Parent Stuff: The Weight of Grace

  
In 2011 I had the incredible opportunity to travel to the Arkansas State Capitol at the invitation of then Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr. My responsibility that day was to open the afternoon session of the 88th Assembly of the Arkansas State Senate in prayer. I had thought long and hard about the words I would pray over those important lawmakers. Here is an excerpt from the prayer I prayed that day.

“God, my fervent hope today is that you would help them to continue to hear—not just the voice of their constituents, but your voice as well. God grant them the wisdom to make sound decisions and the discernment to understand the far-reaching implications of those decisions.”

I don’t remember what was on the docket for the day. But I know that each man and woman in that chamber was responsible for representing a body of people they had chosen to serve. Their actions—no matter how small, or even seemingly insignificant, carried weight. What they discussed, conclusions reached, votes cast. It all mattered. It all made a difference. The molding of the law was akin to working the clay of civilized society.

What about you?
In your world you may be the lawmaker. You may be making the rules of the house. You might be passing down mandates and dictating decisions that shape the days, months, or years to come. If you’re a parent or guardian of a child you better believe this is true.

Your every decision, reaction, omission, and word have weight. The things you do will echo in the future of your child. The things you don’t do will echo just as loudly! The point I’m trying to make is that you have a responsibility. It is holy. It is God-given. It is authority. It is blessed. It is vital.

The implications of your every action are so important. I wish I could say I always get it right. I love my boys so much. But not an hour ago I was sending my three-year-old off to bed with a much harsher tone than was probably necessary. 

Parents, do you feel the weight of the life you hold in your hands? I hope so. Does it keep you up at night sometimes? I hope so. I think it should.

Now. Stop holding your breath. Unclench a little bit. Relax. Breathe deep. After all, you’re not perfect. Yes, your every action and inaction as a parent matters. But you’re never going to get it all right. But guess what? It’s alright. After all, who better to guide you through your imperfectness as a parent than the perfect parent?

Ask God to help. Go ahead. Ask him right now, I’ll wait.

Now, doesn’t that feel a little bit better. Ok,maybe it doesn’t yet. But long before you became responsible for guiding this little human being through the obstacle course of life God set your memories into motion. The first steps, the first fight, the crying, joy, gladness, serenity, and taxing anxiety of parenthood…God has already experienced all of it, for everyone, ever. Whoa!

He’s right there in the middle of your mess waiting for you to ask him to make it better. I love my boys “to the moon and back again” as one of our favorite bedtime stories goes, but I’m so far short of the perfect parent.

Thank God I’ve got God. He’s in the mix. He’s helping in the moments when I want to duct tape my son to his bed and scream at the wall. He’s there rejoicing when I get it right! He’s there when my heart hurts over a poor decision I have made. After all, there’s grace for that.

Yes, there are far reaching implications for your every action but God’s actions can reach farther than yours. There is a weight to grace.

You Can’t Fly a Watermelon

Watermelon Rocket

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon. Its rind is not resistant to exiting and entering the atmosphere. It has no fuselage. No fuel. No propulsion. It was not designed to fly to the moon. That’s not even rocket science!

Nothing works right unless it conforms to the realities of its intended trajectory, or path. This is shaped by both external circumstances and intended purpose. In simpler terms that means something won’t be very good at doing a thing it wasn’t meant to do. A rocket flies because engineers account for aerodynamics and gravity. It was designed to meet the specifications needed to navigate external circumstances in order to reach an intended purpose along a planned trajectory. That is rocket science!

God designed you with a purpose in mind. You were built to fulfill his mission in this present reality. Until your life begins to match that purpose—until your desires, thoughts, and actions pursue His purpose—you will be out of sync with his path for you. Until you begin to do the thing you were meant to do everything else will seem underwhelming, unfulfilling, and incomplete.

What’s your trajectory? What’s your course? That is the path he has laid before you. That’s the destiny he wants to rocket you toward.

Have you known all along and been to afraid to engage? Don’t be afraid. Stop. Turn around. Run toward that burning fire in your bones. God put it there. It’s rocket fuel. His Spirit is alive in you pushing you past the point of your fears into the providential place of his purpose and plan.

Have you been inadvertently bouncing around like a pinball? Tilt the table. Lean into God. Ask for his help. Seek him. Say it out loud. Get a little mad about it and tell him how you feel. He knows already. Reject the apathy and confusion that you may have had. Go to the God who has the unmatched perspective. If you’re stuck let God get you out. He will send you right back on track.

You can’t fly a watermelon to the moon, but you can enjoy the sweet refreshing fruit inside. You can enjoy it’s intended purpose, but only by asserting an external force to reach the delicious fruit inside.

God is the architect of physics. He is the engineer of the principles that actually go into real rocket science. He is also the designator of your design. He planned you. He purposed you. He willed you.

The Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was freaking out over the calamity and depravity the Jewish people were going through. Stuff they had brought on themselves through generations of neglecting their purpose. Here is what Jeremiah heard from God…

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” GOD ’s Decree. ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:10-13 ‭MSG‬‬

You get that? God decreed it. His plan for you comes from the same vocabulary as “let there be light” and “it is finished”.

God said it. God did it. His plan. His purpose. Your path.

PERU: DAY 1

 
I marveled at the near midnight colors of the clouds cutting across the wing on my side of our Boeing jet as we made our decent into Peru just a few short hours ago. Blues, greys, and intermittent flashes of red, orange, green, and white played across my narrow field of vision—and then it happened.
We broke the cloud line.

The mist-filled murkiness of our midnight approach into South American peeled away into a crystal clear visage of a sea of lights. Lima loomed below. Beautiful and beckoning at the end of an approximated 2,900 miles of flying.

We were here. Peru. Adventure and opportunity await. Prayer and planning have refined and pointed us toward our purpose. Let’s do this!

He Knows Jesus

I just found out that my friend Nick​ passed away last night. Already I can see the impact it’s having on people. The droves posting their condolences and “I’ll miss you’s” on his facebook page. Nick and I had the opportunity to visit for several hours in my living room just a few short weeks ago. We had gathered with a small group of people to talk about the desire to know God better. A desire he definitely had. We also talked about his amazing friends (whom he was super quick to brag on). Nick knew Jesus. He didn’t understand all of the religious does and don’ts and he wasn’t interested in them. He knew Jesus. He captured this video a few months ago while at a Korn concert. In a lot of ways it reflects his story. And now it reflects his future. He knows Jesus.