Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Family Hashing

Hey Dad,

Other than being a little anxious about losing you in the INTERNET Neverland, things are going pretty good. Not at all like a couple of weeks ago.

Maybe it was because we were in the transition zone...caught between summer and school, but the kids were terrible. They were constantly bickering, fighting, and thinking of numero UNO. I know my wife was frazzled, worn out, and wondering when I was going to officially deal with it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I have a pretty high terrible-kid-tolerance. But enough was enough. Even I was tired of the turmoil.

"Everyone upstairs to the yellow room,” I barked. “We're having a family meeting, and I don't want to hear one complaint.” Normally we meet in the familyroom, but I wanted a change in venue to highlight the seriousness of THIS meeting.

"OK," I began, "this has gone on long enough...things need to change." Then for the next thirty minutes I talked, they talked, I threatened, I talked some more...I asked forgiveness...I talked more, they offered suggestions, and then we closed in prayer.

Later, as we were going through the Wilson bedtime ritual, my son Ike (11) smiled warmly and said to me, "It's weird, Dad, but it felt really good during the family meeting."

That is so funny to me. I mean we've done all kinds of fun family things like going to the beach, eating at Chuck E Cheese’s, traveling across the country...but Ike never EVER said any of it "felt really good." His comment made me wonder if hashing things through as a family "feels" closer and warmer than doing fun things as a family. There must be something comforting and reassuring to know that no matter what---we're a family. We may blow it often, but we still regroup, ask forgiveness, and work together for the common good.

So I was going to encourage you to do something fun as a family this week, but instead let me encourage you to have a family meeting. Ask how things are going; talk about issues that need to be addressed. And whether they verbalize it or will FEEL good. In fact, maybe ‘hashing’ is the best part of family. Go figure.

See you on the other side of the email veil.
You ‘da dad!!!

Todd Wilson- Familyman

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Bumber Sticker Dad

Hey Dad,

Just got back from speaking at a Labor Day Family Camp in Lake Geneva, WI. It’s always encouraging to be around a bunch of parents who are in the same boat as we are (it’s a really BIG boat). Lake Geneva Youth Camp is a great facility. The food was stellar, the people wonderful, the grounds beautiful, and The Screamer…well, it made you scream (see photo below).

The only drawback was that we had to brave Chicago traffic. Not only was it congested and slow, but it also seemed as if every road we turned on was under construction.

While we were creeping through Chicago, a bumper sticker not only caught my eye, but also struck a nerve in the deep dad-recesses of my mind. The bumper sticker was just three words on a plain background, but it spoke volumes.


At first I wasn’t quite sure what it meant, but then I realized that a longer version might read, “My husband is gone so much during deer hunting season that it feels like I’m all alone in our marriage.”

I’m sure the person bought or received it as a joke, but I felt myself getting mad as I stared at the tail end of that car. In fact, I had half a mind to follow the car to its home and chew out the guy for abandoning his family in favor of sitting out in the woods with a bunch of buddies to plug some animal.

As the car pulled away, I began thinking of similar bumper stickers that might have a market.

Golfer’s Widow
Businessman’s Widow
Pastor’s Widow
Football Fan’s Widow
Internet User’s Widow
TV Watcher’s Widow
Traveling Salesman’s Widow

Truth is, many wives feel alone in their marriages, their families, and their lives. They got married thinking they were going to travel life’s highway together hand in hand with their men and what they got were men who were so busy doing their lives that they didn’t have much time for them. It might be one of the reasons why Facebook is so popular among the female folk. We’ve let them down.

Truth is: deer hunting is fun. Golfing and watching football are too. Ministry, business, and our jobs are important. But none of it matters as much as the promise we made to our wives to love, honor, and cherish them.

So let me ask you a question: What kind of bumper sticker would be on your wife’s car?


You ‘da dad!!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Grace for Fugitives

God’s grace is more expansive than our sin. The whole story of Jonah is God going after depraved, fallen fugitives.
We basically understand why God pursues Jonah, since he was a prophet and a part of God’s people Israel, and he cared about God, at some level anyway. Jonah’s prayer revealed that he was basically a friend of God, not an enemy.
Yet God also goes after Nineveh. Jonah was pathetic in many ways, but Nineveh was violently wicked, perverse and sadistic. It makes me wonder why God didn’t just do away with the whole nasty place. That would have spared God so much effort.
But the good news is that God’s ability to clean things up is infinitely greater than our ability to mess things up. God’s grace is so massive, so expansive, so wide-ranging, that it tracks down both kinds of runners from God. Those who try to rescue themselves by breaking the rules, and those who try keeping them.
There’s no place where you might be now, or where you might have been in the past, or where you might go in the future, that will ever be beyond the reach of God’s grace, nowhere!
Tullian Tchividjian in Surprised by Grace

Lamentations 3:22-23
22 Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Thought to Apply:
Grace means the free, unmerited, unexpected love of God, and all the benefits, delights, and comforts which flow from it. It means that while we were sinners and enemies we have been treated as sons and heirs.