Put your Glasses on!

I wrote this to an African American friend who expressed his disgust in having to speak to his children about racism:

“This experience
Is one that not all have
An appreciation for
Or understand.
In our desire
Not to place the Racial Sunshades on our children,
Teaching them that God created
And loves everyone,
We are forced to give them
Fruit from the tree for their own safety.
Watching their innocence fade away,
And the layers of clothing slowly put on is a sad process.
Even further frustrated by the younger siblings
Who are still naked,
While their elder siblings are fully clothed!”

 

 

#PastorJDO3

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A Gentle Breeze or a Harsh Wind?

This evening, a talk with a parent left a seed for thought for fellow parents.  Having a High School Senior, we find ourselves seeking wisdom, advice and encouragement from those who have gone before us.  Today, the word given was, “This year, I stopped driving, and started guiding!”

As the conversation continued, the image of a mighty sail boat appeared.  One can imagine our children on an ocean, sailing into their future.  Now captains of their ships, standing at the helm, navigating their future.  As parents, we have worked to train them on how to navigate life, and prepared, repaired, built, and structured them as sea worthy vessels, placed in them a sense of purpose and helped them discover their identities, only to face an approaching release into life’s treacherous waters.sailboat

What a challenge before us?  The parent spoke words to live by.  At some point, we must believe that the training given to them will be enough to aid them in navigating the waters.  We must believe this in confidence, knowing that the complete training of a person takes an entire life time, and that many of the lessons that will continue to mold and shape will take place after we release them to sail.   What was being said in the statement, was that the release was not one that turned their child into the raging sea, but one that understood the role of the parent shifting from the “Wheel” to the “Breeze”.

The difference between the “Wheel” and “Breeze” are key to proper navigation.  Many parents will spend the bulk of Supervision Years (college), Managing as Hands On (Grade School), fighting over the wheel that will inevitably be surrendered.  It is this fight that strains relationships, often resulting in outright rebellion. Realistically, the job of the parent is never done, but the methods and modes used to teach are different.  And while our job is never done, our jobs are not to maintain the wheel, but to release the wheel with our wisdom, counsel and advice.  Our purpose now becomes to keep them from sinking or running ashore, not choosing their dock.  We do this, knowing that there is still growing to do, but must do so in order to aid them in becoming effective sailors.

The teachings we render and direction we give from this point will be less hands on, but more vocal driven. We must trust our “breeze!”  Our “breeze” is relative to the love, trust, respect and influence our children have for us.  It is this “breeze” that will remain steady and aid our children in navigating the waters of life, allowing them to find more security in whom they were created to be, and to adjust their sails to the wind in route to their identified harbor.  We must trust that the wind; though missed at times because they have folded up the sails, must continue.  Its steady stream reminds them that they are not subject to the shifting of the current to take them, but that they can still access power to navigate life when they are ready to move forward.

We thought it necessary to also distinguish that a Gentle Breeze and Harsh Wind are very different.  A Harsh Wind is more powerful, but can make life difficult to navigate; especially with shifting currents and impending waves.  It can cause the sailor navigate improperly, panic and in some cases, topple a sea worthy vessel from lack of experience or frustration.  As they are learning to navigate the waves and currents, fighting through Harsh Winds can cause them to loose sight or question the compass, depositing them into uncharted territory.  As parents this is challenging, especially if they seem to be off course or make a navigation error.  It is our love and passion for them that often causes us to run aboard and assume the controls, but we must resist!   As said, training is on going, and while being in control seems fun or best, it will become a chore once you are unable to do so.  They have to learn how to navigate life on their own!

Thus, don’t be a harsh wind!  A Gentle Breeze will provide enough power to navigate challenging waters, giving out children the guidance they need to become productive and successful.  Keep Blowing Parents!

 

 

The Rain Came

Each weekend at VUU, you would sit in my arms and as ask me to tell you a story.  I know it doesn’t happen much anymore, but today, I publicly give you a story to celebrate 18 years of marriage.  Don’t worry, the interpretation will follow 🙂
Discouraged,
A King went to a private place
To silence the noise,
He was experiencing a drought
That brought a kingdom to its knees,
For days and weeks, nothing would sprout,
And the things that broke through
would wither away,
Decades of hard work would waste away,
As the kingdoms treasures began to wither away, IMG_0207
As the vibrant king slowly began to decay,
His crown too big for his head,
Once a perfect fit,
Now sat around his neck
Certainly headed for his waist,
What once crowned his head,
Would eventually adorn his hips,
As the praise from his heart,
Dissipated from his lips,
He bowed low,
With his head between his knees,
Crying out for rain,
The ground wet with his tears,
His shirt damp from his tarry,
His knees blistered from the weight of his temple,
His face smooth from the ground,
As though foundation had been gently applied,
His voice bore out the ground,
As he screamed for change,
His voice grew weary,
As his praise began to fade,
But his faith gave him the power,
And with determination,
He cried out
Until his screams were too low for human ears,
But his passionate plea brought forth his reality.
Rising from his knees,
He looked towards the heavens,
Reaching his hands up
As if to grasp what was his,
He walked away from his praying grounds,
Certain that death was waiting,
As the sun warmed his face,
A voice warmed his heart.
The melodious sounds of rain
Glimmered through the noise,
Creating silence through a quiet still voice.
Its tone customized to his mind,
Brought dew to his grounds,
And a smile to his face,
He captured each word,
Hydrating his fields,
Softening the ground,
He tilled his soil,
Collecting each word as droplets for his harvest,
Seeds were planted on each row,
As he gained confidence
That the dew was the sign of the coming rain,
A loud clap of laughter broke forth,
Sending a shower of rain into his life
That would bear much fruit,
Returning life to the kingdom,
Rehydrating the king,
Making him alive again.

