Archive for the ‘Father’ Category

unbelief

“My son says he doesn’t believe in God anymore”. Those were the anguished words I heard my friend speak to me just the other day when we were together. He said, “he announced that to my wife and I with the proclamation that he no longer needs to go to church anymore as well”. My friend’s son is just 17 and only a junior in High School. He went on to tell me that this announcement was really just the tip of the iceberg inside their home in that he and his wife have been dealing with pure rebellion in this young man for close to a year. Moreover, with younger kids still in the home, this situation is beginning to tear his family apart.

How do you respond to someone when they tell you that?

My brothers I am sure many of you can identify with this very same scenario in your home and all the battles that happen as a result. As the father, some of us may get very firm and stand our ground in front of our kids and wives and shout, “My way or the highway!” while others of us may be more fearful and not want to upset the household to much and therefore we don’t do anything leaving everyone confused because there aren’t any boundaries coming from dad…

Does any of this sound familiar to you?

The Bible tells us this in Proverbs:

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.   (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

So if we give our kids the correct Christ-like foundation, and a home that believes in Him and loves each other, no matter what…then if I understand God correctly, He will take care of the rest?

The answer is a resounding YES.

Guys, I am NOT an expert; I simply speak from experience in my own life when I was a teenager as well as now being the father of 2 sons.

It all starts with love in the home. By building a foundation of love inside your walls and providing for your children in the best way YOU can…then you have laid the foundation for God to work with later on when they are older. You see the reality of this life is that our children get to make their own choices about their lives…and that includes whom they will serve. As much as you and I may try, we don’t get to make that decision for them. They make it for themselves…your kids and mine. All we can do as parents is to give them the best we have and then it is up to God.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me about this point, I am NOT saying we walk away from them…OH NO. I am saying that once they reach that certain age and begin to question everything…we continue to love them, pray for them and provide guidance as they walk through this valley. That is our job and that is exactly what I told my friend. “Your home is being attacked by the enemy through your son and no matter what happens, you have to stand strong in Christ and work to try and love your kid through this major episode…together”. I encourage him like I would encourage you with these words:

God is working in your life, even when you don’t see it, even when you can’t feel it, even if it’s not evident.

You are NOT alone on this battlefront. God is right there beside you and no matter how many mean things our kids will say to us…WE STILL TRUST HIM…

Please don’t give up guys…Let me leave you with one of my favorite verses from the Bible is Joshua:

 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”   (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

 

Until next time guys…

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A couple of years ago, I recall my 10-year old son asked me a very interesting question that caused me to think about the person I am and the roots where I came from. He said, “Dad, do you think you and I would have been friends if you were younger”? I was kind of taken aback for a second because I was recalling I was kind of a jerk when I was a kid…My response back to him was very quick to say “absolutely, I know we would have been friends”…but in my mind I thought, would we?

Another time, I was over at a friend’s house picking up the very same son from a sleep over and the mother pulled me aside to tell me that my little boy was adamant that when he went to bed, that he be allowed to sleep without his shirt on because that is how his Dad sleeps. She thought that was great…I stood there in amazement thinking my little man is watching me all the time…

I don’t tell you these stories to get the “Ahhh” effect; I tell them to remind you that your children are watching you and me…24/7 and what you say and do now…well, in a couple of years they will also say and do the very same thing…are you are ok with that?

Look guys, let me say it this way, as someone who has lost an older child I know I have a different perspective than most of you causing me to be far more focused on the time I have with my kids because as I found out, you never know when that time will end. I can tell you this first hand, don’t be left wishing you would have said something or did something different, because that feeling sucks…

dad-son-flyingBut if I were to narrow in on your perspective right now, where do you spend most of your time? Are you focused on your hobbies or your business first?, versus your family? It’s a pretty simple question to answer and frankly, not anything you haven’t heard before from someone else or maybe even this blog. The question is, do you understand at your core, what your true legacy will be when you leave this earth? I assure you it will not be all the time you spent at work or at play…It will be the family you helped create and what kind of people they grew up to be…

Guys, I can’t stress that fact enough. Your legacy is NOT your work but your children. Everybody will forget what you did rather quickly, but they won’t forget the people you made and the impact they ultimately had on other people.

I know you know this so I won’t beat this drum forever. Take some time and be the Dad your kids need you to be. Just hang out with them and make them laugh…those can be some of the best times ever and its so easy…you have it in you, I know you do…you just need to let that fun guy out again.

