An abiding father
There are times in my life when my wife looks at me and says, “If you’re going to post all this Abiding Fathers stuff on your social media, you need to start acting like one.”
And I’m like, “Okay, I guess I better start listening.”
We have two children. My son has autism. My daughter is the child with the autistic sibling. So I tend to focus my life on his needs and I tend to focus on his well-being and she’s got a life too. Being a better father means not to just push her needs aside but know that she’s just as needy as he is, but in a different way.
When I was thinking about what I should bring to the table today, I tried to think about her more. Not to push my son aside, but rather to respectfully acknowledge that there are mountains in her path that she sees that my son will never see. I need to understand that so I can be a better father to her and know what’s in her way, what’s causing her to need me.
My thunder is somewhat stolen. I was gonna ask you when I got started to not eat your lunch just yet and offer your meal to the gentleman sitting next to you. As silly as that sounds, the purpose in that is also to look at your neighbor and say “I’m grateful you’re here and what’s mine is yours”. You’d share your food and obviously you’d get a sandwich back. I feel challenged every day to think of how I can give more. I’m done with me and if I’m allowed to do what I want to do, I’ll get focused on myself in a heartbeat. By sharing your meal, that’s one share, and you’ve started your day with one share and you get to add to that. That’s the purpose of me asking you to share your lunch with somebody.
We all know how that feels when someone shares with us. We know the impact it has. You’ll never forget that person who loans you a tool. I’ve got issues at the house. Things are breaking and I don’t have all the tools, but my neighbor has all the tools and you just don’t forget that person. You never forget that person that offers you a jacket when you’ve forgotten yours and it’s cold. You never forget someone who has that spare vehicle when your car goes down. You never forget when someone opens up their home to you and says, “What’s mine is yours”.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit comes to us and we don’t see him or feel him, though we can tangibly see the results of the Holy Spirit being in our world. I swear sometimes I can feel him with his hands on my shoulders. Where that comes from for me is that spirit of giving. When you can open up the door and share with others, that opens the door for the Holy Spirit to come in and do more work.
I’m going to intermix a few verses here that are mountain related. Matthew 17:20 says, “He replied, ‘because you have so little faith, truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” That really sings out to me because I have felt in the last year what appeared to be huge mountains in the way. There hasn’t been one that’s not been overcome, and that’s not me.
Last December, an opportunity came to me. I’d been looking for every opportunity to get into business for myself. I want to grow equity, I want to grow a business. At some point, I want to be the master of my own world. A friend came to me with an opportunity and things started to make sense. We got together and prayed about it. We had a great plan together and we got started. Within two months, it became obvious that it wasn’t turning out the way we planned. There was a Monday morning when we got into the office and sat on the couch and I could just tell that things weren’t right. The first thing out of his mouth was “Things aren’t working”. Rather than fight, push back, sell myself, and try to make it right, it was time to see the situation for what it was and move forward.
I’d been unemployed for a while. I’d had some time off and lived on some of our savings. I didn’t want to pull back and admit that this wasn’t working, but I knew it wasn’t going to work. I listened and acknowledged what was said. Within an hour, I was back home. My wife asked me what’s wrong and I told her we weren’t going to work together anymore but I know that God has a better plan. I needed a little bit of time and I believed that we were not without. The coming apart was good. We had some money, so at least I had a little bit of time and flexibility.
I went in another room, got on my knees, and opened up to God what He already knew. I said, “God, I’ve got to get beyond myself and give this to you. I need work.” He placed in my heart that I needed to go back to the people that I had worked for.
I lifted that up right away. I got on the phone, called the owner of my previous employer, and told him my situation. I told him why I left, that I needed more income and things to take care of my family. I had had this opportunity and there was equity but things just didn’t work. Now I’m in this conversation with the owner asking for my job back and I’m thinking from his perspective how awkward this must be. I left him on good terms – but I left him.
Then he says, “No, it’s a good thing you called. I have people out sick. I have family that’s in bad shape. The best thing for you to do is to come back and I need you back tonight.” So there’s a mountain moved. Not only did I show up for that job that night, but I showed up an hour early. I sat on the grounds of a golf course in a Dallas Country Club to watch the sunset and just praise the Lord because he had put this together. The next day we got together at our company and our path was made.
That’s how it works. My gut was telling me something. My typical David response would be to fight through this and come home and have a pity party and be upset but that’s not the way it worked out. I was grateful for that.
In 1 Corinthians 13:2, it says, “I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and I have a faith that can move mountains. But to not have love, I am nothing.” The point there is where our hearts are. Mountains can be moved, but we have to get out of the way.
At another Fathers Forum, there was a gentleman who spoke about a camp that he had taken his daughters to a camp called JR Ranch. I really wanted this time with my daughter. We’re in the junior high/high school years, the awkward time. Nobody wants to get in a time machine and be taken back to ninth grade. When I found out about this camp, it made sense to me to have this time with her and be able to go out into the Pacific Northwest to get away from everything at home. Here’s a $5,000 camp. There’s a mountain.
I got on the phone with some people and they said, “Well, you can raise money, can’t you? We have a scholarship program and you can raise money towards that.” I agreed and three weeks later, they call me and say “You need $500 to go to camp.” We had that, so Lilly and I got to go to father-daughter camp in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. We met families from all over and all the girls were the same age. It was really a blessing that we were there.
We got to the airport and we have a four-hour drive to camp in a prepaid rental car. I have prepaid many rental cars, but this time they needed my credit card for some addition expenses. I had left all credit cards at home and without my credit card, there was no way for us to get to camp. I told a man standing next to me that I would give him $100 cash to let me use his credit card. He agreed to do it, but the person behind the desk said it had to be my credit card, it couldn’t be his.
So after two ‘no’ answers, I threw my luggage on the ground and made a big scene. I look over and my daughter is in tears. She looks at me and asks, “How are we going to get to camp?” I knew I had already blown it, and when she asks me this, I know I need to change my path. I call camp, explain my situation, and in five minutes they call me back to tell me there is a family that’s driving up. They were five minutes away and they came to pick us up. So, there’s a mountain moved. We rode with this family to camp and the total delay from all this was about an hour. Again, God had a mountain to move and he did it.
In Luke 3:5 it says, “Every valley shall be filled in and every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight and the rough ways made smooth.”