Written in collaboration with my awesome wife, Sara
Joanna is probably one of our most observant children. It doesn’t take much for her to see the obvious – up close or from afar. We can be driving down the road and she will shout “hey! Look at that….” and we end up missing it! Recently, Sara was talking to Joanna about school and what one of her favorite things was. Joanna’s response sparked the purpose of this post.
“I like when the chef fixes us lunch.”
Chef? You mean school cook, right?
Joanna’s perspective of those who make her meals on a daily basis is that of a chef. They are not merely a cook. They don’t just show up for work for Joanna. They make her meals and they are a chef! I wonder how many times that the school cook went to work and said, “I am going to work today as a chef!”
John Maxwell said it well in his book The Difference Maker,
“You are not what you think you are, but what you think…you are.”
You and I have the potential to either be amazing or be mediocre. We can become our greatest ally or our worst enemy. Our perspective is vital to what world we make for ourselves. I am not talking about some New Age theology. I am speaking about changing our way of thinking about who we are. According to The Law of Human Behavior, “Sooner or later we will get what we expect.” If you expect that you are going to have a mediocre life, then your life will become mediocre. If you expect that your life is going to amazing, you can expect that your life is going to become amazing.
In Proverbs 23:7, the KJV says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he“. I have heard it said best “as the mind goes, the man follows.” It is true. Let’s take this story for example;
“Writer James Agee recalled how he once struck up a conversation with an impoverished elderly woman in the heart of Appalachia during the Great Depression. She lived in a tiny shack with dirt floors, no heat, and no indoor plumbing. ‘What would you do,’ he asked, ‘if someone came along and gave you some money to help you out?’ The old woman thought for a moment and answered, ‘I guess I’d give it to the poor.'”1
Poverty, in this example, is a matter of perspective. The lady had nothing, but in her heart, she was a wealthy woman. Could you imagine the shock on his face when the old lady said that she would give the money to the poor? He probably walked away speechless! Just as the cook is known as the chef, the impoverished lady was known as a wealthy philanthropist.
As I wrap up, I just want to encourage you to change the thoughts of yourself. Even God Himself finds that you are amazing. In Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT), “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Someone who doesn’t think that you are amazing wouldn’t have an awesome plan for your life filled with hope. It is time to change your perspective on who you are!
Just when you think that Murphy couldn’t do any more damage, he decides to sideswipe you. You just can’t seem to get a break, yet there’s complete peace about what is going on all around you. I have heard it best put this way; “chaotic peace.” Recently, this is where we found ourselves. It seems like we can’t escape this cycle that never ends. But I know one thing that is for sure is that He never ends either.
Perhaps, I should start with the reason that I decided to write this. Last year, Sara and I had some major things that occurred in our house. In one week, we had our furnace, microwave, and dryer go out. Needless to say, these were not cheap fixes or issues to take care of. One may bring up the fact that we are tithers and according to Malachi 3, the one who devours is rebuked for our sakes. It would be easy to question and wonder. It would probably be even easier to doubt that it would be to know in faith that God has taken care of it all.
I had a lot of questions in our previous issues. I asked the Lord a lot of questions. I also made this statement “Lord, I just don’t understand.” Within a moment, I heard the Lord say in my spirit, ” I have not called you to understand. I have called you to trust Me.”
The response honestly took me off guard. Aren’t we, as human beings, designed to understand all things and learn them? Then I recalled a scripture that I have always remembered since I was a child. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” In some translations, it reads “and He will make it plain and straight.” This can be found in Proverbs 3. Our trust is not in the government nor people, our trust is not in ourselves or our own ability to provide, but our trust is in Him who provides for every single need according to the riches and glory of Christ Jesus (See Philippians 4).
I am so grateful that during this trial that we are seeking our true Provider. Our trust is in the ultimate Godly Dad. I believe it’s so important that our children see that our trust is in God. When they become older, our hope is that they will trust Him. Sure, it would be easier for you or I to automatically go into the woe-is-me mode. I will tell you one last thing before I leave you and it’s found in Ephesians 6:13;
“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”
Having done all that you can possibly do that the crisis demands…stand. Stand firm. Don’t quit. Press into what God has in store for you and not what the enemy tries to throw at you.
