Kesleigh told me I was her “Worst Dad.” She went on to explain that her other dad was God. I guess that means I’m OK with being her “worst dad.” Maybe that should even be my goal? Keep propping up God and showing her how great He is so that I sort of fade into the background of her life. Wow….it’s hard to say that, but that’s truly what I want. I want her to be so in love with Him that I’m secondary. I want her to know that in Him, life goes on and she can find everything she needs with or without me.
I was just playing around the other day with Kesleigh and was trying to convince her that my hugs were magic. I explained that if she hugged me, she’d be able to fly like Tinkerbell. My hugs are better than pixie dust. I’m not sure she was buying it.
Truth is: It’s her hugs that have the power to make a big daddy soar through the air like Tinkerbell. I lied about the power of my hugs as an excuse to get some of hers. (I’m a sinful man.) Her hugs and snuggles can redefine my entire day. My stress dissolves in her embrace. She has the ability to bring light into the darkness that runs around in my head. I’m so grateful for the joy that she is and the ways that Jesus uses her to touch me. I’m grateful for her magic hugs.
Prayer: LORD, Thank you for Kesleigh. She is such a precious gift and You’ve used her to help make me into a different man. I’m not sure why you entrusted her to me, but I’m very grateful. Please continue to grow our relationship. Help me to be the father that you have called me to be. Use me and my bumbling to lead her to You. Give me wisdom to guide her into the life You have prepared for her and help me to see the specific things she needs in order to be equipped for whatever comes her way. Hold each of us in Your hands and hold tight when we’re tempted to run away from You. You are our true father who has already given much more than magic hugs. Thank you! AMEN.
Miranda and I have been working on teaching our children about repentance quite a bit lately. We never really use that word, but we’re trying to lay a foundation which will make it easy to understand as they grow older. Our practice is to teach them a few things to say when they have hurt someone:
1) I’m sorry. (Stop behavior)
2) I won’t do it again. (Turn around behaviorally)
3) Will you forgive me? (Restore relationship)
After listening to a sermon from Rob Morris (Love146) I’m considering adding another element. He reminded me of the Biblical accounts where the repentant sinner’s first action was to “right” the wrong that he caused and and to even go beyond “right” to make it “better.”
Remember Zacchaeus, the tax collector who gave back four times everything he had taken? (Lk 19:1-10)
Or when the rich young ruler went away grieved because he could not bring himself to help the poor. (Mk 10:17-22)
In Luke 3:10-14, John the Baptist is preaching a baptism of repentance and when asked “What shall we do?” He tells them to give to the poor and to treat others fairly.
Evidently, our repentance should impact the poor and oppressed as well.
All this is to say, I need to find some ways to help my kids see that repentance is more than my three step lesson. It should have legs on it and actions tied to it. Repentance should impact everyone around us.
Maybe we should add the question: “How can I make it better?” (Restore/Improve situation)
Lord, guide us to model repentance for our children. Lead us to the strategies that will help us to encounter You – to be confronted by sin, and to recognize that our behaviors hinder our relationship with You. Forgive us. Restore us unto You. Change us. Empower us by the Holy Spirit to choose new behaviors and walk different roads and lead us to improve the situations that we have caused in our sin. AMEN.
I watched her giggling across the room as she danced. The flashing lights sparkled in her eyes which lit up as she noticed me watching her. Her smile expanded even wider. She floated across the dance floor and threw her arms open to me saying “Hold me daddy!” We danced. Well….I danced and her feet dangled a few feet above the dance floor. It was an incredible night and I’m so grateful that I took the time to ask her out.
Kesleigh is 3, almost 4, and I had asked her to go with me about a week before the big event. As her father, it’s my goal to love her like God loves her. I know I’ll never do that well, but it’s my responsibility to be an earthly representation of Him to her. That’s HUGE! I’ve got to do all I can and pray that God will use my even feeble efforts to reveal Himself to her.
I also wanted to make a special effort that night to let her see how a man should treat her. I know it’s early, but I want her to grow up knowing what to look for in a husband. I got dressed up for her – that may very well be the biggest expression of my love. I opened the door for her and was courteous. I bought her dinner (Yes it was McDonalds, but that’ll change as she gets older) and held her hand as we walked into the ballroom. I proudly introduced her to the people around us and waited patiently as she picked out candy for her snack. I asked her to dance with me and even embarrassed myself a bit for her entertainment. I laughed with her as I tried to teach her a few dances – Chicken Dance, YMCA, 2 Step, etc. I tried to serve her in every capacity and when the time was right….in the middle of a slow dance, I spoke to her gently and tried to explain how much she meant to me. I know she’s only three, but she truly seemed to grasp the significance of the moment and before I even finished talking, she looked directly in my eyes, and said, “I love you daddy.” as she wrapped her little arms around my neck. She just held me for the rest of the song. It was magical. The rest of the evening she wouldn’t leave my side. Even when I tried to get her to dance with her friends, she only wanted to be with me.
This is my prayer – that Kesleigh would grasp the significance of God’s love for her and that she would never want to be out of His presence again. LORD, may it be so.
P.S. – If you ask her what the best part of the evening was, she won’t mention any of these events. All she’s gonna talk about is the “Candy Bar” and how she was able to go back as many times as she wanted.
I had a great conversation with Kasen, my 4yr old boy this past week. We went camping in Cuchara, Colorado and were hiking by a spring on our way back from “Blue Lake.” We took a little break from our hike and I convinced him to get a drink of water right out of the spring.
Kasen: Why can we drink it?
Me: ‘Cause it’s good water. It’s clean. In the Bible, they call it “living water.”
Kasen: Living water?
Kasen: Why is the water in the lake dead?
Me: ‘Cause it doesn’t move. It’s not good to drink ’cause stuff grows in it.
Kasen: Stuff grows in it?
Me: Yes. In the Bible, the best water to drink came from springs like this one. It’s good for you to drink. It’s healthy and makes you feel better.
Kasen: And it tastes good.
Me: Yeah – and it’s cold too. I like it.
Me: In the Bible, Jesus says He has the “living water.” He is good for us and makes us feel better too.
Kasen: Jesus is the “living water.”
Me: Yeah, He nourishes us and quenches our thirst. Jesus is the best thing for us. Even better than this water.
Kasen: Daddy, Can I get some more water?
Me: Of course. I’m gonna get some with you.
Check out these verses:
John 4:13-14 – “13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
John 7:37-38 – “37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
We had a great time today at the Beltway 8 BMX track! The people at the track were great hosts and led us through the whole process. Some of the riders were very helpful to Kasen and the other little guys while they were on the track as well.
Kasen loved his first experience as a BMX racer. He even fell down once and got up to race the next time – made daddy very proud. As a dad, I’m learning so much about what it means to love – and how much God must love me. I take so much joy in watching my kids. It doesn’t matter too much what they’re doing – I just love watching them learn, and grow, and experience new things. I love watching them succeed and even watching them overcome obstacles when they fail. It’s so much fun watching who they are becoming.
I’m recognizing how great God’s love must be for me in all of this too. If I can love my kids in this way, I figure God’s love must be even better. Maybe it I shouldn’t stress so much about “what” I’m doing and focus more on “who” I’m becoming? Maybe that’s more what God is interested in too?
Anyway, here’s the video: You can see all of it – the good, the bad, the wipeout. . . everything. Miranda pointed out that I say “buddy” an awful lot too.
She grinned as she spoke, “Oh….we can put something on the back!”
I hadn’t prepared myself for this moment. My mind was flooded with emotion. We had talked a few times about getting ourselves TBall shirts to support Kasen’s team, but this thought was new…unexpected.
In that split second, I remembered being embarrassed by my dad who wore a shirt with what seemed like a neon sign flashing “CORN’S POP” on the back. It was WAY over the top and as a teenager WAY embarrassing…..but then again, his love for me (and my brother and sister) was also WAY over the top.
Anybody wanna guess what I’ll have printed on the back of my TBall shirt?
PS: Pics coming as soon as the shirts arrive.
Miranda helped Kasen and Kesleigh record an audio book for me for Father’s Day. It was a big surprise. It’s actually a book that Miranda bought that was set up for the recording process. Anyway, I took the audio and put it here ’cause it’s so cool. My kids (and bride) are AWESOME!
Father’s Day 2011.mp3
Miranda says that she didn’t coach them at all, but some of their answers are pretty perfect. Of course my kids are pretty perfect too. (I’m not biased either.)
Miranda: Where do you like to go with dad on a Saturday and why Kesleigh?
Kesleigh: The beach
Miranda: Where do you like to go Kasen?
Kasen: Go to . . . play volleyball.
Miranda: OK. And what game do you like to play with dad?
Kesleigh: I play a game
Kasen: That’s me.
Miranda: Would you and dad have more fun on a boat, a dog sled, or a spaceship Kesleigh?
Kasen & Kesleigh: A spaceship.
Miranda: and where would you go?
Kasen: to the moon and jump.
Miranda: You would go to the moon and jump Kasen?
Kasen: Uh huh.
Miranda: Where would you go Kesleigh?
Kesleigh: to the moon and jump.
Miranda: You would go to the moon and jump too?
Miranda: What else would you do when you were there?
Kasen: Uh. . . not slide down.
Miranda: Not slide down?
Kasen: No, because it’s too far.
Miranda: Too far. Kasen, if you and daddy were superheroes, what powers would you have?
Kasen: Fly super high. . . fast.
Miranda: Superfast. And what would your names be? What would you call yourselves?
Kasen: My name would be Batman an daddy’s name would be Superman.
Miranda: Those are good names. What do you think Kesleigh? What would your superpowers be?
Kesleigh: My daddy o Superman.
Miranda: He’s Superman?
Miranda: Well, what are you?
Kesleigh: I’m SuperBatman.
Miranda: Kesleigh if daddy were a king, what kind of food would he have at his feast?
Miranda: Ketchup? What else.
Kesleigh: Just ketchup.
Miranda: Just ketchup. Kasen, what kind of food do you think daddy would have at his feast?
Kasen: Uh. . . . sausage and biscuits.
Miranda: Sausage and biscuits. That’s a good food. Do you think your favorite food is the same? What is your favorite food?
Kasen: Grilled Cheese.
Miranda. Grilled Cheese. What is your favorite food Kesleigh?
Miranda: Cheese. Just cheese huh? OK – What kind of animals would daddy have at his castle Kesleigh?
Kesleigh: I don’t. . . some ketchup. . . some ketchup.
Miranda: What animals?
Kesleigh: some ketchup.
Miranda: Kasen, what kind of animals do you think daddy would have at his castle?
Kasen: Sheep and uh . . . uh. . . a king.
Miranda: He would be the king?
Kasen: Uh huh.
Miranda: Kasen, where do you think daddy’s favorite spot in our house is?
Kasen: . . . . in the bathroom?
Miranda: <laughing> In the bathroom? And what do you think daddy does there?
Miranda: He goes potty. OK. Kesleigh, where do you think daddy’s favorite spot in the house. . .
Kesleigh: He goes to get ice cream.
Miranda: When he goes to get ice cream?
Miranda: Where does he go to get ice cream?
Kesleigh: At. . . at Chick-a-lay. (Chickfila)
Miranda: At Chickfila? OK. If daddy could be the same age as you Kasen, for just one day, what do you think you would do together?
Miranda: You would swing? What else would you do with him?
Kasen: Umm. . .
Miranda: What else would you do with daddy? What do you like to do with him?
Miranda: You like to go potty with him?
Kasen: Uh huh.
Miranda: OK. What else?
Kasen: Um. . .
Miranda: If daddy won a gold medal for doing something incredible, what do you think he’d win the medal for?
Miranda: Loving. For loving who?
Kasen: For loving me and Kesleigh.
Miranda: For loving you and Kesleigh? That’s a nice one. OK Kasen, look here. If daddy gave you a big trophy for doing something amazing, what do you think you would be doing that was so amazing for him to give you a trophy?
Kasen: ?????? <distracted>
Miranda: Kesleigh, what is it that you like about daddy?
Miranda: His kisses?
Kesleigh: <whispered> Yes.
Miranda: What else?
