children teach parents

The other night as I prepared my two-year-old son for bed he disobeyed me. I had asked him to put away his balloon and to get ready for bed. Completely enthralled by the balloon, he ignored me and merrily twirled around the room. Yet, he didn’t realize what I had anticipated. A few moments later he crashed into his parked Plasma car and Tonka truck and fell on top of his large, angular toys.

Stunned by the sudden change of events, he instinctively dropped the balloon and began to cry. In an instant, I went from being his invisible and mute father to being his highly desired rescuer. “Help me please. I hurt a boo boo,” he stuttered through his tears. Once I lifted him into my arms and held him close, he put his head on my shoulder and sighed in relief.

A moment in ordinary life, especially for parents of toddlers, reminded me of a profound truth. More often than I’d like to admit I chase balloons, missing God’s priorities. Good things, even enjoyable pursuits, can some times distract me from the main thing: an awareness of God’s guiding grace. Engrossed in the details of life, it is easy to ignore God.

Parenting is one of God’s kind graces. As your child develops as a person and discovers the world around them, you have a front row seat in their unfolding story. Yet, I am also finding out how much Christian parents learn about their relationship to God the Father. After all, Christians are sons and daughters of a gracious heavenly Father. Fortunately, he rescues us from our sins and comforts our suffering, even after we chase balloons.

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measure, and cut perfectionism

A skilled carpenter measures twice, conserving valuable materials and time, before he cuts once. The amateur, on the other hand, measures once and cuts, increasing the possibility for error. The experienced craftsman makes mistakes too, but measuring the second time increases his accuracy.

I am a person who likes to measure. An accurate ruler, a tape measure and a bubble level are tools in my measuring arsenal. Being a perfectionist, I tend to measure and re-measure every angle of a project. Then, after careful preparation, I cut and fit the materials like a well-designed kit.

Yet, the same perfectionism that strives for excellence frequently leads me to procrastinate, hesitate or stall. It’s not that I’m incapable or incompetent, but I can be paralyzed by my imperfection. I want to be the best and produce what’s best.

In my case perfectionism can hinder me from attempting what I am entirely capable of. Blogging, for example, is something that I have avoided for several years. Why? The specific reasons are unimportant because they reveal my selfish, idolatrous heart.

Perfectionism demonstrates my sinful desire for control, my craving for approval, my fear of failure or my comfort with the status quo. Harsh assessments yes, but there’s hope for perfectionists. It’s not up to me and my accomplishments. God asks for faithful, not perfect, service. He, the Master Carpenter, assigns the projects and he gives me the tools to measure and cut the materials.

Lord willing, 2011 will be a fruitful year as God measures, and cuts more perfectionism out of my heart.

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a new year and a new blog

Over the years I have received a common request from family, friends and acquaintances. “Please write,” they said in one way or another. “Why me?” I often responded. Privately I mulled these conversations over and usually concluded that I didn’t feel qualified to write. I was too young, too inexperienced and too unimportant. Then, even if I could contribute something for some people, I paused at the sobering prospect of writing in public.

Writing requires a lot of work, and it exposes your thoughts: frequently imperfect and occasionally profound. Yet over and over again talented authors explain that good ideas, wise observations and memorable experiences are best expressed in written form, and they note that writing improves one’s writing. It takes discipline, but more importantly for a Christian, writing requires humility.

Good writers recognize that they are one voice among many and most people may choose to ignore their words. That’s okay. More important than anything I write is the unchanging Word of God. Therefore, I submit my blog, not as a place to express pride-filled opinions, but as a forum to magnify God’s immeasurable grace in my life and ministry.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Eph 3:20-21). These words form the foundation for this blog. It is God who works immeasurably to accomplish his glory through his power in you and me. Wow.

So, for all my encouragers over the years, thank you! I appreciate your persistence requests and insistence that I write. If for no other reason, I am writing for you. And, Lord willing, new friends will emerge through writing in public. Here we go!

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