In December 2012, my Dad underwent open heart surgery for a valve that wasn’t up to par. He had been having issues with it for many years and it finally came to the point where the doctors were not letting it go any further. I can remember it like yesterday being in the prep room and praying for him. I spoke over him that “God will give you a new heart” It wasn’t a heart transplant, per se, that my Dad would have but his heart would never be the same.
Do you remember when you came to the cross and accepted Jesus as Lord of your life? You came to Him and surrendered to Him that He would take control (or at least, that’s what you meant when you did it) of your life from that point further? Israel had this problem many different times throughout scripture. They would confess that In Ezekiel 11: 19; the prophet wrote “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart.” God would then later call in chapter 18:31-32 “find yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O people of Israel? I don’t want you to die, says the Sovereign Lord. Turn back and live!” God consistently called the people of Israel to have a heart transplant for Him. He desired to see their hearts turned from their ways and back to Him.
I love how God, being the ultimate Godly Dad, even gave us the instructions to receive that new heart. He gave us a prescription that would allow us to continue to use that new heart;
Psalms 51:10 – Seek the Physician
Proverbs 13:12 – The Prescription is Hope
Proverbs 4:20:21- Don’t Fail To Take Your Prescription
Psalms 119:11- Take Daily For Desired Results
Proverbs 17:3- Check Ups Are Regularly Given
It is so important that you and I, as Dads, give our children the prescription daily as well. Each day, our hearts need to be checked and the Word needs to be applied to that regiment.
Change is such a messy thing. In life, it causes the very strong to question their position in life. It will make the very weak confirm what they have feared. It will make the most ornery to become complacent. Well, that last part may have been a stretch. But the fact of the matter is that change is a messy thing. I have to be honest with you; I had to really pray before I approached the change that I wanted to make to Godly Daddy. I know that our mission from day one has been to engage our fathers into conversation and let them know that they are not alone. That mission is still a fact and will never change. However, I found myself looking at what was being written and wondered, are we meeting the core mission of what Godly Daddy was founded on? Am I reflecting what my day to day life with my children is? Frankly, I had to make a decision. Step down and close this site because I couldn’t meet that obligation or continue to write and change the format.
Well, quitting is not an option. As a Howell, I have instilled in my kids that Howells are not quitters. Yes, life is hard and things don’t go the way we plan. But we are not quitters. I can remember a time where Olivia was trying to learn how to get dressed. She struggled getting that shirt on. “It’s hard!” she would scream in resignation. Sara and I worked with her to make sure she knew that she had to learn how to put her clothes on. You ought to have seen the responses from family members. “Oh, she’s just a baby. “ or “You are too hard on her.” Seriously? Putting on clothes is being too hard on a child? Honestly, when you have three munchkins running on your feet, you need all the help you can get especially from them. I remember one of the times where she finally got it. “I did it!” she screamed with excitement. Yes, it is hard. Life is hard. But it doesn’t give you or me the right to give up.
Change is such a messy thing. It’s bound to happen even with the best of us. That change, the change that I know that we need to make as a blog is that we need to be adaptable to that change. The content that we, as bloggers, provide to you will be relevant to your everyday life. The books that we review will be relevant to your parenting, relationships, leadership, and so much more. The stories we share will be ones that will make you laugh at us, cry with us, or make you mad at us. Get ready. Change is messy…but change is good.
The problem with change is that it is constant. Change is not something that stops happening in life. As a matter of fact, change will make sure that it will happen at the most inopportune time in the most unreasonable way. You get a flat tire on the way to work as you’re running late. You lose your job right as a baby is being born into the household. You get a promotion in a season where you are ready to move on. The list could go on and on. I love the old adage “the only thing that is for certain is death and taxes.” I think we could add in that; change. There are many people that have embraced change and there are a few that have denied change, but there’s no stopping it. Change is for certain. Change will happen. We either will embrace it or we will run away from it.
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon wrote in Chapter 3 that “for everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build. A time to cry and a time to laugh…” etc. Solomon recognized that in everything there is a season, there is a moment, there is a purpose, and there is a plan. There is always a time for something to be born and a time for something to die. Change is always in the air. Change is certain to happen. How do we combat change? Embrace it.