RSS

Tag Archives: fatherhood

Number Two…Part Two

Now that ID (my second child) has been with us for almost two weeks, I thought I would write a follow-up to my post Number Two.  I have had a lot of time to think and reflect on the experience of going from the father of one to the father of two, albeit the thoughts are from a slightly sleep deprived mind.  Even though I now am in the process of potty training a toddler along with changing a bazillion newborn diapers, this is still not about that number two.  🙂

Here are a few of the things that I am learning:

  • Patience is hard at three in the morning.  I am trying hard not to get fustrated with LA and/or the baby when the ID is fussy and can’t be consoled, but it is hard.  I am being reminded time and time again that I do not have heavenly patience on my own.  It only comes from the Spirit.  I wish I could say I am doing really good at seeking the Spirit early in the AM, but I am not.  I just know what I need to work on.
  • Love can be equal and different.  I love both of my sons so much.  I love hanging out and playing with NB.  I love holding and cuddling with ID.  They are in two different phases of life, and the fathering skills are different for both.  Patience can be harder with the preschooler, especially when he is having trouble adjusting to not being the only one, but that goes back to my first point.  I do love them equally, and I love them differently.  They are different.  I will just stay in prayer that as they grow I will remember that and not compare them to each other.  I just want to love them for who they are individually.
  • I am still a selfish sinner in need of a Savior.  With to kids needing my love and attention, it is becoming even more apparent how selfish I am.  I am so prideful.  I want my time notched out for me as well as them.  I know rest time is important, but I use it as an excuse.  Even now, NB is watching TV when I probably should be playing with him.  I will play with him as soon as I am done, but it is an example of the problem.  I want to use tiredness and the need for a mental break as an excuse to worship at the throne of me.  I need to trust God to give me the energy, strength, and mental ability to do all I need to do for my sons and wife.  I need to admit to God that I am a selfish, prideful man.  I need to preach the Gospel to myself and remind myself that I am nothing without Jesus, and I can’t be the father and husband I need to be without Jesus and the Spirit.  I need the Gospel to be ever present.
  • I need the Bible more than ever.  In the last week and a half, I have found excuse after excuse not to read the Bible.  A week and a half is a long time to go without reading the Bible for me now.  I felt it.  I knew I needed to get back into it.  I finally did yesterday, and it was so refreshing.  I need to recommit to reading it everyday, meditating, and spending quality time with God.
  • God will provide.  I won’t go into all of the details, but God has seen our needs before we have known them and has provided.  It has been amazing.  God does not always meet our needs in the way we think they need to be met, and sometimes he does.  The thing we need to learn is that we can trust him.

Okay, there are a lot more things that I am forgetting, but maybe I can get to those later.  I just knew I needed to write a little.  It is something that burns in my heart until I do.  I need to go play with my son.  Hopefully you can glean something from what God is teaching me.

Has God taught you anything really cool, life-changing, or obvious but needed lately?

Performancing Metrics

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Sweetness of My Son

I am in the hospital with my wife and our second son.  ID was born two days ago.  This morning I just could not get over how awesome it was to just hold him in my arms.  I imagine that is when God is the most pleased with us.  When we are nestled in close and completely relient on him.  Like newborns, he wants us to know we need him for everything.

So often I am more like my almost-three-year-old.  I think I can do everything.  Even the things that I know I should look to God for help, I want to do on my own.  I get anxious and stubborn,  “I do it by myself,” to quote NB.  Though he still needs me, the independent streak is very obvious.

i live my life between the two attitudes.  Completely relient or rebelliously independent.  As I spend time with ID, my new boy, and get fustrated by NB, my firstborn, I hope I continue to analyze myself and my relationship to God.

Right now, with the sleep deprivation, I think I am closer to the newborn.  I know I can’t do this alone.

Okay, I hope this one made sense.  Just some random thoughts from fatherhood as I sit here looking at my newborn son.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christmas Thoughts: Jesus’ Stepdad

Before I start, if you have not read the post Christmas Thoughts: The Silence Has Broken and then come back to this one.  I am going to make a few references to what I wrote there.

