Posts Tagged ‘home’

A Wrinkle in Parenting (spoiler alert)

We’ve just returned from the theater, only to verify once more – the book is always better than the movie.  It sounds like such a great homeschool policy – “We’ll only go see the movie if we read the book together!”  Yet every time – the movie ends up falling flat.  It just doesn’t stand a chance.wrinkle.jpeg

Pushing that aside for a moment, I do love the book and so much of the imagery and themes througout: Light fighting back the darkness. Strength discovered in weakness.  You cannot serve two masters.  Hope even in places where we’ve made mistakes.  There are even direct quotes from scripture used imaginatively throughout.

L’Engle presents a Universe much larger than we usually envision, and the invitation for each of us to become warriors on behalf of light.  This doesn’t mean strapping on our weapons, and polishing our armor – it means offering ourselves in places and situations where we aren’t assured of the outcome.  It means loving the other, even when there’s no visible sign that such sacrificial love will be received well.

One of my favorite scenes is toward the end, as the lead character realizes she has been self-centered in her relationship with her Father:

          “I’m – I’m sorry, Father…(tears came to her eyes, their hands together)..I wanted you to do it all for me.  I wanted everything to be all easy and simple…So I tried to pretend that it was all your fault…because I was scared, and I didn’t want to have to do anything myself–“
        “But I wanted to do it for you,” Mr.Murry said.  “That’s what every parent wants.”  He looked into her dark, frightened eyes….
         “No.” Mrs Whatsit’s voice was sterner than Meg had ever heard it. “You are going to allow Meg the privilege of accepting this danger.  You are a wise man, Mr.Murry.  You are going to let her go.”

So many layers to this.

We love our children, and want great things for them.  But we must remember, for them to grow and develop they must be allowed to experience the mystery of holding Gods’ hand into the unknown.  As John Ortberg has written, “Persons of excellent will, judgment and character are formed by having to make their own decisions.” (Focus on the Family, April/May 2018)

We see this same love as God invites humanity with free will to respond to a crucified Messiah, an image of self-sacrificing Love that doesn’t force, demand, or overthrow.  An infinitely compelling revelation of a path we’re invited to follow, not with the promise that all will go well – but with the promise that this is the path of New Creation Love.  This is the way of proclaming Jesus as Lord.  This is the way of light breaking forth into darkness.

So what is the wrinkle? If we want to invite our children to step forward into a faith-filled unknown – we must be prepared to respond to their obvious questions.  “Really mom/dad?  You’re doing this?”  Where are we following Jesus into areas of unknown?  Where are we trusting Him to do something, without which we would sink into the waves of a stormy sea?  Where are we experiencing this as a home/family?

This isn’t meant to be intimidating, but encouraging/inviting.  This isn’t saying every family should sell all things, move into a tiny home in the bad part of town, or other side of the world.  This is simply saying – great distances can be traveled by small and simple acts of sacrificial love.  Great rifts can be overcome by a humble dependence on a Love that reflects the brightest light that has ever shown.

This is how Christ began the ultimate victory.  This is how we continue to proclaim & establish it, empowered by His Spirit even now.   Not by our own power to Love, but as we are transformed by His…

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leading from behind…

We carried them.

Then they began to wobble forward.

Next, they grabbed our hands as we ran together.fallersons

Now – they run ahead.

It can be easy to feel like my job is done, but any parent will be quick to remind – we’ve still only just begun.  Walking is not the goal…just another part of the journey.  I love to watch them wander through the woods.  To watch them play, and see the sparks of wonder inspire flames of imagination.  It’s fulfilling, to offer them the ability to lead as we take to the forest, and see them choose paths both winding and well-defined.

There are so many pressures today to grow the next generation of world-changers.  To mold them into products that are marketable on the future economies of skill and value competitions.  To form them into athletic renaissance machines that can out-perform the others and shine in ways that obviously deserve scholarship money.

I’ll confess – I’m not immune to this.  Even in realms of spiritual maturity, there are major parts of me that want my kids to shine with the love of Jesus.  Not for healthy reasons, but to show the world – here, is a product I’ve helped create and offer my fellow humanity as proof of my/our worth.

