As I sit here reflecting on this past Father's Day, I am reminded of not only the beautiful blessing my two girls are to me, but also of the tremendous responsibility and burden I have in raising them to be strong, God-fearing women. Both girls were fearfully and wonderfully made, handcrafted by our Heavenly Father to love and be loved, to bring Him glory.
As anyone who has ever raised children, helped raise children, spent time around others raising children, or for those not living in caves can attest, the process is not easy. They don't come out of the womb with a strong teachable spirit and desire to please their parents or God. They, like their father, have a natural bent towards selfishness and independence. My prayers latelyt have been around the idea that both girls would someday become diamonds... precious and valued, beautiful both on the inside and out, strong and steadfast, transparent and pure.
Geologists will tell you that a diamond is formed over time and with great pressure and heat. That's where I come in. My job as a parent is to provide the "pressure and heat", or the intentional energy and effort needed to create an environment condusive for change to take place. Diamonds are not created by accident, quickly, or with minimal effort. No, they are the direct result of the Holy Spirit moving through my wife and I, along with others.
At some point, my girls will stray off course. That's right, I said WILL. Not might, but will. When that happens, they are going to need a father who is willing to pursue them to the ends of the earth in order to capture their hearts. A man who is willing to pay whatever price necessary, who is intentional and leaning on God for strength and power. Over the past three weeks, Mosaic Church (www.mosaicA2.org ) has been teaching on the biblical definition of manhood, "one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads couragiously and invests eternally." While all four of those components could provide ample discussion material for months, let us discuss the first one.
To reject passivity, in my mind at least, is to be very much intentional, active and engaged. To be in the game. Jesus Christ was, and is, very much intentional and engaging when it comes to pursuing us. He wants our hearts more than I wants the hearts of my girls. As the leader of my small family, I am learning to engage and pursue. It's just that important.
How far are you willing to go to engage and pursue the hearts of your children? For those of you who have children that are married or who have children of their own, how far will you go for those hearts that were not born to you?
When your kids have or do stray off course, to what lengths will you go? If your relationship is strained or on "life support", what won't you do to reconcile with them?
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Christianity served as a revitalization movement that arose in response to the misery, chaos, fear, and brutality of life in the urban Greco-Roman world... Christianity revitalized life in... cities by providing new norms and new kinds of social relationships able to cope with many urgent urban problems. To cities filled with the homeless and impoverished, Christianity offered charity as well as hope. To cities filled with newcomers and strangers, Christianity offered an immediate basis for attachments... To cities torn by violent ethnic strife, Christianity offered a new basis for social solidarity. And to cities faced with epidemics, fires and earthquakes, Christianity offered effective... services. Rodney Stark