the time with you and it will give you chance to be on their level.  Who knows what you might see and what opportunities God may give you to tell them about Him.

Don’t be afraid of hanging out with your kids…be afraid of the coupon lady that just bought the last case of bottled water.

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True Confession Of A First Time Dad: Remotes Don’t Float

remote-controlsI really don’t know what it is about remote controls, but boys of all ages are fascinated by them.  When they are younger they grab and push the buttons as if trying to press them through the backside cover.  As they get older the remote becomes the magic key that opens the portal to the Wonderful World Of Disney.  This is only a gateway drug to the adult version which allows us to watch sports on 4 different channels at once if we find the right combination of buttons.  Even when we age and all our mental and physical abilities decline our remote handling skills still remain sharp.  Unreal!

My son is no exception to the remote fixation.  Easton loves to carry them around, push the buttons, throw them on the couch, and find a combination of buttons to push that somehow let us look back in time when on Channel 8 for some reason.

My boy loves his remotes.

However nowadays there are remotes for nearly everything including the ceiling fan in our bedroom.  We have one with a remote control not for me but actually for my wife.  She is really the gatekeeper for light, dark, and temperature when it comes to bedtime.  I literally have to sneak around the bed at night after she’s asleep, like a ninja trying to steal a pressure sensitive jewel, to even turn on the fan.  In this case, the remote is vital to the working of the fan-light because without it there’s no manual way to use it.

This brings us to Saturday night.

I came home from work and Cherie said, “Well, your son finally did it.  As I was finishing washing Aniston up in the bathtub Easton ran into our room, grabbed the ceiling fan remote, and threw it right into the bathtub.  I had two hands full of shampoo so there was no stopping him.  The good news is that wall switch was in the on position so we can still turn it on.  The bad news is that fan was the only thing on when he baptized the remote so right now we have no light.”

This means that two college educated, post graduate schooled, high functioning adults will be getting dressed by the closet light in the mornings while being efficiently dried by the wind tunnel in their master bedroom.

That’s my boy.

While Cherie took the remote outside to help the remote sober up in the sun, I realized this is how we as Christians act sometimes.

So many of us live our lives without fully embracing all that God offers us in a life found in Him.  We walk around in the dark doing our own thing in our relationships, business dealings, social events, language, and addictions thinking that just because the fans on we are still living the life God wants us too.

After all the light on a fan is just an option not a requirement right?  It’s up to us if we want to use it isn’t it?

We see this in our Christian walk too.

  • I don’t have to stop smoking pot because God never specifically said we couldn’t right?
  • I can get divorced because what the Bible says about divorce is just a guideline not a rule.
  • There is no need to stop spending my money how I am because I really don’t’ like that part of God’s plan.
  • The language I use isn’t a big deal.  After all I’m just being relevant!

In essence, we are taking the life God designed for us and choosing not to use it how the Designer intended.  We are using the fan, but never turning on the light.

Sadly, we are missing out on so much by doing taking this approach.   We may have a nicely pressed Christian coating on the outside, but on the inside we are slowly dying from the sin we are still choosing.

Embrace all the “features” that God has designed for you to experience by being a follower of Christ and stop living in the dark.  Flip the light on and start living!

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: That Doesn’t Go There!

Now, at one point I had a music room in our house containing my guitar gear, amplifiers, and other music stuff in it so I could rehearse properly.  However, when Aniston was born that room quickly become a shrine to every Disney Princess ever created and more girl clothes than NYC Fashion Week.  So instead of going in my music room of inspiration I usually sing in the kitchen, while holding my 1 year old son, and watching my daughter become a 4 year old teenager in front of my eyes.

Not exactly how John Mayer probably does it, but I’m ok with it….for now :)

The other day I was at home rehearsing some songs for an upcoming wedding I’m doing.  I had my normal cast of characters with me as Easton wiggled in my arms and Aniston pretended to talk to someone on a plastic phone she was holding upside down.

For some reason this was the day Easton realized that the music he heard was coming from me and more specifically my mouth.  This was fascinating to him and apparently he wanted to find the source.  So every time I would sing, Easton would cram his whole hand in my mouth in search of those notes.