 

Story Key:  Use this to interpret the story.
Your whisper is my Dew. Your Voice is my Rain. Your Laugh is my Storm.
The Kingdom is my mind.  My Voice was my Prayers. The Grounds my Brain.  The Noise were the Voices that Once Existed.

Trust & Obey

Trust and Obey

“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

This is thought that came to my mind as I was driving to church a few weeks ago.  A hymn I grew up hearing.  Too often we are unable to obey because we don’t trust.  We aren’t sure that God can do it.  Or we believe we can do it on our own.  Or we listen to people who tell us we aren’t hearing from God.  That we need them to do the assignment that God has given us or we need their approval.

Our issue is trusting that we are hearing from God and that He can do what He says.  One issue of trust is that we don’t spend enough time with God to make sure we know His will and hear His voice.  Another issue is that we are still upset by something we perceive God did not do for us.  Sometimes we get into situations that God did not put us and we put ourselves and we blame God.  Therefore we are unwilling to put our trust in God when we hear him.

My goal for this year is to Trust and Obey!  To give God complete control of my life by trusting Him, reading His Word, praying to Him, listening for Him, and obeying Him.  Understanding the more I listen the deeper he will call to me!

“Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders Let me walk upon the waters Wherever You would call me Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior” : Hillsong United – Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Being Heard is an Honor

“The honor in speaking to ones parents about an offense is not to correct or change their ways, but in being heard.” PastorJDO3

In life, there are many milestones.  Moments in which growth is both experienced, and times where growth is acknowledged.  It’s the moment that you walk into a room, and the adults continue speaking.  The day that you join a conversation; and your presence is welcome. Growing Up

These moments carry much weight because they are simple milestones that mark one’s journey from childhood to adult hood.  As children, your voice and your opinion go without recognition, thus your feeling and thoughts remain silent; for if expressed, one will suffer further punishment and or stricter restrictions.

As children grow, they long for the day they can address the wrong they have seen or experienced.  And when adulthood is reached, they not only desire to be heard, but began to develop hope that the words spoken can lead to change and result in healing of past or present hurts.

Though age wise one is an adult, father, husband, and CEO, there is one title that will always remain, child.  As a child, one will always be speaking up the chain of authority and position, and must remember, that the position’s rights and benefits remain relatively the same.  Though one is given a voice, the words will always carry the same power as the silent existence.  Though this might be a sad reality to some, however to some, it is a cherished promotion.

Though Jesus was not promoted, we can find a powerful moment between God the Father and Jesus the Son.  Jesus on mission from God to restore relationship with mankind, sat in the garden speaking to God about the task at hand.  He spoke, pouring His heart out, sweating like drops of blood, returning 3 times checking to see if the will of God had changed.   He spoke to the Father, making His feeling known, and was satisfied not because He received the answer He sought, but that He was heard, and His word was considered by the Father who wanted the best for all and did not change His mind.

As we grow, we must keep proper perspective when speaking up the chain, understanding that, “The honor in speaking to ones parents about an offense is not to correct or change their ways, but in being heard.” 

 

Matthew 26:36-46

 

Shake it, Don’t Break it….

Years ago, a famous line was uttered, “Shake it, Don’t Break it…”, instructing the listeners to party hard on the dance floor.  In this, is an important truth that we want to address in this blog, that is control.

Though one may believe their main goal is to gain control of their child, before that is gaining and maintain control of oneself.  In our efforts to gain control of our children, we must not loose control of ourselves.  In a conversation, Dr. Jeanine Wilson said, “our response to our children is built out of our fears.”  It is this fear, that can consume us, causing us to over react and go over board in our efforts to correct our children.

