This week we are celebrating the new book release, Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch. I’m so excited that my husband is sharing today his YES as a dad. When he let everything go and decided to lead us with courage, purpose and adventure…our family really starting living. My hubs new blog series coming soon, “Hubs Real Talk In A Crazy World.”
My Hubs Says Yes In His Mess
In Nicaragua, Kari and I visited New Life Nicaragua orphanage almost daily. The kids were very well taken care of. It was an orphanage that specialized in bringing health back into the lives of children who were malnourished and abused.
On one particular visit, they had a brand new arrival. She was three years old, but she could have easily passed as a toddler. She was sedated, her head was shaved, sported an oversized bandage on the side of her forehead covering up a massive gash, and her tiny little body was burning up with a fever.
Little did I know, she would become my special Nicaraguan project.
As I held her in my arms and rocked her, I could instantly sense God wanted me to invest some “daddy” time with her. I didn’t know her story, but seeing the scars on her body gave me some vivid images of what she may have gone through. Baby Claudia (not her real name) slept the entire time in my arms and as our time came to an end, I gently laid her down in her bunk.
The next day I woke up very excited to get to the orphanage, so I could see how Claudia was doing. As I walked in the door, I saw her awake and playing. Obviously, she was feeling much better. I put on a BIG smile and headed her way. Once I got closer and was about to scoop her up into my arms, she ran away.
I thought to myself, “Ok, she’s playing hard to get.” So, I continued to pursue her and make attempts to pick her up, but every time I would get close to her she would begin to cry. Not just a cry, but the shrieking, ear-piercing cry that can break glass. So, I backed off and gave her some space to get used to this new “white” guy. So, I played with the other kids thinking she will eventually come around and see what a great guy I was. But ..
The next day I got the same results,
the next day I got the same results,
the next day I got the same results,
… and for the next 30 days, I got the same results.
Finally, on day 31 something changed. As I approached Claudia, she didn’t cry! She didn’t run away from me! This was great growth. But, she still wouldn’t make eye contact with me or give me the time of day. And, for the next 30 days, I got the same results – no eye contact and no attention.
On day 62, something shifted. Finally, out of the corner of Claudia’s eye she made eye contact with me. It wasn’t just eye contact. It was the “flirty” out-of-the-corner glance. Claudia was flirting with me! You know, that innocent playful look that a daughter gives her daddy. The glance that says, “I see you and I like you looking at me.” Just like a child who is showing off her newest moves on the playground and doesn’t want mom and dad to miss a single thing.
From that moment on, we became play buddies. We would play peek-a-boo, I would push her on the swing, kick the soccer ball back and forth, and gather up all the mangoes together that have fallen from the tree. But, Claudia would never let me scoop her up or let me hold her.
The only time I ever got to hold her was on the very first day I met her, and that’s only because she was sedated.
Even though she never allowed me to hold her again, I knew the bigger picture was not about me, but her future daddy. You see, Claudia needed her heart to heal. She wasn’t ready for a man to hug her, hold her, or throw her up in the air. Nope. She just simply needed to see a man who could simply love her through a smile, making funny faces, and make her laugh with his horrendous Spanish.
Sometimes, the most powerful influence of a man is just simply being present.
Recently, a friend of mine shared with me a popular article written by Wade Horn, Ph.D. entitled “Of Elephants and Men” in an issue of Fatherhood Today magazine. It’ a great story on the power of a man and the impact he has by just being present.
Several years ago, rangers in the Kruger National Park in Africa were faced with a problem. The elephant population at the park had grown so large that rangers devised a plan to disburse elephants to other parks.
Being huge creatures, elephants are not easily transported. So, the rangers constructed a specially designed harness, which they attached to a helicopter to airlift the elephants to other wildlife preserves.
However, while the helicopters were able to lift the juvenile and adult female elephants, the much larger adult bull elephants proved too heavy for the harness. Consequently, the juvenile and the adult female elephants were relocated without the presence of any adult males.
All seemed to go smoothly until rangers at Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa, the elephants’ new home, started to notice something strange. Rhinos were suddenly turning up dead.
At first, the ranger thought this might be the work of poachers seeking the precious horns of the rare white rhinos. But upon closer examination, none of the rhinos’ horns were missing. Moreover, their wounds did not resemble rifle shots, but punctures made by long sharp objects. If this was not the work of poachers, who was killing the white rhinos?
To find out, the rangers set up hidden cameras throughout the park. What they found astonished them. The culprits were bands of young, hyper-aggressive male elephants who, after chasing the rhinos, knocked them down and then gored them to death with their tusks.
Such behavior is unheard of in elephants. Elephants are generally docile creatures that rarely attack other animals, especially in packs. Yet these juvenile male elephants had banded together and were terrorizing not just the white rhinos, but other animals a well. What could be causing such bizarre behavior?
The rangers came upon a theory. Under normal circumstances, a dominant adult bull elephant keeps the younger (ones under) control. Perhaps these young, transported bull elephants were missing the civilizing presence of their elders.
To test this theory, the rangers brought in a number of older bull elephants. Sure enough, the older bull elephants soon let the younger ones know that such ruffian behavior was, well, not elephant like.
Within weeks, the acting-out behavior ceased. Instead of terrorizing other animals in the park, the younger bull elephants now were following the older bull elephants around, imitating their more appropriate – and civilized – elephant behavior.
As dad’s, we can have a tremendous impact by just doing two things:
- Be present. Our kids need a dad in their life. Not a stand-in for family pictures. But, a dad who is present in their lives to help guide them. Without healthy dads or adult males being present, it opens the door for other influences to take our place and usually the results end up being negative.
- Modeling. Our role in being present is to model what it means to live out being a Christ follower. Kids learn from actions, not words. If we want our kids to grow with the right behaviors, we needed to first model the right behaviors.
Being a dad is a HUGE job. As you look at your role as a dad, what can you do to be more present? What is one behavior you need to do a better job in modeling to your kids?
Today, I’m giving away the 2nd copy of Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly Safe Faith is No Longer Enough
- Leave a comment here and enter to win! You can enter 1x a day.. all week long!
- Share this today to all your crazy social media friends using the hashtags #yesinmymess #rhinestonejesus
- Pray that Jesus uses this book to inspire you and many others to SAY YES.
I will post today’s winner in [this] post!
If you pre-order Rhinestone Jesus before May 1st- here are the special gifts you receive! I did it, too! The best part, proceeds from the book go to supporting Mercy House.
If you can’t wait, you can purchase the book at these places: