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Random Musings

Some thoughts from the Godly Daddy scene …

- When I’m driving and my mind goes daydreamy (probably not a good idea), I have wondered about how our child-raising experience must compare to our Biblical ancestors. Did Samuel turn to his kids in the back of their five-seater chariot and tell them to “Share the stone tablet or I’ll turn this thing around?!” Did Rebekah put her kids in a clay play saucer with dangly wooden toys just hoping they would stay occupied long enough so she could go wash clothes in the Jordan River?

- Before we had kids, Darling Valerie and I already overpacked for trips. Now that we added two little ones we have so much stuff loaded in the car just to go to Chick-fil-A that it looks like we’re driving cross-country with the Beverly Hillbillies.

- Earlier this month we were up by the Tennessee River near Waverly. There’s something refreshing about going on vacation off the grid with no cell service or paved roads, and my grandfather’s hand-drawn map to the lake house includes specifics such as “country store,” “sawmill,” “duck pond” and “gravel road.” All it was missing is to “Turn left where the old oak tree used to be” and “Look for Butch the bull by the side of the road, and turn right.”

- When I was single, my language was peppered with pop culture references to movies like “Anchorman” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Nowadays it’s all “Dora the Explorer” and “Thomas & Friends.”

- I find that when I’m talking to my kids when they’re fussy, I sound like Andy Samberg during that “Saturday Night Live” skit where he plays Mark Wahlberg talking to animals: “Hey, little baby. It’s good to see you. I like your little toes. What’s all that crying about? We should do a Flip camera movie together, whaddya think? Say hi to your mother for me, okay?”

- How does a great Godly hero like Nimrod end up being just a name that is used as an insult? In Genesis 10:8-12 Nimrod is described as a “mighty hunter before the LORD” who built up great cities. Now? You call someone a “nimrod” and you’d better have your dukes up.

- Our mini Cooper is such a ball of toddler energy, the only way to catch up to him is like how former baseball commentator and former catcher Bob Uecker described the best way to catch a knuckleball: Wait until it stops rolling and then pick it up.

- I’m going to start a gym for only fat people. It will have a BMI limit of 30 percent. Fall below it, and you’re kicked out. We wouldn’t want to intimidate those folks who are on the treadmill with a 44 oz. Slushee in the cupholder, now would we?

- That being said, you’re never too old to enjoy a snack of Goldfish crackers and Kool-Aid.

- DV and I have decided that to properly lose weight, we should just follow what Cooper does all day and eat what he eats. We’d be exhausted and starving, but we’d lose 10 pounds a day, even by eating only chicken and fries.

- I frequently regret teaching Cooper some things, such as “Ring Around the Rosies.” It’s neither easy nor pretty when a 36-year-old fat man has to “all fall down.”

- We’ve been emptying warehouses to buy diapers for almost three years now. You’d think by being a part of the diaper companies’ “clubs,” we’d have enough points to buy a Volvo. Not so much. They are a little stingy with the freebies. We barely have enough to get a free Volvo key chain.

- Jeff Rushing

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Where’s the Rewind Button?

Have you ever held a grudge? Did you ever have someone say or do something to you that you felt that was just unforgivable? Have you had someone do something totally opposite of what you told them to do and it caused them to fall? The “I told you so” syndrome has swept this nation like never before. We find ourselves with our noses in the business of people and yet we really don’t even know their hearts. We give them advice, we tell them how it is, we tell them “I told you so” when they never even asked us for the advice, and sometimes they even ask for the advice that they rejected. We have to find that fine line between distance and unforgiveness. Many of us walk around this world bitter because we don’t get our way in other people’s lives, because we think we know it all, or people do things to us that we just can’t explain. Now, you are probably wondering where this is going. I am setting a foundation to the title of this message and I hope that it makes you and I really think. I pose a question for the both of us today that I hope will help you to pause and think before holding a grudge or unforgiveness; where’s the rewind button? You know, when you miss a point in a movie or a story and you can just flip back or rewind the tape and see it again.