I remember the first time that I heard the term “stepdad” in reference to Joseph.  It was in a Christmas song called What We Call Christmas by the band Bleach.  I was kind of offended.  Why refer to Joseph this way.  Eventually, I realized that it was an apt term. Joseph really was Jesus’ step-father. Jesus was/is God’s son…Joseph was, for lack of a better word, his custodial guardian.

There are two things about this that stand out to me. The first is that We can never be ready, truly ready, for how God is going to work things out. Jesus was/is the promised Messiah. No one expected him to be born into the family of a common construction worker and his wife, who got pregnant before she was married.

On top of that, imagine how Joseph was feeling. He is about to be married, following all of the Jewish laws of purity, and his fiance comes to him with, “I’m pregnant, but it’s not what you think…it is God’s son.”

I can just imagine what Joseph was thinking…not only was this girl cheating on him, she might be a bit crazy. Until recently, I have always forgotten the humanity of the people in this story. I guess I have always “holy-fied” them. I didn’t think about the human-ness of Joseph in how he must have felt when Mary gave him the news. But why would he believe what she said. I mean, come on, it is a little far-fetched. Remember, there had been a 400 year silence between God and the Jews, and on top of that, why would the Messiah come through an unwed mother? That is kind of far outside if Jewish law.

No wonder God had to send supernatural intervention to stop old Joe from ending the betroval quietly. Talk about a rude awakening. Joseph probably had trouble getting to sleep that night, and in the middle of his restless sleep, Gabriel, one of the head angels, pays him a visit. “Joseph, this is for real. You are going to name the boy Jesus, and you are going to raise him. You are going to raise the Messiah as your son.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I would have had to change my jammies…and not because of the heavenly visitor. He was just told that he is going to be the adoptive father to the Son of God and Savior of Israel. Gulp. Talk about a big pill to swallow.

What do you say to that? How do you deal with that? How do you prepare for that? How do you get ready to teach, discipline, and parent God’s son? Additionally, how do you explain this to your family and friends? I bet he could already hear them all, ” Suuuuuure, it’s not your baby. I am sure it is the ‘Son of God.’. Sure, Joe, we believe you.”

The story of Jesus’ coming as a baby is real, and it is a real story. The people are real. Joseph really was asked to raise a child that was not his. He was given the job of raising the Messiah. He really was to marry a pregnant Mary, no matter what anyone said. It is much easier to believe a real story, and this one is real and as full of the aspects of reality that we all know.

This brings me to the second thing that Joseph-the-Stepdad makes me realize. Jesus understands us. As Christians, we are adopted children of God. Jesus knows what this is like. He was the son of God adopted by a man…as we are the son of men adopted by God. He knows the learning curve. He understands. He is like us and we are like him.

And lastly, this brings me to one last point. Adoption is near and dear to God’s heart. Jesus was adopted, we are adopted, and he wants us to care for orphans. I will post more about this another day, but please think about doing something for children who don’t have parents to love and care for them. Adoption, fostering, or just reaching out to children in need is something God has called us to. Remembering Jesus’ adoption by Joseph should remind us about this.

I will end on that note. I think we have a lot to chew on.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Toddler Logic: The Three Bears

Okay, today’s post is not going to be about my Christmas thoughts.  It is not even going to have any spiritual lesson.  It is just something funny that came out of the mind of my almost three year-old son.  I love how his thoughts are so simple and logic is straight to the point.  I wish I could think like him sometimes!

As a teacher, I get to enjoy time off at Christmas.  This year, we are keeping my son out of daycare, so I am spending my days with him.  Yesterday, I after we dropped LA off at work, we went to a place near there called The Children’s Garden.  It is a cool little park that has a garden that is set up alphabetically with signs talking about each plant, statues of several nursery rhymes and stories, colorful paths near the river, and little instrument things the kids can play.  We sat and ate our breakfast there.

Where we sat was across from a house with three bear statues outside of it.  It was obviously for the story of the Three Bears.  When we walked past it, NB kept asking, “Can we go-in?”  (He kind of slurs “go” and “in” together…it is cute)  I just kept telling him that it was not a real house, there is no doors, and it is for the story of the Three Bears.  He would just say, “Oh.”  A few minutes later, he would ask again.

