June 18, 2021
“I am on a mission,” my 42-year-old son Jason wrote in a recent blog post.
A mission? I asked myself. I tried, really tried to raise him with his focus on God, with his commitment to integrity, and with the wisdom to embrace God-honoring goals.
Those were my silent prayers for him and his younger brothers. And, blushing a bit, I admit, those desires of mine were repeated perhaps way too many times.
Did all that do any good? Well…tears fill my eyes as I share this with you:
“In case you missed it, I joined a group of warriors. We’re 100% committed to becoming something better, something great.
We are accountable to each other. And we’re ALL-IN on the journey to overcome hardships. We’re committed to become hard(er) to be defeated regarding our Mind, Body, Business and Relationships.
And although I’m not surprised, my 13- year- old daughter has taken to doing my workouts with me every day. She is a black belt in karate (her passion). She hates missing a workout as she’s very competitive.
Today is our finisher. And as we start our run, she looks in my direction. “Daddy, I think I’d like to talk with you while we run.”
Air pods go in the pocket. “What would you like to talk about baby?”
“Well, me and my friend were talking and we were saying it’s no wonder why people don’t want to be Christian. It’s hard to not do certain things when everyone else is doing them. It’s hard when people make fun of you, or say you’re stupid for believing those things. Like, sometimes I pray, and I don’t feel like it does anything at all. Nothing changes. Why would anyone want to do that?”
“Wow. She’s exactly right. Those are great questions. I feel like that sometimes, too.
“Hey” I asked, “Was it super easy and painless to become a black belt in karate?”
“Then why would anyone want to do it?”
I do it for you!
This is only one of many conversations and experiences through the years. There have been tears, mistakes and apologies. All on both ends. There have been times of hard work in our relationship. Our personalities were tested and often conformed.
And in that process, I’ve run through the gamut of frustration, feeling overwhelmed, even bits of depression. But I resolved to never go any further.
As a father, this has been a precarious 13-year investment. But no matter how challenging, failing or quitting have never been nor will ever be an option.
I turn to her. “Look at what I’m doing right now. My legs hurt. It’s hard to breathe. This sucks. Why would I do this?”
She ponders my question as she rollerblades next to me. She smiles as she expresses perhaps the most meaningful words ever spoken by a daughter to her father in the history of time.
“Because it’s worth it in the end,” she says, “Daddy, I’m so glad you’re my dad. I feel bad for kids who don’t have someone like you to teach them. Thank you for talking to me and teaching me in a way that I can understand and really makes me feel good. I love you.”
Tears hidden by my sweat.” Exactly right baby. And you know why I do it? For you.”
She wants to pose for a picture…
It’s always worth it.
Similar to my mission as her dad, our group works out. We record. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always worth it.
And it is because we uphold the uncompromising ideals to which my teammates and I have committed during our lifelong journey to become our best selves.
And in my journey as a team member and as her dad, I am not only willing, I am excited and eager to suffer with and for those who are worth it.
And maybe for the first time ever, I understand I am not only the pinnacle, I am the foundation.
Today God is asking all fathers to be the warriors. To go to battle for their kids. To be willing to suffer because it’s worth it. To persevere because it’s required. And to fight because it’s right.
But the warrior in every father isn’t found in physical strength, financial abundance, or even in brain power.
It’s found in a place where he chooses to reside, where he rests and where he stays. That place is in Christ. He Himself said:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:5-7).
When Jesus remains in a father’s heart, he becomes the ultimate warrior. No stress will defeat him. No fear can bring him down. No worry can weaken him. And no harm can reach his children.
Father thank you for your invitation to remain in You and become the strong fighter. I vow to use the weapons of courage faith and perseverance. In Jesus name.
In the challenges of fatherhood, what kind of warrior will you become?
Did you know I wrote a book filled with words of encouragement, uplifting thoughts and illustrations of real-life triumph to empower you? Its title, Trials of Today, Treasures for Tomorrow: Overcoming Adversities in Life. You can get it HERE.
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