Sunday, 28 October 2012

You may have noticed a certain leave of absence from this blog in the last few weeks. It's not that I haven't had anything to comment on - I have just had my hands full, getting to grips with some very important new life lessons (and some especially grubby nappies).  

Prior to becoming a dad, I tuned into various theology and teaching regarding parenthood and family in general. Most, if not all, advised to putting children and family above other personal interests and becoming more of a servant at home - despite all that would vie for your affections elsewhere in a regular routine. I have always been a big subscriber to being as present and committed to people/circumstances around you as you can be - not giving someone/thing half your attention. So this mindset seemed to make sense. 

With most things, that has been fairly easy to stick to. Aside from being with people, I love reading, writing, fitness/sport, cooking, music etc etc. Hobbies that are generally quite manageable, that I can pick up and put down regularly.

However, I'm currently getting to grips with a new task/hobby/love that's proving to be slightly more of a handful!  

Now, I know it sounds a bit far-fetched to start commenting on fatherhood when I've still only been in the game for 5 minutes, but when people warn that it'll demand your all, they seriously mean it. I don't think I had fully appreciated that! 

**queue brief pause while I change a particularly explosive nappy** 

As I've looked to the Bible for wisdom/guidance over the years, I've been constantly reminded of the steadfast love of the Father; that He only has my best interests at heart; that He will stop at nothing to serve and protect me.  

Looking at the 8lbs bundle wrapped in swaddling blankets in my arms, I can totally see that perspective developing further in me, more than ever before. I thought I had understood that the Father was all for me - but again, another life stage comes along and reveals yet more of that truth. 

Everyday, I place a load of 'dirty nappies' at God's feet. Different sin, issues and impatience that I expect Him to wipe clean. And do you know what? Every single day He does.  

Everyday, He lays something aside so that I might be able to encounter Him, get clean and know His plan for me.  

My son is yet to thank me for putting up with his crying, pooping and demanding. But just as the task is relentless and consuming here, so is the amazing example of love set by God my Father in Heaven.  

You may see me on this blog a little less frequently than I'd like, but it's only because there's some big lessons being taught from a Father to a son.

He/he demands my all. 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Love at first sight #part 3

**WARNING  - this following blog does not ignore the fact that there are 101 other sins that I commit on a regular basis!**

If you’d said to me in my early 20’s that I would be married with a kid by the age of 27, I would have either laughed or fainted. At that point in time my main concerns were partying hard, getting up late, doodling in lectures, drinking pints, playing football and generally coasting without focus.

Responsibility was absolutely nowhere to be found. Direction, vision and discipline were not on the agenda. I was very good (or so I thought) at getting away with committing to anything. I was generally a good guy who loved his mates, music and sport and liked going to church because it was something that I had grown accustomed to doing – it just felt like the right thing to do. Getting to a church service once a week was probably about as much as I would/could commit to.

But somewhere along the line, God’s grace has picked me up and dusted me off in a way that I cannot believe. He has blessed me with four years of marriage to a girl who is mega Godly, focussed and out of my league and has now given us this bundle of joy as well – Elijah George.

From my perspective, I don’t deserve any of it and it should be a task that overwhelms me - but for some reason it doesn't at all!

The reason is that God has shown me how much of a sin adolescence can be. That gap between being a boy and man that most guys stretch out for as long as possible. Some do it by not working; some do it by not committing to a girl and instead commit to dozens of girls online in private; some do it by not paying rent and staying at home for as long as possible; some do it by blowing their cash as often and as freely as they wish, without a second thought. There are heaps of examples – but generally speaking, it’s just not maturing and taking responsibility when they should.  

As a young guy living in London, it only takes a quick glance around you to feel challenged and overcome by the responsibility of growing up. The media is saturated with a call to young guys to extend their youth for as long as possible – often into their 30’s.

I've read otherwise in the Bible; I've experienced otherwise through several years of marriage, and now there’s a little guy in a Moses basket next to me who is helping me to think ‘long-term’ as well. I was just reading something in 1 Corinthians 3 which helped me get my head around this even further – in the passage, Paul is referring to a work that he began in the church in Corinth, but it’s applicable to this as well: ‘By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder…each one should build with care - for no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ It’s tough being a faithful steward of everything God entrusts you with – but not when you have Christ as your cornerstone.
You could play the field, blow your cash, free-load off people, hit the snooze button until midday, get hyped about Fifa 13 and care more about your looks than reading your Bible. Or you could surrender it ALL to Jesus and watch an absolutely amazing journey kick up a gear. Whether you end up just taking responsibility for yourself, a wife and a kid or a greater numbers of lives, it’s a dangerous adventure to begin while you’re still young, but it’s totally worth it.  

Later, Paul says: ‘Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight’ (1 Cor 3 v18-19)

The high streets, the media and the bars/clubs argue against laying down foundations, taking responsibility and building wisely in your youth. Surely it would be foolishness to go counter-cultural too early!?

Worldly foolishness/Heavenly wisdom = get married to that girl, build a family, give your money away, get up early, surrender your time over to your church, fall to your knees, go public about your faults (the list could go on and on).

Buck the trend and become a ‘fool’ – you’ll love it. 

Now, excuse me while I go and change this kid's nappy.