So we sat to eat, and he kept looking at the house.  He asked again, “Can we go-in there?”

I explained it all to him again.

“Oh,” he replied, again, and then looked at the bear statues.  After a couple of minutes he looks at me and says, “The bears can’t go-in there.”

I said, “That’s right.  It is just for show.  The house doesn’t have doors, and the bears are not real.”

“Oh.”  He looks at the house and bears for a while.  “The bears can’t go in there.”

“That’s right.”

A pause.  “The bears can’t go in their beacuse they can’t open doors,” NB says very matter-of-factly.

I laugh, “That is right.  You are very smart.  You don’t think bears can open doors?”

Still with a look that says he has figured out something obvious that I should have already known beause I am his Daddy, “No, they can’t.  They don’t have any keys.”

I don’t know that he has ever made me laugh harder.  That was awesome…however, he was still looking at me with a sense of logic wondering why I was laughing.  I calmed down, trying not to make him feel bad.  He really was trying to figure this out.  So I responded, trying not to laugh anymore, “No, you are right.  They don’t have keys.”

The logic and faith of a child is something I wish I could have more of.  I am just glad I get this time to see it and experience it with NB (and soon to be ID).

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2011 in Fatherhood/Parenthood

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Number Two

Wait, what?  No, this post is not about THAT.  No, it is a different number two.  This is about my kid(s) and being a father.  No, still not about THAT.

I don’t believe I have shared this on here, but my wife is expecting another child due the beginning of next year. I shall refer to him as ID on here.  We have known about the coming of ID since late spring/early summer.  Now that it is late fall/early winter, I am ready to admit some of my mixed feelings about it all.

Now, please don’t get me wrong.  I am very excited about our second child. I really am.  We wanted to have another one for a while now.  It was awesome news to get to know that there was new life on the way.  This is what we have been hoping for.  Now that NB is a little older now, we are ready for another little one.

What has surprised me, however, is how different this pregnancy would be and how I would go through rollercoaster thoughts and emotions.  The pregnancy itself is fine, LA and ID are doing great.  What is different is how I am interacting with ID.

When LA was pregnant for our first son, I was excited. It consumed my thoughts a good bit.  I talked to him constantly.  I read to him (and LA) at night.  I dreamed about what he would be like.  I was connected.  I was zoned in.  There was great anticipation of being a daddy.  I couldn’t wait.  It was almost like he was already here in my mind even months before he was born.  I was so ready to start my trip into fatherhood.

With ID, it is so different.  I haven’t felt that way at all.  The excitement has been limited.  I haven’t talked to him much.  I haven’t read to at all except during the reading times with NB when both my wife and I are sitting with him.  I haven’t felt connected to him.  I haven’t dreamed much about what he would be like.  A lot of times I have just been scared that I would not connect with him at all because I am so connect to NB.  I just have no clue what it will be like to be the father of two, and there has not been great anticipation to start the journey of it this time.

I know a lot of the reasons behind why it has been this way, but that does not make it any easier.  I know a lot of the “thrill” is gone because we have been through it once before.  I know my attention is not on ID because I have a son to care for that is already here.  I know that the fear of connecting more with one child over the other is natural.  I know that I am not trying to think about what he will be like because I know that he will be who he will be and I will love him anyway.  I know all of this. But it is still hard on me not to have the same excitement.

It all changed a week ago.  LA and I went to the hospital for the preregistration class.  As we were watching a video of the process, rooms, and whatnot at the hospital, all of the feelings came back from when we went through this with NB.  The ended by showing pictures done by the in-hospital photographer, and the moment hit me with ID.  He is really coming.  He is really going to be in my arms in just a couple of months!  I am going to have another son.  It became real.  It became exciting.  It became all that it was the first pregnancy.  I am ID’s father, and I can’t wait to meet him!

This was further cemented in this past Wednesday.  One of my best friend’s wife had a baby.  We visited them in the hospital.  As I got to hold the new little one, the feelings of excitement grew about ID.  I am going to have another son to hold and love really soon!

