First Day of School Prayer

Father God,
a new year of school is here and students are returning to the classroom.
So much excitement.
So much apprehension.
Please hear my prayer as our kids resume.
There will be reading and writing and arithmetic too.
Spelling, science and all things new.
There will be friends and lunch and games galore.
There will be all of that and so much more.
Routines will be changing.
Schedules will get busy.
Sometimes all of this can make one feel dizzy.
So, Father God, hear my prayer,
and bless our children here and there.
Bless their teachers.
Bless their year.
Guide them so they will not fear.
Keep them safe, Lord, every busload.
Bless all drivers who share the road.
Bless our children here and now.
May this year cause them to say “Wow!”
Amen 🙂

Hope and Life

The following chalk art was created by my imaginative 6-year-old daughter. It used to adorn the sidewalk in front of our home. Knowing that the lawn sprinklers would soon wash this masterpiece away, I made sure this was digitally preserved. This artwork, from the heart of a 6-year-old, inspired the following poem. To God be the glory!

Through death to Life,
You give me hope.
Through dark to light.
I can now cope.
For the cross rises above this broken world
and life rises from within.
I now have hope and strength for through Jesus Christ
eternal life now begins.
The sun shines,
The flower blooms,
Oh Lord my God my final place is not the tomb.
And now my heart leaps for joy,
I just can not contain it.
My face radiates with love,
Something that will never quit.
So may the cross brightly shine,
A hope for the world to see.
My sins have been wiped away.
That is Your loving decree.

Kindergarten Graduation

It’s hard to believe that my daughter is graduating from kindergarten. It feels like just yesterday that I first held her in my arms. And now I blinked my eyes and here I am — my little girl growing up. I am afraid to blink again because then it will be high school graduation, then college graduation, then her wedding day, etc. I’m not ready for that. Where are the tooth picks to hold my eyes open? I don’t want to blink again.

The following is a poem I wrote in honor of my daughter’s special day…

Here we are, my little one,
This first year is sadly done.
You have grown up oh so fast,
Time has flown by right on past.

I am very proud of you,
You’ve worked so hard, that is true.
Numbers, shapes and letters too,
Reading stories you can do.

What is next, God only knows,
In His love He always shows.
Bright and shining star you are,
God will use you near and far.

Keep it up my little one,
Your first year was lots of fun.
Now it’s First Grade, here we come,
A shining light you’ve become.

From the Heart of a 6-Year-Old

Daddy preaching

I thought I would share with you a portrait of myself drawn by my 6-year-old daughter. Notice my (out of season) Lenten stole (my daughter’s favorite color). Arms out-stretched (as I can be animated in the pulpit). And of course, “God is good“. Behind me is the cross (a very happy daddy here that my daughter included that). Apparently I am a ghost since I have no legs, but far be it from me to critique a 6-year-old’s artwork. I am not sure what the red is at the bottom. Maybe I am jumping out of the flames because the Holy Spirit is red hot that day. Who knows, but I love it. But the following is my favorite…

God’s Radiance

This one is titled (in her own words), “God’s radiance”. Yup, I like that. No further commentary needed.

From the heart of a 6-year-old to mine 🙂

Daddy

During the week, I get the pleasure of waking up my children for school.

[I use the word “pleasure” very loosely here.]

Anyway, yesterday at 7 AM, I made my first attempt to wake up my 6-year-old daughter. There is usually protesting when I go in and so most mornings I end up giving her a couple extra minutes, but not yesterday. That morning was different. As I entered my daughter’s room, I noticed she was already in the process of sitting up. Maybe she heard me in the hall, I don’t know. Whatever the case, when I said, “Good morning sweetie.” She immediately reached out her arms and said, “Daddy“. I went over to her and she climbed into my waiting arms, buried her face into my chest and clung to me with everything she had. I reciprocated by wrapping my arms around her and carried her down stairs; enjoying the snuggle time. I could definitely handle that routine every morning. What a great start to the day. But regardless of the reception I get from my little girl in the morning, my love for her won’t waver.

Our heavenly Daddy also desires that routine every morning; waking up and immediately reaching out to Him in prayer saying, “Daddy“, and then falling into His loving arms. For you see, He loves you with an amazing love, even though you may protest and go to your phone first or the coffee pot or the refrigerator or whatever. Or maybe Daddy doesn’t even get a mention until later in the day. Whatever the case, His arms are waiting for you with an unconditional love that doesn’t make sense to this world.

Try it sometime. When you wake up in the morning, raise your arms and say, “Daddy” and then fall into His waiting arms. What a great way to start the day 🙂

The Redo

I don’t know who is reading this but I am writing this anyway. Maybe this is more therapeutic than anything else but hopefully the beginning of something. I was reading my devotions this morning and could feel something stirring in me; a stirring to explore and write. I am not sure where this is going so we’ll see what God is up to.

So why am I writing this morning?

Today got off to a bad start. First, I over-slept, which is something I rarely do with two young children. One of them is usually up early. Second, I got so caught up with being on time that I didn’t see the needs of my family. I was rushing to get myself ready while trying to get the kids fed and ready for preschool. I got flustered and impatient when I should have been more composed and compassionate. It was no one’s fault but my own that I over-slept (my Fitbit alarm has now been set for tomorrow, hopefully that problem solved).

After a moment of conviction I had a little heart to heart chat with my son; seeking forgiveness for being impatient and not there for him. I received a big forgiving hug and a smile from him. I was then ready to go, but still unsettled. I dropped the kiddos off at preschool and made my way to the office. Once settled in I turned to my Bible reading plan. What I read first got my attention and thus the motivation to write this morning. From Psalm 145:1-13…

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The underlined parts grabbed me and convicted me. This is our awesome God but doesn’t it also point to how a father ought to relate to his children? Granted, this psalmist probably wasn’t thinking of parenting when he wrote this, but it still works. I mean, think about it. A parent ought to…

~ Commend God’s mighty works and deeds to his children…every day.
~ Be gracious
~ Be merciful
~ Slow to anger
~ Abound in steadfast love
~ Be good to all

That right there is the call for ALL Christian parents and thus I am going to be reflecting on this more and, God willing, be writing more about these actions. Once again, I am not sure where this is leading. Maybe it is more of an outlet for my own thinking and exploring. Who knows (well…God does), so we’ll see. For now, I am anxious to get home and have a redo with my children; to do better. I am anticipating some hardcore playing in the backyard. Hopefully my bad back will hold up 🙂

The Pastor -|—