It started with examining my teeth, then my tongue, then all the way back to my epiglottis (that is the hangy thing in the back of your throat that looks like a punching bag).  When he realized that I was laughing when he did it which made it oh so much more fun.  However on one of his explorations he got a little phalange happy and his index finger missed my mouth and went right into my left nostril.

His little finger must have been modified with a diamond tip because it felt like a spear being inserted into my brain.  My eyes watered, he giggled, and then the blood started to flow.

When my 4 year old daughter Aniston saw what was happening she ran over to us.  Obviously she was concerned, but after finding out that Easton caused this injury by his finger failure her Doc McStuffin’s diagnosis was spot on.  “Daddy, that doesn’t go there!”

I know for me this happens a lot with my walk with God.  I’m walking along with Him and feeling as though things are going great and then all of sudden I feel a drop of blood from somewhere.  I look around only to realize that I had to put myself in situations, postures, or attitudes that didn’t belong there.  As a result I was hurting myself and other’s and maybe didn’t even mean to do it, but the reality is the blood was flowing.

In that moment I just wish I could go back in time and make things better.  We’ve all been there, but we’d like to take back the word, wipe off the sarcasm, get off the couch, turn the car around, or delete that message.  All we want is to reset the scene the way we know it should be and where all the pieces are designed to fit.

The only problem is that when I try to do the clean-up in the situation I usually make things worse.  The slow drip that started from my nose is now an arterial gusher spurting out all over the place with every beat of the my heart.

This verse in Lamentations really sparked my desire to write this blog and helped me triage the situations in my life much better.

“Restore us to yourself, Lord, that we may return; renew our days as of old” Lamentations 5:21

My desire to make things right, put things back, or take things out of places they don’t belong must first come by restoring myself back to God.  I need to confess, repent, and ask for forgiveness from Him.  We must restore ourselves back to Jesus in order for the tourniquet to be placed on the wound and stop the bleeding we’ve caused.

In John 15 Jesus calls this place we return to and remain in as the “vine”.  Jesus is the vine that provides true life and in it we can bear fruit by living our lives in and through Him.  If we do this and return to Him Jesus says, “Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”

This doesn’t mean that cars will fall out of the sky and land in our driveway because the vine of God doesn’t work like a piñata.  However, the answer to our prayers for help and healing in our relationships are best heard when we are abiding in Jesus.  Resting in Him.  Following Him.  Learning from Him.  Confessing to Him.  These are the postures that keep our “fingers” in our life where they belong and not causing damage by going where they shouldn’t.

So restore yourself back to Christ today and let the true healing begin to take shape in your life and those around you.  If you don’t, you may feel light headed and woozy the rest of your life.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: My Boy & His “Toys”

It is becoming technicolor clear to me that boys are different from girls.

Here are a just a few examples:

Finding something small on the floor.

Girls:  Will gently show you what they found so you can take it from them.

Boys:  Will shove it in their mouth as if it were the last piece of food on a deserted island.

Drinking A Bottle

Girls:  Will snuggle in and enjoy the full experience of the bottle until the very last drop.

Boys:  Will fight you until the very last drop as if you were their MMA opponent trying to put them in an arm-bar submission hold.

The word “no”

Girls:  Will instantly respond to you saying it because they realize you mean business.

Boys:  Seem to consider it a “suggestion” or possibly even an encouragement to keep doing what they are doing.

However my son has also shown me that toys are also and acquired boy taste to.  My daughter loves to play with her dolls, princesses, and color.  While my 11 month old son could care less about his LeapFrog games or trucks and has a magnetic attraction to something far more disgusting and germ laden.

The dog toys.

That’s right my son would rather play with a gnarled, slimy, frayed Kong or a foam frisbee with a hole chewed in it than his own toys.  Believe it or not some of his toys have never even been shoved in his mouth for test run which is a miracle in and of it’s self!

Easton 1 Easton 2

Ok, I’ll cut him some slack since he is ONLY 11 months old, bur he is really missing out.  He has no concept of why a drooled on chew toy is not as good as an iPhone 5, but some day he will.  Trust me…I’m on this one like white on rice.

It is amazing to see how many of us as Christians do this same thing in our spiritual walks with God.

