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Posts tagged: family

If we’re constantly the voice of the Holy Spirit to our kids, we control them instead of letting them respond to God’s leading.
via @truministry on twitter
Most of the church serves God within a family relationship; it stands to reason that ninety percent of the teaching regarding the spiritual life should thus be placed in a marital context.

Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas, 267 

A Letter to my Future Nephew

This is a letter I’m writing for my unborn nephew. If you remember the stories I’ve told you about my brother, this is helping me attempt to find reconciliation with him. I need to for the sake of my nephew. I’ve still got things to think through and pray through. This is a start. This draft still has work to refine, but it’s a great starting place…

To My Nephew Whose Name I Do Not Yet Know,

I know we haven’t met yet. This is okay. You are family. You are blood. You are a Welch. 

In time, I pray you will be able to understand what this means. You are the start of a third generation of Welch’s following Jesus. Somehow, I have become our families storyteller. One day, I pray you will understand how great your grandpa is and how he has faithfully followed Jesus. Thus, singlehandedly, changing the path our family of men was heading down. It is my hope, my prayer, that through me, your grandpa and father you will never experience what your grandfather did.

Your father and I don’t always see eye to eye. I am sure you have already seen or heard this. It’s okay. I love him. He is my brother. In fact, you are the reason I sought out reconcilliation with him. Because, my nephew, before I knew you I loved you.

Just like God.

I am so excited to be a part of your story. I am praying you will encounter Jesus early and often. As you’ve seen by now, Jesus likes to interupt us Welch’s with things we couldn’t imagine. As you’ve seen by now, I hope, God is constantly begging me to go deeper and take others with me. My nephew, I just know how important following Jesus is.

I want you to be a man like David. I long for you to have a Jonathan. I want you to learn from Solomon - don’t make his mistakes. I want you to be a man who knows and loves the Word of God before anything else. Look at your Grandpa. He is the best man I’ve ever met…

I pray for you constantly as you go through life. I long for you early on to understand how Church is so much more then a building or a service. But yes, please go to church. I long for you to understand there are those in the world who have never heard the Gospel and need you to speak it, share it and love them. This is Church. Be it. Do it. Live it. Love it. Follow.

You may think your uncle is a nut. I’m okay with that. Your ultimate goal in life is to this end stated above. Not money. Not power. Not sex. Be about the Gospel.

I beg you to be in community. Find brothers from other mothers who will always have your back and point you to the cross. Those are your true friends. Have men around you who show you how to treat women. They are your sisters before anything else. Treat them like this. Look and listen to what culture says, but don’t emulate it. Culture is a great deceiver. Know that.

We are a counterculture. We are in the world, not of it, to point people to Jesus. My nephew, this is my prayer for you.

At this point in time, I don’t know your name. I am still trying to decide when I shall have you read this. Your baby shower is next weekend (8/27/2011). I won’t be there because I have to work. 

Know how excited for your life I am. I look forward to being your uncle and getting to know you. At this point in time, I don’t know what this means. I don’t know who you are - in time I will.

I am your uncle.

I will be your friend. I am family. I will be there to listen. I will be there for you to vent. I will be there when you need me, because I am your uncle. 

Your Uncle,
Jonathon 

It Is Finished

post 2 of 3…

I haven’t arrived in life. I’m still on a journey of restoration and redemption. The cross covers all the wrongs I have ever or will ever commit and all the heart issues I have had to work through, need to work through or will have to work through. That is the beauty of what Jesus did when He died on the cross.

He uttered the words “It is finished”.

Jesus doesn’t lie.

Jesus doesn’t pull a fast one on you like your favorite uncle used to do when he’d tease you with the notion that he had your nose. That isn’t the style of Jesus. He’s not out to con or trick us.

Those three words are at the heart of the Gospel.

I don’t have to do it. I can’t do it. Only Jesus can. Oh, and He already did it.

