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Thursday, July 3, 2014

fathers.

I like quotes. In fact I quite adore them. I adore them so much that I often search for the appropriate quote to set the mood or create the theme for whatever I’m going to write. They give a generalization for how I’m either feeling in that moment, or wish to convey to whomever is reading my thoughts. I know this is a bit late, but I wanted to write about my father, specifically thinking of fathers day, and therefore, I searched for appropriate quotes to share my regard for him. Much to my chagrin, what I found was simply dismal. Oh, I found quotes… the jocular kind. The kind that sons and daughters wrote in bitter disdain, laughing at what a fool their father was, and accepting his failures as though they were parodies, in a way to console themselves because deep in their hearts, they were hurt by what there fathers weren’t. It was as though they had rested in the fact that, “Hey… everyone’s father is a failure, so we may as well chortle at them all and accept this as gospel truth.” 

On the contrary… when I searched quotes for mothers, I found nothing but warm, loving and gentle quotes that inferred a refuge in a mother that was found when disappointed by a fathers wrath or inconsideration of his child. 

I was broken as I read these quotes. What a sad story it is that a child could be so bitter towards their father, and that a father would be absent in their child’s life to condone such strong emotions of anger and resentment. 

Needless to say.. I don’t need a quote for my father. Because he cannot be summed up in mere words, especially those that are degrading. He can, however, be characterized by a man who is the complete opposite of all those quotes I found. 

My father is the man I respect, commend, admire and love the most in my life. And if I could only ask one thing of my heavenly Father, it would be that he places a man in my life who is exactly like my dad.  

Several people recently, through conversation, have asked me what my father does, and regardless of the fact that I talk so much… I end up talking about everything he’s done, because I want people to know how wonderful he is. I talk about him at JMU, about him in the Marine Corps, about his job, what he’s struggled through to get where he is today, and how if ever I saw a man above reproach, it was surely my father and none other. 

I have never met a man like him. He is kind, compassionate, hardworking, motivated, selfless, brave, stable, encouraging, intelligent, thoughtful, outgoing, deep, down to earth, jovial, light-hearted, positive, loving, outdoorsy, knowledgable in practically every area I’ve seen him in, capable at working through any task, supportive… but more than anything, a man after God’s own heart. 

My father is not perfect, and is aware of his flaws so that he is the most humble man I know, which means that he is the most genuine father I could have. He never puts on airs, but rebukes pride and arrogance. He cares for others so well, he loves on others and it is a joy that I have a father who so sincerely loves and supports those around him. Words… why are words so often difficult to find to describe someone? 

I think if there could be one word to describe who he is, it would be Refuge. My father is a refuge from the world… and isn’t that exactly what a father should be? Isn’t that exactly what my real Father is? God has blessed me with a man who the essence of a man. He is courageous, fearing the Lord in all he does. He is someone that I can run to when I am worried, when I need support or guidance, when I need encouragement, and when I fail, he is the one to not judge or criticize, but to build up and care for. He is ALWAYS there for me… even when I don’t see it. I love him and I never say it enough. 

It makes me weep to know that there are fathers who don’t deliver… who are not there for there children, because I cannot imagine a life without my father… without his steady assuredness and faith that propels me forward and keeps me safe. But I am blessed… blessed beyond belief and could not thank God more that He created this incredible man, raised him up, called him to Himself and beckoned him to be a father to my family, because he is a gift far greater than any golden riches and far beyond a father that I would ever deserve. 

I will always love him, for he has always loved me. 


"The father of a righteous man has great joy;

he who has a wise son delights in him."
Proverbs 23:24

Thursday, January 23, 2014

yet, He.

We are too content for our own good. 
We settle for less. 
We accept things for how they are, instead of fighting for what they could be. 
We find ourselves in a world, where nothing fully satisfies us, and somehow we have the audacity and brazenness as human beings to ignore that emptiness and not seek for truth and reason and wholeness.

Or maybe that's just me. 

I don't think C.S. Lewis could have said it any better when he noted that "It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased." 
(The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses)

I am far too easily pleased. I am a sloth. A glutton. One who sees and is surrounded by God's inherent Word every second of every day. I am without excuse to reject His glory and yet, I do not on my own, desire even a skosh of goodness. (Romans 1:20) I am foul. And I actually SETTLE for that. 

How? When this glorious truth of grace waves before me, vying for my undivided attention. This ignorance is astounding. 

Yet, He. 
In all His goodness. 
He comes. 

"When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died, 
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, 
Save in death of Chris my God! 
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood. 

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down! 
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, 
Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 

Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
That were a present far too small; 
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. "

Isaac Watts

He demands my soul, and somehow... I falter. All of me? Why do I not hand it over? Wretched heart that I am, I hold onto what I know best...and that is nothing short of villainous contempt, despair and disdain. 

Confession. I hold on to the things which hold no importance to them. I desire the things that separate me from God... and in that, God divinely shows His mercy and bids me come that I may thirst no more for desires that make my body wane in the darkness for lack of light. This fact that I truly am a scoundrel doesn't hit me or sink in nearly as often as it should... Yet, He. In all His goodness. He comes. And because I can't even have the benefit of actually desiring something good, places a desire in me that yearns for Him in all His purity, so that I too may partake of infinite joy. 

This Gospel. 
This good news. 
Astounds me.