Archive for June, 2011

I grew up with a great dad and I couldn’t love him more. I said, “great,” not perfect.

There is only one Perfect Pop and that is the Everlasting Father: God.

As I got into my teens and early to mid-adulthood, I had a recurring below-the-surface sense that I was ill-prepared for navigating adulthood, life, challenges, career, relationships, etc. Some would fairly call this a ‘father wound.’ I didn’t like that tag because I really loved my dad. And I don’t like to load up on the excuses on his behalf. But like all dads, he had had his own challenges: his father’s suicide when he was 10, dropping out of school after eighth grade to work to support his fatherless household, being born in the early 20th century when farming and the trades were most men’s lives, having kids well into his fifties, etc.

Additionally, he also had seven children and sheer mathematics dictated that I couldn’t expect too much attention. He was busy making a living. And so the father wound imposed upon me was one of omission and not abuse or anything like that. Paul was, in fact, a great man.

So, all those life skills that you need in your teens, twenties and thirties weren’t exactly placed in my tool belt by my dad. I would fall prey to comparing myself to other men ‘who seemed to have it all figured out.’ Little did I know the extent of their father wounds. They were just good posers. I guess most men get adept at disguising the fact that they don’t know what the heck they’re doing.

Lucky for me, a couple of men, both still alive, came around me and fathered me in the word of God and in the actions of the Christian faith. I began to pick up on the fact that I could do a better job at paying bills and taking care of my family. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8 My spiritual dad had pointed that one out on more than one occasion!!

That was a rough lesson… and a long one with all my sincerest apologies to my family.

Ironically, through all these adulthood missteps and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I got one thing right: I realized that God was being patient with me as I made my way and I learned how to father the way He fathered me.*   It was the most natural of impersonations [bad choice of words for imitating the Godhead 🙂  ].

So, I began to know instinctively how to handle my children. I simply did for them and to them what my Heavenly Father was doing for me. I had my “Father’s eyes.” And if any man alive loved fathering, it was me. Through my kids, many of their friends began to see me as a ‘second dad’ and I can tell you that I loved them like they were my own.

They’re all grown up now plowing their own fields of adulthood. Perhaps a diligent awareness and imitation of the Father Heart of God will help each successive generation produce of crop of healthy future fathers and mothers. May it ever be so. Amen.

Happy Father’s Day to all and especially to the One who can heal every father wound:   “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” Ephesians 3:14-16

* I don’t like to oversimplify this aspect of being fathered directly by God because of the risk that someone in pride might dismiss the weighty part spiritual/biological fathers should play in our lives. Without such men, one could boast that they are fathered directly by God; got a ‘direct link.’ The obvious trouble with that is that we have fleshly souls that could deceive us into something and there would be no earthly person to call us on the carpet.

Below: my spiritual dad, Royal Cutler, 92

holding my biological grandson, Grant.        My biological handsome dad, Paul F. LaCosta, 1906- 1983.

 A clock is a very fitting past Father’s Day gift from my daughters, Guinevere and Angelique, for the fleeting honor of fatherhood. I keep it near me on my desk.

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I don’t like to talk about dreams too much. That subject may rank right up there with sex and politics and religion. Like the person who says, “I never remember my dreams,” there are many who subconsciously say, “I don’t dare to dream.” Unfortunately for a lot of Christians, that stance is reinforced by the idea of false humility. You know, “What do you mean you want to do more than usher or bake bread for the covered dish or_______?”

It took me a long time to figure out that many of my inspired ideas were putting me in the prison cell of “Dreamer” in the eyes of even friends. I don’t know whether people are threatened by dreams and dreamers because they ‘don’t dare’ or whether they don’t understand vision or have been burned by failed dreams or if they are just plain jealous of vision and visionaries. Whatever it is, being caged by the reputation of being a dreamer makes you want to rattle everyone else’s cage!

As for me, I DO remember my literal nighttime and visionary dreams and I try to walk in them. As my consciousness was raised that people were blowing me off as a dreamer, I remember writing in large letters and plastering it on my billboard something that the Holy Spirit probably inspired: “I don’t despise my dreams because most of them come true!” This became my personal slogan and it became my reality as one dream after another, not always in my timing, became true and each successive one opened the door to the next.

Which takes me to Joyce Meyer and the turtle. Meyer, a bible teacher, said that “change” isn’t going to happen without our cooperation. We have to do “what we can do so God can do what we can’t do.”

Which brings me to the turtle. I still don’t know how a big turtle got up to our second floor unless it was a prank by our son. We have steep stairs. But one thing is for sure: he must have felt trapped and he probably started dreaming of home in the grass and streams. He did what he could do and God took care of the rest. THUD!! Our daughter came running, “A turtle just fell down our steps!” Sure enough, his hard shell sounded like someone had dropped a rock. We stared. We took all sorts of pictures and videos while the turtle waited for his dream to come true. We picked him up and ‘delivered’ him. It all started with his first step, and although he got bumped up a bit as fell down four steps, he had a least placed himself in a position to be delivered.

Turtles may seem slow, but even they know how to dream.

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Like keys to your car, vigilance is an easy thing to lose.

I live in one of the worst regions in the country for Lyme Disease. I’ve had friends suffer for several years with horrid symptoms ranging from arthritic to neurological to lethargy and all from a tick so small that it can look like a tiny freckle.

I’ve become a vigilante of ticks. Every time I walk our grounds or work in the garden, I look like a painter on a safari. I wear long-sleeve WHITE shirt tucked into bright WHITE painter’s pants which are tucked into my WHITE socks in my WHITE sneakers along with a netted hat that makes me look like I’m trekking in the bush in Africa. I’m the king of nerds in this get-up.

That’s the first step: my white-knight outfit.

My next line of defense is to SLOWLY and methodically check those clothes before I come in the house to see if there are any crawling enemies working their way up my clothes. (They climb up your body and like to burrow when they find a cozy spot.)

After that, I strip and get in front of a mirror to see if any ticks got under my white armor.

There’s one final step I’ll share shortly.

This morning, I started to get a little lazy and began to forget the vigilance. Instead of SLOWLY looking over my pants, I started to get overconfident and quickly glance up and down my pant legs. But I caught myself. It only takes one bite.

I immediately thought of King David – the ultimate vigilante. He was a warrior second to none. But he misplaced his vigilance one day on the top of his roof. He was up there instead of in battle gear. His eyes caught sight of a naked woman bathing and, boy, was she beautiful. A “Perfect 10.” She was not a ‘9’ or a ‘7.5.’ (How’s that for sexism!) As king, he had the power to send for her. They slept together. She had a baby. And God was so displeased because she was another man’s wife. He killed that man to have Bathsheba. That one discretion seemed so minor compared to this man’s glorious career and life before God. But that one tiny ‘tick bite’ cost David and his family line indescribable pain including betrayal, rape, murders and temporary exile. So many lives were affected, including the life of an entire nation. (You can read this juicy tale in 2nd Samuel 11.)

Don’t ever get cocky like I did with the ticks. Don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you. Don’t lose your vigilance.

You might think something as tragic as David’s sin would have done him in. But he knew God’s character so well that he ended up pleading for mercy in one of the most memorable passages in all of scripture and God couldn’t resist forgiving David.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

(from Psalm 51)

David could have written these lines from a more contemporary hymn: “What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. O, precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow, no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Now, for the last line of defense that I use against ticks: I shower.

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