In all of the Bible, in all of the words that we have recorded from Jesus, these three might be my favorite. There implications are vast. The past couple of days these words have been my comfort.

My heart and my head are separated by a mere 18 inches on my body, but right now my heart and my brain are separated by mere miles. My head, intellectually, knows what it needs to do. That I need to be full of love and forgiveness, compassion and mercy – but, it is so much easier to give into the heart which simply wants to get even, an eye for an eye, or even revenge.

I hate where my heart is at.

So, I get mad and beat myself up over the fact my heart doesn’t want to do what I know I need to do is. It distracts me. Pulls me off mission. I bottle it up. I take it personal. Thus doing more damage then the initial wound that caused the pain and brokenness that put in this place in the first place.

It is here, in this moment, right now, that I get to remember that “It is finished”. What I don’t need is love, forgiveness, compassion or mercy – but simply Jesus. Because not only has He already made me right in His eyes but He is love, forgiveness, compassion and mercy incarnate.

I sit and remember. “It is finished”. Jesus, I can’t do it. You need to do it.

Just do it – please…

What situations in your life do you need to remember that “It is finished”?

This Story Should Have Been Written Differently :: Life Happened

What’s in a year?

12 months. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. 31,536,000 seconds.

Yes, technically, intellectually, this is what makes up a year. But, for most, a year is made up of far more then time. There are happy times; some joyful times; some amazing, great times; some sad times; some hard times; some times you wish you can forget or change.

As I’m typing this, God is putting a passage onto the forefront of my mind:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every mater under heaven;
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for a war, and a time for peace.

In life, there are seasons for everything. A year ago today, life happened. (To see my thoughts, check out these three postings: http://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/921575653/god-stands-beautifully-supremehttp://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/922853886/it-is-finishedhttp://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/923668248/jesus-understands)

As I meditate on the situation, “life happened” may just be the best way to sum it up. The past 365 days have been hard. This one situation has been a constant issue. It has taught me and stretched me in ways I couldn’t imagine. It has made me wrestle. It has made me forgive. It has made me repent. It has left me questioning.

Unexpected is the theme.

For a year, I’ve been holding onto it. Keeping it tight to my chest - only telling those who deserve to know; those who can help; those who I trust. Because, deep down, I still deeply love this person. Liking and loving can be extremely at odds with each other sometimes.

I want his best. 

I want their best.

A full, Welch nephew is coming.

His story should have been a story to tell and celebrate.

Instead, they chose a different story. They chose secrecy over celebration. Seclusion over community. Distrust over invitation. In the process, they left many wounds and casualties along the way.

One year later, I still miss him - kind of. I miss the ideal person I thought he could or should be. I wanted an older brother - I didn’t want to be the older brother. One I could go to, do life with, seek advice and know we had each other’s back.

Now, I know, my truest bonds are not with men who share my blood or surname. Rather, they are men who share passions, ministry, life and community with me. We walk through hard times. We laugh through crazy times. We rejoice in great times. We pray always. We always grow deeper because life is meant for sanctification.

I remember a year ago. I will never forget. But, I do forgive. I still do love him.

July 13, 2006 :: My Story is Not Solitary

Before we delve deeper, there is one story I must tell. Honestly, it is one I do not have the privilege of fully knowing, for I was a continent and an Atlantic Ocean away, in Romania, on a mission trip. On July 3, 2005, my brother came down with a stomach ulcer.

He almost died. 

I received an e-mail telling me the story. My parents called shortly later when we figured out how to make an international call work. I had no idea what to do. Did I stay? Did I go? If so, how would I get home?

Needless to say, I stayed. My brother was rushed to surgery and after that moment, all he needed was to heal. His life was safe. I had no need to rush home.

Romania was an interesting trip. It is what pushed me to get involved in Campus Crusade for Christ and thus go on a Summer Project.

