Veterans Day


Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It’s a time when we honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces. Great sacrifice is something to honor and preserve throughout the ages. Many of you have probably read this before, but I wrote it last year as a military tribute. I wanted to post it again in honor of the men and women who have served, and who are currently serving. God bless you.

When a Soldier Cries
Copyright 2013 Chris Martin

A tattered picture, nearly faded to white
Faces of the ones for whom a soldier fights
In the empty silence of a world so far away
On the rocky ground, the only place to lay

A father dreams of home, family, and friends
In war, there is no guarantee he will see them again
Thunder roars with fury, lightning burns the darkened skies
The mighty angels shed a tear, when a soldier cries

She walks across the street, a young child stands alone
Memories haunt her dreams of the daughters she left at home
She tries to smile, show happiness through the tears
Although she wants to help, the child retreats in fear

At night she dreams of home, bedtime hugs and kisses
She prays to one day have again, everything she misses
She can still see their faces as they spoke their last goodbyes
Nothing can soothe a heart, when a soldier cries

In the pouring rain he stands guard, rifle in hand
Just two years out of high school, his parents don’t understand
He wanted something greater than just video games and fun
He dedicated his life to become more than just an ordinary son

A young man dreams of home and wishes upon a distant star
The letters are few and far between, only time can heal a wounded heart
In the gathering shadows, just beyond where the unseen lies
Those who have gone before, bow their heads when a soldier cries

The growl of crunching metal, searing heat and flames surround
Voices of the wounded, silent screams that have no sound
She left college early and signed up to answer the call
Now lying in the wreckage, she wonders if it’s time to give it all

The young woman dreams of home, but she doesn’t surrender to the fear
She knows if they’re alive, they will come back and find her here
Chaos and confusion, in a place where hope and fate collide
She fights for every breath, there’s no shame when a soldier cries

They stand in single file, one hand raised to touch their brow
Men and women, young and old, bound together by a sacred vow
Silently they watch as each car drives slowly past
A beautiful flag covers every casket, heroes returning home at last

Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, bravery at its best
Defined by the unselfish act of sacrifice, courage passed the ultimate test
With a will stronger than iron, nerves of steel and no compromise
There’s nothing to give but respect and honor…when a soldier cries

This isn’t goodbye, just see you later


Just wanted to let everyone know that this will be my last post for a while.

I greatly appreciate all who read and take the time to comment. Yes, even the ones who want to point out how wrong I am. Lol. The internet contains millions of people blogging, and the fact that you read my little corner in cyberspace means a lot.

I am actually going to unplug from all social media as well. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. WordPress. I did this once before, and it made me realize how much social media consumes our lives. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with it. It allows us to connect to people from all over the world in ways that were impossible several years ago. It provides independent authors such as myself a platform to promote our work. I’ve reconnected with long lost friends via Facebook. There are so many benefits to social media.

There is also a dark side. There has to be moderation.

Email has replaced writing a letter to someone and actually placing it the mailbox. Texting people and Skype have become the normal substitutes of face to face interaction. We spend more time looking down at our phones than we do at the people standing in front of us. We learn more about people on Facebook, YouTube, and Vine than we do by engaging in actual conversation.

With the advances in modern day technology, it’s inevitable that we will utilize those things in our lives. We just can’t forget that there is so much more to this life than our phones. Growing up, I spent the daylight hours playing outside. My parents would have to drag me into the house at night. I would be dirty, sweaty, and covered with new bruises, but it was awesome. This generation has no idea what life is like without smart phones, iPods, and laptops.

We need to show them.

Take a break from posts, tweets, and uploads. Get outside with your kids. Go visit someone you haven’t seen in a long time. Reconnect with family, friends, and loved ones. We will all be much better for it.

Starting tomorrow, I am taking the unplug challenge. Who’s with me?

My love/hate relationship with October


I love Fall. It’s, hands down, my favorite of all the seasons. Football on a lazy Sunday. The crisp air that kisses your face when you step outside. Sweatshirts and jeans. The crunch of colorful leaves underneath your shoes. The steady crackling of a warm fire. S’mores under a darkened sky illuminated with brilliant stars. The intoxicating smell of pumpkin oozing out from every coffee shop within a three mile radius.

It’s the time of year when the windows can remain open almost the entire day. The steady sound of leaf blowers in the distance. The blanket of bright red and dazzling yellow that envelopes the mountains. The plume of breath that escapes your lips on the really cold mornings. Ahhhh…it’s so amazing in the Fall.

