Finding God in Difficult Times

Today, I want to introduce you all to a good friend, Craig Hutchison. Craig and his wife Roxie were two of the first people my wife and I spoke to when we moved to Cleveland and I can honestly say that my life has been richer since because of this. Craig and Roxie have endured so much and yet remain to be two of the most solid people I know. Here’s a little of their story and reason why. (Grab your Kleenex and read on!) 

Twenty seven hours of labor and our second child was born.  A 7 pound 9 oz beautiful girl.  I held her in my arms and studied her face hoping I could etch it in my memory for ever.  She was so cute  .   .   .  so quiet.  She was our child for an eternity  .   .   .  but not for this life.  I laid her in her mother’s arms.  She held her and cried both tears of joy and tears of sorrow and grief.  We kissed our little girl good-by and they took her away.  This was not like when we lost everything in a fire.  Those were just “things” but this was our child.  A hundred other children could not make us miss her less.  It has now been over 33 years and I still ache to hold her my girl again.

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Our first born daughter was healthy and full of life.  She was in her second year of residency, fulfilling her life long dream of being an emergency room physician.  We were with her in the hospital as she was having a medical procedure performed.  Late at night she called me over and said “dad, this is very important, you need to get someone, I am bleeding out”.  I went and told the nurse who called her doctor. But no one took it seriously.  The next night I looked over and saw her having a seizure.  I ran and told the nurse who called the doctor.  Still nothing was done.  The next day a different doctor stopped by and immediately noticed something was not right.  My girl had laid there for two days bleeding at three places in her brain  .   .   .   .  They only gave her a 10% chance to survive.  While she survived the stroke, the next few years were tough.  One year she spent 300 days in the hospital.  She was now missing part of her brain and she struggle with new medical issues.  But she fought and got better.  Six years after her stoke she went back into a residency program.

 

It was a thanksgiving morning.  A time to be thankful, our son was back home.  We were looking forward to cooking the turkey together and spending the day with family.  I got up early to start the turkey but noticed something in the living room.  It was our son.  He was lying collapsed on the floor  .   .   lifeless  .   .   .   I rolled him over and I yelled for his mother to call 911  .   .   .  We immediately started CPR.  Pressing in on his big chest and breathing air into his lungs.  After the rescue squad arrived it became increasingly evident that our son was dead.  He was taken to the hospital where they pronounced him dead.  The only thing left to do was to hug and kiss him good-by.  Our boy . . . our friend.  Once again we were burying a child.

The Limits of “Misery Loves Company” and “The Blind Leading the Blind”

 

I had a philosophy professor years ago that loved to offer the class conflicting messages of truth. Here’s what I mean:

Question 1: Do birds of a feather flock together?

Answer: Yes, both literally and figuratively

BUT

Question 2: Do opposites attract?

Answer: I though so until I read question 1???

 

I have been dealing with one such dilemma this month. I’ve been doing some research. I’m searching the web for other Christian Parenting blogs and websites. My goal is to see what’s out there and how can I connect, encourage, and inform more families with this simple message of Raising your parenting “Voice”. One thing I’ve found is that the vast majority of sites out there fall in one of the following two categories:

 

Misery Loves Company” – Sites that focus on encouragement along the journey. These bloggers are in the same stage of life as their audience and we’re all encouraged that we’re not the only ones struggling.

“Blind Leading the Blind” – Sites that focus on instruction along the journey. These bloggers are often times young parents (usually moms) telling other young parent (other moms) how to raise their children. Even though they have not raised their own yet.

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Here’s what I know: We all are encouraged when we learn that we are not the only ones who struggle to get our kids to bed on time and have to force-feed our kiddos green vegetables (Misery Loves Company).

AND

We all appreciate instruction on the journey and could use any help we could get… even if it’s from someone in the same stage of life as us. (Blind Leading the Blind)

Here’s a concern though… if we’re all in this together and… well… none of us have finished this parenting journey. What’s keeping us from steering each other down a wrong path?

I have come to learn this for my own life. I need to be careful as to who I consistently seek out as an authority on my parenting troubles. I have had to seek out people who are at least one stage ahead of me on this parenting journey. God has been good to Aime and I. He has given us examples in the form of several couples who, in our opinion, have done an amazing job raising their children. These couple have come into our life and have made the choice to mentor us along our journey.

 

What I look for in parenting mentors:

What is “In”Gauge Parenting?

It’s a Journey, It’s an Understanding, It’s a Voice, and It’s a Choice…

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It’s a Journey: Every child is on a journey. We call it the Journey to Independence. This journey is good… right…and natural. This journey is one which the child travels through many stages and passes through several key milestones of development. The five key stages are those of Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, High School, College / Adulthood.

Courage Under Fire

courage under fire

Every time we had a Baby Dedication at my previous church, te Lead Pastor, Steve Poe, reminded our church family of a very interesting fact.  He stated, “The only thing you can take with you into eternity from this world is your children.”  The Apostle John states it like this, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.”-3 John 1:4.  Naturally, John was referring to his “spiritual children”, but the same definitely applies to our natural children.  A several years ago, I had the opportunity to baptize my oldest daughter, Nadia.  I spoke those same words as I introduced her to the church body.  “I have no greater joy then this, to KNOW that MY CHILD is walking in the truth.”

 

Tim Kimmel in his book, Raising Kids Who Turn Out Right, put this responsibility in perspective.  Here’s what he had to say:

“Courage is the uncommon ability to resist when misguided instincts call for surrender. It’s that tenacious resolve to do what is right, regardless of the pain. It requires a temperament willing to maintain convictions despite opposition.”

Prayer and the Holy Spirit’s Role in Parenting

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A couple years ago I read a great book called L’ABRI (pronounced La Bree) by Edith Schaeffer.  She quoted her husband Francis. It really struck a cord with me in thinking about churches today and how “things are done”… the more I think about it… it really relates to my parenting too.