Dads, I hope you have had a blast with your family this summer and that you are refreshed and excited about the fall. If your house is like mine, I imagine you are gearing up for another fruitful home school year. Your wife is thumbing through textbooks and preparing lesson plans, with hope and righteous ambition for your children. Perhaps, like me, you are eager to help out, but your plans do not progress quite like you want them to. In the midst of your dilemma, may I suggest that you should not worry too much about your school year plans, but rather, you should pray about your plans and see what the Lord gives you?
Now, I am all for making plans; they are critical in my work as a project manager. I confess that praying for plans is not a terribly original thought, but it is still very practical. As fathers, we have a high calling from the Lord to seek Him and His will as we lead our families. To help you get a vision for planning with prayer, I will share what happened with me as the Lord turned my boring plans into amazing moments.
The thermometer read, “102.1 degrees,” so my wife Belinda suggested I stay home from church that Sunday morning. My two-and-a-half-year-old son, Story, had one of those crunchy coughs that turns nursery workers’ heads and annoys other parents. Consequently, Story got to play hooky with me. Since my infant son, True, had screamed his way through the previous night, he also got a free pass to skip church with dad.
As I waved goodbye to my wife and daughters, I realized I had the unique opportunity to entertain two sickly micronauts for over three hours. Yikes! It was the Boys’ Day Out, and I was not quite ready for it. I had recently been praying and asking the Lord to give me more time with my sons, but this was not what I had wanted. I had asked the Lord for an amazing moment with the boys–a moment when we could have fun together, learn together, and strengthen the foundations of our relationship together. Sadly, my stinky attitude surfaced and threatened to ruin the morning.
After 30 minutes of giggling and drooling, True fell asleep (Thank you, God). Story and I tucked True in for a long nap and returned to the family reading chair. Four books later, Story was ready for action. I plopped down on all fours and said, “C’mon Story, let’s play horsy!”
Story said, “No.”
Unfazed by his refusal, I got out our putters, knowing how much we enjoyed smacking golf balls around the house. Wrong. Story shook his head and said, “No.”
In an amazing moment of God’s inspiring grace, I boldly asked, “Story, what would you like to play?” Story grinned and toddled over to his sisters’ dollhouse. He pulled out a large box, tore open the lid, and dumped dolls all over the floor.
Story wanted to play Barbie.
“Story,” I whined, “I know these dolls. I’ve re-attached their arms and heads many times. My bare feet have stepped on their tiny, sharp shoes in the dark. They aren’t that much fun. C’mon, let’s play horsy or golf.”
“Barbie!” Story shouted with glee. Strangely, he was not coughing anymore. Hmmm…
During the week, Story does not get to clock much Barbie time because his older sisters are in full command of the dollhouse. So, I gave in, figuring that he would move on to something else in a few minutes. Wrong, again.
For about an hour, Ken and Barbie sang, danced, shopped, napped, drove the pink Jeep, wore mismatched shoes, and changed outfits a dozen times. I had a fabulous time playing Barbie with my son. More importantly, my son had a fabulous time playing Barbie with me. Most importantly, I had followed the Lord’s lead, even though it did not make sense to me at the time.
Belinda and I teach the kids that God answers every prayer. His answer might be, “Yes,” “No,” or “Wait.” Well, this time, God responded to my prayer with a loud “Yes!” and I almost missed the amazing moment I had asked for.
Story, using his two-year-old wisdom, instantly recognized his amazing moment to dominate the dollhouse. He pounced on his opportunity with fervor and glee, while I grumbled and griped over my opportunity. Sometimes, I think my kids teach me more about the Lord and life than I will ever teach them.
Since Barbie Sunday, I have been blessed to watch my six-year-old Scout beat me at chess (ouch) and to hear my eight year-old daughter, Halley, tell me of her dreams to be a cowgirl missionary. I experienced these joys simply because I abandoned my plans for the day and, grudgingly, gave in to the Lord’s will for me to enjoy an amazing moment with my children.
Dads, as your school year begins, may I encourage you to pray and ask for amazing moments with your kids? Ask the Lord to lead you beyond your own schemes and plans–to draw you and your child into an unplanned time that builds your friendship and bonds your love. After you appeal to the Lord, look expectantly for those amazing moments. They will be along soon. Plan on it. As always, I would be interested in your thoughts on all of this: ImperfectFather@Gmail.com.