My brother, went to the same hospital I was in. According to my sister, when I was let out of the DOU, she had a case of deja vu. For, I was placed in the same room my brother had stayed in a year ago. 

Same room. A year a later. Deja vu. I was not there. I had no clue. Today, I find it humorous how God chooses to orchestrate His movement. At the same time, all of this, hit my family hard. The timeline, the deja vu’s, the story, all of it, was more then my family could have expected. My parents know that if it wasn’t for God’s guidance and miracles they would have lost both their son’s in the span of a year.

Think about what they must have felt.

This post though, is about my sister.

She is a rock. She is an amazing woman. She is one of my best friends. 

I may have been the one lying in the hospital bed. I may have been the one dying. But, she was going through as much emotional and spiritual turmoil as I was. Today, this experience is probably why we are so close. 

Despite her full time job, she faithfully came and sat with me, prayed over me, cried over me, grieved with me and served me - every day I was in the hospital. Every day. She would come, give my parents a break so they could try and get distracted. She kept my parents company - a very important job.

My time in the hospital was excruciatingly difficult on her. God used this time to shape and form her as well. All of my family for that matter. I’m thankful she was there. I’m so thankful God worked in my sister through this.

My sister is amazing. 

My story is not a solo story; it took place in family and community.

My story is also her story. 

It’s humbling to see, now, five years later, just how much God used this time to shape and move more then just myself. Because of my weakness, God made her better.

In a way, I’m thankful for that.

God is good. God is so, so, so much. In this post, good will suffice.

If we teach kids merely not to do things, we don’t end up with Christians—we end up with nerdy lost kids.
Matt Chandler
directorsnarrative:

If you have children I would like to take a moment to encourage you to click the photo above, explore the blog and perhaps buy a tee for your wee one and support the adoption dream of a wonderful family.  
I can’t think of anything better than helping to give a child a loving home.

directorsnarrative:

If you have children I would like to take a moment to encourage you to click the photo above, explore the blog and perhaps buy a tee for your wee one and support the adoption dream of a wonderful family.  

I can’t think of anything better than helping to give a child a loving home.

Vocational Ministry isn’t about making a living for your family. It’s about fulfilling a calling from your God
Darrin Patrick
We aren’t independent creatures, you know. We are all connected. And in a family, in marriage, it’s important that sex be something special, and as men, it’s important we take the initiative in protecting it.
Donald Miller, Father Fiction, 135
Stories that Keep Giving

Not all stories in my journey through life are success stories.

Not all stories in my journey of doing life with God are ones that I completely know how to properly handle well.

Not all stories that pop up - stop.

This is one of those stories. It first started giving to me - deeply - back in July. It was a story of betrayal and lies. (for more on the beginning of the story check out: http://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/921575653/god-stands-beautifully-supremehttp://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/922853886/it-is-finishedhttp://thereforethecross.tumblr.com/post/923668248/jesus-understands) 

I’m not going to say that this was an easy thing to get over. I had some amazing help along the way from pastors, to brothers, to community, to family and my girlfriend. But, after the end of August - I was able to close a lid on it. Until, the story gave again. And then several weeks later it gave again. Then, two weeks ago the story gave again in the form of a subpoena on the door steps for the person who this story focuses on. I was hoping that’d be the final part for a while.

Then, tonight, they announced that they are pregnant. 

I should be happy, but this story is shrouded with too many lies and back stabs to be able to fully get behind. There are two kids in the picture already from her first marriage. They have only been married a short time (as long as they have been dating pretty much), hid their marriage for a while from us, didn’t let us get to know her and now… they are pregnant with a kid of their own.

The story is a lot more complicated then what I just typed. If you want to know more message me and ask. It’s been a fun ride. 

The story just keeps giving.

I wonder, what the next saga of the story will be…

Thoughts?

Your greatest legacy as a leader is to leave other leaders in your wake that can carry on after you are no longer there.
Dave Kraft, Leaders Who Last, pg 143