When someone does the things that I have mentioned before that cause us to harbor bitterness, where is the rewind button so they can go back and fix that mistake that they had made? Do we continue to throw it in their faces each time they do something we disagree with or do we let it go and move on? In Matthew 18, Jesus told a parable of a master and his servant who owed him a large sum of money. The servant did not have it and begged the master for leniency. The master had mercy on him and set him free. However, the servant went out and found another servant who owed him money and demanded he pay what he owed. The master caught wind of what was going on and in verse 32 Jesus reveals his response, “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” It is interesting to see that in verse 33 Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” Now, you are probably pondering, “you mean the same God that has the love, grace, and mercy to send His Son to die for me would not forgive me?” The answer is clear. We are so quick to quote the goodie scriptures but when it comes to God’s demands of our lives, we are quick to forget those scriptures. Can you find the rewind button to delete what was just said here? Just kidding. But all jokes aside, we need to let it go. Many would ask, “how many times must I forgive this person for the same thing. I do it over and over and it’s tiring!” Peter asked this question “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus spoke to him and said, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Are you harboring unforgiveness toward your mate or your child? Are you upset because your employer treated you unfairly? Remember, God calls you to forgive them, whether you believe they deserve it or not. It is so easy to harbor that bitterness. It so easy to say, “they haven’t forgiven me, then why should I forgive them?” The enemy loves to use bitterness and unforgiveness to his advantage. It opens the door for strife and anger to enter. It’s so easy to let the situation sit on the back burner and fan the flame. I pose this to you today and to myself, put out the flame, get out of the pot, and move on. Sitting in your world of bitterness and anger is not going to change the person or the situation.

Your bitterness and anger is not going change the situation. There is no way that we can go back and make that person, who did wrong, do right. Bringing it up will not cause it to happen, it only hurts the person and hurts yourself. I want to say this in closing; what would you do if God came up to you and threw everything you ever did in your face? Now I am not saying that you can go sin like no one’s business. I am saying that when you have repented, God has forgiven it as far as the east is to the west. (See Psalm 103:12) Don’t be an instrument of Satan, but be an instrument of God. So, quit trying to hit the rewind button and hit the pause button and pray on this.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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In Awe of Him

A few years ago, I went camping in Missouri with my family and we just enjoyed the beautiful nature that was created around us. On the first night, the sky was so clear you could see all of the stars in the sky as far as the eye could see. I was reminded of Psalms 8:3-4, which says “When I view and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained and established, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him? “ Could you imagine all those stars in heaven being numbered and known by their name by their Creator? In Psalms 147, the psalmist wrote “He determines and counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names.” After reading this, it puts in prospective of how awesome God really is.

I used to find myself saying “awesome” so much that I could hear God saying “is it really awesome?” When God spoke that into my heart, I looked up the word awe and awesome. The meaning was this “have an overwhelming feeling of reverence.” I just couldn’t imagine saying that ice cream made me have an overwhelming feeling of reverence. I mean, I love it and it makes me feel good but does it make me have an overwhelming reverence for it? I don’t think so. I had to then ask myself, am I in Awe of God? Whenever we talk about God, do we talk about Him as “the big man upstairs?” Or do we talk about Him as the Alpha, the Omega, the Beginning, and the End?

We serve a God who cannot be destroyed and cannot be outdone. We serve a God that presented Himself in the form of a babe that grew to be a man who died on the cross so that you and I can have a relationship with Him. No longer is there a barrier between him and me. No longer is there an awkward silence or delayed response. Now, it is you and God. There is no one to cut in the line in front of you. There isn’t any dial tone. There is no busy signal. There is no rejection. You and God are One on one. How incredible is that? It’s not a deep message; it’s not anything that you have to fast and pray on to figure out. It’s pretty simple, our God is an awesome God!

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Daddy!!

Have you ever been to a soccer game and suddenly are met with John Doe whose son, Jimmy, is on the field playing? You can look into his eyes and see such pride reflecting in them. He’s calling from the side lines, screaming out the plays that he “should” do and it’s right in your ear. But you never forget Jimmy’s dad because the goalie just threw the ball into Jimmy’s face. Why do you not forget Jimmy’s dad? Because Jimmy’s dad just went running across the field at the very goalie who threw the ball into Jimmy’s face. He did not just run across the field, he charged across the field. Got the imagery yet? Our God, our Father is the same way.

Let’s take a look at Psalms 18:6-19. David said, ” In my distress {when seemingly closed in} I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple {heavenly dwelling place}, and my cry came before Him into His {very} ears. Then the earth quaked and rocked…” Get this… Whenever you cry out to God, “Daddy!!!” He looks down and says, “There is no one in Hell that can touch my child.” You are probably in shock by the four letter word but it is literal that no one in Hell, no demon in Hell, not even the devil himself can touch you. Yes, he can throw darts at you, he can hinder your progress in life, he can even place people in your life that will harm you but he himself can not harm you. So often we sit in our pity party, crying over spilt milk that we fail to remember that God Himself will come down from the throne and kick the devils rear guard. Too often we are busy worrying about what bill is going to be paid next that we fail to go to the one who created the money to pay that bill. Too often we forget the faithfulness that God is longing for and instead we head to the phone to get a “word.”