In addition to our fear, we have to address a wide range of emotions, including anger.  There are times when our frustration and anger is roused with the actions of our children.  Much like our Lord, we hold our children to the standard set by the name that our children possess and in doing so, must make sure that we are not consumed by our anger and frustrations, sinning in the process.  Abuse of power, or power administered without grace and mercy will eventually result in rebellion, dissension and rejection.

dv766095In each person, lies a breaking point, which can be reached if one keeps shaking past what is often an unmarked point that must be sensed by the one doing the disciplining.  For clarity, it might be best to define “disciplining” as “shaping”.  As opposed to “Shake it”, we propose, “Shape it!”   As a parent, we have been entrusted with a valuable gift; our children.  Our Lord describes Himself as a potter.  He is one that has an ideal end, shape and purpose in mind; taking His time to make sure that the pottery formed is shaped with the gentle but firm hands.  As we admire God’s workmanship in our lives, we can all verify that He is still in the process of shaping us at ages 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70+ and with His grace of longevity, so will we.

Our children are born with unique personalities which we must see as a gift from God.  And though it is our job to remove the folly from their lives, shaping without love could result in the breaking of ones will and the marring of ones esteeming and person hood.  Our goal should to be good stewards over our children.  We are to forge a solid moral foundation, and to mold their their character to be like the image of Christ, without crushing their characteristics in the process.  An independent child needs to know when to ask for help.  An outspoken/argumentative child may be destined to be a lawyer.     In our efforts to get them to conform, we can break it.

We must not abandon our responsibility to discipline our children, but as our Heavenly Father models, must chastise in a way that corrects, but shows mercy, grace and love.  We must remember that shaping when done quickly leaves many flaws, but the one is patient, gentle and firm will present unto the Lord something that is perfectly reflective of the image He uniquely made.

Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. … shall not die.  Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble (The Fight for Oneness)

Over the years, we have watched classic fights on pay-per-view.  Gladiators and valiant warriors square off in the ring in an awesome display of heart and skill in a fight to claim the belt and wear the praise of onlookers, reaching boxing immortality.  As impressive as these fights are, we present in this blog a fight that flies under the radar, but is one that must be highlighted to appreciate.   It too requires heart and skill, and involves valiant warriors; that being the fight to remain married.  untitled (6)Each day brings a new set of circumstances that test the partnership, requiring each person to make a decision to remain in the covenant they took on their special day.

During the fight, the combatant must remain focused on the training and the instructions from the corner, as well as the feelings and fears second.

The first fight is the fight of oneness.  God instructed that man and woman in marriage become one flesh.  Highlighted in the passage are two words, “will” and “one”.  In this, we are made aware that a key fight will be the fight to become one.  Because both have thought, ideas and feelings, the journey towards oneness is a long road that includes many stops for forgiveness, restoration prayer.  Earlier, we highlighted the need to pull closer  as the couple grow as opposed to allowing things to pull each person apart, but in marriage, couples have to do more than pull close, they have to become one!  Becoming one is an erasing of self by both, and emerging as one, beyond close in such a way that there is no way to identify that two ever existed.

In Grad School, we were honored by the comments of a classmate, which asked us if we were “brother and sister”.   When we identified ourselves as husband and wife and he declared that we were so one, that we were “becoming identical”.  In his tradition, he declared that as a couple becomes one it is as though they have come from the same wound.  As we still have our family traits genetically, his quote highlights even what our Lord says in that were becoming one flesh; impossible for those watching to see one without the other even if the other was not present.  Interestingly enough, at this time, we had dated for 4 years, but were only 1.5 years in to our marriage, thus time is important, but does not always identify that couples have become one.  In our experience, we have encountered many that have spent years together, however, were further from oneness than they were when they first began the journey.  Relationship like the stock market must be continually invested into when they are down as well as when they are up.  One must know that highs and low will come, but must maintain the investments early will provide a great yield as the investment matures.

Oneness requires planning, and is deeper than the physical unions most depend on to unify and honor solidify the bonds of marriage.  Though this is a part of oneness, couples that are not able to become one in other areas will only share a moment where the come together, but will not become one, remaining lives that are apart intersecting at points, but never headed in the same direction.  When this is considered oneness, one reduces oneness to a one night stand, and is will find separation easy and the future destination of the relationship.

We continue to work on oneness through intense communication.  Communication is about time, and requires honesty and transparency delivered by a seasoned tongue.  Too often couples communicate, but use unbridled tongues to address one another, leaving the relationship in pieces as opposed to creating oneness.  When oneness exists, couples look forward to talking, which is sharing, which is a part of the intimacy that yields oneness.  Much like couples plan and arrange moments to unite physically, couples must sync their schedules to share verbally. When done right, each person will look forward to this moment almost as much as the physical moment.

Bringing the visions into oneness requires both to ask not what is the vision for each, but the vision for us.  This requires a love that exist beyond physical, but presses into Agape and Philia.   As we continue to face life’s battles, we are assured of one thing (outside of our faith); that being we are on the same team, and not each others enemy.  We both desire to see each other reach life’s pinnacle, but have identified that the pinnacle can only be reached and enjoyed with the other present.

 (Mark 10:8)

Question:  Are you fighting each other or are you fighting to become one?