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.

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 -|—

Changes and adjustments

I must admit…this new daddy role has taken some getting used to but it is sinking in more and more with each passing day.  There are many things I knew would change and others I didn’t know exactly how they would change.  I guess that just goes with the territory.  I keep learning and keep adjusting.  Eventually I will develop the illusion that I know what I am doing 🙂

Anyway…

One of the big things I have been trying to get use to is working from home.  The congregation gave me the gift of working from home during the month of May so I could spend more time bonding with Mayah.  A couple days a week (when my wife is home) I do go into the office.

When this schedule first started I got a little frustrated because I didn’t anticipate how difficult this working from home would be.  I had big plans on how much I was going to get done while Mayah was sleeping.

Silly daddy…

The biggest problem was that I didn’t plan very well; so the first couple days at home not much work got done.  Now…I have planned my week out better and have set more realistic expectations for myself.  I have also adjusted my hours so I can get done everything that is expected of me by others and myself.

Wednesday was worship prep and sermon prep day from home.  I planned worship for Sunday and did some sermon prep reading and research.  Today (Thursday) I am home again but this time I will be fully ready to write the sermon while Mayah is sleeping…despite the fact I didn’t get much sleep last night.  Oh well…that’s what coffee is for.

So here we go…another day at home bonding with my little girl and doing ministry here in Jackson.  The best of both worlds.

The pastor/new daddy -|—

The heart of a potential father – My adoption story

I tell you…this adoption journey has been an incredible faith journey.  The longer we wait the more fervent my prayers become. The more money we spend the more I turn to God for the faith to be patient and to trust. The more we prepare our home for a child the more excited I become.  The more I talk about this the more I wonder what kind of father I will be.

In my last post about my adoption story I mentioned that I was a little hesitant about diving in; which was the complete opposite of how my wife felt.  I worried about this or that.  I had a hard time with trying to figure out how we were going to pay for this.  I was nervous about some of the logistics. Now…I can hardly wait until the day that I can be referred to as dad.  Even to type that word, “dad”, seems strange when it refers to me.  There’s a part of me that thought that it would never happen.  And even though that part of me was saddened by that potential future I was starting to grow accustomed to it.  But now…I can’t imagine traveling another road; I can’t image a future where I am not called dad.

And that feeling; that confidence that God has chosen a child for us out there…somewhere…makes this an incredible faith journey.  I keep praying and asking God “When?“; “How long, O Lord? How long?“; “How will this be?”  I lift up my fears, questions, concerns; and eventually I feel this sense that God understands and gives me that comforting embrace that says, “Be patient my child; be patient“. It is something that I can’t adequately describe but maybe you know what I am talking about.

And maybe this wait is part of God’s plan in shaping me; in refining me; in preparing me for fatherhood (Wow…really strange to type “fatherhood”). Whatever the case, I can’t imagine going through this process without my relationship with God through Jesus.  I can’t imagine trying to navigate the plethora of paperwork and phone calls and planning and applications without God.  I can’t imagine trying to plan and figure out every last detail without the Holy Spirit’s guidance.  I can’t imagine not having God to lift my voice to.

So the waiting continues and this potential father is super excited.  My life will change in countless ways but I am so ready to face those countless changes.  As scary as it is going to be I am so ready to be called, “Dad”.

Praise be to God!

The pastor (and potential father) -|—