Tag Archives: parenting

the sinner’s prayer

As the parent of a three year-old, I have learned an awful lot more aboout myself than how to be a good parent.  And I guess that is how it goes.  Being a parent teaches us how selfish, stubborn, deceitful, and self-seeking we are…or at least that has been the case for me.  Now, my friends without kids, hang on and keep reading.  I share all of this because of a realization God has brought me to recently.

It is so hard for NB, my son, to trust my wife and I. He doesn’t want to listen or obey because he trusts more in what he wants or understands for himself. He doesn’t seem to get that “no” or “don’t” is usually for the purpose of safety or something better. I love him so much that I am willing to put off his “happiness” for the sake of something better. “No” and discipline come from a deep love and the want for him to have something greater down the road. He just sees it all as a denial of what he wants and perceives that he needs. There is a fustration on both sides…NB gets frustrated with us because we are not working within his realm of self, and we, as parents, get frustrated with his lack of trust that we are really working towards his good (especially when this is lived out over and over again and he sees that we do know what we are talking about sometimes).

Even while I type this, it is amazing to me how long it took me to get the lesson God is teaching me through the struggles of parenting. God is my Father. He loves me more than I will ever be able to comprehend on either side of Heaven. He is truly out for my good. In good times and bad, in times of plenty or in need, in closeness when I am obedient, or in distance and hard times of discipline…God is always after one thing: my heart. He wants me to love and trust him completely. And he is overwelmingly patient with me…even when I have to learn the same lesson over and over and over. God is out for my good. Always. Even when life isn’t working like I feel that it should.

“Okay, CoffeeJoe, that is a great story and lesson, but what in the world does it have to do with the sinner’s prayer?”

Don’t worry,the tie-in is huge…and it has even grown a bit since I hace started writing this post (it has taken me a couple of days to find the time to write completely). And for this reason, you will have to wait for part two. 🙂

I do want to leave you with some scripture, though. 1 John 3:1-3:

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Father, Jesus, Spirit, please help me to trust you. Please help me to see your great love for me and just trust you. I love you. your son, joe


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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?

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