This is the third best blog entry from the year and its actually a triple feature! I chimed in on three different occasions for posts called PARENTING FOR DUMMIES. I like all three and since it is my blog and not yours, I included them all as the number three entry for the year!
Parenting for Dummies Part One
(Note that this was written pre-hospital, pre-calcifications, pre-mutant)
There are any number of dreams I have for you.
Any number of ambitions, hopes, aspirations.
Any number of idols I might cling to.
I even feel the pull on my heartstrings to be derailed from God's calling for you...to protect you...to preserve you.
But in the end, only one prayer will suffice.
Whether it is one more breath or one more century of breaths, may your life be leveraged for the glory of God, indebted to the grace of God and captivated by the heart of God day after day.
And may my heart, dreams and expectations stay out of your way.
Parenting for Dummies Part Two
First, Chaia has had a rough day. She was heading pretty assuredly toward re-intubation which is not great. But there is silver-lining in that...she was heading there because her respiratory system was failing...not her cardiac system...so her heart is ok right now. And because of that we can re-intubate if necessary.
But, they took some tests at 7 p.m. and the results were markedly turned toward the positive, so now we are holding off until the next round of tests at 1 a.m. to see if they think she can continue to battle on her own.
Second. Chaia is not ours. She is a gift. I mean that. It is God who gives life. So the work of parenting is pretty simple. If you commit yourself to the primary work of parenting, you will do well for yourself and for your kids.
Your primary work as a parent isn't friendship. You'll never be cool. You're old.
Your primary work as a parent isn't success. Even if they make great money, they won't give it back to you anyways...Because you're not cool and you're old.
Your primary work as a parent isn't to make them responsible adults. There's no such thing...just a bunch of posers who'd rather be playing with Legos.
Your primary work as a parent isn't "to give them every chance you never had." If you are doing that with your kid...everyone else around your kid hates your kid and hates you for spoiling your kid. (Learn to say "no")
Your primary work as a parent isn't any of these things...Instead it is STEWARDSHIP. In fact your whole life's work should be an act of stewardship. God gifts you with children, with money, with that breath you just took, with friends, with family, with food, with opportunities...and the whole point of those gifts is that you might let them roll right back up to God in thanksgiving and glory.
But in our brokeness, we take these things and distort them...and instead of rolling them back up to the giftgiver, we turn them inward toward ourselves. So money isn't stewarded...it turns into greed and consumerism. Food isn't stewarded...it turns into gluttony or apathy. Children aren't stewarded...they are turned into idols we live vicariously through.
I wrote Chaia a letter the other day before her extubation and I just remember this line that jumped off the pages of my heart. "Your mom and I love you so much...more than words can describe...but we don't love you THAT MUCH. So much that we would make you the center of our lives. So much that we would gain you and lose our souls. So much that you could become an idol. We don’t love you that much, and it is the greatest gift we can give you."
Chaia isn't, wasn't and will never be ours. She is a gift and she belongs to God.
That is what it means to follow Christ...to turn everything about our lives to Him in worship...no matter the cost.
It's better that way. With all that is in us, we know this to be true.
Parenting For Dummies Part Three
"No parent should have to bury their own child."
I've heard that said to grieving parents.
I've said that to grieving parents.
Something just donned on me this week. This isn't helpful. And its not true.
I understand the sentiment. What parent would ever want their child to precede them in death? That is an absolutely painful experience.
But as Chaia has teetered on the edge of life and death over the past almost 3 months, I've found a variety of thoughts and emotions going through my head and in my heart.
One of them has been around this thought, that no parent should have to do what we might have to do. No parent should have to go through what we're going through.
And that line of thinking takes me down a path that is very selfish and very belittling to God.
We rebelled. Adam. Eve. You. Me. Fractured relationship with God, because we thought God was slighting us or holding out on us with the whole fruit and tree fiasco. Sin changed everything.
Sin leaves us, things, the world...broken.
Kids are going to die. Because things aren't right. Tragedy is going to strike, because our sin has left a big 'as-is' tag on the world. Storms will come, because we chose to let rain be in the forecast.
So we make the bed, then shake our fist at God when we have to sleep in it.
And so I feel the same story of entitlement come to the surface in parenting. No parent should have to go down this road? Then, God must be slighting us or holding out on us. And my 'why God?' becomes some sort of defiant, entitled, idolatrous questioning...rather than a question that leads us to worship God in deeper waters.
So Chaia may die. Today, tomorrow, in a week, in a month, in a year, in a century. Your kid may die, too.
And perhaps before that, parenting will turn out a million ways like you didn't expect. Your kids will fall, fail and flee when you hoped they would stand, succeed and stay.
So you and I can play the victim...or worse, let our kids play the victim. And refuse to see God for who He really is.
Or we can enter in the the Grand Story that God is telling.
That He saw the 'As-Is' sticker on our world and each of our hearts, and He said "I'll pay double." And bought us with a price.
That in the midst of our deepest pain, sorrow and brokeness, He came near.
That in a world that had chosen to reject Him in the beginning, He would send a rescuer.
That the only one who has a right to file a claim in the complaint department about having to bury a child, is the One who loved us so much that He sent that child to the cross on our behalf.
That you are not your own.
That your child is not your own.
That we are His.
And that changes everything.