Tag Archives: What God Made

The Rolling

rolling

Each day rolls on, paying no mind to me. My waking happens without my choosing, weariness creeps slowly back, until my body begs me to rest once more.

My body requires, and it returns. Food, water, air—all are processed by this body without my doing, though I do receive some pleasure in parts of the intake.

Heart pumps, lungs contract and release, even thoughts seem to fire across the pathways of my brain without my initiation.

And the days roll on.

If we are not careful, we slip too easily into the thoughtless thrum of life. So much happens without our say. Days unfold and close up again, one after another, so much the same. So many the same.

It’s easy to let life live itself.

But we are here. We have a part. We can choose to step along with the relentless autonomous. We are not merely observers, though some things we have not the capacity to alter. Nor even the desire.

Yet we stop to smile. To breathe. To love. To listen. To live.

Then we do it all again, with the next Rolling.

Today, I want to take part. Partake. Be part. I am. I will.

Breathe, taste, see, know, be. While all is rolling on, I have the power to do those things. And more. Think, make, read, consider, create. Care, share, serve, do. So many ways to exert my own unique additions to the Roll.

And though I exert, or pause to observe—still it rolls.

Even when our bodies weary to the point of expiration, all will continue. Ceasing our participation in the perpetual cycle, in a way exercising one last influence, breaking free.

Sun up, body up. Another day. Rolling. Lived, regarded, perceived, communed. Until all of me is spent by choice and by the Roll. Weary, welcome rest. Renew.

And roll on.

The Amazing World We Don’t See

A friend of ours made a movie that will be in theaters this September (A Strange Brand of Happy. Go see it!) A little while ago an image appeared on the Facebook page for that movie that I really thought was the work of Photoshop.

“That can’t be real!” I thought. But a quick Google search proved otherwise.

That got me thinking. I just love seeing this crazy stuff that exists in our world that we never see. God made entire worlds and galaxies that, without the help of ridiculously powerful technologies, are just tiny lights in our sky—if even that!

In the other direction, to the infinitesimal, there is unseen beauty, intricate detail, and even some things that will light your face with an smile of “Wow!”

I included links at the end of this post to the source of these images, and a few sites that include more.

So take a moment today and enjoy the amazing beauty of the worlds what we never see. Incredible!

Really neat microscopic images:

Found across the web…

Cross-section of Marram Grass

Happy grass!
Cross section of marram grass

Bluebottle Fly Maggot

Or… microscopic walrus?
Maggot of the Bluebottle Fly

Moth

I love the intricate detail.
moth

Bedbug

No wonder we don’t want them to bite!
bedbug

Human Flea

Um… it doesn’t look human to me??
human-flea

Nerve

Incredible. Like fiber-optics, but much more impressive.
nerve

Bone

Wonderfully made. And blueprint for future buildings?
bone-structure

Lens of the Eye

Holy cow.
lens-of-the-eye

Mosquito

Not my favorite creature, but an amazing view of it.
mosquito

The Inner Life of the Cell

(This is not by Steve Gschmeissner, but it is another fascinating animation of what goes in inside ONE cell! There are over 100 trillion in the human body!)


LINKS:

Bee-Do, Bee-Do

Bee-do, bee-do, bee-do | Despicable Me 2“You’re a human being, not a human doing!”

Perhaps you’ve heard, or read that somewhere? I have. It’s clever, and correct—albeit somewhat cliche. A quick search of the web will confirm its ubiquitous usage.1

The reason for such widespread repeating? We tend to focus on the things we do, more than the things we are.

It creeps into every area of life. It’s a subtle form of prejudice, you might say. You’ve likely also heard the verse, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”2 It’s in our nature to make snap judgments based on what we can see on the outside. And though what is visible does proceed from the invisible character underneath, things are not always what they seem.

And so we have this focus on the external—the “doings”.

One of the first questions we ask when meeting someone is, “So what do you do?” Obviously this is an innocent question, meant to spur further conversation, but it does reveal the emphasis on what we do, rather than who we are—our character, our being.

Is there a distinction? Can we be something and not do that? Or, can we do something without being that?

Good questions, but perhaps this is better: Which has more lasting importance, what we do, or who we are?

Somehow we are frequently tricked into focusing on the former.

(Maybe the best question is, “To be or not to be”… I mean, Shakespeare said THAT is the question… but I digress.)

I know as a parent I often fall into the trap of correcting my kids’ behavior, rather than remembering to get to the heart of what is causing their actions. And I’m not talking about making excuses here: Hitting your sister can not be excused, even if you are tired or hungry. What is important is remembering that Sister is a person, and when you’re being considerate of others (note the use of the word “being”), I’m pretty sure you can’t hit them.

It’s not limited to parenting, of course. In our own lives we know there are things that we do (or don’t do) that bother us, and perhaps we are wishing we had the power to correct those things. But instead of focusing on correcting the actions—the “doings”—often the solution is a deeper trust in Father to provide for us. We lie because we think the truth might damage our reputation, we take what is not ours (steal) because we don’t think we’ll be OK without it, and so on.

But the heart is what matters. Who I am is more important than what I do, or do not do.

I believe we, Christians, have for so long seen life with Jesus as a code of ethics (meaning a list of acceptable behaviors), that we don’t know how to be. We judge others—and our own selves—on how we conduct ourselves.

But Jesus didn’t say “get this right”, he said love. He said, Be glad you realize your need for your Father, and that you long for justice and mercy and peace, even though you are persecuted for this. It means you are mine.3

It is all about being, not doing.

The other side of the coin, of course, is that who we are determines what we do. That is most certainly true. And this is the key. The cause of the “doing” comes from our “being”.

This is so important.

That’s why Paul said:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”4

Let God transform you. Changing the way you think. Being transformed from within. This is what matters. It’s what comes first. Our actions, our behaviors—flow from this transformation, and thus, are not the primary cause of it.

Paul also said:

So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

Exactly. It’s not helpful to focus on (correcting) the things we do. Changing behavior does not change our “evil desires”.

The only answer is a common refrain here at this blog: Know the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent.

Everything else flows from this.

You are a Child of God. You are his beloved. You are whatever unique piece of your being makes you “you”.

So rest, and be. The “dos” will flow from your being.


Note: The Minion pictured at the top of this post has nothing at all to do with the content of this post. The newly-released movie, Despicable Me 2, features a scene (highlighted in their trailer) of a Minion making the european siren sound, which in Minion-ese comes out, “bee-doh, bee-doh, bee-doh”. AND, which is also hilarious. See? 🙂

  1. Strangely, after a reasonably thorough search of the interwebs, I was unable to determine its origin, or any consensus on a first use. How odd.
  2. From 1 Samuel 16:7.
  3. Not a direct quote, but my own summary of Jesus thoughts from Matthew 5.
  4. It’s interesting to note that a few translations of Romans 12:2 take what is written here about being able to know the will of God and make it say “so that you can do”. Our bias towards the external is revealed in the translations from the original language. Fascinating!

Full of Life

Seedling in fertilizerRecently, I was fascinated by poop.

(Yes, you read that correctly.)

Actually, it started in a public outhouse-style “restroom”. If you’ve never used an outhouse, or a “port-a-potty”, it’s just a big container collecting all the liquid and solid waste, rather than flushing it away down a nice, convenient pipe—out of sight, out of mind.

(And, if you’ve never used a toilet that doesn’t flush… well… that is also fascinating!)

At first, I was grossed out. And rightly so, I believe. It’s gross. I really don’t even like using public bathrooms with plumbing, let alone the variety that collects all of the waste for you to view while you’re adding your own.

But a secondary thought (thankfully) crossed my mind before I left.

Wow, what if we didn’t have toilets that flushed? We’d just have to find some place for all this gross stuff… but then… it does make really good fertilizer. Hmm…

And then I remembered that we use various animal waste products as fertilizers, to enhance the soil and to grow better food. (That’s oversimplified, but generally true.)

God is so full of life that even the waste from his living creations produces more life!

That is both amazing, and completely understandable.

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.1

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life… 2

For in him we live and move and exist.3

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.4

It’s obvious that the One who could, by a simple command, give life to all that is would be abundantly full of life itself. And that life being so fantastically complex that we’re still trying to understand it. We’re even looking for—and even finding—signs of it on other nearby planets, created by this Giver of Life.

That the waste generated by the Life he has breathed into his creation would also produce life is indeed astounding, and yet, it is as it should be.

God is life. Life beyond our wildest imagination. And he has breathed that same life into you and me.

Incredible.

Oh, the things you learn from a pile of poo!

DOMA Arigato

Defense of Marriage Act, section 3 ruled unconstitutionalJust about a week ago, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was in the news for two rulings in regards to same-sex marriages. One was specific to California (Proposition 8), and I won’t address that here, but the first was regarding a case challenging the constitutionality of section three (§3) of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In a 5-4 decision, the SCOTUS ruled that §3 of DOMA was indeed unconstitutional, based on the protections guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. (The Full Faith and Credit clause.)

And so, what began as a not very good idea continues to crumble.

Background

In 1996, Congress rushed through (with great approval, based on the votes) the Defense of Marriage Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton—who at that time personally, publicly opposed gay marriage, in addition to his belief that it should not be sanctioned by the Federal government—and ever since then, DOMA has been challenged by one court case after another, slowly eroding its frail constitutional structure.

And really, I agree with this ruling.

I do not agree with same-sex marriage. I think God was pretty clear (stick with me here) speaking strictly anatomically, that there is a proper “match” between a man and a woman. The physical is obvious. And then there is the story of Adam & Eve: when God made a partner for Adam, he made Eve. (Not “Steve”.. haha!! Good one!!!) 🙂

And, the other obvious reason for a marriage to be between one man and one woman for life is procreation. You can’t actually have kids without both sexes being involved. Are you with me?

Now, I know there are seemingly a billion nuances to this. There’s one side yelling, “Homosexuality is a SIN! God hates fags!!!” And then the other side—properly and rightly offended—begins to hate the God whom these “Righteous Ones” claim to represent. And the former dig deep into the scriptures to sling judgmental condemnations straight from the Mouth of God upon these forlorn, wayward, despicable sinners! (Meanwhile ignoring their own filthy rags, and/or logs in their eyes, etc.)

The debate about what is right and what is wrong will never, ever get us anywhere.

So, if we’re arguing from the Bible, let’s take a look at Jesus. He is the final, fullest revelation of the Father, right? So, Jesus must have said plenty of times that he hated homosexuality (and then, it stands to reason, he hated homosexuals too, right?)—AND he hated, opposed, campaigned against gay marriage. Of course.

Right?

But… I don’t think Jesus ever addressed homosexuality? Weird.

Does that mean it is not a “sin”? No. Does it mean it’s “right”? Still, no. (In fact, logically you can’t presume something is “right” from the absence of a declaration of it being “wrong”, can you?)

Liberty is Paramount

What I think it does show us is the first way that we can deal with this issue.

Back off. Love people. “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

We are not the police of anyone. (Unless of course you are a police officer, and then, well, we thank you for your service.)

It’s not my job to tell you—or as is the pattern of some—to make you do what I think you should do. If you want to marry someone who has the same body parts as you, well, I personally can not “sanction” that, but, I do sanction your right to choose differently than me.

And I expect you to do the same for me.

This is the crux of the whole thing for me: Liberty. It’s not a moral issue, though of course underneath the minutia of all these cases, and legal and political battles it has moral implications.

It’s an issue of liberty. And not only that of the people wanting to legalize same-sex unions.

I may strongly disagree with you, but inherent in my understanding of liberty is your liberty. You are entitled to live your life however you please, so long as no one else is hurt (without their full, willing consent) in the process. We are all guaranteed these inalienable rights: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Even if it’s “wrong”, or even if it might hurt us. (Larger portions at fast food restaurants? Smoking? Drinking? Marijuana? Driving without seat belts? Riding bikes without helmets?)

We have become a people who no longer celebrate diversity, and we are increasing the pace toward total control over everyone’s lives.

Equality? Or Victory?

The cry from those who want to legalize same-sex marriages at the Federal level—thus requiring all States to abide by this legal status, whether or not they sanction such unions—is that of “equal rights”. But what is happening is really just an attempt to gain control, and force others to do what you think they should do. One group telling another how they can and will act. Bakeries have to make wedding cakes, and churches will be forced to perform same-sex marriages1.

The bottom line is: if you want freedom, then you must also give freedom.

You can have freedom, and the consequences of freedom, and you must concurrently and equally allow others to think and live differently than you. There are obviously places where these freedoms intersect, and at that point a society must decide how to resolve such disputes. That is what our Constitution (and the government it created) allow for.

I am opposed to gay marriage. But I am even more opposed to legislating any bit of this. In fact, I’m all for unlegislating marriage altogether. I love being married to Jen—it’s maybe the most important piece of who I am after being a child of God. Do I care that New York State “recognizes” my marriage? Not really at all.

Much of this fight is because of tax penalties (including the case that brought about last Wednesday’s ruling) and legalization of immigrants, and other financial/taxation concerns. So drop them, as much as possible. Don’t tax money bequeathed to a loved one. Don’t provide financial benefits to married couples.2

Just leave me be.

Legislating Morality

I agree with the Supreme Court that defining marriage is unconstitutional, but not because it violates the constitution as much as because the federal government has no place defining marriage in the first place. Traditional marriage, or same-sex marriage, or multiple concurrent marriages, or polygamy, etc, etc.

Some seem to see government as the protector of morality, but is that really our government’s role? I heard a statement in regards to this subject on a podcast just this morning:

“It’s the government’s job to treat [marriage with] equal[ity], it’s not the government’s job to make moral choices for people.”3

Spot on.

Stop thinking that you can pass laws and make people into what you want them to be.

Laws do not shape people’s minds and hearts. Education, the Holy Spirit, and in general, a caring instructor will do that. (As well as common sense and life experience; those can be the best teachers sometimes.)

You can’t say “Gay marriage is legal and approved!” and change people’s beliefs by that statement. Nor do we conform people to “right thinking” by saying, “Gay marriage is abhorrent and banned!!!”

It just doesn’t work that way. The morality of our laws and government reflect who we are, the do not make us who we are. In addition, our laws are about blind justice (not preferential prejudice) and equality, for all.

God made us free. Our Founders recognized that. We are born with the right to choose, and our government is We the People, protecting each other’s inalienable rights. I’m still going to disagree on the specifics regarding gay marriage, but that’s my inalienable right. And yours.

And that is what we most need to protect here.

It’s not “hate” to say that homosexuality is a sin. (Nor is it usually very helpful, in a public setting.) It is encroaching on freedom to say that someone can’t think that, or even express that.

(Again, it may not be helpful, but let truth be truth. If you say homosexuality is not a choice, but as natural as different skin or hair colors, then let that be true. Don’t force it on someone who strongly disagrees.)

But that’s where we fall sadly short. We are supposed to be the Land of the Free, but we really want to be free to make other people like me.

How sad. We’re meant to be more.

Love mercy, do justly, walk humbly with your God

So let’s be. Love your neighbor—whatever they believe. Find common ground, even if there’s barely any to be found. Stop trying to make other people think like you do!

And most of all, pray. Not for God to change other people, but so your eyes will be opened to what he is doing. First in you, and then around you.

I think it’s good that DOMA is being questioned. DOMA arigato, SCOTUS. Hopefully that means there is a semblance of constitutuional liberty still present in our bloated, overreaching federal government.

And now we proceed with liberty our goal. And justice for all.

True justice, not petty political victory.

May God help us as we do.


sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_of_Marriage_Act
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/12pdf/12-307_6j37.pdf

  1. Note, I realize this is in Denmark, but this mentality is being championed here in the US. When we make the gay view the “right” view, the same errors in how we treat each other will inevitably be carried out, just in the reverse.
  2. I’m sure there is much more here than I even have time to consider, but the general principle makes sense to me. Less government is better government!
  3. Wayne Jacobsen, The God Journey Podcast – Sexuality & Transformation (6/28/13)

The Bible Tells Me So

Old Bible Cover“Yes, Jesus loves me… The Bible tells me so!”

Perhaps you sang those words just now as you read them because they are indelibly engrained upon your soul from countless repetitions in your early childhood. (And maybe you still sing them regularly with your own kids.)

It’s a great song, and it’s true.

The Bible does tell me that Jesus loves me. In many different ways, through all of the books; this central message reverberates: the God who is made me and loves me and invites me to Life with him.

Sometimes it’s fascinating to me how differently we apparently see and interact with the Bible.

What is the Bible? Is it a reference manual for Christian living? Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth? Those things have definitely been said of this collection of ancient books.

Rather than a Owner’s Guide or User’s Manual, might it be a collection of stories God wanted to tell us … with him as the main character? Does God reveal who he is through the story that weaves its way through dozens of authors over many centuries, even millennia?

Stories seemed to be Jesus favorite vehicle for communicating the meaningful.

How about this one: Is it infallible? Does it ever claim to be? Does it need to be?

I mentioned in my post about heretical thinking earlier this week that sometimes I have even questioned the reasons for inclusion of certain books in the cannon of what we call Scripture. The Catholics have additional books of “Scripture”, as do the Latter-Day Saints. (Though there are certainly differences there as the Catholic apocrypha was from a similar era as the books that are accepted as inspired Scripture while the Book of Mormon and other additional books included by LDS believers are from a later point in history—at least their translation.)

Here’s the thing, though… how much of all that matters?

I have been reading through the Bible, cover-to-cover for a little over a year now. (The slow pace due partly to meandering through various other points in Scripture simultaneously, as well as, of course, many other books. There’s only so much time in a day, you know!) In this current journey through its pages I am reading many familiar verses and stories, as well as many I don’t think I have ever actually read. (Certainly not in their proper context.)

What strikes me the most is the story. Flowing through the entirety of Scripture are small stories and big stories, all telling a larger story.

God so loved the world that before anything ever existed, he knew you intimately, and orchestrated a grand plan to allow us to realize his boundless love for all of mankind—and each individual Image Bearer—and to restore a friendship with him that we didn’t even know was irreparably damaged. (Irreparable from our vantage point.)

Story after story reveals the struggle between we of free will and limited knowledge, understanding, and vision … and he of limitless patience, kindness, mercy—our Father, who dearly loves his children. And we who only barely understand Love, struggle to understand Him—for He is Love.

I am re-learning that Scripture really can not be seen as a giant reference guide of proof texts. And it’s certainly not a how-to manual for bringing judgment upon the world, or even upon yourself.

Nor is it to be venerated or worshipped. It’s a book. (A library, might be more accurate.)

Anything we set up between us and our Creator (including the Bible, “Christian” discipline, and even “church” activities and involvement) can become an idol that ends up keeping us from the full life God intends for us when our eyes (and hearts) are fixed on him.

And one thing I have learned from this tour through the Old Testament: God does not like idolatry!

So we will take verses like:

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.—2 Timothy 3:16

Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.—2 Peter 1:20-21

And we say that these prove that the Bible is infallible. But do they? Paul is reminding Timothy, his student/disciple that Scripture is useful; I certainly agree there, don’t you? And Peter says that prophets were inspired by God. Again, no argument there.

But I’m not sure God himself (nor the pages of Scripture) claim infallibility nor inerrancy, do they? Perhaps the test of prophecies being that all will be proven true as a proof of the origin of the messages—that being from the Creator God, the God of Israel.

And still, I think I digress. As this topic of conversation is so wont to do.

When we make the Bible (and discussions of these books) about being right or wrong, we just get lost in endless quarrels. So many fractured opinions and vehement discourse to prove one point or another end up making Christians and their church look like it does today: silly.

I will maintain that all of Scripture is useful, even the giant sections that give every messy, gory detail of our own ugliness. Not just the things we proudly label sin like murder, lust, idolatry, rape, incest, greed, deceit and betrayal (and many more) … but our lack of faith in vividly displayed, our repeatedly running to idols and our own strength and knowledge rather than abiding in Father’s Life and Love.

This is why, as Christians, and living in the age we now inhabit, Jesus is the decoder ring. Everything else makes a bit more sense when we start with him.

The book of Hebrews1 says that God spoke in many ways through history, but his final and fullest revelation was through his son, Jesus. And also we learn and see that he is the full representation of God himself. The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. God himself, as a man. We don’t get his messages second-hand through angels and/or prophets: he came to us.

Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do.2

If you’re reading the Bible like a manual, or an reference book—please stop. First, you’re missing out on the bigger, fuller story. You might even be missing out on Jesus:

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.”—John 5:24

It’s so easy to do. I think we all do it. I mean, how magically incredible is this book we call the Bible? Really! Preserved nearly flawlessly over millennia, and with enemies trying to wipe it out: but it is the most ubiquitous book still today.

But the Bible is not our source of life, Jesus is.

And, it’s important to remember that we have a direct connection to Truth in Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit. Remember this?

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.—1 John 2:27

Holy Spirit will teach us everything. It’s always nice to have a tutor. (Especially when the tutor is the finest teacher ever!)

The Bible is a beautiful story, and we can glean so much life through its pages, through the stories told there, and especially the central story told throughout of our God’s ever-present love and care for his people. (That’s all of us, not just those born into the family of Jacob, as they used to imagine.)

It’s not about rules, or doctrine. It’s about Him. I highly recommend reading it like a book, like a story…

And look for the signs of Life as they weave in and out of His story.

God’s story, with us.

Incredible.


For further reading, here’s an article I found a real long time ago: Why "The Bible is our Instruction Manual" is the Worst Metaphor in the History of the World | The Ruthless MonkThe Ruthless Monk.

Also, one last note: For what it’s worth, I really do recommend reading in large chunks. There is certainly a place for detailed, intricate, line-by-line study, but there’s also great treasure to be found in reading through whole books at a time, or at least larger chunks. Then string books together back-to-back over a few days or weeks. When I read Scripture like this, the bigger story is much more evident, and I see God moving in his characteristic, Jesus-shown ways through the whole of history. Different voices, echoing the same story: God loves me.

  1. Hebrews 1-4 Yes… all four chapters! Reading in big chunks gives better context. 🙂
  2. John 14-17 (Again, read the whole thing. Chock full of greatness!)

Allowing For The Process

seedling

Sometimes I’m really, really impatient. Also short-sighted, selfish, and in general unwilling to let others—even those I love the most—enjoy the blessings that I have received and thrived upon throughout my life.

Yikes. That really doesn’t sound good!

But it’s (in a way) really true.

God is reminding me recently that he is patient beyond comprehension. He understands the various processes of life. Learning, growing, grieving, maturing… many “ing”s take time. Lots of time.

And at times, I think I’d prefer we skip to the good part: the end!

But everything worthwhile takes time. You can’t have the delicious, sun-ripened fruit without many weeks of heat and quiet toil. You don’t get the good end without the process.

Our lives are like that. It’s always amazing to look back and see what God has brought us through, and where he’s brought us to through all of those things. We learn from our own decisions and their consequences, and we learn from events we’re thrown into in the chaos of life (through no fault or credit of our own). Everything along the way shapes who we are.

Parenting is like that. As a dad, I can not just shape my kids into who they will be. I thinkI do have a good deal of influence, but in the end, each of my kids is a unique individual, created by God for a life-long journey with him. Their own life-long journey.

Sometimes I tire of repeating the same instructions to each of my kids… many times, daily. I wish they would just get it! Think of someone besides yourself! Be a peacemaker! Be kind to your brother/sister! Will you please just listen to what I say?

But it’s a process. A long, slow process.

Just like I have been allowed to have.

I’m far from a perfect parent. That’s for sure. I am going to need to receive many reminders that I am not the Potter in my kids’ lives. I am not the one moulding them into the masterpiece they were made to be.

My father is. (No, not you Dad… I mean your father, too. No… not Grandpa…)

Each of us has a journey, and we’re each led (personally, individually) by our Maker, Shepherd, Father… he’s many things, he’s everything.

And he’s got a plan.

If you’re frustrated with the process right now, just take a deep breath. Talk to the One you’re following and enjoy the place, the moment that he has you in.

Then—even more difficult sometimes—do the same for the people around you. Maybe your kids, or your spouse. Maybe just a good friend of yours. Stop meddling. Leave room for the process, and the Sculptor.

Allowing for the process will produce the greatest results. (I’m not even sure there’s anything else we can do, really! We are not the ones in control, that’s for sure!)

So breathe. Relax. And marvel at the process. In your own life, and also in the lives of the people around you.

Maybe another place to find the fun!