Tag Archives: children

Crazy Love

Kid’s they spend your money, scream at you and lie to your face. You have to clean up their rooms and bodily secretions! You experience tiredness like you never knew, which doesnt help you not to slipp into shouting at them on a line from time to time to all of the time.

Yet, there is no question that you would give your last breath or go without that new item of clothing or shiny piece of technology because of how much you love with your children.

Isn’t it strange how just one kiss, one hug, one “thank you mummy or daddy” immediately transports you to a universe full of proud parent moments, which obscure and blots out the ruggedness or rudeness of day to day parenting?

God is clever with this parenting stuff, they look like us, so we see ourselves in them, and the author of love gives us this great bond of love that is both an embrace and protective shield.

However for some kids they don’t get that bond, that protection, they don’t feel it’s warmth or safety. Perhaps it’s not surprising that understanding God as love, or even as a parent, is near impossible for these little ones because for them that parental relationship has been so disfigured.

A parents love is the closest I have come to understanding Gods unconditional love. A love that takes our our arrogant presumptions that we know all that there is to know about God.

I used to see Gods unconditional love in the forgiveness I receive when I mess things up, but now to my surprise and delight I see it also in my interrelationship with my kids.

Fertility Tips For Churches!

In a doctors waiting room John and Mary sit nervously, anxious for the news of their fertility tests, they longed for answers to their questions and fears. In a church nearby, a pastor sits looking across the empty pews in his church, he wonders what he needs to do to fill them. Two separate but emotionally charged scenes, each with hopes and fears about the future one for a baby and another for disciples.

The churches I look after, like so many, currently have a fertility issue when it comes to making disciples, it’s the singular issue that is paralysing our future, and we need help.

A couples fertility Journey begins in denial and ends with acceptance whether that is acceptance of a life with or without children. Whatever the Journey John and Mary take there will be an array of options such as IVF, various drugs, adoption or choosing to remain childless. This sort of journey is one not dissimilar that our churches might take.

I don’t think for many of Gods people we can deny our reality it’s plain to see for many of us, and it’s heart breaking and painful. This kind of reality check, can tear at the fabric of a congregation just as much as it tears at the heart of a couples relationship.

So what are the churches’ options? Recognising that there is a problem is a start, look at what others are doing well, research the local context, resist jumping on the christian idea bandwagon, listen to God, the community and the church. See how fresh expressions work might help you. There are so many options and possibilities but it can be hard to know whats right for your context.

Take your time, did you know that an adoption agency will not even consider your application earlier than one year after an infertility diagnosis. Rightly so in my opinion, social services recognise that there is work to be done, a journey to be had and acceptance and letting go of what was and peace to be held onto as they move ahead.

Just as much as John and Mary need to figure out what is right for them, the individual church needs to figure out and come to terms the right way ahead for themselves. Of course for John and Mary there is an alternate decision just as difficult and brave, that is to decide to call time on there journey and make a life without children.

For some of our churches it’s time, to sit and weep with them, to listen to their hearts breaking and invite them to move on to create a new life for themselves, because collectively they can’t make disciples for some reason. This is such a magnificently brave decision for a congregation to make. It might be that for those individuals they start at another church that is fertile and their hopes are realised in a different way as they are adopted by that church family.

The church is not dead we just have a little bit of infertility, and infertility is not the end of the story it never is, it is perhaps the beginning of a fight or a new life, it is the point of acceptance we move beyond, to the new thing God is calling us too, the bright future, the hopeful one, the one shaped not as we might have imagined, but reshaped in Gods design for us as his people.

The Love Of A Son

I have been looking forward to sharing a brilliant and moving story called Father Forgets. However it seamed more appropriate to wait until nearer Father’s Day (uk time). William L. Larned, Father of thirteen children and governor of New Jersey, nearly three hundred years ago summed up a truth of parenthood. That as parents sometimes we ‘visualise (our children) as grown up.’  Or in other words rather than seeing  our kids as our young we put unfair expectations upon them or bend their spirits with overbearing criticism or so called words of wisdom. Enjoy.

 fatherandson

Father Forgets

Listen son; I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.

There are things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.

At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”

Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road, I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before you friends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive – and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son from a father!

Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.

Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding – this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.

And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself overt he wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!

It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy – a little boy!”

I am afraid I have visualised you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.

I have to say I unashamedly sobbed listening to this something I rarely do, it touched a deep place in me. Not just of my own experience as a child but also for the times I forget to see my own beautiful children as my babies, who are as important to me as the breath in my lungs and the blood in my veins. So Fathers (and parents) let us, if needs be, rewrite our historical narratives of negative fathering, draw strength and wisdom from the good experiences of being fathered and step into the shoes of our offspring whenever we can, that their might be true connection that is meaningful, lasting and defining.

Happy Fathers Day

To See Father Forgets on you tube click here

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