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Sacrificing a Son

In church this morning, Kelsey took Taylor out to get a drink while we were singing. Carter had been standing on the other side of her, so when she left he grinned and scooted over next to me.

I dropped by hand to his shoulder and just kinda left it there. And then we sang the line “All of the sin I have committed / was placed upon your righteous Son.”

In that moment, standing beside my son, I thought about God sacrificing his Son for us. I thought about Abraham’s willingness to offer his son Isaac as a up to God. And I realized how impossible it would be to sacrifice my own son.

And then it got kinda dusty in the sactuary all of a sudden.

But God did it. He gave his only Son that we might be saved. The impossible happened. Glory came down. We believe, and we are saved. Hallelujah.

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Happy 15th Birthday?

I met an almost-15 year-old tonight. His birthday is tomorrow. He’s in eighth grade. He plays the tuba and kinda likes it, but isn’t over the moon about it. (“It’s better than the clarinet,” he says.) His marching band is going to a competition this Saturday and might get to go to an amusement part afterward — if it doesn’t rain, which it’s supposed to.

He’s not happy. He specifically said that, but he didn’t have to. His whole demeanor shouted it. Slouched in his chair, bored but hurt expression, sarcastic comments, cynical outlook. Thing is, who could expect anything else?

He’s an only child who lives with his mom. He’s never met his dad, doesn’t even know his name. A step-dad was there for a while, but moved out when he couldn’t stand the mom anymore. The almost-15 year old says he doesn’t blame the guy — he doesn’t like his mom either.

She messed up his birthday plans for tomorrow night. There’s a new movie he wanted to see. Talked to his friends, made plans to go. Then last night his mom gets mad, says he can’t go. He tells his friends. Tonight, she changes her mind, says he can go. He texts his friends, but they all have other plans now. He’s left in the cold, with nothing to do and no one to be with on his birthday.

He likes watching fights at school. (One guy got beat up by about 12 girls after he cheated on his girlfriend – the crowd included both the girlfriend and the cheatee. Another guy kicked a kid dcwn the stairs.) He says his school is all jocks and preps and he doesn’t fit in either category. He’s right, given what I see — shaggy hair, oversized t-shirt and shorts, cockeyed black hat. He likes heavy metal and video games.  Likes to read and write and thinks math is cool.

He’s looking forward to being reunited next year in high school with the one guy he considers a good friend. They can just sit next to each other and talk and hang out (even with the tv off) and not be bored.

He’s headed to a sleep clinic tonight because he might have sleep apnea. He’s tired a lot, but has trouble sleeping — just kinda zones out. Last night he watched a tv show called “A Thousand Ways to Die.” One guy died when he fell in his driveway and ended up in the path of a big streetsweeper coming down the street.

He says his mom is always the last one to pick him up from places. The other night, she got there even after the janitors had locked up and left.

He used to go to a church in town, but quit going to the youth stuff on Wednesday night because he hated the seventh graders who drove him crazy. He almost punched one of them one night.

I ask him what makes him happy. “Nothing,” he says, and tells a story about when he went to Disney World in 4th or 5th grade. He didn’t like it, thought it was a waste of money to go.

As I drive away, he sits slumped against a brick wall, waiting — again — for his mom.

He just wants to be loved. He needs a dad. He needs friends. He needs a Happy Birthday. Most of all, he needs Jesus, but how’s he gonna find him?

Foster adoptions on the rise

This article from the Washington Times caught my eye this morning: “Increase in adoptions spells fewer children on rolls, shorter waits

Seems that U.S. adoptions from the foster care system reached a record high of 57,000 in 2009 and the average wait time has shrunk by over a year. The number of kids waiting to be adopted is lower (but still is 115,000).

Specialists credit the improvement to adoption incentives for states that increased their adoption numbers, as well as the adoption tax credit, advertising campaigns, etc.

Older kids are still not adopted as much and the number of kids aging out of foster care is higher than ever, but these new number are positive news overall.

Hopefully numbers will continue to improve, especially as church grab hold of this issue and follow God’s directive to care for the fatherless.

We’re in the final stage of filling out our paperwork to be foster parents, with an eye to adoption. We’ve finished the classes and now just need to finish a few forms and wait for approval.

Some days we question what we’re doing. Most days, actually. But we’re going to at least try it out, see how it fits, see if God wants to bless us with any kids who might come into our home.

Glad to see the good news today — lots of kids need help.

Parenting isn’t so complex

Posted this on Facebook earlier today, but I’d like to do more on the blog (yeah, we’ve all said/heard that one before), so I’m gonna write about it here too.

Kevin DeYoung’s post on parenting today is fantastic. His main point is that we need to not worry about all the little stuff that so often consumes us as parents and focus on the major things:

I just know that the longer I parent the more I want to focus on doing a few things really well, and not get too passionate about all the rest. I want to spend time with my kids, teach them the Bible, take them to church, laugh with them, cry with them, discipline them when they disobey, say sorry when I mess up, and pray like crazy. I want them to look back and think, “I’m not sure what my parents were doing or if they even knew what they’re were doing. But I always knew my parents loved me and I knew they loved Jesus.” Maybe it’s not that complicated after all.

Great advice. A couple other good lines:

In our house the pebbles were fruity and the charms were lucky. The breakfast bowl was a place for marshmallows, not dried camping fruit.

There are plenty of ways to screw up our kids, but whether they color during church, for example, is not one of them. There is not a straight line from doodling in the service as a toddler to doing meth as a teenager.

And you’ve gotta read his dialogue between him and his kid as he tries to correct the kid for not sharing. Hilarious and so accurate you’ll wonder how he snuck into your house to watch you.

Once you’ve read that, you can go here to watch my dad’s series on parenting (as seen on Challies.com!). Great stuff, despite what you might think about the results of of his own parenting (me). Ha.