Again

5-minute-friday-1

*TMI Alert* 🙂

“Not again!” I hear the muffled voice of my three year-old daughter through the bathroom door.

“Ugh!”

She growls and screams and cries helplessly. I can’t even begin to imagine what is going on in there.

“Sweet girl, what’s going on?” I ask her.

A sad voice responds, “I keep trying to wipe my bottom but there’s no poop on the toilet paper.”

Oh wow.

She’s working so hard on wiping herself without help… and as much as she feels that she is doing the exact right thing… the evidence is telling her differently.

“Oh girly, come here!.”

She opens the door with tears in her eyes. Half dressed. Toilet paper in hand.

“Sweety… sometimes when you go poo… it comes out clean! It doesn’t always leave a mess on your booty. It’s not always going to show up on the toilet paper. You did a good job.” (Of course I checked to make sure this was the case.)

My mind flashed to the conversations I’d never thought I’d have… yes, this was one of those.

And isn’t that how life sometimes is?

We think we’ve mastered something, learned a hard lesson, persevered to the finish line… only to find ourselves back at the starting line. Sometimes the fear of “again” follows me like a creepy guy in the shadows… whispering sweet nothings… about how familiar this all looks to the time I… To fear new friendships because I might be rejected again. Or to fear stepping out to do something new because I might fail again. To find myself in a situation I thought I’d already conquered.

But ya know… sometimes the poop of life doesn’t have to leave a mess on our booties.

Sometimes we are doing exactly what we need to do… and it’s not our fault that things aren’t going the way we thought they would. Or should.

How grateful I am that there is a perspective on life much grander than my own eyes can see or my own imagination fathom. That what I see as being criticized again is really just another good opportunity to practice humility and grow in my character.

That I don’t have to be afraid of “again” because each one has its own purpose… and that purpose can be good.

If I let it.

If I’m willing to look up at my Daddy, clean TP in hand, and receive His grown-up wisdom on the things of life.

And the ways I sometimes misunderstand them. Misinterpret them. Judge them by appearances alone.

Again.

And it’s okay.

Because chances are again and again too…

My {Dad} – The Defense Attorney

About seven years ago, my family endured a tragedy that led to the need for attorneys.

The defense attorney on the case of our loved one, in the name of creating “doubt,” began to insinuate preposterous ideas.

Like, perhaps the person charged in the case didn’t do his crime alone… perhaps one of us had helped!

How this aided his plan of proving the innocence of the accused is beyond me. But he was promptly asked to leave our home. (Yes, he made this suggestion in my home)

And he failed.

His client was proven guilty, we were proven innocent (even though the prosecutor never even questioned our involvement, or charged us of anything).

In fact, in the end, the position of the defense attorney to stretch his imagination and create fictitious situations because his job was to “win” (as opposed to discover and uphold truth) brought me to a sad reality about the state of attorneys.

Or at least that one.

Then I looked at my dad… who also happens to be a defense attorney.

And breathed relief to know that his work is based on justice, not “winning,” on upholding and fulfilling law, not finding ways around it, and doing what’s right for the sake of right… and not the paycheck.

And there’s one more difference.

My dad pleads the cause of his clients… then offers to take their penalty.

Yeah.

He doesn’t make it sounds less than it is. He doesn’t exaggerate what isn’t. He doesn’t ask for an exception for his clients.

He looks truth in the eye… and when it deserves prison time… he takes it on himself.

If the client will let him.

You should be in the courtroom when that happens!

Imagine this. A murderer stands on trial. My dad is his lawyer. The man is guilty and it’s proven. The charge is given… along with his punishment. Death.

My dad looks the judge in the eye. Looks at his client, defeated.

“Your Honor… I’d like take the punishment on his behalf.”

The courtroom is silent.

Then it uproars.

The guilty man just stands there stunned. Could he let this honest attorney take his place? Could he live knowing that this innocent man had died for what he had done? If he returned to his “previous” lifestyle… would any other lawyer ever make this same offer? He imagined only a place like Hell awaited the likes of himself… the gates were within view.

