Archive for December, 2012

Today I want to talk about manhood. Not manhood as defined by secular culture or church culture but manhood as defined by the scriptures. The reason I want to talk about this simple. I am exhausted with watching families destroyed by the lack of real men and every divorce that I have watched in the last 10 years can somehow be traced to a man who decided to abdicate his role as a leader. Whether it was the father of the bride or the groom himself, somewhere along the road to disaster there was a man who didn’t care enough to stand and fight for what was right. Not that women have no responsibility because they absolutely do, but biblically speaking their responsibility is always in their response to leadership weather good or bad. If they respond well to bad leadership sometimes families are saved. If they respond badly to good leadership they can bring the demise of a family just as quickly as bad leadership from a man, but the man will always be held responsible as the initiator.

Now as for defining manhood, we are told by the secular culture that a man should drink beer, watch sports, ogle women on TV or the internet and be a perpetual consumer of all things that please him. In the church culture men are encouraged to be hypocrites. They come to church, looking like they have it all together but deep down they are harboring massive amounts of secret sin, causing them to be passive and crippled in their leadership.  However, the scriptures give a very different view of manhood; he is neither a man of self-indulgence nor a man of hypocrisy who merely performs for the sake of others. In the sermon series I have linked to below, Matt Chandler points out a very key definition for masculinity found in Genesis 2. In Genesis 2 the man is put on the earth to cultivate NOT to consume. He is created to be a cultivator of all that God has made, to make it grow and become all that it can be. A true man pours out himself to cultivate his wife and his children with care, love and righteousness; the fruit that results becomes his legacy.  A man who does not do this in his family is still a cultivator by design but what he grows is selfishness, bitterness and pain which passes from one generation to the next. Unless God intervenes, the state of a man’s family will always be a reflection of who he truly is on the inside; a consumer, a pretender or a child of God.

However, this task of cultivation is not to be an easy one because in Genesis 3 the fall happens and God curses everything that that the man was supposed to cultivate. When he tries to grow things that are good, the earth now wars against him. The same is true with a family. Even when the man tries to cultivate things that are good in his family, he is met with great opposition. So a real man must not only be a cultivator but he must be a warrior to fight against nature itself for the good of his family.

Now, I am not so naive as to think that there is only one simple cause in the demise of a family but let us think for a moment what might happen if father’s poured themselves into cultivating their sons and daughters in the ways of God. What if they proactively warred for their souls? What if husbands pursued their wives like Christ pursues the church and cultivated an atmosphere of unconditional love? What if they fought for the leadership of their home instead of passively putting it on the shoulders of their wives? Would it make a difference? Well, if God set it up that way in Eden, where all was right before the curse, I just can’t help but think it would make all the difference in the world.

So here is my challenge for us as parents. Let’s raise our boys to be these men and our daughters to settle for nothing less. Let’s be the example of what it looks like to cultivate good things and war against the curse that lives in our nature. I am blessed to have a husband who pours himself into the cultivation of our family and a wonderful father who has set an example for us to follow.  It is our deepest prayer that God is starting a legacy of manhood in our family that will breathe life into generations to come, because if manhood dies then the family ultimately dies with it. I know there are many who might disagree with this assessment but even if you do, I hope I have made you think about the kind of legacies you are creating in your family.

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Moment of The Week

Posted: December 24, 2012 in Moment of The Week

At the end of October we threw Lilah her third birthday party. It was a Disney Princess’s party so being the girly girl that I am everything was pink, purple and sparkly including her birthday cake, which we ordered from HEB. That morning I was busy decorating so my mom very kindly offered to go pick up the cake. When she got back, I noticed that the price tag on the box said more than what I was told the cake would cost. “How much did they charge you?” I asked. She looked up with a quizzical look. “Nothing” She replied. “What?” I asked, not totally grasping the situation. She looked at me innocently and said “Didn’t you already pay for it?” Suddenly I realized what happened. “You stole the birthday cake!?!” She stood there for a minute and then we both burst into uncontrollable laughter. My little saint of a mother had unwittingly stolen a three-year-old’s birthday cake!! Of course after the party she went back and paid for it, much to the entertainment of the HEB employees, but it was absolutely the best moment of the day for me!

Frazzled

Posted: December 19, 2012 in Personal Moment
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Have you ever had that day? That day when every whiney sound coming from your child’s mouth frazzles your last nerve and all semblance of normalcy seems to have given way to total insanity?

Well, ever since we made the decision to move from my parent’s house and into an apartment a little over two weeks ago, my life has felt like a continuous version of “that day”. The first week and a half was a mad dash to unpack and get settled before Christmas. This week has been a mad dash to be ready for Christmas and next week will be a final sprint to be ready for my brother’s wedding on the 31st. On top of all that, my oldest daughter decided to start potty training which has been going well, but as all parents know, it adds a whole new level of stress to each day. In between all of this, is the added pressure of trying to be a “good mom”, keep a relationship alive with my husband and also find time to be in the scriptures.

Now, I’m sure there are lots of moms out there who can identify with these challenges, especially if they are like me and do not enjoy massive amounts of change coupled with constant activity. I am a person that prefers an even pace with time to reflect and strategize, so the mad dash of the last two weeks has left me feeling completely frazzled.  I have spent many evenings crying on my husband’s shoulder and I’ve had to apologize so many times to my children for losing my patience that I feel like I should just wake up apologizing to stay ahead of the game.

However, in the midst of all this struggle I feel like God is asking the question “Am I enough for you? Am I better than the plans that you make or the pace in which you prefer to live?” To be truthful, my answer has mostly been “Yeah…but this is unreasonable!” Again I feel Him tug at my soul and ask “Am I better?” He knows that when I am too comfortable my heart attaches itself to the things that betray me but the discomfort of struggle keeps me holding to Him, where I am truly safe. So He asks again “Am I better?” I begin to realize that my attachment to my plans and concern for my own comfort is really what leaves me feeling frazzled and if I was only concerned with His glory then I would find rest in the knowledge of His mercy.

So at this moment I am learning to understand the reality that He IS enough. My plans and my preferences always betray me but He never has and never will. As I let this truth sink into my soul I feel rest begin to creep into the chaos. Suddenly I can let go and enjoy the good things like Christmas lights on my back porch, reading time with my kids and coffee with my wonderful husband. The things that I struggle with are still there, but if my heart can always come back to the place where He is enough then maybe I will slowly become less frazzled and more restful even in all the chaos that is life. So if there is anyone else out there struggling with an endless version of “that day” I hope I have encouraged you to search your soul and ask the question “Is He enough?” Maybe the answer will give you a good place to start walking towards a place of rest.

Moment of The Week

Posted: December 17, 2012 in Moment of The Week
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One night my husband and I were sitting on our bed with our three-year-old daughter, Lilah. She had asked me to tell her a story so I began telling her some ridiculous version of Horton Hears a Who while my husband was working on his laptop. Suddenly in the middle of the story she crawls up to my husband and says “Dad, please throw this booger away, I just had it.” She then carefully places her slimy green booger in my husband’s hand and asks me to keep telling her the story. After looking at each other in total disgust, my husband quickly went to dispose of his not-so-nice present. Parenthood is a glorious thing!