As Christians we are what the Bible calls “new creation” when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  It says the “old is gone and the new has come”, which mean “good by dog toy life hello better life.”  But yet we still like to play with our worn out, drooled on, covered in hair old life.

We would rather hang on to our addictions, affairs, greed, and pride instead of embracing the fullness of God’s plan for our life.  Our knuckles will remain white and cramped as we tightly clench the life we feel God is trying to take from us.

We do this is because of a false view of who God really is.

The good Dr. Luke gives us a perspective on this phenomenon when quoting Jesus.

““Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!””

- Luke 11:11-13

Jesus is saying not even the nastiest of criminals would bait and switch their kids with something that would harm them.  So why in the world would the God of Heaven and Earth try to do that to the child He created!?

The answer is He wouldn’t and He won’t.

Now listen.

This doesn’t mean if you ask for a Porsche God’s going to give it to you.  He may give you a 1984 Honda with one working door or maybe nothing at all!  He’s not a genie in a bottle, but the Sovereign God of the Universe whose perspective of things is just a touch greater than ours.  Our job is to show Him that we believe His toys are better than our toys through our submission.

It means that since He gave up EVERYTHING for us we can trust Him with our EVERYTHING.

The life He offers will always be better than anything we could ever find in the dog toy bin of our old life.  It’s time to stop going back to our old pathetic ways and start diving into the new life He’s got waiting for us.

Here boy!

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I’m Immune To The Smell of Poo

All babies seem to have a unique way of digesting food that causes paint to peel off the walls of their nursery every time you change them.  It’s fascinating since all they drink is milk and nearly digested baby food so how that translates into a radioactive isotope I don’t know.

All that makes what happened the other day so odd.

I was changing one of Easton’s three daily diaper bombs when I realized something.  My gag reflex wasn’t on red alert and I was not even slightly dry heaving.  My breathing didn’t seem to be labored and the hallucinations were not nearly as vivid.  Those little actor babies on the diaper boxes get a little freaky when you’re bathing in the odiferous sewage known as a dirty diaper.

What I realized was…I shudder to say…but it’s true…I am used to the smell of poop.

Hard to believe but it’s true!

After nearly three years of pungent diapers I reached the stage of nostril nirvana.

Now only a parent would appreciate this new super power, because to the normal human the smell, sight, discussion, or allusion to a poopy diaper should at least make you create a stink face.

So how could this be?  How could I be immune to the poo?

The reason is called olfactory adaptation.  This is our body’s ability to become immune to bad smells due to repeated exposure to the stank.  It allows us to continue to smell other things around us instead of getting stuck on the stench.

That’s great except for one thing.

Just because we can’t smell it doesn’t mean it’s not still disgusting.

Do you ever ask yourself this question as you look at the world?

How could anyone do that?

I mean we look at the TV and see the rape, murder, cheating, shootings, corruption, and on and on and on we could go and we are perplexed.  How in the world could someone get to the point where “that” is possible?

But before we start looking at other people’s moral tree we should look at the fruit that we are growing too.

People may look at our lives and ask similar questions.

  • How could someone claiming to be a Christian still cheat on their wife?
  • How could a professed Christian use such perverse language?
  • Why would a honest Christian lie on their expense report at work?

The answer?

Soul-factory adaptation.

I believe our souls were originally wired to be one with God, but in our lives we decided to go on our own journeys.  These selfish travels naturally took us away from God and into the sewage of sin.

At first our Soul-factory System flared up and we saw the lying, cheating, and sin for the rancid smell it was, but after repeated exposure we got used to it.  Our soul adapted, but not in the good way.  In the way that kills a little bit more of who we were designed to be each day.  We no longer smell the stink because we’ve grown used to it.

God’s design for our Soul-factory system is far different.  Once we allow Jesus to reign and rule in our lives we must crave different scents.  Our senses must be flushed with what He desires more than what we desire.

Our nostrils must sting in the presence of sin and seek the sweet aroma of holiness.

I pray that we can live our lives with the words of Job on our Spirit.