Honestly, this is probably one of the simplest posts I have ever done which stands to reason as to how easy this one is to complete in your own life. TRULY, what I am telling you is NOT rocket science, it’s just Dad Stuff

Until next time guys…

kyliekitty

Today, June 21st, marks the anniversary of 10 years since you became a citizen of Heaven and yet there still isn’t one single day that goes by that I don’t think about you and who you would be today. I could tell you I miss you, but words can’t describe the gut wrenching feeling even now that I still feel. It still hurts so deep down inside me but yet I am resolved to this feeling because I know I cannot change the past, only the future, and I can tell you that your Dad is a very different person now since you are gone. But I will not digress in this letter to you…I will stay the course and promise to hold fast to God because I know that in Him and through Him, I will see you again.

Kylie, I wanted to tell you that we finally moved from the home you grew up in and became the person we remember the most. Your mother and I agreed that it was finally time. Your older brother Jarrett, has moved out and become successful on his own now and although I don’t see him as much as I would like, I am thankful for the time I do have. But without him in that big house, it just felt different and frankly it was time to move on. But through that process of packing boxes and unpacking them in our new home, all those feelings of missing you came back again, many of which I had packed away, not planning on “feeling” them anymore….but they came in a giant wave and there you were, right back in the center of our lives again with your Mom and I trying desperately to control them and keep it together.

You see we found your pictures; your voice in video, your artwork, your backpack, your clothes…we found “You”, exactly the way “you” had left your things. I probably should say, “shame on us” for not moving your things out of your room sooner but in your case, we just never seemed to find the time or the energy to take that challenge on…but when it’s time to move, well, it forced us to take that issue head on. I can tell you that it was not easy, but through the strength of family and friends, we overcame and I can see now that we are better because we worked hard not to wear that burden anymore.

Kylie, you would be very proud of both of your brothers. Your 12 years here truly impacted both of them positively. Jarrett has gone on to be a successful producer in a local prominent television studio. He is working to ultimately be the sports guy and if I know him, he will make it. When I see your little brother Kendrick, he reminds me of you. He has a crazy personality and enjoys being silly with all of us. He plays baseball and the piano just like you, and is very good at both. Sometimes he asks questions about you when he sees pictures of you holding him and I can’t tell you how much I enjoy talking about you to him. It makes BOTH of us happy, even still…

You would be amazed at your Mom and what she has done since you left. She is a part of Umbrella Ministries that has been instrumental in helping other mothers who have lost children in dealing with the grief and pain of child loss. In other words, she has taken her pain and worked it into a positive for someone else in the same circumstance…doesn’t that sound like something your mom would do? By the way, if you’ve ever wondered why your heavenly father comes to you every single evening and gives you hugs and kisses, it because every night, your mom signs off every family prayer with that request of Him…

Sometimes I think about how you’re not being here changed the overall course of our lives. In other words, what decisions did your Mom and I make while in our state of grief that caused our life’s direction to change? Your mother and I look back and see very clearly now that we were not the same people after we lost you and logic says that when you make decisions in a different state of mind…well…you are going to get a different outcome…Only God knows how our lives would have gone with you still here but that wasn’t Gods plan. His plan was to take you and although I am not angry with Him, I will never understand the “why”…

Kylie, I never would have thought that I would ever be a Dad writing a letter to any deceased child, let alone my own…but here I am 10 years past your death, still trying to get a grip on you not being here. To help clarify, I miss who you would have been and the chances I would have had to be your Daddy…even now when you would have been a grown woman. Being a father of a girl, well it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Being the father of you, well, frankly, was indescribable…it just ended far to soon. Because of that statement, I can easily say that I do not take time spent with family and friends for granted as I did. Now, I just soak it all in…

Kylie, it’s been 10 years since you left and my observations are we are all very different but yet, we are all still that same in some ways as our memories drift back to our time spent with you. I have said this all along and will continue to feel this way until I’m gone…

 I am better person having been your Daddy and although I still miss you desperately, my faith in God tells me I will see you again.

I will always love you Kylie…

Your Daddy

theBible_poster_joshua

The Ironman Strength blog has always been about being strong in God and taking on the challenges that this life sends our way and this post is no different. Guys, I sense some wavering out there…some doubt in your lives that if left alone, could cause some very serious problems for you and your family down the road. Please read this post with the same urgency that I write it and please take it to heart. I begin with a verse for warriors that I hope you will apply today…

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15 NIV)

This is a great verse because it is clear and to the point. When Joshua wrote this verse, he knew he was going to die. He had fought the good fight for God and now he was old but before God took him into heaven, Joshua spoke to the children of Israel and gave them two options about their spiritual future; either serve God…or don’t serve Him. They had already experienced the power of God throughout their daily journey as they moved through the promised land and continually overcame obstacles that were more than they could have ever withstood on their own…And now, here they stood on the precipice of the most important decision any of them would ever make for their future…and with Joshua gone…would they give in and serve the gods of the existing tribes around them…or…would they take a stand and serve the God who had brought them to where they were now?

