Help Me Father

Father God,
You have called me to the holy calling of being a daddy.
I am happy.
I am thankful.
I am overwhelmed,
Overwhelmed at what this calling means.
Help me, Father, help me.
Help me be the daddy my kids need me to be.
May they see in me what it means to love You.
May they see in me what it means to obey You.
May they see in me what it means to serve You.
I want to be an example to them of what a godly life looks like; one that honors and glorifies You.
Help me, Father, help me.
Sometimes I feel like I am messing this daddy thing up.
Sometimes I feel like such a failure.
Sometimes I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.
Help me, Father, help me.
Grant me wisdom and strength.
Grant me compassion and boldness.
Grant me mercy and empathy.
Grant me gentleness and tenderness.
I want to be the daddy my kids need me to be.
I want to honor You.
Help me, Father, help me.

Father’s Day Prayer

Happy Father’s Day to all the men out there. You are being honored today for showing godly love to others and for living out your calling to reflect God’s glory. The following is a prayer that I have adapted from a Mother’s Day prayer that I came across years ago.

Have a great day, guys, and to God be the glory.

God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless those fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting and/or showing fatherly love to others.
Bless those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce.
Bless those who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone.
Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system.
Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations.
Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of mourning the death of a child.
We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers.
We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in many ways.
We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents.
Strengthen all these men by your love that they may become the loving, caring persons they are called and meant to be; reflecting Your love and glory. Grant this through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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 -|—

Pulling Him Close

I want to share a story with you quick before the moment passes too far.

It was a moment that took place around 11 PM last night. My wife and I were getting ready for bed when I heard our little girl, Mayah, calling out for mommy and daddy. I went into her room; bent over her crib and said, “Sweetie, are you alright? What do you need?” She said nothing. I asked again but still nothing. Then I noticed that she didn’t have her mookie in her mouth so I searched and quickly found it under her pillow. I then asked, “Sweetie, is that better?” Still nothing. Then she stood up which meant she wanted to be rocked. Normally when I come into her room at night she tells me, “I want to rock” But no words this time. Just actions.

So I picked up my little girl, grabbed her blanket and sat down with her in the rocking chair. She then quickly curled up on my lap and snuggled in as close as she could possibly get, and peacefully went to sleep.

A huge smile formed on my face 🙂

I sat there staring down at my sweet little girl, as happy as I could be; not wanting the moment to end. I then gently leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her cheek as to not disturb her peaceful slumber. But upon receiving my loving kiss, Mayah started moving her arm. She was trying to free her arm from her cozy blanket. Upon her arm breaking free, Mayah reached up and placed her hand on the back of my neck. She then pulled me in so my cheek was next to hers, and then held me tight. A gentle but firm hold as to say, “I want you close.” And with that she drifted off to sleep with tears of joy welling up in my eyes. After a couple of wonderful minutes, Mayah’s arm went limp and fell to her body. I then stood up, kissed her again and gently laid her in her crib. I leaned over and stared at her for a few more moments; watching her sleep, and then left her to her peaceful slumber.

What a moment, but now leave it to a pastor/.daddy to make a connection to our heavenly Father:

Oh that we would call out to God more and more; longing to be held by him and then pull God close for an intimate moment. Sometimes words are not necessary but rather just a few moments, basking in God’s love. Oh that we would call out to God and seek him; as God is always there, ready to show you incredible love. Oh that we would call out to God and know his grace; something that never fades and is never distant.

Oh that we would call out to our heavenly daddy…

The Pastor -|—

Our Father’s good pleasure

Being a pastor and a father has opened, for me,  the door to new theological understandings of our relationship with God.  This “door”, though, may be the cause of some embarrassment for my little girl when she gets older, so for now I am going to enjoy freedom from chastisement. So here I go 🙂

The other night my wife and I were enjoying some quiet time together; talking and watching a little TV.  Mayah was in the next room sleeping.  Every now and then Mayah would make a little noise or a small cry but then would go back to sleep.   Finally, after a while, she started crying and crying.  We waited; thinking that she just lost her pacifier and that she would eventually find it and go back to sleep.

But she didn’t stop crying.