“as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils,”Job 27:3

Breathe deep God’s sweet Truth into your spirit, and re-embrace the beauty of your gag reflex to sin.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: My Living Room Is An Octagon

My son, Easton, turned 9 months old and when it happened it was as if all of his motor neurons began firing at the same time because he is now a power crawling, belly scooting, table pulling up on, stair climbing freak show.  Gone are the days of being shackled by gravity and uncoordinated appendages because things are clicking and he’s “getting it” fast.

As a result we no longer have a living room fit for entertaining guests because it has been transformed into a UFC Octagon.   You know what I mean.  It’s the fighting ring the MMA guys use for two grown men to step into a ring in their underwear and punch each other in the face until one of them taps out or an arm breaks then hug it out when it’s all over.

That’s what my living room has become.  Our couches, end tables, and every possible dining room chair we have is used to create a barrier to keep my son from climbing or tumbling into a trip to the emergency room.  You would think we were raising a small puma and not a human baby because inside the ring are rubber toys and the occasional rice puff to entertain Easton for a few minutes.  It’s silly sauce.

As goofy as this may seem I would dare to say you would probably look at me equally as crazy if I didn’t do any of that.  I mean, what if I just let Lil’ E grab, climb, touch, throw, or ingest anything he wanted to?  Wouldn’t THAT be nuts?

No one says anything about protecting a small baby from danger by restricting where he can go and what he can touch but when God puts perimeters on our spiritual lives we lose our minds.

  • What do you mean I can’t sleep with whoever I want?  It’s my body and I can do what I want!
  • Don’t tell me I need to forgive my father.  You don’t know what it was like to live with him and he isn’t worth forgiving.
  • You want me to give up my time and serve at church?  Listen, it’s my time and the fact that I’m going to church is good enough.

We never balk at the Grace that wipes our sins away, but we bristle at the thought of God expecting us to change our ways.

God’s design for our life is not made to be a hindrance in our life but a deliverance from it. Yet to receive the fullness of that deliverance from our sinful life we need perimeters, guardrails, and directions in our life to follow.

Solomon says it well,

Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many.

I guide you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble. 

Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.

-Proverbs 4:11-13

As a parent, sometimes we need to set up guardrails to keep our kids from harm and this is no different than our Heavenly Father.  His love for us is so great that He sent his son Jesus to create the ultimate guardrail to prevent an eternity apart from him.

Only when we see Him face to face will we comprehend how important that barrier truly was.  The earthly perimeters He asks us to place on our lives are simply there to keep us from unnecessary scars and bruises which will hamper us from the total joy found in a life following Him.

So maybe take a fresh look at the living room of your life and see where some “sin proofing” is in order.  The only person that will look foolish is you if you don’t.  When you end up at the bottom of the stairs wondering what happened, it won’t be because God didn’t give you guardrails to prevent it.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I Love Phillip Phillips

My son is much more…how do you say…vocal than our daughter ever was at this age.  Whether it’s a farty noise, a giggle, a whine, or a cry he is pretty much always trying to make his presence known.

Usually when he’s in the car is his moment of silence, but every now and again when he’s over tired or just sick of being in his straight jacket of a carseat he will really let us have it.  No amount of car gymnastics from the front seat to blindly put his pacifier in while you keep the car from going into on coming traffic will work either.  Not even big sister with her silly antics can calm the beast.

There is but one thing…Phillip Phillips.

That’s right the American Idol winner whose song “Home” you’ve heard ad nauseam at the 2012 Olympics, the song you hear on every commercial, and the song that will instantly turn my son into Silent Bob within the first note.

We’ve tried other songs to no avail, but literally by the first pluck of the acoustic guitar Easton is transfixed.  However, just like Cinderella’s magical night the second the song ends the party is over and he is back to whatever bad mood he was in.

So what does any sane, logical, well educated father do?  Put that bad boy on repeat and learn all the words to the stinking song.

Don’t judge, you’d do it too and you know it!

So what is your “Phillip Phillips” between you and God

How do you in the middle of life’s temper tantrums calm yourself and focus yourself back to God?

I can’t tell you how important this is to your spiritual health and growth.  Having time to reconnect with God in a way that has no distraction, no timetable, and no agenda is vital to realizing a full and meaningful relationship with Him.

Jesus was our model for this practice.