What is critical to note here though is Joshua’s final opinion on the two options he gave Israel. He said, “as for me and my household, we will serve The Lord”. As was typical of the rock who Joshua was…He did not waver or falter…he spoke from his heart and it was solid.

Joshua was one of the most powerful warriors in Biblical history who served God with all he had and when the end of his life was near, he took his final stand in front of his nation and announced who he and his house would serve…

My question to you is…which option have you chosen for you and your house?

Have you taken the stand for yourself and firmly planted your feet on the solid ground before God?

I believe that now is time to“man up” in your relationship with God…It is your responsibility to shield both you and your family from the harm that Satan seeks to wreak upon the people you care about. Now is NOT a time for doubt, it is a time for clarity. Otherwise you will be like this;

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)

Everyone has seen seaweed being tossed back and forth inside waves with no stability whatsoever. That seaweed could end up anywhere because it has broken away from its stronghold under the sea. Guys, if you doubt, that will be you being thrown around in this world like the seaweed in the waves…with nothing to hold onto…being tossed around with no idea where you will end up…

Trust me here…that is NOT God’s plan for you or your family.

Guys, I challenge you right now to be the warrior God intended you to be by taking a stand inside your house by protecting your wife and kids from what Satan seeks to do them. It starts by clinging onto our God who is a rock and a fortress and will always be there for us…

I challenge you to be like Joshua and declare to the world…

As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord…

 

Until next time guys…

 

 

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I happened upon this article recently and it brought a smile to my face because I am one of those Dad’s who was blessed with boys. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I also was blessed with a girl for a time and she was truly a joy in my life but today…this post is about little men. If you happen to be blessed with one, two or more, then you will understand this next statement…

It’s NEVER boring with a little guy around…

In fact, sometimes life can kind of be downright chaotic with little guys around…however, I don’t know about you, I wouldn’t have it any other way…But I digress…

The article I found are from a sunday school classroom of little guys explaining who they think God is and why they believe in Him…completely from their “little man”vantage point.

I hope you like it…

A LITTLE MAN’S EXPLANATION OF GOD:

 

 

‘One of God’s main jobs is making people. He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn’t make grownups, just babies. I think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn’t have to take up his valuable time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.’

 

‘God’s second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some people, like preachers and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn’t have time to listen to the radio or TV because of this. Because he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.’

 

‘God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you shouldn’t go wasting his time by going over your mom and dad’s head asking for something they said you couldn’t have.’

 

‘Atheists are people who don’t believe in God. I don’t think there are any in San Diego. At least there aren’t any who come to our church.’

 

‘ Jesus is God’s Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles and trying to teach the people who didn’t want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him preaching to them and they crucified him. But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his father that they didn’t know what they were doing and to forgive them and God said O.K.’

 

‘His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him he didn’t have to go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps his dad out by listening to prayers and seeing things which are important for God to take care of and which ones he can take care of himself without having to bother God. Like a secretary, only more important.’

 

‘You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of them is on duty all the time.’

 

‘You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there’s anybody you want to make happy, it’s God!

 

Don’t skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And besides the sun doesn’t come out at the beach until noon anyway.’

 

‘If you don’t believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your parents can’t go everywhere with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He’s around you when you’re scared, in the dark or when you can’t swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big kids.’

 

‘But…you shouldn’t just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can take me back anytime he pleases.

 

And…that’s why I believe in God.’

 

 

Until next time guys…

it_happens_in_a_blink__by_jsf22x35-d3c4oejYesterday, I attended a memorial service for the wife of a former business owner/ friend of mine who recently passed on and has gone to Heaven. The service was great. I say “great” because it was NOT one of those very dull, dreary experiences where the person who passed had no hope and we will never see them again. Everyone in that service knew where this woman was…Heaven…no doubt about it. But yet at the same time, the service was incredibly sad because my friend’s wife was gone. Physically, she is no longer here anymore to participate in her life doing the she things she loved like running, riding bikes or spending time with her husband and her kids…instead, she went to Heaven and it happened in a blink.

 

This coming June 21st, my own daughter Kylie, will have been in heaven for 9 years but yet it only seems just like yesterday to me when she passed. She was a very happy 12-year-old girl who truly loved her family and her life but yet one day, God decided to take her up to Heaven and live with Him…and that too happened in a blink.

