The photograph of me and my youngest daughter, Sarah, sitting on a couch and looking at each other is one of my favorite pictures. I see in that picture two souls, one of which is relatively new to the whole life experience. The other one is relatively new to the task of parenting. In the picture, I see us in awe of each other. I see mutual love, inquisitiveness, and appreciation. I see the disarming cuteness of my youngest child. I also see a young man who is grappling internally as to how to be an adult and effectively parent his precocious and very willful youngest. How easy it would have been to surrender to such cuteness and not administer the tough love she needed, instilling respect and responsibility, and teaching her at an early age that creating messes has the consequence of having to straighten them up later.
The picture of Brian and Jennifer as preschoolers is another one of my favorites! It depicts two young innocents who are bared to the world, caught up in the moment and laughing for all they are worth. I’m not quite sure what was so funny to them as they reclined there in the bookshelf, but their demeanor reflects a joyful innocence that comes naturally with childhood but is gradually eroded by the challenges of growing up. Fortunate is the person who grows into adulthood without losing the ability to experience the joy of moments such as these. That kind of joy doesn’t have to be lost just because we have to start cleaning up after ourselves.
I believe that God wants us to have a joyous “I can” mentality, and that attitude begins to be instilled in us at an early age.
My father used to say that “Can’t never could.” I memorized the words long before I came to understand what they mean. “Can’t” shuts the door, even to possibility. If your response to a challenge is “I can’t,” you are giving up before you attempt. We guarantee failure when we don't try.
The Bible teaches us that things which might seem impossible to us can be accomplished when we acknowledge the power that can come from God. “I can’t” is a big “no thanks” to God’s standing offer to us. Instead of saying “I can’t,” let’s try saying “With God’s help, I can” and see what happens!
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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