Saturday, July 7, 2012

My Boys

I have two sons, Jonathan and Max. Jonathan will be 4 in a couple of weeks and Max was just born 3 short months ago. Being a Dad is the most awesome and humbling thing I have ever done. I love my boys more than I ever thought it was possible to love someone.
This past year has been the greatest and hardest of my life. Being a pastor has shown me that this is what God wants me to be doing, but in one year, so much has happened, that my head is still pressing against the brake pads in hopes of stopping it's spinning motion. But then I look at my boys. Jonathan, with the unmistakable pieces of pictures that were taken during my childhood and recreated in his small hands and face. From his smile to his exuberant outbursts, I lament and rejoice all at once at who he is and who he is becoming... and yet another birthday party happened today (a couple of weeks before his real birthday) and I want the world to stop for just a while so that I can take in all that is happening... but it never does. I just put Max to bed. He ate an 8 ounce bottle. I changed his very heavy diaper and wrapped him tightly in a kidopotomus swaddler and he smiled and gurgled and I swore to him, as I did to Jonathan just four years ago, that I would do my best. I told him that I knew that I would screw up a lot, but that I would give all I had to be a good Dad.
Other than the screwing up part, is that God's role in our lives? Watching from birth to death and swearing to care for us and guide and direct us even when it burns his heart and makes us cry out? If this is really the picture that the New Testament gives us in recognition of the Father's love for us, I want to cry out for joy right now, right at my kitchen table as I write these words, realizing just how much he must care for us. I'll bet that when we get to heaven, He's waiting right there with his arms wide and we will get a hug like we never have before. We are made in His image after all, and though we only see through cracked glass, my love for my boys has to be a shadow box picture of His love for us, and if that love that I know is real when I look into Max and Jonathan's eyes is even a paltry part of what His love is for us, then I am all IN.
God. I need you, and I am in awe of your Love for me... I am yours.

Cliff Anderson

I have never attended a funeral via live video stream... until today. He was my friend, my boss and my mentor for just over a year and I will never forget him. He taught me how to talk to people, how to rally others to a cause, and how to be all about the kingdom of God and those who are part of it and not yet part of it. It was his life.
I cried last night while singing the old song "When The Music Fades". The words say "I'll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have required... though I'm weak and poor, all I have is yours, every single breath." That was his life. Every single breath.
How will I be remembered? Sometimes I wonder if the time I spend with others is just in the ranks of the average - if our hours could have just as well been spent talking about the weather or why we disagree with a certain government official. Not that these are bad things to talk about, they just aren't eternal. When I come to die, will people remember me as someone who gave all I have, every single breath to the cause of Christ? It's people like Cliff who show us what that looks like. Jesus is a perfect picture of God and people like Cliff are a broken picture of Jesus, beautiful in their imperfection.
To give every single breath means that your heart hurts for those who don't know that there is a God who loves them so much that he would voluntarily suffer not only the pain of losing a child, but the actual pain of death, just so that he could talk to me, know me, and be with me. The crazy part about this is that it's not just some flawed God like you read about in mythology, but the actual God that made the universe, the oceans, and my toes.
I haven't written in a while - and I think when that happens, it is because I am getting really caught up in myself, my business and my narrow little world. The only thing that is eternally significant is that others know about the truth that the Gospel of Christ provides, and yet when my truck breaks down, it seems like a little death has just happened. It is then when I know just how messed up my heart is, and how badly I need a savior.