A father’s broken heart

February 25, 2006

I am extremely fortunate in my current job situation.  Although I aspire to return to vocational ministry in the future, I am enjoying my sabbatical from ministry and my tent-making.  My current form of ten-making finds me in the role of software developer.  The company that employs me is a global corporation with clients across 6 continents (does anyone have clients on all 7?).  The company to which they have contracted me is in Dayton, OH.  Although the latter company is within an hours drive of my house; I don’t work there.  I work here.

My job affords me the privilege of working out of my home office.  There were concerns (of my own) at one point that I would not get much work done; however, I have come to realize that I am much more disciplined than I gave myself credit.  I put in at least a minimum of 8 hours work every day (I’m salaried).  There are many “perks” that come with this as well, not the least of which is the absence of commute.  My greatest joy under these circumstances is that I am able to see my kids grow up.  It is not that I simply come home to them each evening, but I am at home with them each day.

[All of the above has been to lay the foundation for the anecdote below.]

Last night, my daughter fell ill (she vomitted once but also showed other signs of viral infection).  We were concerned that when we put her to bed that it was going to be a long night.  However, God saw fit to give her adequate rest.  I woke up this morning around 5:30, and could not go back to sleep.  So, I came up to my office to read and study.  Around 7:30, Annie woke up, and as is her habit, she came to see me.  Typically, I would already have started the day’s task of my occupation, but with today being a Saturday, my current activities were personal.

She appeared at my office door, and I asked her (as is my habit) if she wanted me to hold her.  Each morning I hold her for a minute and tell her I love her, before I help her get situated for the morning as I return to “work.”  She came over and I picked her 3-year-old body up and sat her in my lap.  I held her close and asked if she was feeling better as I told her I loved her.  She so sweetly and innocently replied to me, “Daddy, please don’t put me down and tell me to go somewhere else” [insert knife and begin twisting].  “From the mouth of babes….”  The truth of this statement lies in the fact that she will come to me many times in the day in which the ritual is repeated that I hold her for a minute, but then explain to her that I must get back to work.

My children do not know how fortunate they are that both their mother and I are home with them all day long, even if much of my day is secluded to my home office (but my door remains as open as possible).  I hope that I never put work over holding my daughter when she really needs me.

“Sweetheart, I’m sorry if I have told you that before.”

“You told me that yesterday.” [Although this is likely accurate, her 37-month old mind equates “yesterday” to anything that has occurred in the recent past.]

“Annie, some days Daddy [what is the obsession with parents referring to themselves in 3rd person?] has to work, but I don’t have to work today.  Do you want me to carry you into the family room and watch a movie with you?” 

“Yes.”

I have learned a great deal about love in these past 3 years of fatherhood.  It is most certainly a different kind of love than that between a husband and wife.  I have grown to understand better how God loves me, His child.  I am so thankful that He has never held me for a minute or two, only to say “now go somewhere else.”

Advertisements

Liberty Heights Church

February 11, 2006

In our church-hopping, we dropped in on Liberty Heights Church this past weekend.  Liberty is among the largest Southern Baptist Churches in the state.  However, they have had a recent string of setbacks.  They are currently without a pastor, as Terry Fields (the previous pastor) has taken a job with the North American Mission Board.  Their are without a Worship Pastor, since Rick Melson (with whom I have had lunch) left to join the staff of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis (and who would not want to go work with John Piper).

The church has moved into a new facility within the past year.  This property is at least 8 or more miles from their previous location.  A church is bound to lose some of its membership in moving that distance.  With the hits of losing all the platform staff, and the move, the attendance is considerably down.

In spite of all this, we really enjoyed the church.  The facility is gorgeous (of course a price was paid for it).  The kids programming seems to have remained strong.  The teacher for the day was a professor from Southern Seminary.  I did not realize in coming that I would know the worship leader, but the layman who was leading the worship did a great job under the circumstances.  I have been in his position, and I know some of the pressures involved with maintaining a full-time day job and coordinating a worship program.  The music was well presented, well led, and sincere.  The homily was well-formed with tremendous content and delivery (by an experienced teacher).

I would not be surprised if we ended up at Liberty.  For me, there is a little selfishness to it in that we can choose the level of involvement that we will take.  We can be a part of something that is dynamic, and we won’t feel pressure to do more than we want at present.  I have to test and try my motives if we choose to make this our home; but I think we could be happy here.  As with any of those visiting now, we would like to see who the pastor will be before we settle permanently.

Wednesday we returned to let the kids enjoy the children’s programming and so that we could visit the choir.  Choir is something that I have always loved.  I do not know that if I were to plant a church today that we would attempt to form a choir, but as an established ministry, it is something I love when done right.  They do it right at Liberty.  The music is dynamic and strong.

We will continue to pray for God’s direction in leading us to a new home of worship.  I have enjoyed the ability to visit around and see what other churches are doing; but at the same time, we really want to get settled.  It is not that I desire a place of attention in the service, but I know that God has gifted me, and I do not want to neglect those gifts.

A Leave of Absence

February 11, 2006

Hopefully I will catch up on some posts today.  I have been very busy with work.  There are certain pros and cons of working in front of a computer all day.  Unfortunately, one of the negatives is that when the day is up, you don’t always want to come back and catch up on all your personal stuff.  Then, when I do feel like it, I am torn by the desire to help and spend time with the family.  This week, for the good of all, my family has won and this explains my absence for a week.  I know that I have thousands of subscribers out there (ok, maybe 1 or 2) who have grieved my absence, but I am sure you will find much more interesting stuff out there to read.  Truth is, I do this more as a discipline to myself than any other reason.

When time does permit, my choice is read or write, and this week I have read more than I have written.  Today, I hope to blog about another book or two that I have completed.  Hang around, if I really think people might read this, I will be more motivated to continue to cultivate the discipline of writing.

eCost nightmare

January 16, 2006

If I have anything to say about it, I would recommend that you never place an order with the online vendor of eCost.com. I placed an order with them on December 15th for a Christmas present for my brother. I went with them because they had the best price and free shipping. I was, of course, hoping to have the item by Christmas.

They responded immediately by email to inform me that the address I submitted for the credit card was different than the address on the account. This was not entirely surprising, since we have recently moved. I replied immediately to their inquiry and gave them the correct address information and my phone number should any more confirmation be needed. They deny having received that email (I use Gmail, and Gmail indicates it was sent).

I neglected to follow up as much as I should have over these 4 weeks, but I have sent a few emails and have made numerous phone calls to resolve this. Finally, they contacted me today (because I left a voice mail over the weekend). They indicated they were still waiting on me and that they could fulfill the order today. I declined. I don’t want to give them my business. This is lousy customer service.

Maybe you have had better service with them, but my recommendation is to stay away from eCost.com.

Got the job

January 15, 2006

To those who may be following my current job situation, I finally signed the paperwork this week to finalize things with a job. I will be doing the same job that I was doing 4 weeks ago. Except that now, I will be an employee (of the contracting company) and not simply an independent contractor. The pay was cut significantly, but the benefits are excellent. I have faith that God will provide for us, and/or teach us better how to manage our resources. My tentative start date is January 23. The best thing of all, and don’t be too envious, is that I will be able to work entirely from my home office. I may go into work on occasion, but who wants to drive an hour for a job you can do from your home.

Recent pics of the kids

January 8, 2006

I recently signed up for Flickr. My first post was some recent pics of our family and kids over the Christmas holidays. You can find them here.