I know I should have had these moments of clarity earlier.  At the very least, I should have had them at the ultrasound.  I didn’t.  I was still so unsure of what it will be like to have to children (I still am not sure what this will be like).  I was uncertain if I was going to be able to figure out how to split my attention.  I did not not how loving two kids equally yet different was going to work out.  I just did know what to think or feel.

I do now.  The resevior of love was tapped into.  I love NB.  I love ID.  They are my sons.  They are my responsibility.  They are my legacy.  They are my boys.  I don’t know what this all means completely.  But it is real.  I can’t wait for this adventure to start!

“Okay, Mr. OneCup, what is the God lesson?  I know you have one.”

I do.  It is simple.  Through this, God has given me one thought.  He loves me.  I am his son.  I do not have to worry about how he seems to be working in the lives of others…and by this I mean I do not have to be jealous or concerned that he is not working in my life exactly as he is for others.  I can trust that he loves me.  He cares for me.  His love for me is complete, even if it looks different than how he is working out his love in the lives of other Christians.  It is okay, I can trust him.  I can trust his love for me.  Just like I can love both NB and ID completely, wholly, equally, and different, he can do the same with his children.  And his love is pure, holy, and full of grace unlike my love can be here on Earth.

My Father in Heaven loves me, and I can trust that.  He proved it by letting his Son die for me.  He proved it by bringing him back from the dead as evidence of his acceptance of the sacrafice and his now acceptance of this sinner (me).  He proved it by sending the Spirit.  And the Spirit proves it to me every day.  I can trust in my Father’s love.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Prodigal Toddler and the Sad Daddy

Usually on Friday, I like to share stories about lessons I learned from my son.  I did not get a good chance to do this yesterday, but I today I am going to share a story FROM yesterday.

In earlier posts I have talked about getting to spend the summer with my son, NB (see the post, The Monitor and the Incredible Yelling Boy for the daddy-son summer and NB initials explanation).  Over the last two weeks the dynamic has been different.  Last week my wife’s mom was here.  She left on Sunday morning, and that afternoon he was passed off to my parents.  He was with them in the lower part of the state until last night.  His attention for the last couple of days has come from sources outside of Mommy and Daddy.  Okay, there are two better words for it.  He has been SPOILED ROTTEN.

It is probably needless to say that when he is gone for a week, LA and I really start to miss him and can’t wait for him to come back.  I start looking forward to the reunion about halfway into the week.  A part of my longing for being reunited is how he acts.  He is always so happy to see us.  And, because of the daddy-son bonding time over the summer, he usually runs to me first and then wants to be by my side most of the evening.  I love this!  What father wouldn’t?  This is a special time for me, even more so after this summer because he and I had so much fun and our bond is much deeper now.

Last night, the plan was to meet at Texas Roadhouse.  My parents drove up here and went to my brother and sister-in-law’s house, and then we all met there to eat and celebrate LA’s birthday.  I could not wait to get there and get the running-and-jumping-into-my-arms son treatment.  I was excited.  I picked LA up from work and we headed over there.

We went in, with me full of expectations.  We find my family waiting for a table.  I look for NB.  My parents say, “Look who it is!” to him.  He was hanging out with my brother.  He looks at us, gets down from his lap, walks over, and says, “Hi.”  Then he started to walk away.

There went to the wind from my daddy sails!

We both called him back and he gave LA a hug.  I picked him up and held him.  After about a minute he says, “I get down please?”

“NB, we haven’t seen each other in a week!”

“I want Uncle Tommm (he really holds out that M).”

I let him down.  Completely deflated now.

After two weeks of more than adequate spoiling from grandparents, I guess Mommy and Daddy weren’t that big of deal anymore.

It did get better throughout dinner.  Towards the end, he wanted to come sit between LA and I.  Once he did he kept wanting to put his arm around me and then he wanted LA to hold him (which was difficult in a booth and her being pregnant).  His wanting to be a part of Mommy and Daddy’s life returned…though he did cry when we left when he figured out that Grandma and Grampa were not coming with us and he was not going with them.