Connie finally said, “I think she lost her pacifier.  One of us will need to go in.”

I quickly volunteered.

When I entered her room, Mayah was in her crib on all fours crying; pacifier in her mouth.  When she saw me she raised up on her knees and reached for me.  I picked her up and cradled her in my arms and she immediately stopped crying.

Her diaper wasn’t wet
She didn’t seem cold or warm
Night light was working fine

Basically…nothing seemed to be wrong except that she just wanted to be held.  As I sat there in the rocking chair with my little girl; feeling content, happy and loved, I remember thinking: “I wonder if this is what God feels like when what his children want is to just be near Him.”

[32] “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [33] Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. [34] For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  [Luke 12:32-34, ESV]

It is our Father’s good pleasure…yea…I like that.  It was my good pleasure to go in and rock my little girl to sleep; giving her the love and security she wanted at that moment.  And even more so, it is our heavenly Father’s good pleasure to do the same: to hold you in His arms and give you the kingdom.

What a Father in heaven that we have. What a treasure 🙂

Don’t wait to “need” him. It is our Father’s good pleasure to hold you and love you and to give you peace whenever and wherever.

Praise be to God!

The pastor -|—

Our heavenly Father

I spent 20 minutes this morning holding my sleeping baby girl (who will be turning 7 months old on Monday).  I love those moments.  I love staring at her as she helplessly lays in my arms and trusts me to care for her.  I love the peace I see across her face. And I can hardly wait until she wakes up and smiles at me as I reach to pick her up.

It is such a special privilege to care for a child.

But as I was staring at my little girl, I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s love for me, for I too am a vulnerable, weak child who needs the love and care of a Father; THE Father.  On my own I can not get out of this world alive.  Against the power of Satan I am powerless. In the midst temptations I am not strong enough.  But God, our heavenly Father, cares for me; loves me; provides for me and gives me life through Jesus Christ (leave it to this daddy/pastor to get theological while holding a baby).

So as I was slowly rocking Mayah to sleep I was imagining myself cradled in my Father’s arms as He longingly stares at me with such a loving smile.  I felt protected, cared for, provided for as a father does for his child. And my hope and prayer is that I will grow up someday to be more like my Father through Jesus Christ. I know I have a long way to go, but our heavenly Father is patient and persistent.  And praise be to God for that.

edh -|—

Added vocation

This pastor/new daddy hasn’t been writing much here recently, but because of my new vocation, I have been posting more at my adoption blog that I write with my wife called:

Adopted as an Heir at www.adoptedasanheir.wordpress.com

I guess this new vocation of mine is making some changes in my life.  There are a few things I used to do a lot but don’t do much anymore (i.e running). But I am still doing my “normal” pastor things:
~ I am preaching sermons and leading worship.
~ I am doing home visits with Holy Communion.
~ I am visiting the sick.
~ I am conducting premarital counseling session.
~ I am attending church meetings.
~ Etc, etc, etc…and those things aren’t going to change or fall by the wayside.

And neither will this blog fall by the wayside…but it might change a little bit.  After all…I do have a new vocation.

And as I reflect on my new vocation I have noticed a few other changes:
~ Sermon prep is different now as sometimes my comfortable routine gets interrupted or changed.  But more importantly I have another lens to look at the world through.
~ Worship leading is different especially when I look out there and see/hear my little girl.  I also wonder what she will think of worship as she gets older; will she grow to love God as her mommy and daddy do?
~ When I do visits, Mayah sometimes tags along…and I have yet to get a complaint about this 🙂
~ Counseling sessions…they go on as normal but now I have a daddy role to draw wisdom from when working with couples preparing for marriage.
~ Church meetings…this is where I need to leave Mayah with my wife so I can focus on ministry matters, but I usually don’t linger too long afterward as I am always excited to get home to be with my family.

Basically…I have a new “normal” (whatever “normal” means now).  And this new normal includes the most beautiful, precious little girl.

So…you will have to put up with this “new” pastor and his new vocation.  After all…this vocation is a part of me that cannot be separated…

…therefore…

…everything that I do has changed (and I believe for the better), since the heart of this pastor has been changed forever.

And praise be to God for that 🙂

The pastor -|—