October is an incredible month, because I married the love of my life back in 1999. I was the guy who said he would never settle down and get married. Now, nearly 15 years and two kids later, I am blessed more than I could have ever dreamed.

It’s also a month marked by the everlasting stain of loss.

On October 14 2008, I lost my Dad. Hard to believe it’s been that long. I’ve changed allot during those years. I’ve grown spiritually, and many of the views and beliefs I used live by have radically shifted perspectives. For quite a while after Dad’s passing, I questioned God. I blamed God. I wondered how a God who is supposed to be love could rip my father away from us. Now I know the truth.

God didn’t take my Dad.

He received him, yes. But He did not take him.

The Bible is very clear that satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. The very same scriptures also point out that all GOOD things come from above. People will always go immediately to Job and quote “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.” Job honestly believed God was doing all those things to him, when in fact, He wasn’t at all. I don’t believe God is sitting up there playing games with our faith. It would be very hard to trust someone who says they love you, but at the same time makes you suffer. How could you ever trust someone like that?

One of satan’s biggest accomplishments is causing believers to blame God for everything. He wants us to be in a state of confusion when it comes to trusting God. He hopes we step into our secret place not with boldness, but with a divided heart. Part of it loving God, and the other part wondering why God is causing bad things to happen to us. Think about all the horrible things that have happened in your life. The stuff you blamed God for, or at the very least figured God was allowing to happen to teach you something. Wouldn’t your relationship with Him be even more incredible if you just let it go and realized there is an enemy roaming this earth trying to destroy you?

I expect many of you will not agree with my last two paragraphs, and that’s okay. I’m not here to debate and argue about these things. What you believe is entirely between you and God. As Christians, it’s our job to love people, pray for people, and speak truth when we can. We aren’t here to beat people in the head with a Bible and accuse them of having false beliefs. We weren’t created by God to fight with people. Jesus paid much too high a price for that. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction and repentance. We sow seeds. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to water those seeds. But we may never see them bloom into fruition.

I had the great blessing and opportunity of having an amazing earthly father. He was never shown love from his own father, but that didn’t carry over to me at all. I knew without a doubt that Dad loved me. He was my friend, my golf partner, and the man I went to for advice and guidance when I was growing up. There are memories, good memories, locked away in the vault of my mind that only myself and family will ever know about. Moments that were never documented on Facebook or Twitter. Images that will never see the scrolling pages of Instagram.

Sometimes we just need to create a memory for ourselves, and not ruin it with likes, shares, and hashtags.

We have to die


We have to die to ourselves.

It’s that simple. Yet, it can be the most difficult lifestyle to apply.

In Matthew 16:24, Jesus said this:

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

That’s pretty clear and straightforward. Deny ourselves. It’s a phrase that’s used a lot in Christian circles, but do we truly know what it means to deny ourselves?

It means giving up all rights. All rights to be offended. All rights to be hurt. All rights to live in a way that doesn’t mirror the life of Jesus.

If we have boundaries, walls, or barriers built up, we haven’t died to ourselves.

The Gospel isn’t about us. It’s about the finished work of the Cross. We are birthed into this world with a self mentality because of what happened in the Garden. We are born with the mind of the enemy. We have to become born again and renew our mind so it’s aligned with the wisdom of God and not man.

If we’re allowing others to hurt us, then we are still slaves to selfishness. How can someone hurt us if we’re dead?

If we are offended by others, we haven’t yet denied ourselves. How can someone offend us if we’re dead?

People say “Well, you just don’t understand what I’ve been through.” Well, what about what Jesus went through? If He didn’t truly understand what dying to self meant, He would have removed Himself from the Cross and asked His Father to take Him back up to Heaven.

When Peter lopped off the ear of Malchus, Jesus healed him. Period. He knew what He was about to endure, and He healed one of the men who came to arrest Him in the garden. If Jesus was thinking about self or with the wisdom of man, He would have considered the cut off ear a form of justice. There is no way Malchus could have walked away from that unchanged. I’m sure he had blood all over himself and when people asked him what happened, he would have recalled the moment when Jesus restored his ear. I truly believe we will see Malchus in Heaven.

In the face of extreme injustice, Jesus never once thought about Himself. He was love personified. Love doesn’t seek it’s own. If we’re discouraged, then it’s all about us. We haven’t denied ourselves. If we require people to change or jump through hoops before we love them, then it’s all about us. If we complain about something, it’s all about us. The very act of complaining shows we have self in mind. It’s impossible to complain if we aren’t living for ourselves.

