Stay At Home, Dad

10 01 2010

So, two days ago, my wife, along with her mother, and 7 others (including my boss and his wife) left for a seven-day medical missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  I’ve been on many missions trips (well, probably about seven), and usually, since they are with the youth group I work with my wife stays home, to watch the kids while I’m away.  This time though, it is my wife’s first missions trip,  the first time she’s been away from the kids for this long, and the longest I’ve been with the kids all by myself.

Now, before you think this is simply about me whining about being a Dad-on-his-own (or a DOHO, as I like to call it), well, okay.  That’s a small part of it.  I mean, it is tough.  Keeping up the house, making breakfast, lunch, dinner, the numerous snacks that they seem to keep getting away with, starting movies, setting up (and playing practically entire levels of, because they’re just “too hard, Daddy!”) video games, changing diapers, wiping butts after the potty, yadda, yadda, yadda…

It’s tough work.  And before anyone says “well, I’m a mom, and I do that all the time!”  Know this:  I do this all the time too.  I’m a stay-at-home Dad two days during the “workweek” and my wife works on-call at a hospital, so I’m often fending for myself here on the home front.  But, there’s usually relief on the horizon.  The cavalry may take a while to get there, but back-up is always on the way…sometime.

And tonight, when I made a paper “ring-chain” to help the kids (and yeah, myself too) count down the number of days until Mommy returns, it really hit me, how long I still have to go until my wife returns… (Let’s ignore the fact that when she does return, she’s going to be exhausted, and not really going to be in the mood to “get back to the grind” right away either….)

But that’s honestly not the point of my writing here.  No, why I write now, is because I’m realizing the hard way (and the best way, I think that God could have possibly done so) what my wife does for me, for my family, and for service to God every time I’m in Saltillo or Mazatlan in Mexico, or Cedar Rapids in Iowa, or New Orleans, Louisiana, and this summer when I’ll be in Erkrath, Germany.

We need to recognize that in situations like this, staying home is not simply a matter of duty to our family, or to avoid amazingly expensive daycare/babysitting costs.  It’s not a burden, giving us reason to sigh and moan.  Being at home while a loved one is away serving God in a missions field is not a matter of us left behind being idle and feeling useless.

God called one of us to the missions field, and the other?  That one didn’t just stay home.  One of us was called to step up and serve the missions field here at home.  My staying home now, just as the many times my wife has stayed at home then (and I know will, in the future), is service to my creator.  It is service to those people in Honduras.  It is service to my wife.  It is service to my kids (although they’d most definitely say otherwise).

But what God’s revealing to me more and more with really, every hour I’m here doing this terrible job on my own, is that this isn’t just “the luck of the draw” that I’m home and my wife is gone.  God is asking me to serve.  And I can do so one of two ways:  begrudgingly, counting down the minutes (nay, the seconds!) until my wife can come home and relieve me from the stress I’ve gone through (remember, wiping butts, endless nights of kids refusing to go to bed…sitting through tearful bouts of “I miss Mommy”, etc…)

OR

I can take joy in knowing that God is working through my humble little family.  I can be encouraged, knowing that my wife is making a difference on the lower hemisphere of our planet, while I support her efforts back here in the north.  Knowing that God has chosen us to do His work.  And every butt I wipe, and every tear I wipe and every nose I wipe (yeah I do a lot of wiping) is making a difference for His kingdom, which is eternal, amazing, and so awesome compared to the wisp of a wisp of a wisp of mist that this week of trial (for both my wife and myself) is at the moment.

So, while I’m missing my wife like mad, and having trouble sleeping because I worry about her well-being and thinking about her more times a day than I have fingers and toes…I’m choosing the second option.  I’m grateful for the chance to serve God, wife and family.  I’m grateful that I’m getting to build into my kids in a way I don’t when my wife is here.  I’m grateful that my wife is building into God in a way that simply doesn’t happen unless you’re out on a limb for Him.

I’m grateful that God told me:  “Stay at home, Dad.”

OtakuMom’s missions trip in Tegucigalpa, Honduras is blogged about here. It is a multi-church effort that aims to bring badly needed medicines, dental help, and hope to some very hurting, very needy, and very-loved-by-God people.





Book Review: “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan

10 06 2009

So, I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love” for quite some time now.  I’ll be honest, I read the first 80% of it within a week or so, and then the last 20% took me forever to finish.  Part of that was life getting hectic, and I don’t know what the rest was.

But, it is now finished, and I have much to say about it.  However, I will first remind everyone what I mean when I say the word “review”.  It’s not meant to be objective in any way.  This is entirely subjective (which, I believe, is the point of reviews…you find someone you tend to agree with, and then trust their opinions on various media suggestions) and moreso, is definitely very much about where my head and heart are right now.  So, as with everything I say, take this with a grain of salt, a swig of your favorite beverage, and hopefully a munch of something tasty.  That said, here we go:

“Crazy Love” is definitely the most interesting book I’ve read in the last five years.  No, it’s not the most “gripping”.  It’s not very exciting at all, actually.  Mostly, I have a hard time reading non-fiction.  So, if it doesn’t have a story and characters and twists, and whatever…it doesn’t get read (all the way, at least).  But, Crazy Love called to me in the bookstore.  No joke, I believe God placed this book in my hands.

Francis Chan has a simple premise here-that we’re not living as we should.  That we’re not living the lives we profess.  That we are sapping our own vitality here, and potentially endangering our very souls by doing so.