The judge returns the strong gaze of my dad.

“Are you sure about that?” he asks.

My dad nods. Smiles at the guilty man. Love for another human.

“Then son… you may give your life for his,” the judge answers… tears in his eyes.

The room explodes in confusion. This isn’t justice! This is… kindness gone too far! Generosity that certainly isn’t for the pride of the giver. And did the judge say son? What kind of soap-opera insanity is going on here?

But it’s not a soap-opera… though for some, it is insanity.

The bailiff steps forward. Handcuffs the hands of innocence. Opens the door of freedom for the guilty. Ushers my dad to his fate… his chosen fate. His fate of love for others. Self-less. Unheard of.

That’s my dad.

He’s taught me more than I could ever truly live… without his constant whispers. His hand in mine. His voice. His tender ways of walking me through life. Never alone.

Not even when he gives his life over for a criminal.

But you’ll have to find out how that works on Wednesday… my last day of this series of posts.  🙂

I know, right?

Do you need a defense attorney? If you were to stand before a judge… ruling over your thoughts, beliefs, actions… your treatment of others, your taxes, your driving record, every minute of raising your children, marriage, your work life, your honesty, integrity… every exam you ever took… where do you need a defense attorney?

I know a good one.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 29 of 31 Days in 2012.

Freed of Judgment

In my more recent years of life my dad has taught me much about freeing people from my own judgment of them.

For example, before I had kids it was easy to form opinions about the strategies of parents. As a Behavior Anaylyst, I saw many failed techniques and often ushered in new strategies with great results. While my work was helpful to others, it became quite easy to watch parents wherever they were and determine that I would or wouldn’t do what they did.

Then I became a parent.

And I found myself putting my own opinions, judgments, and strategies to the test. Boy was parenting A LOT more complicated then I’d ever imagined. My techniques still worked… but now it was my blood, sweat, and tears putting in the long hours.

I realized that I needed to free other parents from my judgment of them.

Likewise… I needed to free myself from their perceived judgments of me. I couldn’t worry what other people thought about my parenting… I had to survive!

I also learned this lesson over a conversation with my dad about a family who celebrated a holiday differently from us. Dear friends have chosen not to celebrate Halloween… and to separate from our church, in part, because of the evangelistic outreach it held on Halloween night.

My family, however, celebrated* Halloween… but only the parts we feel we can redeem for our kids. For example, when we carve pumpkins, we read The Pumpkin Gospel as a family… and reflect on our “ickies” that God removes from us… and the light He puts in us. We attend the church outreach because it’s a great family friendly night that brings us together with our church’s neighbors.

I prefer this to what I see as running and hiding… and handing over to darkness that which ultimately belongs to God.

My judgment.

It was a conversation with my dad that made me realize that both families could be right. Who was I to stand as their judge and condemner? Or them over me? If God has called my family to the redemption of a day… then I can trust it is for our good and the good of others. And if another family feels God leading them to abstain from these celebrations… then I can also trust that it is for their good… and the good of others. Can He not lead each family according to the dynamics, personalities, backgrounds, struggles, and talents of that particular family? Or is it that the way He leads one family, He commands for all.

In some things, yes. This is not a call for a make-your-own-way-to-God party. The Word is very clear on certain things.

And on the rest… well, it’s not mine to judge God for how He wants to lead others.

He didn’t lead Moses in the exact same way He led Abraham or Joseph or Mary or Noah…

It’s so easy to compare our lives to others, our goodness to theirs… and forsake entirely the areas we need to grow personally. Or to decide that we have God all figured out… that He would never do this or that.

Unless, of course, He says He won’t or will in Scripture.

For example, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). That’s not debatable.

May we continue to grow in living such a way that we free others to be led by God as He deems fit… and free ourselves to be led in the same way. To be discerning and prayerful when we are unsure about the fine lines… and leave the judging to the Judge.

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5

 

To learn more about 31 Days in 2012 or view other 31 Dayers blogs, click here.

I’m spending 31 days writing about my confessions and the lessons {Dad} has taught me. This is day 28 of 31 Days in 2012.