In Luke 5 we read about Jesus calling the first disciples and performing miracles in the town he visited.  Let’s face it, the stress we feel with expense reports and backed up lines at the drive-thru are not quite as stressful compared to healing leprosy and selecting the men to start the Church.  It’s no wonder that Jesus was exhausted.

“But isn’t He God?”, you may ask, “How can God get tired?”

The beautifully relatable aspect of Jesus was His humanity.  That while being fully God He was also fully man meaning he experience and felt all the same things we do including fatigue.  And what Jesus does when fatigued is something we should all learn from.

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”- Luke 5:15-16

Jesus withdrew from the chaos and the work to pray and connect with His Father.  Even with all the people still needing healing, disciples needing discipling, and ministry left to do, He stopped, dropped, and prayed.  It’s how He recharged His batteries for the next phase of the journey and He did it “often” Scriptures tell us.

My challenge to you and me is to be like Jesus today.

Now, before you go trying to walk across the pool at the local High School keep reading.

I want us to be like Jesus in the sense that we need to take time to connect with God just like He did and not feel guilty in doing it.  There is always things to do, places to go, and work to be done, but taking time to recharge with God is what will let you do those things with more clarity, confidence, and holiness.

God isn’t oblivious to your busy schedule, He just wants to be part of it. 

So make a point crank up some Phillip Phillips and let the world slip away so you can calm yourself and connect with your Dad.

I guarantee it will begin to feel just like Home.

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True Confessions Of A First Time Dad: I Don’t Remember What Sleep Is

I am now the proud parent of two kids.  Our oldest is Aniston who is 3 years old right now and our youngest Easton who is 6 months.

When Easton was born my wife and I had been enjoying approximately 2.5 years of uninterrupted sleep.  That’s right, since my daughter was 3 months old she was sleeping twelve beautiful hours every night.  We could drive a dump truck filled with fireworks over whoopee cushions through the living room and she would sleep through it.  It was awesome….I repeat AWESOME!

Our son must have not gotten the memo about this feature on a child when the chromosomes were hooking up.  I say that because ever since he’s been born he has never slept through the night.  Not even close.  Approximately 3:00 AM every day he will start to cry.  This begins the dance between Easton’s pacifier and us every fifteen minutes until 7:00 AM.

Four hours of a zombie-like dance that would cause a grown man to cry.  Yes, the man writing this has cried in the wee hours of the morning as he looks at a baby he loves more than his own life but would give any sum of money for it just be quiet!

At this point I don’t know if either my wife or I remember what true REM sleep is.  On top of that it’s amazing what whacked out dreams you can have in 15 minutes, but that is another blog all together.

The idea of sleep or rest is one of the most basics of bodily functions.  You don’t have to be taught or trained how to sleep.  Granted quantity of sleep is an acquired taste, the act of sleeping is a standard feature on all models of human beings.  We all do it and we all need it.

Sleep allows our bodies to reset, recharge, heal, power down, and recover from the day that was and prepare for the day to come.  It is a gift from God that even allows us to meditate and connect with Him in our REM cycles.

Throughout Scripture we see our heroes resting.  From Elisha to Jesus time after time we see retreat to recharge the batteries.  So not only does this show that they were human and

We all need time to get away to recharge, retreat, and refocus our self back to God without distraction.

My friend Dr. Casey Tygrett has great insight into this in his book The Jesus Rhythm which you can get for free by clicking here.  In it Dr. Tygrett looks at the life of Jesus and the rhythm that He ascribed himself too.  Time and time again we see heavy seasons of ministry followed by retreat and rest with the Father.

I hate to pull on the theology of the wristband of the 80’s, but WWJD seems to be answered well throughout Scripture.  Jesus would take time to rest and we need to find ways to do that too.  He even went so far as to offer to be the source of spiritual rest for us!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”             – Matthew 11:28

Jesus offers us a rest that beyond understanding, but to grasp I think we need to be rested ourselves so we can think clearly about what that means.

Granted I know this looks different for every person.  As the father of a small uncooperative baby boy my time of rest may not be seen until March when my wife and I go on vacation, but I do know that I can find other ways to disconnect so I can reconnect with God.  I just need to make the choice to do it.

I pray you find retreat, recharging, and refocus this week so you can understand more how much God truly loves you.

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