Kesleigh: and his birthday.
Miranda: And his birthday? Kasen, what do you like about daddy?
Kasen: For playin’ baseball.
Miranda: Cause he plays baseball with you?
Kasen: Uh huh.
Miranda: What else do you like?
Kasen: Uh. . . eating ice cream.
Miranda: Eating ice cream with him?
Kasen: Un huh.
Miranda: That’s a good one. OK. Let’s say we love you daddy.
Kesleigh: I love you daddy.
Kasen: I love you daddy.
Miranda: We love you daddy.
Miranda, Kasen, and Kesleigh: Happy Father’s Day!
Kasen: Daddy, where does the wind come from?
Me: I don’t know Kasen. We can’t see it, but we can feel it.
Kasen: We can’t see Jesus, but we can feel him too.
Wow!! We’ve had a similar conversation before, but I didn’t think he’d remember it all so clearly. I told Miranda about it and she said she had talked to him about it as well. It makes me so excited to see him understand so much about God at such an early age.
The sermon today was from John 3, where Jesus is talking to Nicodemus about the work of the Holy Spirit and relating it to the wind. Seems like the wind is what God is wanting us all to remember today. I love it when His voice is so clear!!
I’ve been thinking about my dad quite a bit lately. I guess it makes sense. Father’s Day was this past month. The anniversary of my dad’s death was this month too. It’s been 13 years, but grief is weird. I feel like I’ve dealt with my dad’s death and life still goes on, but grief still gives me a kick here and there. Lately, it’s been a little more frequent. Probably ’cause I’m a father myself now. Anyway, grief shows up at the strangest times. Always unexpected.
The other day, Kasen (2yrs) put on a sailor hat that my mother-in-law bought for him at Pearl Harbor. He was laughing and giggling and it was a ton of fun, but in one split second he looked at me with this sort of sideways grin – it was small, but still enough for me to recognize my dad in him. I teared up briefly, but didn’t let on how I was feeling until later when the kids were asleep in the car. I was telling Miranda about the experience and cried thinking about how I wish dad could have seen Kasen, and how I wish Kasen could have known his grandpa. Grief gave me a kick that day.
I got another “grief kick” on Father’s Day. I had an interesting conversation with my father-in-law, Mike about my dad’s hard head. I was telling him about how my dad won his first boxing match which was televised. He won by technical knock out ’cause the other guy broke his hand on my dad’s jaw. That’s right. You heard (well read) correctly. My dad was tough. I could just picture him taunting the guy, “Come on. Just hit me.” And when he does, he breaks his hand. That’s a hard head.
There’s another story I heard about the first date he and my mom went on. He was taking her to the movies, but on the way, there was a guy stranded on the side of the road. Dad was trying to impress mom, so he stopped to offer his help. Well. . .he stopped to show her how good of a guy he was and the stranded guy was just gonna benefit from my dad’s flirtatious efforts. Anyway, the guy was drunk and broke a beer bottle over my dad’s head. When dad didn’t flinch or fight back and just stared back at him, the guy ran back and locked himself in his own car so dad couldn’t get him. That’s a hard head.
As I’ve thought about these things and told these stories over the past month or so, I’ve experienced grief. “Grief kicks” aren’t all bad though. They remind you of who you are, of where you’re from. They remind you of the things you treasure and help remind you to reorient your life to the things that matter. Grief is nothing more than a lingering love. I’m so grateful for my dad. Everything I am or will ever be is influenced by him. Truth is. . .Everything my kids will be is influenced by him too – they just don’t know it. They will never know their grandpa. (at least here on earth) But their grandpa is alive in them. And I am grateful.
Prayer: LORD, thank you for the grief you sent me recently. I’m reminded of the incredible love You gave to me through my dad. I remember the way he loved me, the way he played, the way he smiled sideways…I love him. I miss him. But I’m grateful for his influence in my life. For who I am. For who my children are. I’m grateful to You God for him. And I’m grateful to him for helping me see and know You God. LORD, let me be a great dad to my children. May they see You in the way that I live. And may they see You in spite of the way I live too. For I am weak and in need of You. LORD, thank you for letting us experience lingering love in grief.