So every once in a while, on purpose, I slow down.  I watch.  I absorb their wonder.  I stop measuring things and start inefficiently using time with them.  Another confession – I don’t do this enough.  I’m busy.  I’m a student.  I’m a pastor.  I’m a husband.  I’m a ________.

All of that to say – I hadn’t said anything much about parenting in a while, and this was originally a parenting blog. 🙂  So I figured I would remind the reader – I’m still a parent.   I’m not winning any awards, but my kids seem to be increasing in love.  My wife and better half probably deserves a TON of that credit, as she gets the most time at home with them.  But I’ll take a little.  And I’ll watch them run ahead with her, and pause to be thankful for it all..

Reaching out, again…

Okay friends & family, it’s finally that time again.  I can’t give all the details in a public post, but if you’d like to know more please give me a call.  (And no, in case you’re trolling here, we’re not preparing to go around the DRC Government in ANY way.   We love and respect the people of hte DRC, and look forward to a life of our family being invested in their future.)  In any case, we’ve hit a point in our adoption where we need to raise more funds.

Yes, the country is still not issuing “Exit Letters”, until new laws/processes are in place to better protect the children.  We are continuing to move forward within the country, through the parts of the process still allowed, believing that we want to be as ready as possible when those doors open once again.  This also means providing for her care in the meantime.7a5b3-andersonst-louis2011384

Even in the midst of significant wait and what seems to be a hopeless road, there have been great steps moving toward us bringing home this child we’ve been praying over 2 years for.  We are so thankful for the generosity and prayers of so many of you.  We’ve even added something new for your fundraising enjoyment!!

1. Wick’s BandCamp Page –  Trying something new!   Here you will be able to buy individual spoken words, as well as a couple songs I threw on there for fun.  100% of every dollar goes toward our adoption fund!   I’ve plenty more spoken words that will eventually be uploaded if ya’ll like these.  If I only sell a couple, I’ll just tell my mom thanks and move on.  🙂

2.  Amazon Books – Both my self-published parenting book and the Children’s Book we created with our kids are available for digital purchase on Amazon.com.   A large chunk of every sale comes right to me, and goes directly into our adoption fund!

3. Giving through “Both Hands” – Since the very beginning with our first service project, they’ve been our most popular method of giving/receiving funds for this adoption.  Donations are tax deductible, and you can mail them a check or simply give online!!

As you’re preparing for the Holidays, we hope & pray you’ll consider one of these options. Even in place of sending us a Christmas card, just download an mp3 and send me a video of you laughing at it. 🙂  Or in place of a gift, throw a few bucks out to “Both Hands”, and e-mail me a Merry Christmas.  But above all, please continue to pray.  Not just for our family or our children, but pray for the entire DRC.  Pray for their government and their leaders, as their senate continues to meet.  Pray for the areas where rebels continue to break out in fighting.  Pray for those who are overlooked in the shuffle and quest for power and influence.  Pray for the stability and future of these beautiful people, and the preservation of their rich heritage in the midst of a world that is realizing more and more, the value of their nation.

flex your creative. (a fun post)

She’d done it before, so I probably should have expected it.  But as I held her in my arms, her 4-year-old body curved to match the shape of my lap, her eyes melted my heart as always.  I was caught up in my own little Precious Moment world, savoring her tiny little self being held by me.  She’ll be 5 soon.  As I was enjoying a bit of parental bliss, she began to add to it – looking up at me as if she could offer the world…

“Daddy?”

“Yes, Ruby?”

“You…”  She stalled, and at this my mind raced with all the potential statements she could be about to offer me.  Something that would surely fill my parenting tank with love for the week.  I barely breathed, waiting for the words of love that were about to come.

“You have spider webs in your nose.”

Oh.  I smiled gently, tickled her a bit for being silly, and we moved on from the moment.  But it reminded me – my kids see the world imaginatively without any effort.  Our children see a world of infinite possibilities, believing so much of what they’re told, or what they can imagine in a given context.  We adults?  We see reality.  We dis-believe.  We ask questions.  We cynacize.  We look up into someones nostrils, and see his nosehairs.

But I’m confident, we can see spider webs, if we’re willing.  If we recognize our imaginative degeneration as the poo1problem it is, and work to keep those muscles functioning.  With that in mind, I’d like to offer you an exercise.  It even seems adult-ish.  As I showered the other day, I noticed a shampoo in our bathroom named “Pantene – Ultimate 10”.  I was curious what the “10” referred to, and as I turned it around I realized someone had been very (although limitedly as we’ll soon see) creative in their descriptions about what this poo can do.

So my exercise today is simple, help Pantene out.  They’ve given 10 decent adjectives, but I’m fairly confident we can do better.   That someday, Pantene could sell “Ultimate 100” using the same formula.  No limits!!!  Here are the current adjectives they’ve given:

1. Repair for rough hair                  5. Smoothing                             8. Gentle Cleaning
2. Strength against Damage          6. Moisture                                 9. Manageability
3. Silky Softness                                7. Frizz Control                      10. Detangling
4. Brilliant Shine

I know there are more descriptions that they’ve not captured.  No matter what your poo preference, I’m asking us to join together as parents and grown-ups who want to keep up with the imaginations of the next generation!  Here are just a few of my own:

11. Crazy awesomeness                  12.  Flowery Smelling                    13. Magically Noticeable

What might you add??

Or are you the kind of person who’s okay seeing nose-hairs?

different kids.

“He’s part of the smart and popular group.”  I heard a 5th grader describe his friend this past week.  Holy Smokes.  I don’t remember thinking about “popularity” in elementary school, although I’m sure it was there somewhere.  I remember coming to school and getting incredibly good at the art of twisting my hair so that it stood up without using any gel.  Throw a cape on my back, because I was super.

I remember some mornings, waiting out by the road for the bus to pick us up.  We’d easily get bored, and want to do something more fun.  I remember putting frogs in the mailbox for our postal worker to be surprised by.  (She wasn’t happy when she found baked frogs in the mailbox.  Ooops. Hot fall days.)  I remember playing Ninja Turtles. (I preferred Michaelangelo.)  I remember squatting down, pulling my coat down over my knees, while hobbling along the road trying to scare the cars driving by into thinking I was some sort of troll.  (Probably not the safest thing I’ve ever done along a highway.)

Looking back on who I was growing up, I think is part of the reason I was totally okay when we began our homeschooling journey.  Sure, a lot of homeschool kids can grow up a bit weird.  But look at me…public school kids can grow up pretty odd themselves.  My kids are certainly going to be unique in this world, scripture pretty much demands it.  But their uniqueness is not about simply wearing the moniker “Different”.  It’s so much bigger than that.

In fact, it’s too big to fit into an awesome sentence that I can make into bold text, and you can quote me on in some place that gets more internet traffic.  I want my kids to live authentic lives of experiencing all that God has created them for.  I fiveironfrenzypray over them daily that they would be filled with so much love, the world will be changed.  I believe it’s possible with all that I am (and the even more that I am not), and parent them that way.  Whether they go on to become missionaries in foreign lands, moms who raise the next generation to know the love of God, or a female-fronted version of Five Iron Frenzy.  In fact, if they could go on to become a female version of Five Iron Frenzy, at least for a little while, I’d be pretty excited.  One thing is for sure – they will be unique.  I pray they are unique even in the face of consumer-driven Christianity.  That they would ask questions, and push the envelope for how God’s Love can be shown, and how the Holiness of God can be lived.

So for now, we’ll continue to build the foundations of a life lived uniquely toward responding to God.  We aim to exercise those spiritual muscles on a regular basis.  To invite our children to respond to God with us on a regular basis.  To train them to listen to His voice.  To point out where some things in our world are broken, or don’t make sense.  To help their first reflex and knee-jerk reaction to be Love for God & others.  And above all of that, because we cannot guarantee what path they’ll take…..we pray.  God, use our family to make things different, as you are Different.  Amen.

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