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Want to know what your boat is? Your fear will tell you. Just ask yourself this: What is it that produces fear in me - especially when I think of leaving it behind and stepping out in faith?
For David, it is his vocation. He has been a builder for thirty-five years; he is in his late fifties now. But he has been gnawed his whole life by a sense that God was calling him into church ministry. He has quieted his conscience by giving away a lot of money and doing many good things, but he can’t shake off the haunting fear that he has missed his calling. And he’s afraid that perhaps it’s too late.
For Kathy, it is a relationship. She has been involved for years with a man whose commitment to her is ambivalent at best. He is sending her signals that everyone else can read clearly; he never initiates the language of affection, avoids talking about their future, and creates as much distance as possible. But she never pursues discovering his true feelings -- she’s too frightened. She doesn’t believe she could handle losing him. Her boat is pretty shaky. But she’s too scared to leave.
Ralph is the pastor of a church he neither fits nor loves. It is filled with division and petty squabbling. Rather than speaking prophetic truth or leading with clear vision, he finds himself constantly trying to placate angry attendees and keep the peace. He does not like the church; he resents and fears it. But it’s his boat. If he leaves it, it will only be to find himself in another just like it.
Doug’s boat is secrecy. He is addicted to pornography. It is a mild addiction, or so he tells himself, mostly adult movies on business trips and occasional sprees on the internet. Nothing that has cost him a job or a marriage - so far. But no one knows. He’s afraid to admit it. He’s afraid to get help. Secrecy is killing him. But it’s his boat.
Kim’s boat is her dad. She raises her children, keeps her house, and pursues a career designed to make her dad happy. The irony is that her dad is not happy, and nothing she can do will ever be enough to please him. But the thought of crossing him terrifies her. His approval is a pretty leaky vessel. But it’s her boat.
John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, 17-18.
Craig Shirley in his sermon “That’s not fair” tells this story from one of Bill Cosby’s books:
You know, comedian Bill Cosby says that you aren’t really a parent until you have at least two children. When you have only one child and you walk into the room and find the lamp broken, it’s difficult for an only child to say, “It wasn’t me!” The father found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to arbitrate a dispute between his two young sons. The argument was about to boil over into a fight when he decided to step in, hoping to call upon the Wisdom of Solomon. Back and forth the accusations went, accompanied by finger pointing and name-calling. “He started it.” “No, he did.” “Did not!” “Did too!” After a while the father realized that no matter how much “active listening” he did, there was no way this was going to end in a win-win situation, so he made his decision. “Okay,” he said with all the authority he could muster, “both of you – up to your rooms and stay there until you can act as brothers should.” Just as he was feeling pleased with himself he became the target of his son’s anger. “No fair!” the youngest one protested. “He started it. I didn’t. He gets away with everything!” The older one protests “Why should I get punished? It was his fault. He’s such a baby about everything! You’re not fair.” It had turned into a lose/lose situation. Finally, totally at wits end, Dad summed it all up in a very fatherly way. “Hey kids, life’s not fair. Live with it and get to your rooms – now!”
Now you know why I say, "The family takes a lot of work!" A healthy family will go through several stages that require perseverance and a good work ethic.
Stage One -- The family begins at the, "I do"s and a couple is birthed. Now comes the dying to self.
Stage Two -- The couple's life is dramatically changed at the arrival of the first child. Now comes heaps of responsibility and stress.
Stage three -- The children grow up out of the toddler years and start school. The family is apart more and life becomes more hectic with school age children. Families can drift apart if they are not careful here.
Stage four -- Now the children reach adolescence and life changes quickly. Turmoil enters the family unit. Hormones invade the home. Expenses go up for couples in this stage. There are more activities and more separation of the family individuals. There are more choices to make and peer pressures. The family helps here in guidance and direction while allowing the child now teen to become and individual and to move to individuation. This is a hard time for the family and can tear it apart if it is not healthy.
Step Five -- the empty nest is another difficult passage were the couple finds themselves a couple again with their children gone. Children no longer are the focus of their family unit. Now mom and dad look to each other for companionship.
Stage Six -- Then comes Grandchildren but it's still very different.
You can see why we need the healthy keys of a strong family if we are going to thrive, adjust, flex and stay together through these life stages.
Divorced life is not being there when your little girl
is crying from a bad dream and wants her daddy but
you’re not there because that night was not your
parenting night. (And you won’t even know she had a
bad dream because no one will tell you.)
Divorced life is not having any idea what your children
are doing right now because they are at their mom’s.
Divorced life is waking up at 10am on Christmas morning
because your children were not there to wake you up
early because this year they are spending Christmas
morning at mom’s and you will not see them until noon.
Divorced life is sitting having dinner at a table of
four but only having one place setting.
Divorced life is saying to yourself why..oh,why did I
not say "I"m sorry" or "I forgive you" when God asked
me but instead I allowed my fear or pride to get in the
way and chose my own way.
Divorced life is saying "Can we have a second chance?"
and there is no one to hear you.
Divorced life is watching your children drive off in
mom’s car and knowing that you will not se...