Monday, April 02, 2007

Father to the Fatherless

I have been volunteering with kids this winter. My little friend that I've been working with smells bad, like they haven't cleaned up properly after an accident. It was really strong today. Today she announced she had cold lunch. It was a piece of bread in a baggie. That was it! She did at least buy a milk. She struggles in school and is starving for attention.

Most parents are doing their best to love and raise their kids, but there are those on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Some parents are over-achievers as far as outward things go. They'll do whatever they have to so they look good on the outside, although no one knows what things are like with the things that really count. Then there are those kids whose parents don't seem to care at all. I feel so devastated that they care so little. How hard is it to run a bath, wash some clothes or pack a decent lunch? I suppose it could be laziness or lack of interest on their part.

So, I've been wondering, what is my responsibility in these situations? I want to call the parents and yell at them. It seems like a nice little self-esteem boost for me to be able to shake my head and feel like I am so much better than them. I want to look the other way and not think about it. But what I should do is reach out and love. I need to show her the One who is a Father to the fatherless. It isn't easy because I feel like I am so "busy" raising my own family. But these are exactly the times when Jesus wants to use us. When I think of great Christians throughout history, they were simply people that saw a need and used what God had given them to meet the need and show Christ's love. I know there are some simple things I can do to reach out, but it's going to involve time and sacrifice.

It is too easy for me to walk away from the tough situations in life. I don't want to get involved, it might get messy. But Jesus has me in the world to shine His light to those around me, as difficult as they may be to love. I put the card my student made me on my bulletin board so I would not be able to put it out of my mind. Keep me accountable on this one!

Psalm 68:4-6
Sing to God, sing praises to His name;

Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts,

Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.

A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,

Is God in His holy habitation.

God makes a home for the lonely;

He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,

Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.

You Can't Handle the Truth!

It's been a while since I've seen the movie "A Few Good Men", but of course I remember the famous line "You Can't Handle the Truth!". I have two girls that are very curious about how babies come out of a mom's tummy. I'm really not sure how much to tell them. I have tried to brush the questions off, giving them answers like the doctor knows how to get them out and nothing so far has satisfied their questions. I want to be honest with them and at the same time not tell them more than they can handle at the ripe old ages of 5 and 6. I feel like yelling You Can't Handle the Truth! Or maybe I can't handle the truth is more like it. I just hate when I get to these stages of parenting when I feel like I have no idea what to do or how to handle things. The scary thing is that I know this is only the beginning of conversations and questions that I will feel ill equipped to handle.

So what do I do? Can I ship them off to a camp for things like this? When I get to the end of my rope on things I know I have to rely on Christ for help. I guess that is a good thing. If I can always handle everything on my own, then I really have no need for Christ. Who knew my ignorance would be such an asset in my spiritual life?

It's funny how being a parent can give you some perspective on the Christian life. Being the smart person that I am, I assume I know everything. I demand the answers to life's intricacies and tragedies. But I don't always get them and that makes me mad. We don't understand why things happen the way they do or why we just don't know the answer right now. Maybe God is saying You Can't Handle the Truth! I stomp my feet like a 5 year old and think I know what's best. But my heavenly Father will tell me only what he sees fit and good for me at the time. I have to trust in His goodness and wisdom.

It's really humbling to think of my job as a parent this way. There are TV Shows, movies, music, friends and all sorts of other influences that we need to have the role of gatekeepers for our kids and talk with them openly and honestly about the things that are going on. I am so thankful to have access to the heavenly Father's wisdom. I just need a kick in the head to realize that I need to quit trying to do it on my own and spend way more time on my knees before each day of this important job.

Proverbs 9:10-11
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years of life will be added to you." (NKJV)