 

Now, I will be honest with you here..I am not one of those guys who believes that Kylie is up there watching over our family.  That has never been one of those things told to me that ever gave me comfort. I will also tell you that this post isn’t about wrestling with God or bitterness or anything like that….It’s about recognizing what is right in front of you and possibly losing your pride and being the man and asking for forgiveness…The people we know and care for can be gone in a blink and then what? Well, the hard truth is you must live without them for the rest of your lives…and for some of you, that may mean living with a mountain of regret. The “I should have talked to him/her sooner” conversation that should have happened…never happened…only now it is too late.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I have spoken to friends who were angry at their kids or their wives or their parents and that anger or pride caused them a broken relationship and then as I have experienced first hand, that special someone is gone in a blink and now they live with this bitter pill regret at never reaching out to them and mending that relationship…

 

Remember: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

 

Guys, if you haven’t picked up on the theme of this post…It happens in a blink…It’s because it does. The unexpected can happen before you blink and I assure you there isn’t anything you can do. One minute, all is well in your world and the next, someone YOU LOVE is gone. No matter how hard we try to hold on to someone, we can’t.

 

What I am saying is simple…don’t wait to save your relationships. Please consider taking the high road and do it now…because truly…life can change in a blink. I encourage you to please don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today…

 

Until next time guys…

 

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As I may have mentioned before, I have a second son who is 10 years old and like many of us, is learning that sometimes life isn’t easy. He is currently learning this valuable lesson through the great sport of Baseball. You see, he was drafted onto his very first Little League majors team and although he started the season with a bang, he has since fallen into one of those slumps we see major leaguers fall into now and then. This slump however, is causing him great distress. The more he tries to shake it off, the worse it gets and this past weekend…well, he just kinda hit the wall…(Anyone ever hit the wall before?…) His “hitting the wall” experience afforded me the opportunity as his father to have one of those conversations about life that I think all young men need to hear sometime as they grow up.

Now I will be honest with you…I have heard and read many of these self-help pontificator’s who put forth things like empowering yourself and “everything you need to be great exists inside you already all you need to do is find it” kind of stuff…and although there may be place for that somewhere…when you are staring into the tearing eyes of a 10-year-old boy who is trying desperately to do his best, and it’s not working…all of those empowerment ideals goes out the window.

Here is the bottom line…and it is NOT Rocket Science; Sometimes…in this life…you will get knocked down…the question is “are you going to get back up, or are you going to just lay there?” As I watched my own son, it was clear to me he had no idea where to start or what to do…and I realized right then that a lot of men in life find themselves in this same situation. We get knocked down in life…maybe at work or at home and we simply lose our direction and we truly…have no idea where to turn next. Just like my son, we have lost our confidence in ourselves and our capabilities. We forget what our strengths are both professionally and personally and this can cause paralysis from taking another step forward. As adults this can be devastating especially to a family where the father has lost his way and mom is trying to hold things together by herself.

So how does one get his confidence back? Here are my 5 steps to confidence:

  1. Get back up on your feet and take that first step forward. I assure you that confidence does NOT come while you are laying on the ground…
  1. Read Hebrews 4:16…Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. It ALL starts with God guys…He tells us to come to Him with CONFIDENCE in order that we can receive what He has for us…
  1. Spend some quality time with God. Doesn’t have to be hours…just get on your knees for a few minutes without distraction. You will be amazed…
  1. Call a buddy. Just because you are a man doesn’t mean you don’t need to talk and maybe get something off your chest. Grab a coffee and spend a minute with a good friend…
  1. Plug into a church. I know you have heard this before but it is true…God didn’t intend His people to walk through “life” alone…he intended them to do “life” as a community and that happens in a church.

 

It’s like I told my son, “I have seen you hit a baseball before and you hit well…you just need to remember that feeling”

Guys, you HAVE done some “thing’s” in your life well. Some things that should make you proud and happy of your accomplishments as a husband and father…do you remember them? You should…and you have no reason to hang your head… Remember this;

Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Right now, you are running the race marked out for you…NEWS FLASH! You are going to fall down… It WILL imageshappen. That IS a part of your life…but as I mentioned before…when this happens what are you going to do then? Guys my challenge to you today is simply GET UP! Shake off the dirt and keep moving forward. God NEVER promised that our lives would be easy…He only said “He would never leave us or forsake us” which means during your darkest hour…you are not alone…

So GET UP and LOOK UP to Gods throne with confidence…

You can do this…

Until next time guys…