I last blogged on my birthday and have had several occasions since where I might have blogged, but other things have taken my time and priority.
First, I spent a week at the National Worship Leader Conference in Kansas City, Kansas. It was a fantastic time and I was able to spend some time under the teaching of some godly men, women and mentors. I sat under the teaching of Leonard Sweet, Scotty Smith, Tommy Walker, Tim Hughes, Rory Nolan and Buddy Owens, just to drop a few names.
As a worship leader this was a week to learn, grow, fuel and be challenged. All those things took place in me. I was exhausted when it was over and ready to rest. Having been to NWLC the last two years, I was prepared and already scheduled a week vacation following the conference. (Foresight is a wonderful thing when I can get it.)
I had every intention of sleeping till noon, indulging myself in my favorite books and shows on netflix. God had something different in mind and I’m so glad that at least on this occasion, He found me listening.
Here is what I heard my heavenly Father calling me to… Spend quality time with my kids and wife. The time schedule for this pastor of worship can be demanding. (my friends tease me that it must be tough only working on Sundays) Added to that my older 3 kids are teenagers and have many activities throughout the year. It’s tough to get quality time with them and when I do get time it is usually with 2 or 3 of them at a time, so one-on-one time is even more rare.
My 3 year old gets one day with me every week throughout the year, so God impressed upon me that I should offer that to my teenagers as a part of my planned week off. Here is how it set up. Tuesday was Daddy-Jared day, Wednesday was Daddy-Hannah day and Thursday was Daddy-Timothy day.
Jared and I started our day with some work. Together we stood out in the hot 100+ degree morning and changed the driver-side head lamp assembly in my van. I’m not a mechanic and don’t pretend to be, but it was good for Jared, I think to see me struggle to figure out how to get the old headlight out and the new one in. And he got to help and use his creative thinking gifts as we worked it out together. After, we went together to pick up Hannah from band camp, went to lunch together and did one more job before spending the afternoon watching some hero shows on Netflix. During our time I was able to share with Jared how, as a teen, I experienced many of the same pressures and teasing that he sometimes experiences. Too often I present myself to my kids as a “sure-of-myself, successful man.” I allow them to see my successes but rarely my failures. Mistakenly they may only think that I have experienced success and have always been popular and sure-of-myself. On the contrary, this is far from reality. I pray that they don’t think that they have to live up to a misunderstood concept of their dad.
Hannah and I got to make a trip to the city on Wednesday, and she drove. She has been anxious to try her driving skills in the city and on the interstate. She did well. Especially when she had to keep her cool when we encountered a tire tread which had recently been deposited in the middle of our lane. At first unsure of which way to go around, she slowed and chose the shoulder rather than changing lanes. It was the right choice as there were several cars behind us and in the next lane over. Her reward? Splitting a full slab of ribs from Oklahoma Joe’s with her dad. It was a good time together.
Timothy and I also started our day with some work. I had recently built a raised bed for next year’s garden and was needing to cut the tips off of the screws so we wouldn’t cut our hands while digging in the dirt. I pulled out my dremel tool and showed Timothy how to use it. He caught on quickly and did the large share of that little job. We also needed to change a light in our stairwell, so I borrowed the long pole from the church and showed Tim how to use it. He also did great at this. We went to lunch with my friend Bob, and Tim got to hear what it is that grown men talk about: baseball, Bonhoeffer, theology, politics, church life. After the work, Tim schooled me at Halo 3, and we watched some Star Trek Voyager on Netflix.
Ending the week I got to spend some wonderful time with my wife. During the week we had begun reading a book to each other in the evenings, and Sunday we celebrated our 18th anniversary. We watched Captain America at the theater then went to supper and finished off with some Cold Stone, Coffee Lovers (our favorite) ice cream.
Too many times during the business of life, I’m putting off those little times I could be spending with my kids. It’s easy to be exhausted mentally after a full day and full week of carrying the weight of my job on my shoulders. I’m getting better, but I still knew that I owed this week to my family. This vacation was more for our together time. I’ll get “me time” later. I always seem to find time for me.
What is the best quality time you’ve spent with your kids or wife? Are they seeing the real you or are you only showing them the “you” that you wish you were?