Here’s an example of a change I’ve made in my life. What is the first thing you do when you pull into the parking lot of Walmart or anywhere for that matter? Look for the closest spot. Why? Because we are born with the mindset of “me” first. Now, when we go shopping or out to eat, I park further back and leave the closest spots open. It may sound silly, but it’s one small step in dying to self and loving others. It completely rebels against living for self.

I am so done with living in my flesh. Walking and growing in love has been nothing short of amazing. I am already seeing God do some big things in different situations. Jesus paid much too high a price for me to complain, get hurt, or live by my feelings.

It’s amazing to think about all the things we do or say that seem right, and even sound like wisdom, but are all rooted in complete selfishness. Jesus humbled Himself, went through the entire human birthing process, became love, and shed His blood to reconcile us back to the Father. What a Savior we have. What an example to follow.

Let’s deny ourselves, pick up our cross, and follow that example with everything we are.

 

Identity Crisis


Brothers and Sisters, the Church is in trouble.

I’m not talking about the four-walled building we attend twice a week, the little c. I mean the bride of the living Savior, the big C.

The body of Christ is stumbling around blindly, gripped in the throes of identity crisis, and it’s ripping her apart. From the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, our identity was shattered. We were instantly separated from our Father. The Creator of all things. The Giver of life.

No longer could we boldly stand before Almighty God, unashamed and pure before our King. We suddenly became very self-conscious. Self-aware. Self-preserving. Self-serving.

We transformed into the antonym of God’s nature, which is love.

One lie. One deception in the garden and it was over. The fall of man. Although satan paid a price by being cursed to crawl on his belly, he rejoiced in his victory that day. He converted man from God’s original image into his own twisted nature. The nature of sin. The very nature of evil.

Because of that fall, man was doomed under the law of sin and death. God had to do something. He wanted His kids back in the family, so He sent Jesus. The purpose of the Cross wasn’t to expose our sin. It was to reveal our true identity. The identity we lost in the garden.

Isaiah 52:14 says,

Just as many were astonished at you,
So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;

When sin got through with man in the garden, he was unrecognizable. He no longer looked as if he had been created in the very image of God. Jesus was beat to the point that He was unrecognizable. Marred more than any man. I believe He took that so we could reclaim our true identity as sons and daughters of the Most High King.

Now, there is a way. Jesus reconciled us back to God as if we never ate the tree.

God is our Father. He created us in His image. He placed such high value on our lives that He sent His Son to die. Who cares if anyone rejects you. God already accepted you. Who cares if people say you aren’t worthy. God already decided you are worthy through Jesus.

We can’t allow life to shape and mold us. Trials are going to come. The Bible tells us that. But, no matter what happens, absolutely nothing changes the truth of the Gospel. Nothing changes the fact that Christ paid a high price to bridge the gap between lost children and their Father. Our identity isn’t determined by life. Our identity was sealed in the blood of our Savior.

If we don’t establish an intimate relationship with God, we will never discover our true identity. He loves us. He wants to have communion with us daily. We spend too much time trying to incorporate God into our lives to have a better day. We quote scripture, claim promises, and pray when we are in need. That isn’t relationship.

The enemy believes that we need God, but we don’t actually love Him. When he pokes us, if frustration, fear, and confusion come out, satan knows he has us. We need to be so rooted in Christ that when satan squeezes us, Jesus pours out. Love. Forgiveness. Joy in the midst of trials.

Get in the secret place and talk to God. Everything we do should flow from that point. When we are born again and become love, we begin to see others through the eyes of our Father. We see their created value. We no longer see them through the flesh.

It’s time for the Church to rise and re-claim what was lost in the garden. Jesus paid the price. Let’s take a hold of our identity and crush Hell for a living.

Leave a Legacy


I have two daughters, ages 13 and 10. You’re probably wondering if I still have any hair left. Or maybe you envision me with a covering of silver. Well, there is a small spot on top that receives more love from the sun than the rest of my head, but mostly, it’s intact. I’ve always kept my hair cut fairly short, so the gray color doesn’t have much of a chance to shine. I’m sure it’s coming though. It’s only a matter of time.

Lately, I’ve been reflecting back on my life of being a father. I’ve had my share of shining moments, but there have also been times when I could have done a lot better. I’m beginning to realize that my role of a parent to my children must be rooted in unconditional love just like every other aspect of my life.

