Today we not only celebrate the life of our oldest daughter, but in more ways than she will ever know her arrival changed the course of our lives.
Her arrival sparked a certain urgency in Kristi to find me a job. Indirectly Shelbi is responsible for me spending the last 17 years at Lexmark.
I also happened to gain a significant amount of weight during that first pregnancy. So, indirectly Shelbi is responsible for me weighing more than I should.
I wasn’t the best husband in the world. In fact, the Cowboys were playing on TV while Kristi was in labor with Shelbi. And while I tried to enjoy the game I was strongly encouraged, maybe threatened is more accurate, by my Lamaze Instructing mother and wife to massage feet and calves for hours. So, Shelbi is indirectly responsible for my fading fanaticism in regards to the Dallas Cowboys…that and Jerry Jones. And is also indirectly responsible for making me more responsible.
We built a house because Shelbi was coming. We bought a car because she was coming. We spent money on a glider and bought a brown Lay Z Boy because she was coming (it’s still my chair). We bought a really good, and really expensive, vacuum cleaner because she came (we still have the same Kirby and would never own anything else). We bought a video camera because she came. I learned that putting together a crib can take hours, that the best way to relieve constipation is to shove a thermometer in your rear end, that holding you so you faced out and pulling your knees to your chest helped relieve some of your colicky pain – boy were we exhausted those first few months, and that breast milk isn’t always the best form of nutrition. I learned that there are some hurts Daddy can’t fix, and there are some fears Daddy can’t fight. I learned how to trust doctors to do surgery…twice. I learned that blankets with holes in them can bring comfort and two fingers are always better than one, but allowing you to suck fingers instead of a pacifier was a poor choice regardless of how cute it was. I learned that it is possible for a nine year old to be compassionate (Bunko for Tsunami Recovery Birthday). I learned that suffering through being the oldest child doesn’t prepare you to raise your oldest child. I learned that regardless of how well you think you know your kid it is never a good reason to fail to get to know your kid. I learned that being up front with my kids with my mistakes doesn’t necessarily mean my kids won’t make the same mistakes with worse consequences.
Most of all I learned to love. Unconditionally love. And for that I think everyone should thank you.
Regardless of the cost, the change, the lessons, the pain you were worth it. You is kind, you is smart, you is important. Welcome to adulthood. Now the true test of whether or not we did a good job of being your parents begins. May God be gracious and merciful because perfect we were not.
To that I think I can hear you say, “AMEN, brutha!”
1Once again a message came to me from the Lord: 2“Son of man, give your people this message: ‘When I bring an army against a country, the people of that land choose one of their own to be a watchman. 3When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. 4Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die. 5They heard the alarm but ignored it, so the responsibility is theirs. If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives. 6But if the watchman sees the enemy coming and doesn’t sound the alarm to warn the people, he is responsible for their captivity. They will die in their sins, but I will hold the watchman responsible for their deaths.’
7“Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself.(Ezekiel 33:1-9, NET)
It’s a sobering passage that preaching, prophesying, and teaching carries with it an extraordinary amount of weight. Once you lose this perception of just how responsible you are as a message bringer you will often chase after the gods of popularity and acceptability and growth by justifiable means will eventually overextend. Ultimately failure of not only the messenger, but the entire nation is on the horizon without supernatural intervention.
My hope for Regeneration is that I set the bar high for those who share the pulpit with me and those who will follow me in this regard. That not only will we expect change from everyone else, but that we will be willing to see the enemies that arise in our own lives and change first.
Feel free to hold me to that.
This is also compounded by several factors. Some take risks in order to acquire more comfort. Some refuse risk in order to maintain or even protect comfort. Some take risk without regard to comfort. Some are motivated by greed. Some are motivated by pride. Some are motivated by God. Some are motivated by guilt and shame. Some are motivated by a moral desire to just do the right thing.
So, the questions with which we are left are:
Is it the right time?
What is my motivation for seeking comfort or for taking risk?
What fears are involved?
When I fail is there room for redemption?