A New Beginning

It doesn’t seem that long ago that my wife and I were coming home with our first child. We had our oldest son Trey when we were both 24 and I remember that first day home with him was filled with both excitement and fear. I’m responsible for this little human that does nothing by sleep, eat and cry it seems.

Then as the days wore on, a smile here and there from him would light up the day for all of us, making us forget the late nights and constant barrage of diapers. Seeing him slowly become mobile and active was not only exciting but again, still fearful. How could we care for this child that was slowly becoming more independent (not really, he was still just a baby, but it felt like he was growing up so quickly over the first few months)

Years went by and we saw that baby become a young boy, full of his own personality. And again, I had that excitement and fear. Here was a young boy who was soaking in all the information he could in his environment and that was forming his personality. And the fear came back, because I realized he was watching us and learning from us. So I quickly understood that now I was responsibility for raising this young boy to become a young man who was kind and gentle, yet fun loving and strong.

Fast forward a few years and we’ve moved into his teen years. Much of his personality is formed and he has become that individual and we hope we’ve taught him well. The rebellious teenage years kick in and while he was not very much trouble at all, the fear set in that now would I have to go from being his best friend and teacher, to being more of an enforcer of rules meant to keep him safe and from making stupid decision that would affect the rest of his life. Again, I didn’t have too much to worry about, I must have done my job well enough during the younger years, because Trey was turning into a respectable, hard-working, loving and funny young man.

No here we are today…this first-born of ours is 22 and a completely independent young man. He is hard-working and fun-loving. He respects and loves us as parents and he has come back to being one of my best-friends. He loves and will do anything for his family, his brothers and sister, his grandparents and extended family can always count on him to be there when we need him.

And now, he is beginning that journey into the next phase of his life, one that seems not that long ago for myself, where he got down on a knee and asked for his girls hand in marriage. He has found a fine young lady, one that cares for my son as fiercely as we do. One that has become part of our family as much as if she were truly one of our own. I couldn’t be prouder of them as they begin this journey.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:24

We’ve done what we can, but I think we’ve done OK as my father did with me. He will make a great husband and someday a great father. And I hope that in 20 years or so, he can reflect back on his life and his children as I am today and see that the love of our children never fades no matter how old we and they get.

I would love to have those days back when he was young and all he wanted to do was throw a ball with me out in the yard. Those are some of the memories I cherish most with him. But I can’t wait to see where life takes him as I know he will go far in life, much farther than I could have ever imagined when we brought him home that first day.


God’s Gift

On January 13th, 1998 God presented my wife and I with one of the most precious gifts short of salvation that He could give us. It was on that date, 19 years ago, my daughter, Tela, was born. We have four children and she was our second. All of them changed our lives greatly and our all gifts more precious than anything, but today I want to talk about my daughter.

Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. -Psalm 127:3-5

Children are a gift from God and are a sign of his favor. They are a gift, not a possession. Children are loaned to us to raise and teach of God’s way and God will use them for what He created them for. But they are a gift that we can treasure nonetheless.11206058_10200283920856551_1478610184882415488_n

Tela was born with an attitude and has kept the feisty spirit throughout her entire life. She is beautiful and strong. Independent, but loves her family. She and I have very similar personalities so at times we can disagree strongly, yet I know that the love I have for her and she for me transcends all arguments. It is like the unconditional love that God has for us. That love that he had for us, even before we were born. That love strong enough that He died for us, even while we were still sinners.

Just the same, the love I have for my daughter is as strong as one man can love his children, as I love all 4 of mine. As she grows into the young woman and in the not so distant future goes off to start her own family, she will always know that her father here on earth loves her and that her Father in heaven loves her completely and eternally.

11174678_10205220095796839_2795267091021961649_oShe recently started a blog, and while she is in the beginning phases of writing and growing, I am proud of what she accomplishes and am looking forward to see where she goes. Check her writing out at LautzOfLife.

13450931_10208912153475395_3291268572287462572_nSo to end this, I want to speak directly to her as I know she usually reads my posts. Your mother and I love you with all our hearts and you have made us so proud of the young woman you’ve grown into. Never lose that spirit that make you so you and go after your dreams with vigor. Happy 19th birthday pumpkin!

Be forgiving on Thanksgiving

13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013
13° on Thanksgiving morning 2013

As my family gathers around the dinner table today with family and friends, I tend to be thankful for those friends of mine, for those people that touch my life everyday that bring happiness and joy to my life.  I am thankful for those that love me, support me and live life with me.  I feel this is important enough that we should really do it every day.  God provides so much we should be thankful for the good things and people that He puts into our lives.

Love your enemies!  Do good to them! Lend to them!  And don’t be concerned that they may not repay.  Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to the unthankful and to those who are wicked.  You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.  -Luke 6:35-36

Jesus says we should love our enemies as well…..What???  Why would I want to do that?

It’s easy for us to love those who love us, but God calls us to love those who don’t as well.  God love and forgave each and every one of us, even though we are still sinners and don’t deserve his love.

Here’s what I’ll be trying to do:

  1. Be difficult to offend.  This thought comes from Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts, that I’ve been reading through recently.  Being a person that is difficult to offend will make my life much more pleasant.  I never know what people may say or do, but why give the control of your day to other people?  Being hurt and offended does not change the other people, it changes us!

  2. Look at family first.  Is there family that have harmed us in some way by their words or actions?  I’ve been a firm believer that family comes at the top of the list of priorities in life (right behind God).  I hate to see families that have split over some argument that often after many years, no one really remembers what the argument was (or if they do it was really pretty petty), they just remember the hurt that was given…that’s something they never forget.  I want to look at family members and bring them back together.  Life is too short to not forgive those people that should be easy to love.
  3. Look outwardly at your circle of influence.  Perhaps look at people you work with, go to school or church with, or who are in your social media circles.  I want to look at those that have offended me in the past and be forgiving of them.  I also will look at my own actions and be cautious that I don’t give anyone a reason to be offended.  Not that I should back down and be passive or not share my opinions….but I will realize that others have different opinions than mine and that’s ok.  I need to be also careful with those that I hold a position of power over in some way, as they may not even express their offense, which would cause it to fester within them.
  4. Be giving and forgiving to those on the margins of society.  This should just be an extension of my being.  It could be as simple as giving to the local food cupboard, or perhaps saying a kind word to someone in need, or helping someone who struggles to provide for their family.  There are so many ways to be giving, that this should be the easiest of all to do, but I find sometimes it’s the last we want to do.   I want to put this in the forefront of my mind moving forward so that it is not an ‘exceptional’ act of kindness, but a ‘normal’ one.

God bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day and enjoy and be thankful for all that God has given us.