I’ve always loved them, there’s no doubt about that. What I’m talking about is the 1 Corinthians 13 love that I’ve been blogging about a lot recently. If we live our lives in any other way than described in that chapter, then we are only living for ourselves. I believe this applies to parenting as well.

I have changed a lot. My wife and girls can attest to that fact. I used to allow anger and frustration to rule my reactions when they did typical kid stuff. Not anymore. I am walking more in love and less in my flesh these days, and my responses are reflecting that lifestyle. Does this mean I allow them to do whatever they want? Of course not. Part of loving them is handing out punishment and consequences as the situations dictate. There is just huge difference when it’s done in love and not in anger.

What I’ve come to understand is that when I feel like a failure as a parent, I’m really not. My children just need to be born again. Sin entered the world with the fall of man in the Garden. My kids were born into that. They didn’t have a choice in the matter. Their DNA is coded to be selfish. When they are born again, their new DNA will be re-coded to be self-less.

I was fortunate to have an earthly father who left no doubt in my mind that he loved me, even though he never had a worthy example from his father. That shows you what Christ can do in someone’s life. The old is gone, all things are new. My Dad had an excuse not to be a good father, but he didn’t cash in that ticket. He was born again, became love, and it flowed into every aspect of his life.

Love your kids. Play games with them. Listen when they explain every detail of their epic day, even though you are exhausted from working two jobs. Hold them when they are crying. Laugh when they tell a joke that isn’t even close to being funny. Rejoice with them in their accomplishments. Encourage them through their failures. Don’t get mad at them when they make a mess, and distract you from spending hours on Facebook. Clap when they sing. Say yes when asked to dance.

Make sure your life is a living example of love to them.

When I think of Jesus, I immediately see love. Let’s leave a legacy for the generations that follow us. A legacy of love.

God on trial


Let’s be completely honest. When something “bad” happens in our lives, what is the first thing we do? Or better yet, in what ways do we respond?

We ask God why.

We blame God.

We get mad at God.

We might even curse God.

Trust me, I’ve been there. In October of 2008, my father passed away suddenly and very unexpectedly. At the time, it was the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, life-altering event that I had ever endured. It just didn’t seem fair. I questioned God with things like “Why would you take such a good man, when there are murderers still here running free?” and “Why would you orchestrate such a thing in our lives that would leave us wrecked and crushed under a mountain of pain and anguish?”

In that moment, all those years ago, I didn’t know any better. I sincerely believed, as do nearly all Christians today, and non-Christians for that matter, that God actually had something to do with it.

God is the giver of life, not the taker. 

John 10:10 (Emphasis mine)

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

1 Timothy 6:13 (Emphasis mine)

13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate

Let’s look at this another way. Why would God take people away from us (essentially killing them if we want to get real about it), when we were given the authority and power to raise the dead? That seems counter productive to me. Jesus would have been going directly against His Father when He raised Lazarus from the dead. If God took Him, why would He allow Jesus to bring the guy back?

God isn’t into doing party tricks for the masses who followed Jesus around.

Another thing we try and blame God for is all the sickness in the world. Again, every time Jesus healed someone, He would have been going directly against His father. It just doesn’t add up.

Okay, here is the Great Commission from Mark 16. (Emphasis mine)

15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Another passage from Matthew 10. (Emphasis mine)

But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the deadcast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 

Those are the very words from Jesus Himself. They are in red letters. What part about these do we not believe? How can we change that up in any way, and create our own doctrines or belief systems?

If we aren’t locked into the truth of the Gospel, knowing that the will of God is for us to have life, not death, then when something traumatic in our life happens, we put God on trial. In the back of our minds, we keep trying to convince ourselves that God is good, that the Bible is true, but we will accuse and question Him when the storms of life hit us out of nowhere. People go through life so confused, when it’s crystal clear in the Bible. In the bold, crimson letters of Jesus.

We have been given authority over the earth. We reap what we sow. The power of life and death are in the tongue.

Satan roams the Earth seeking whom he can devour. He is the taker of life. He wants us to remain so blind to the truth of the Gospel. He takes joy in the fact that we haven’t yet realized everything he already knows. The Gospel absolutely terrifies him, and if we grasp the concrete truth of it, we will know how to crush him every day.

Every day of my life is a process of growing in the Lord, His revelations, and His word. It’s amazing the things we learn just by spending time with our Father.

