When God made it clear I wasn’t a very good Dad.
I remember that moment in church…sitting vulnerable before communion. I am supposed to confess my sin and reach out to God for communion and intimacy. All the normal confessions rolled through my head… lust, anger, impatience, dishonesty, condescension and greed… all of the local flavors of each finding their honest way to my tongue and each vanquishing on the altar of forgiveness. Then it happened. I made the brutally honest request of God to show me what I should be teaching my children.
Why did I do that? I knew what I needed to teach each child. I knew each of them intimately and deeply. I helped them come into this world and have been with them each and every step since. I knew these human children and new what they needed to flourish. I never claimed or thought myself perfect. I knew I had flaws and a tendency towards anger and critique. But in that I could see their weaknesses and what they needed to improve to be a success later in life…if only they would heed my warnings. I worked toward that goal and encouraged, and berated my children to make their futures brighter. If only they would listen.
But… then I had to go and ask God, what do I need to teach my children. After all I already knew what they needed. What a foolish question to posit. And. He. Answered. And long has it been since my soul has been shaken in this manner. Because His answer was unlike anything I had planned. He said to me almost as clear as day. Your children need to learn compassion, gentleness….kindness. These are the things that they need. Can you teach that to them, Lonnie?
I was floored, because none of those were on my top five list. I …couldn’t even register this properly. I sat there in confusion and hurt. Open and vulnerable to the God I needed, I couldn’t even process this initially. I already knew what my kids needed and I worked ceaselessly towards it. Whether it made me the bad guy or not…some day he might thank me if he might get it. But that voice came back and insisted… “Lonnie…Regardless of your ability or not… I want you to teach your babies compassion, gentleness and kindness. I can sort the rest out… trust me.”
Oh that difficulty… trust you? How can I trust you? How can I teach these things when I cannot seem to know them myself…. And that is when He reminded me that, He had little need for my skill. He had little need for any expertise I might have. It was and always is the weakest of these that He has chosen to use, ultimately for His glory. And those… those of the ones He gave what they needed. So, I hope to trust in that then. I hope to trust that somehow in some weird bizarro way I cannot understand God is going to show me how to teach my boys compassion… my girl how to be kind. And screw all the rest, if they learn nothing else to be compassionate, gentle and kind…the rest will fall in line.