See, Pastor Chan (of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California) believes that we need to be sold out for Jesus.  And we, as Christians nod in agreement, and say “Of course, man!  Amen!”  But Francis doesn’t let us off the hook there.  He says, “Well?  How about it then?  Where is your faith?  Where are you walking where only God can catch you if you fall?” Read the rest of this entry »





Book Review: "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan

10 06 2009

So, I’ve been reading Francis Chan’s book, “Crazy Love” for quite some time now.  I’ll be honest, I read the first 80% of it within a week or so, and then the last 20% took me forever to finish.  Part of that was life getting hectic, and I don’t know what the rest was.

But, it is now finished, and I have much to say about it.  However, I will first remind everyone what I mean when I say the word “review”.  It’s not meant to be objective in any way.  This is entirely subjective (which, I believe, is the point of reviews…you find someone you tend to agree with, and then trust their opinions on various media suggestions) and moreso, is definitely very much about where my head and heart are right now.  So, as with everything I say, take this with a grain of salt, a swig of your favorite beverage, and hopefully a munch of something tasty.  That said, here we go:

“Crazy Love” is definitely the most interesting book I’ve read in the last five years.  No, it’s not the most “gripping”.  It’s not very exciting at all, actually.  Mostly, I have a hard time reading non-fiction.  So, if it doesn’t have a story and characters and twists, and whatever…it doesn’t get read (all the way, at least).  But, Crazy Love called to me in the bookstore.  No joke, I believe God placed this book in my hands.

Francis Chan has a simple premise here-that we’re not living as we should.  That we’re not living the lives we profess.  That we are sapping our own vitality here, and potentially endangering our very souls by doing so.

See, Pastor Chan (of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California) believes that we need to be sold out for Jesus.  And we, as Christians nod in agreement, and say “Of course, man!  Amen!”  But Francis doesn’t let us off the hook there.  He says, “Well?  How about it then?  Where is your faith?  Where are you walking where only God can catch you if you fall?” Read the rest of this entry »





Confess, Re-Dedicate, Pray, Repeat.

27 05 2009

Here’s the deal.  I’m going to lay it out for you all right now, and in the open for all to see.  Because it’s what needs to happen.  Frankly, it needs to happen for everyone that calls themselves sons or daughters of God.  It needs to happen before you go to youth group, before you go to church, before you go to bible study, or really we should do it again and again, before we lay down before bed, and before we get up out of bed for our days to begin, and probably throughout our day as well…

So what the heck am I talking about.  I’m talking about confession, re-dedication, and prayer.  I hate talking like this, but I’m going to add one more preface here:  This isn’t about being public so people will see me.  And it’s not about “earning God” because nothing I can do is worthy of God.  And anything in public that I do, is probably worth even that little bit less.  But it’s late at night, my wife is in bed, and I’ve got no one to share with.  So it’s going to be you.  Sorry about that. 🙂

So yeah, let’s start with confession. Read the rest of this entry »





Perspective After I Heard About The Branches

27 03 2009

A man I (to be honest) barely knew before he left to work in Jordan (the country in the Mid-East, not the basketball player), wrote a great story over at his blog.  I wish I knew Brian better before he left, because I was just starting to form a connection with him, his wife and his kids, through a video I filmed for the church, dedicating their daughter to the Lord.  

We talked a little more after that, and then he had to leave.  But I think we shared a lot of perspective on things.  Anyway, Brian wrote a post a little while back that I just got around to reading.  I suggest you read it, because honestly, what I say next is kind of all about that.  It may or may not make sense without the context, so…yeah.  Do as you will.

Anyway, what he said really got me thinking, especially with the very apt section from the book of Jonah about the vine.

It got me thinking about social class.  It got me thinking about wealth.  It got me thinking about all the ways in which we, who are privileged, become even more greedy.  

Now, before you cluck at me and think to yourself: “Maybe YOU find yourself more greedy, but really, that’s not the case with me!”

And if you’re right, then that’s awesome.  Of course it could just be me. Read the rest of this entry »





Commitment. It’s This New Thing…It’s This Old Thing.

13 02 2009

 

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

So I was listening to the Bible today (I’m a big fan of the “Daily Audio Bible” podcast…the reader, Brian, is awesome and so on fire for God.  He’s got a hippy-dippy voice so not created for radio, but he’s doing his thang-thang for God and that’s amazing and powerful and God’s definitely taking his loaves and fishes and working miracles from it, and that is truly inspiring…but I digress.)  

 

So I’m listening to the Bible today, and thinking about those ancient times.  Times so distant to us that a lot of the cultural references and thoughts are so foreign to us, that we can’t really get in there, mentally.  We can only associate ideologically or really, more in a strictly historically academic sense.  So I am thinking about these things…And then I think about commitment.  I consider myself committed to Christ.  What does that mean? 

Read the rest of this entry »





Commitment. It's This New Thing…It's This Old Thing.

13 02 2009

 

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

Old-Skool Hardcore Commitment

So I was listening to the Bible today (I’m a big fan of the “Daily Audio Bible” podcast…the reader, Brian, is awesome and so on fire for God.  He’s got a hippy-dippy voice so not created for radio, but he’s doing his thang-thang for God and that’s amazing and powerful and God’s definitely taking his loaves and fishes and working miracles from it, and that is truly inspiring…but I digress.)  

 

So I’m listening to the Bible today, and thinking about those ancient times.  Times so distant to us that a lot of the cultural references and thoughts are so foreign to us, that we can’t really get in there, mentally.  We can only associate ideologically or really, more in a strictly historically academic sense.  So I am thinking about these things…And then I think about commitment.  I consider myself committed to Christ.  What does that mean? 

Read the rest of this entry »