The next time something “bad” happens in your life, don’t put God on trial. Instead, affirm who you are in Christ and realize that death, sin, and Hell have already been defeated.

Getting Real


Wow. God is doing so much in my life right now. It’s hard to put into words.

I have finally stopped focusing on everything around me, and started developing a more personal relationship with my Creator. God the Father. My Daddy. And I am discovering how awesome He is. Psalm 91:1(KJV) says:

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

It is so vital to spend alone time with God. If it’s only fifteen minutes, take fifteen minutes. If you can spend hours, spend hours. What I have been doing lately is using the thirty minutes I have for lunch break to get on my face in His presence. Sometimes I just cry. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I pray the entire time. It’s always different. It’s amazing.

Getting into that secret place, whether it’s just reading your Bible, or talking with our Papa, is what fills us up spiritually. How can we give to others if we’re just walking around like empty human shells? Zombies with no life within us. The Gospel is all about giving. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son.”

We shouldn’t pray or read the Bible to fill our minds full of knowledge. We should do those things so we can give it out to everyone we come in contact with. We fill up on God, so we can become love and share.

I can see things changing in my life already. I called up Time Warner Cable yesterday. We decided to drop our TV services. It’s nothing legalistic or trying to give something up for Lent. And we’re not saying it’s wrong to watch TV. We just believe that Jesus paid much too high a price for us to sit around and watch TV when we could be out telling everyone about Him. Our time here is short. We want to take advantage of every moment. Anyway, so I get a very nice lady on the phone and I explain what I want to do. She tries to sell me on some different packages that would save me money, because that’s what she gets paid to do. After about fifteen or twenty minutes, she realizes that I’m not going to change my mind. She asks if there is anything else she can help me with.

About five minutes before that question, my heart had begun to beat a little faster and thump a little louder in my chest. I knew there was more I needed to say. I said, “No, but I do feel like I am supposed to tell you something. God loves you, and He thinks you are amazing. He cares about every part of your life.”

There were several seconds of stunned silence. Actually, on both our parts. It’s the first time I have ever done anything like that. She finally managed to get out a very excited and grateful sounding “thank you very much”, and then finished her closing script. I hung up, and realized I was shaking. It was an awesome feeling to know that God spoke through me and into a stranger’s life. Her name was Carrie. I wrote it down when she first answered.

I have no idea why God wanted me to say that, but I obeyed when He told me to do it. Maybe she had been thinking about suicide. Maybe she had a sick child at home. I may never know, and that’s okay. God knows.

The Gospel is real. It’s not a game. There are lives at stake, and we may just be the only ones to make a difference in someone’s life. We can sing about grace and love all day long, but it means nothing if we don’t become those things to a lost generation.

Get on your face before the God of this universe. Crawl up onto that altar every day and say “God, everything I am is Yours. I lay down my life so You can use me.”

Let’s become love, and crush Hell for a living.

Dropping Stones


One of my favorite stories from the entire Bible is about the woman who was caught in adultery. (John 8:1-11) The Pharisees were chomping at the bit to have her stoned. I can only imagine their frenzy as they dragged the woman to the temple courts where a certain celebrity was teaching. The Bible doesn’t say, but I wonder if they made a huge spectacle on their way to see Jesus. What were they saying to the woman as they neared the temple? Were they calling for other people to join them as they rushed to carry out what would surely be the Godly thing to do? End her life. Seal her fate. Write her off.

I can only imagine the condemnation being poured out from their self-righteous mouths, pushing her further down into the mire of her guilt and shame. Without even knowing who she was, or anything about her story, I bet others joined right in with their judgmental bashing. The Pharisees, after all, were the “holy ones” of the era. They were the religious leaders who followed God’s law without fail. They never got it wrong. No one dared argue with their wisdom and knowledge of the ancient scriptures.

What a surprise it must have been when they placed her in front of Jesus and explained the situation. Instead of immediately answering them with a command to stone her, Jesus ignores the most religious men in all the land, bends down, and begins to scribble in the dirt. There have been many views on what exactly He was writing. I tend to believe that He might have been writing out their own sins. Of course He knew them all, He’s Jesus. When the Pharisees realized what it was, they still repeated their question.

Jesus finally answers by saying that whomever has no sin can throw the first stone. There was no other option than for them to unclinch their tightened fists and drop the stones they were so eager to throw. What else could they have possibly done? I’m sure the crowd had pressed in to see what the great teacher had written. The Pharisees were busted. Here they were trying to trap Jesus, and He completely turned the tables on them.