Don’t be deceived Christian. Don’t listen to the devil call into your ear that “God is not listening.” If we call upon God and cry out to Him, the Word says that He is “inclined to hear us.” He is happy to hear your complaints. Just a side note, I often wonder if in Heaven there is a black box with the word “suggestions” engraved on it with no opening at the top. Why? Because God already knows what is best so He’s not open to suggestions. He’s open to your request, He is open to your thoughts, He is open to hear your heart on the matter, and yes, He even will change His mind on a matter if you approach Him in prayer but suggestions our God does not take. End of side note. So get ready child of God. He’s listening to your request. He hears you. He understands you. So don’t wait until your 11th hour to cry out to Father God. He may wait to answer you until then but He wants to hear it now. God later confirms what He’s going to do in Psalms 37:9-10 when he cuts off the enemy.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Now I Understand

When I was child I seemed to have gotten in trouble all the time. Those who know me personally might find this hard to believe, but yes I was often a trouble maker. I used to jokingly say that everyday around 2:00 pm, just before my nap, I would always get a spanking for something I’d done earlier that day. It was inevitable, but I knew that my actions carried a reaction. Every time when I had to “assume the position” my mom or dad would always say “son, this hurts me more than it will hurt you”, in which I would reply something like “Yeah right, you’ll be able to sit after this and I won’t”! Of course I exaggerate about the “not sitting” but I never got the whole “this will hurt you more than it hurts me” line. Was there a wrist pain they received in the act of paddling or a wearing down of one’s rotator cuff? I didn’t consider the broken heart pain.

Now that I am older, and much wiser I might add I finally understand this profound statement that has bugged me all these years. I have a five year old daughter who is incredibly headstrong. The confidence and leadership abilities she currently possess will suite a thirty year old woman and not a five your old little girl. My daughter is extremely smart and bright and she knows this. She wants to question everything, argue her point, and challenge you when you go against her. These are all great traits that will serve her well later on in a career, but not at five years old. Since her younger brother has come along we’ve noticed that she’s become more possessive and selfish with her things. Just today her brother was sitting on her blanket, she didn’t like that, yanked the blanket out from under him, and he busted his lip on the hardwood floor.

When it comes to discipline, we do spank our children. There are a lot of parents who are against this and have other methods, but as long as the spankings work, we will continue to administer them, as they were administered to my wife and me when we were younger. This being said when our daughter acts out like she does we always give her one warning; a shot across the bow if you will. If she continues on with the act that earned her the warning she gets a spanking. I always make it a point to get down on my knees, look into her eyes, and calmly explain to her why she is getting a spanking, what it was that she did wrong, and then I utter my own version of the infamous phrase. I don’t tell her that it will hurt me more than her, but I tell her that it breaks my heart to spank her. I finally understand what my parents meant by this saying. It breaks my heart to see my daughter, who I love and cherish more than life itself, have tears in her eyes, and that this spanking will bring more pain to her. I administer the spanking then immediately hold her and tell her how much I love her.

If we did not punish our children, who would, they grow up to be? Would they grow up to be defiant to their superiors and to the law, selfish, and unloving? Would they grow up not knowing that life has its consequences, and that every action has recourse? These are the reasons why I discipline my children now, and in the same why it breaks my heart. I want my children to be God fearing, obedient, children/youth/adults who know who they are and whose they are. I’ll admit my wife and I are struggling with the discipline of our daughter, because she seems to continue do her own thing. We take some of her favorite things away from her, send her to bed earlier than her brother, and of course spankings. Still nothing seems to be working. It is a struggle to say the least.

Now that I’ve exposed my daughter’s misbehaviors I feel I need to explain why I love her more than any little girl alive in this world. My daughter is so beautiful. She is going to be a beautiful young woman and cause me a great deal of grief when the boys come a calling (this will be one short call believe you me) Her smile will melt your heart. When she gets excited about something the expression on her face is illuminating. She can be so funny in her sayings and facial expressions. She literally cracks me up. She’s always asking me to dance, and I always do. She likes to wrestle and I’ll play along. She’ll sing her bible songs, and I’ll join along. I love my daughter and everything that makes her unique; however my heart breaks when she does wrong. I do not, nor will I ever, love her less. I discipline because I love her, and love what she will become.

