Yesterday my wife and I, with our son, attended a Easter Egg Hunt/Picnic in Central Park, with a bunch of friends from church. There was lots of fun, laughs, and good conversation. It nice to just slow down a bit and just hang.

Afterward a smaller group of us all went out for a late lunch together. Again, more fun, laughs and good conversation.

I didn’t want to go home (although I had to). I wanted to keep hanging out, and just enjoy the beautiful weather and good company.

Life can be so busy that it’s way too easy to just keep running at top speed and not stop to just be with people you love, or even just have some personal time to enjoy.

But yesterday just got me thinking a bit about community and how important it is to have.

I must admit though, that although I enjoy community there is a side of my personality that is very much a loner. I don’t mind being alone. I actually like to be alone and need it at times. But even I still need community.

The reality is that we were made to be in relationship. Whether that’s relationship with God, with friends, with family, with a spouse, or a boyfriend/girlfriend. We need that companionship.

So reminder to self, and friendly reminder to you too, slow down, take the time… make the time to be with others.

It’s important and it’s worth it.

You’ll be better for it as well as those you love.

– M

 

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As a parent I believe in disciplining your child. And I do discipline my son.

I believe that discipline takes different forms depending on what it was that my son did to warrant the discipline.

I also believe in having grace and giving chances being that he’s only three and is still learning to understand the different between right and wrong, or to just simply listen to what I may ask him to do at any given moment. But all in all I don’t enjoy disciplining my son. I don’t enjoy giving him a little spanking on the bottom or even raising my voice at him.

But it must be done.

Now before you go and think it, let me clarify that this is not a post about the parallels of me as a father and God the Father and how He disciplines us, etc, etc. This is not that. But I saw something the other day that caught my attention within that realm.

At this stage my son likes to say no to everything. I tell him to do something, he says no. I ask him again, he says no. He says no to a lot of things as of late, and my wife and I are trying our best to break this new little habit.

So I had to discipline my son the other day because of this very thing. I warned him first, but to no avail. He still disobeyed. So I gave him a little whack on his bottom. Not hard, not a full swing, just enough to get his attention and to let him know he did something wrong. And like most times my son cries.

But he doesn’t just cry.

After being disciplined, my son opens his arms and wants to be held by me, or in his own words, among the tears and snot, “let me hug you”.

Now this has happened numerous times (no I don’t beat my kid, so don’t call child protective services on me), but this never stood out to me as it did this particular night.

So do you see what he did? Did you get that?

I disciplined him, I hurt him with my little whack on the bottom, and his reaction is what… he wants me to hold and comfort him.

Not that he gets mad and walks away. Not that he wants to lash out and retaliate. Not that he screams and questions why did I do that and he doesn’t agree with it. Not that he feels like I should have disciplined him another way. No, he took the punishment and then wants me, the ‘punisher’, to comfort him.

Hebrews 12 says this. (emphasis mine)

“4-11: In this all-out match against sin, others have suffered far worse than you, to say nothing of what Jesus went through—all that bloodshed! So don’t feel sorry for yourselves. Or have you forgotten how good parents treat children, and that God regards you as his children?
My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline,
but don’t be crushed by it either.
It’s the child he loves that he disciplines;
the child he embraces, he also corrects.

God is educating you; that’s why you must never drop out. He’s treating you as dear children. This trouble you’re in isn’t punishment; it’s training, the normal experience of children. Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”

God disciplines us because He loves us, because He’s forming us more into His own image, because He can’t leave us the way we are. Sometimes it’s just because we’re acting a fool and He needs to put us back in our place. But His correction is always out of love for us. It’s never to hurt us, though at times it hurts.

Now here’s the question and parallel.

What if we as His children, reacted to His loving discipline, the way my son reacts to me when I discipline him?

Silence….

I know that I’ve had numerous ‘arguments’ (if you even want to call them that), with God about and during certain times in my life where I felt like how He handled a certain situation wasn’t the best way. And instead of taking comfort in the Father’s arms and His love and intentions for me, I instead ranted and raved, shook my fist, cried, and ran away. I didn’t ask for a ‘hug’ like my son does.

I didn’t run to the only one who could then help me understand, who could comfort me, who could bring perspective, who could love on me and heal me. I ran away, and fell into pits of anger, hurt, distrust, and offense.

Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not of the opinion that we can’t feel these things like we’re not human, but there’s a stark difference when we do it while still communicating with God as opposed to doing this and turning away from God. God is big enough to handle our humanity, He made us remember? It doesn’t freak God out when we say we’re angry or hurt and we don’t understand. If anything I can hear Him say, “Then come, let’s reason together”.

And again I admit, I’m not the best at this myself. I’ve spent a lot of time mad at God the last couple of years. And instead of dealing with it with His help, I suffered unnecessarily because I was too stubborn and immature to push through the ‘crowd’ of my emotions to touch His garment and be healed in the comfort of His embrace.

Wasted time I will never get back.

I’m getting better though.

God’s discipline can be a tough pill to swallow at times, but He’s not like earthly Father’s that discipline and then bounce. He’s there to pick us up, hug us, and reaffirm His love and approval of us. He doesn’t find joy in disciplining us, but it’s necessary, so He’ll do it because He loves us so much.

So this may just be for me, but if you’re like me at all, the next time God puts you in your place, don’t run away. Run to the Father, take comfort in His embrace, where He can speak loving kindness over you.

It’s better that way.

– Marc

“But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”

So since I started blogging again the goal has been to write at least once or twice a week, but that obviously hasn’t gone as planned. I’ve been really struggling with what to write about. I actually started writing a post recently and then deleted it because I felt it was just too heavy. I’m sure that someone would’ve connected and related to it but I didn’t want to feed the negative emotions, so I stopped.

I needed to step back first and get out of the actual emotions before I could write about it. I know that almost seems counter intuitive, I should be writing when I’m feeling the raw emotion right then and there. It would be the most honest.

But it was too raw, i needed to step back.

But some time has passed so here it is now.

I was looking through my IG (Instagram) feed, and came across a particular friends pic(s). This friend is pretty much living the life that I wanted to live, was hoping to live, in terms of vocation, living situation, etc. And although I am happy this person is experiencing success and blessing in his life, as well as his family, I’m not happy that I’m not living that. So I started hating on him. I’m jealous.

It all starts with the comparing. I compare myself to him. “He’s more deserving than me. I’m not good enough.”

The questioning. “Why him and not me? What did he do that I didn’t do? What did/didn’t I do to be at the place I am now?”

Then comes the anger/arguing with God. “God, I thought you wanted to use me? I thought you wanted to bless me? I Thought this and that. Why? Why not?”

Then I’m all pissed and mental and crap. I hate my life. I hate everyone. I want to check out.

I don’t discount my own immaturity, poor decisions, or some real deep personal issues that I’m working through (which is a whole other argument I’ve had with God). But I just don’t understand. Isn’t God bigger than all of this? isn’t God supposed to be working things out for my good? Wasn’t God able to still keep me on track to live out what was in my heart despite all of this? I mean we hear/read stories like that all the time right?

So why not me?

I battle with the feeling of being stuck and not being able to get out and move forward. I can’t seem to get started or stay consistent with things that are important, whether it’s creative areas or just really practical areas of my life. (I have been working out pretty consistently though, I must say that. That feels great).

I’m just frustrated. I feel stuck.

And what makes this worst is this doesn’t just affect me, but it affects my wife, and eventually my son, if I don’t overcome this. As a husband and a father I want to be a good leader and example to them both, but I feel like I’m in this bubble that I can’t seem to freaking break out of.

I’ve prayed about it and asked God for help.

I have come to some conclusions as to the “why’s and what” of some of my questions, and feel confident about them. But the one thing that keeps me still feeling like I’m hanging is the question of what’s to come. I’ve come to some small level of resolution with the past, but the future is still so vague.

And that is hard for me.

I say I’m OK with letting God be in control, but just as long as He lets me in on His plan. I want details. Can someone say trust issues? Control issues? Yep, that’s me.

So anyway, I’m not sure just how to end this post. I don’t have any complete resolution, I’m still looking for it. I’m going through the process, hoping I’ll make it through with something valuable to offer by way of experience and service. Hoping that all the mess with be redeemed and made into something beautiful.

I don’t question that it can. I question if it will.

What about you?

-Marc

 

 

Where do I even begin?

I’m not sure quite honestly, and that’s been part of my problem all of these years.

Instead of just beginning and seeing where “IT” goes over time, and molding it as to goes, I’ve wasted a lot of precious time obsessing over what it needs to look like, what it needs to sound like, planning to plan (but never planning), talking about it but never doing it, reading all kinds of creative stuff and getting inspired but never taking action.

Or my other problem. Starting but not finishing. Hate that too.

Enough is enough, this can’t be anymore.

I can’t call myself a creative (with whatever creativity I’ve got left) and NOT CREATE.

i can’t waste another year.

Even with this blog, I started strong, had plans and ideas as to what I wanted it to be and where I wanted it to go, but I lost steam. I wrote one whole post last year I think. That sucks.

I can’t continue this way.

But what sucks even more is that I’ve said this before. Multiple times. I guess that’s just life and part of the ups and downs we experience. But I also can get caught up in my expectation for something, to the point where I easily get really thrown if it doesn’t happen or pan out the way I hoped, and then I get stuck. It takes a real effort to get myself going at time. I’ve gotten better at moving on, I’m not as bad as I used to be. That’s part of my “O.C.D.” I think.

Well I guess this is as good as a start as any, and it’s definitely better than the nothing that has been posted on this blog for the last year or more, that’s for sure.

So here it is, and it’s gonna be what it’s gonna be. And over time I’ll mold it, I’ll move it, I’ll make it, but I’m gonna at least show up and do it.

Here’s to starting again.

-M

Hello All,

Yesterday we went on a little family adventure. I got home from work, we packed up the boys (Levi + Max), and headed for The Cloisters/Fort Tryon Park.
Incase you don’t know I’m talking about, Fort Tryon Park is a little gem tucked away up on Fort Washington in uptown Manhattan. You wouldn’t think its there because you have to drive through Washington Heights, AKA: The Dominican Republic, to get there. If you know anything about Washington Heights, you know what I mean. Nuff said.
Anyway, so the surrounding neighborhood is right off the Henry Hudson and is home to lots of old pre-war apartment buildings that are beautiful and still pretty well kept. It really is a little get away from all the craziness that encapsulates Washington Heights.
When you first walk into the park you’re met by a beautiful and newly budding botanical garden. Dummy me didn’t take a picture. Next time, I promise.
Past that are a couple of trails that all lead you eventually to The Cloisters Medieval Museum and outside grounds. Even if you don’t go into the museum, which I recommend you do, the park area and the views of the Henry Hudson River are more than enough reason to make the trip.
I’m not a big fan of New Jersey but it does look good from a distance. Not to mention the view of the George Washington Bridge is beautiful from the grounds there as well. The area is perfect for a family picnic, play time, jogging, a nice walk, or even just to curl up with a good book on a park bench.
Well here are a few pictures from yesterday’s trip. I would’ve had more if my iPhone didn’t die on me.
Next time! Enjoy!

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That’s Levi hugging a tree. He just does that.