If anyone standing there had the right to accuse the woman of sinning, it was Jesus Himself. The One with no sin. The One who led a perfect life. He chose forgiveness over her failure.

How often are we quick to judge others? Do we rush around to all of our “Christian” friends eager to bash another imperfect human because of something they’ve said or done? Do we turn our nose up at someone who is marrying a person of the same sex? Do we turn our backs on the fifteen year old pregnant girl who made a mistake? These are the people we should be running to with open arms.

Why would anyone want to follow Christ if all they receive is judgement and condemnation from those who claim to know Him?

Just as the Pharisees, who stood before Jesus thinking they were God’s gift to the unwashed masses, assumed it was their duty to judge, so do we. It’s not at all. We need to realize that just because we have Jesus, we’re not elevated onto some untouchable platform, and all the sinners are wandering around in circles below us. We are all broken. We all hurt. We all struggle. We all desire a relationship with someone who gets it.

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It’s hard to open up your arms to someone in love if you’re carrying a bag of rocks.

Eyes of a Father


I’ve been a Dad for thirteen years and seven months. It’s quite strange to be where I am now and glance backward through time to when it all started. Nothing can truly prepare you for one of life’s greatest responsibilities. No guide books or pamphlets can capture the feelings of excitement, joy, marvel, panic, and failure that are encountered along the journey. It’s a road littered with mistakes, a plethora of questions, and moments of pure victory. As with most things in life, it takes hard work and continual effort in order to be a successful father.

But what defines a successful father anyway? If our children grow up to become doctors or lawyers, does that mean we did something right? If a child ends up in prison for jacking cars, is that an indication that we failed? What we pour into our kids while they are young is vital, but ultimately, when they reach adulthood, the decisions they make are their own. I often wonder if my Dad felt like a successful parent with raising me. He passed away in 2008, and I never asked him that question. I hadn’t even considered the thought until now.

From my perspective, he was a wonderful parent, teacher, and daddy. His father was none of those things to him, so I consider it an extreme privilege to have had such a great man as the authority in my life. He was gentle, kind, but firm when the situation required discipline. Having him spank me for doing something wrong wasn’t exactly fun, but I look back now and smile. Why? Because I know he punished me out of love. He was teaching me the differences between right and wrong. And he did it all because he was concerned about my future.

With the craziness of life, I’ve never stepped back and thought about my goals as a father. We experience life in each moment, and deal with situations as they arise, but what is the ultimate outcome I desire for my children and how they view me as a parent? Here are some things I came up with.

  • I want them to know that they are loved. No matter what they do, what they say, or how they react to something, I want them to always know I love them. My love for them is without condition. No expectations. No strings.
  • I want them to always trust me. Trust is the foundation of any relationship, and it applies to our roles as parents. Yes, we discipline and correct our children, but we also need to develop a deep relationship.
  • I want them to talk to me. I have three girls, and as we all know, life can be very hard. It’s a struggle. I want them to know I will always be there for them. Provide a shoulder for crying on. Be the protector when someone desires their heart. A rock they will always be able to stand upon for strength.
  • I want them to smile when they remember me. When they are grown and have their own children, I hope they can look back, as I am now, and smile when they think of their childhood and how they were raised.
  • I want to always see them through the eyes of a father. No matter what age they are, nothing can change the fact that they are forever my little girls. Sure, they will eventually have kids of their own, but I will see them as daughters I held, cried with, celebrated with, praised, disciplined, and fought for.

These are just a handful of items I thought about before writing this article. I hope and pray I have done these well over the past thirteen years. Ultimately, I want to be the same kind of father that God is to His children. If you study the Bible, you will see the role He modeled for all of us as parents. Loving. Firm. Corrective. Protector. Provider. The list could go on for quite a while. We’re human, so we aren’t always going to get it right. We will screw things up with our children, and be forced to reconcile the relationship. That is just a normal part of life. It happens.

The eyes of this father will always see pigtails, awkward first steps, first birthday chocolate pudding all over the place, cutely mispronounced words like mirk and moont, a brief terror of bare feet, little hands clenched around my finger, walking through the door and greeted with arms reaching up, stitches and boo boos, leaky diapers, fear of dogs, crayon on the walls, bedtime hugs and kisses, and the moment I looked them in the eyes for the first time.

Priceless.