Needless to say, I was let down by the situation in the beginning.  His love for me and wanting to be near me is awesome.  I look forward to that when he was away.  It wasn’t fun to see that I wasn’t his “all” anymore.  I know that will come and go.  My feelings weren’t hurt, I was just let down from my expectations.

This whole thing, as most things do, brings me back to my relationship with God and reminds me of the story of the Prodigal Sons.  Yes, I know I pluralized it.  I have a new understanding of the parable, thanks to my church and a sermon I was asked to listen to by Timothy (Tim) Keller.  It is called, you guessed it, The Prodigal Sons.  I am going to BRIEFLY summarize it, but I highly recommend listening to the sermon.  He also has a book on it, which I haven’t read but have heard awesome things about, call The Prodigal God.

I almost wrote out the whole set of verses for the parable in Luke, but then I looked down at the word count.  Here is a link if you want to read it for yourself (which I always advise doing): Luke 15:11-32.

Basically, the story goes that there are two sons.  One decides he doesn’t want to live with the family and work the land.  He cashes in his inheritance and goes off and lives “wildly”…basically parties and “hangs out” with prostitutes.  The other brother stays home and works the land which will all be his one day, since the other brother is “out”.  Eventually, the younger bro runs out of cash and options.  He decides that working at home is not so bad and that he would try to go back and enlist as a servant.  He does.  Before he can get there, Daddy sees him, runs to him, clothes him, and throws a party…remember, all of this is now at the expense of the older brother’s future inheritance–whatever Dad spends now are things that he won’t get later.  While the party is going on, the father then goes out to meet the older son (who, like the younger was not at home at the time, but it was because he was out working and being the “good son”.  Daddy asks him why he doesn’t want to come in and enjoy the feast for his brother’s return.  All that “good boy” can do is complain that it isn’t fair.  He is doing all the right things and he doesn’t get a feast.  And then comes my favorite part.  I am going to quote this part.

“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. 32 We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

The older brother missed the point.  It was about enjoying the father’s company.  That is what was important.  A part of enjoying the father is celebrating and rejoicing in what makes him happy.  Both sons were lost.  The father sought them both out.  Only one came back to enjoy the father.

I lived the life of the older son.  It was to the point that I was not a Christian for most of my life, and I did not even know it.  God has done A LOT to cause many, many changes in my life and relationship to him, especially this year.  I am not going to get into my story now, but if you have not read My Time Travel Testimony, please do.  I love to share how Christ has changed my life.  In that post I tell my story about being the older brother and how God helped me learn how to “join the party” and to “enjoy the Father.”

Back to NB.  How beautiful it is for me when my son just wants to enjoy time with me.  I love it.  As a father, I need that.  Parenting is not easy.  “Raising up a child in the way he should go” drains all the life and energy you have.  But it is for a purpose.  I want NB to learn to enjoy his True Father one day.  I want him to go into the “party” and not let the world or his own goodness hold him back.

God has a secondary purpose for parenting, to point us to him.  To reveal his longing for us to enjoy him.  Everything here is a picture to point us to him.  Even if you are not a parent, think about your relationship to your parents.  What can that teach you about your relationship to God?

What do you think about this?  Are you a younger brother or an older brother?  What is holding you back from joining the party and enjoying the Father?  Can you relate to what this means?  Please leave comments.  If you have any questions about what I mean by enjoying God the Father or if that is a foreign idea to you, please comment with your email.  I won’t share the comment on here (I have to approve them all), but I will contact you.

If you haven’t, please think about becoming an email subscriber.  It is free, and you will get instant updates sent to your inbox.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Bubble Boy and the Bath Water

Earlier this week, I asked on Facebook if anyone had any topics that they might like me to try to find a story for.   A friend jokingly replied, “Soap Bubbles.”  I tried to think of something, and I thought I had a couple of ideas…but I want to take this blogging thing seriously, so I decided not to persue it.

Today I have been praying about what to share.  I really want Fridays to be for posts about lessons about my relationship with God that I have learned because of my relationship as a father to my son.  I my head I call it “Fatherhood Friday.”  Just a little while ago, in my thinking and praying about what to write, the soap bubbles thing came back to mind.  So, let me tell you about “The Bubble Boy and the Bath Water.”

