Monday, July 22, 2013

What it Means to Be a Dad

I spend a lot of time thinking about what it means to be a Dad. What kind of legacy am I creating for my kids? How do I want to build into them? How am I harming them through my own weaknesses?

These are thoughts that come rushing into my mind more frequently when Eli has another medical problem.

Stress doesn’t really make for good choices!

As I I think the question I always ask myself “what would I do?” Would I have the courage to push forward? Do I have the strength to keep fighting for my family? I think the surprising answer has been “yes.” It’s not easy. It’s not fun. I don’t feel strong. I don’t feel courageous.

But I keep two thoughts in mind.

1) If not me, who?
2) Jesus went through far worse, and He keeps fighting for me.

I learned long ago that faith in God doesn’t protect you from suffering. What it does is allow you to survive suffering. It changes the meaning of suffering. And that’s what it’s done for our family. Life has been hard, unbearably at times. But slowly over the last two years, we’ve changed. We’ve been forced to find new rhythms to grow us together. We’ve been forced to prioritize what matters to us as a family. We’ve been forced to appreciate the good things in life, and celebrate the miracles we receive. That’s why these are some of my favorite pictures:

That's the face she has for Dad

Mom gets a bit more introspective

These were taken minutes after we learned that would need surgery (his fifth in 21 months), and as devastated and exhausted as Heather and I were, we could still laugh.

At the end of the last post I mentioned that Job’s reaction to suffering was grief AND worship. Then I wondered if I would do the same thing? I think the answer is yes. Not only that, but I think our ability to laugh and worship God is a miracle on it's own.  One that might sound crazy to some.  And it would have sounded crazy to me even two years ago.  But here we are.  God has grown our family. He's changed the meaning of suffering for us.

God is good. Even when we can’t feel it in the moment.  Looking back, nothing is more obvious.  In fact, this is one of the lessons I want to leave my children.  I want them to understand that suffering doesn't mean you've been abandoned.  That suffering doesn't change your value.  Or God's character.  It's not an easy lesson to learn, and it's not an easy lesson to teach.  But it's an important lesson.

Although maybe next time we can learn a lesson while sitting on a beach drinking Margaritas.

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