-Steve

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Into the Blender We Go

As God would have it, Josh would be a young married man who would find himself at the end of the relationship with his wife. The marriage wasn’t meant to be, didn’t work out or they came to the end of their ropes, whatever the case may be, they were no longer married.  Shortly after, Josh met his new bride and along with this beautiful woman was another beautiful woman.  Her four year old daughter was brought into the picture and now the two became three. As Josh would say, he had an instant family.  Not long after their marriage began, they were blessed with a little boy.  Being married now 2 years, Josh and his bride have blended their families.
“Something I had to realize when I married my wife is that when I married her, I married my daughter.  These two lives were now combined into one and she was a major part of it.” Josh became candid, as he always is when he is passionate, during our talk about blended families.  “I became very resentful of Katie. For some reason, it rose up in me.  Perhaps it was a selfish nature. She wasn’t ‘my daughter’. Then I came to the realization that she didn’t ask for me to marry her.  She didn’t ask me to marry mom.  She didn’t have a say in it. Now, I have realized that I am married to my daughter.” Josh has come a long way from being resentful to loving his new daughter. It didn’t come without a price.
Josh had to learn that he was first a husband to his wife then the father to the daughter that wasn’t really his.  I listen to Josh and how he fervently cares for both his children. One thing that he learned is “anyone can be a dad but it take a real man to be a father.”
Along with the resentment towards his daughter, he found that she had a hard time adjusting that he was the disciplinarian.  Many times in blended families, the children become hostile and resentful because now they have multiple adults attempting to act as the parent and this causes much confusion.  Josh had to work with his wife and her daughter to find a healthy balance to the discipline. In the end, though Katie prefers her biological father’s relaxed parenting style, it is Josh who gets hugs at night and the privilege of praying for boo boos.
 I believe that when we find ourselves in this situation, we can truly relate to the Father.  He has adopted each one of us as His own.  Recently, I grasped a revelation that was shared by a pastor friend of mine.  When John was writing the book of John, he referred to himself as “the disciple that Jesus loved.” The word love is often mistaken as the Greek PHILEO love which means to simply approve of  but instead, this word for Love was AGAPE meaning “to be fond of.” John grasped the theory that Jesus didn’t just like him but Jesus truly was fond of John.
How often do we miss the opportunity to relate to our children through AGAPE love instead of PHILEO love our children? Josh and his beautiful bride will have the opportunity to love their children with the love of a parent. But now Josh will have another great opportunity, to show his daughter that she is special to him because he chose her.

I would probably add a disclaimer like “This article is not intended on taking the place of marriage counseling or any other professional advice. Please seek the advice of a competent professional.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Thoughts on Modesty (Part 1)

C.J. Mahaney writes the following in his book  entitled Worldliness:

Dads, I want to urge you to take responsibility for your daughters’ dress. Fathers are absolutely essential to the cultivation of modesty. When a young lady dresses immodestly, it usually means her father has failed to lead, care for and protect her.  Without a father’s care and protection, she may be daily exposed to the lustful minds of men.

My three daughters are grown and married now, but from an early age I sought to impress upon them the importance of modesty. Before an article of clothing became a permanent part of their wardrobe my girls had to get my approval. This wasn’t always easy—for them or for me. Modest clothing is hard to find. Sometimes, they’d arrive home after an all day shopping trip only to hear me say: “That’s not gonna, work, my love. I’m so sorry, but exhaustion from shopping doesn’t excuse immodesty. We’re not going to compromise.”

We confronted this very issue several years ago.  Pastors gladly live on used clothes. When our oldest daughter was 3-years-old she came into some shorts that had writing on the backside. What possible reason would there be for writing on the back of a 3-year-old’s shorts?  They were quickly relegated to play-at-home shorts and even then were to be worn backwards.

I see no reason for any girl (especially Christian or those being raised in the gospel) to want such writing except to say, “Look here!”  They mustn’t then wonder later why all guys want is to get into the very shorts they’re advertising! “You can’t deal me all the aces and expect me not to play,” crooned the country star. Yes, there is a word to be said to our sons as well.

Some may say, “C’mon, Maxwell, shes just three and they’re just cute shorts.” To that I say, “Shes not just three. She’s already three and already processing and learning the definition of modesty. I’d rather her learn that from Scripture, not you.” I understand the nature of total depravity, which means that I and my son are like dumb oxen and stupid birds (Prov 7.22-23). We need no help luring our eyes to inappropriate places. Men will take the bait every time. Therefore, I don’t intend to teach my daughter to set the hook.

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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