NB, my son (for an explanation on why the initials, see “The Monitor and the Incredible Yelling Boy“), is a classic two year-old boy.  Like most children in said age group, he fell in LOVE the first time he saw his beloved “bubbles!!”

His love of the filmy air pockets only grew when he got a bubble-blowing lawn mower for his second birthday and we bought bottles of bubbles to play with at the house.  Any time we go outside to play we have make sure the “tank” is full on the little mower, and every time we open the cabinet with the stash of the bottles we have have to answer the question, “I get bubbles?”

All of this is the reason that I decided it was time for him to try the bath time favorite of most young children, the bubble bath.  I picked up a bottle from the local Wally World to give it a try.

That night I got him psyched up for his bath by telling him there was going to be an extra special surprise.  He watched in anticipation as I ran the water.  He giggled as a poured a couple of capfuls of the mystery liquid.  He could barely contain himself as he watched the foam grow.  “BUBBLES!!!!” he squealed.  He tried to jump in with his clothes on…I stopped him, of course.

Now, I would like to say that this was one of the most wonderful experiences of his little life, but I can’t.  He loved to look at the bubbles.  He loved to splash the bubbles.  He loved to cover his toys in bubbles.  He did not, however, want the bubbles to touch his body.  It was actually really funny to watch him avoid them touching anything but his hands.  I made the mistake of trying to get him acclaimated to them by putting some on his arm.  He freaked out!!  I rinsed them off and decided that it was not a great idea this first time.

Though it was not as glorious of an experience for him as I thought it would be, he obviously liked the bubble bath (or the idea of having bubbles in the bath with him) because for the next few nights he begged for “BUBBLES!” every time I ran the water for him.  We did bubble baths for the next couple of nights, but eventually we wanted him to become accustomed to the idea of it being an occasional treat.

It was slow, but eventually he realized that Mommy and Daddy would surprise him with it every once in a while.  A by-product of this is one of the cutest things.  For a long time after weening him off every night bubble baths, any time he saw collections of little bubbles he would get giggly, point to them, and say, “Bubble bath, Daddy!” or “Bubble bath, Mommy!”

Bubbles in the sink after washing his hands = “bubble bath!”

Suds in the water while we wash disher = “bubble bath!”

NB spitting in the sink after brushing his teeth and there being tiny spit bubbles = “bubble bath!”

He doesn’t do this any more, but it was so funny when he did.  He saw bubble baths in almost everything.  I think this led to added excitement the times he really got a bubble bath.  It was no longer just the reminder of the bubbles, it was the real thing.  As NB would say, “Ahhhhhhhhsome!”

“Okay, Mr. OneCupOfJoe, what was the spiritual lesson for you?  I know it is coming.”

Somehow, God has showed me two lessons from this.

First is this.  Do I love God so much that I see him in everything?  Do I get excited by sunsets?  Do I watch in wonder as the wind blows through my front yard trees?  Do I giggle with the awesomeness of my son’s laughter?  Do I feel more loved by my wife’s acceptance of me for who I am and not who I am trying to become?  Do I see the chances to increase faith and trust when life gets difficult?  Does seeing God in all of this make the real experiences of his presence (during prayer, worship, and him breaking in to my every day life) even more real and life-changing?

Do I see bubble baths in soap and spit bubbles?  (check out my friend Bill’s story of looking for God in the world around him)

The second thing that came to mind is, what do people see in me?  Do they see the presence of the Spirit?  Do they see the love of Jesus?  Do they see the acceptance of the Father?  Do my actions show my faith and trust in the transforming work of Christ on the cross and the power of the Spirit that raised him from the dead?  What am I showing to the world around me?  Am I showing them reflections of the reality of God and their need for Jesus through my life, attitude, and words?

Do others see bubble baths in me?

How are you doing?  Are you seeing “bubble baths” every where you look?  Are the reflections increasing your joy when you experience the real thing?  Are people seeing “bubble baths” in you?  Are you drawing people toward the real thing?

What do you think?  What are your thoughts?

Don’t forget to subscribe to get instant updates sent to your email box.

Performancing Metrics

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,