Skip navigation

Category Archives: Marriage & Family

September 2001 we met for the first time.  It was supposed to be a couple’s Bible study but it turned out we needed fellowship and prayer support more than Bible study.  Nearly every week since then (16 years at this writing) we have met in each other’s homes, eaten a whole lot of truly great dinners, enjoyed some fellowship, shared prayer requests, and prayed over each other.  We have raised each other’s children and now we’re raising grandchildren.  We have been to weddings, graduations, funerals, and retirement receptions.  We have laughed and cried together, enjoyed the best of times, and dealt with the worst of  times.  But, we have always been there for each other…always.  There is nothing I wouldn’t do for the other 11 people in my “Monday Night Group.”

Today all of us sat on two pews at St. John the Baptist Catholic church in Edmond and struggled through the funeral mass of Diane’s father.  We are at the age that we have begun to bury our parents and other family members all too often.  Today  all of us sat and prayed for Diane.  We were right where we were supposed to be, doing what we were supposed to be doing.

Everyone should have a “Monday Night Group.”  I realize, however, that most people don’t.  The average life of a small group in most churches is 13 weeks.  When whatever curriculum they are studying that quarter ends the group typically breaks up.  Sixteen years ago none of us had any idea we would still be meeting together every week.  But we are and there does not seem to be any reason for us to stop anytime real soon.  So, we’ll keep on meeting, praying, and being there for each other until God has a different idea.  I’m glad, because this group of people is what God meant for the church to be and it is the best church experience I have ever had.  Go make yourself a small group that makes a difference in your life.  Do it now!

Advertisements

There may not be a better time in the life of a grandparent than right after your toddler wakes from a nap. All rested, peaceful, and anxious to cuddle with her grandfather, 21 month old Harper climbed up in my lap to say hi, rest her head on my shoulder, hold her blankie close, and stay…for a minute.

I left Harper’s house a little later thinking about how precious those moments are and how they just don’t happen often enough. So many grandparents I know don’t live near their grandchildren and those moments are nearly nonexistent to them. Ugh!

I realize the day will come when my grandchildren may not have time for Pops. I don’t look forward to that day. I’d rather just sit on the sofa with a lap full of little girl. I find myself reflecting on the moments I have with my three granddaughters, thanking God for the privilege of being their Pops. I hope I’m up to the challenge!

As I drove away the other day I remembered to pray 1 Timothy 4:12 over Harper, Olivia, and Caroline: “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

Just so you’ll know, there is nothing better than time with your granddaughter!  It really doesn’t matter if she is asleep or awake, happy or cranky, clean or, well, you know.  I am a blessed man with three wonderful granddaughters and grown children who have turned out to be pretty special parents.  Their mom taught them well.  We were so fortunate to have the whole crowd at our home on Memorial Day.  I sat at the end of the dinner table out on the deck and looked over my family.  It made my heart happy!!!

IMG_2409

Pops getting some quality time with Harper Steele Beaty.

As a minister I love officiating weddings; especially when I know the couple and have invested in their lives. So to have the opportunity to officiate my daughter’s wedding was a special treat for me. But what if I cried? What if I could not continue with the ceremony? A daddy is supposed to cry at his daughter’s wedding. Right? I had officiated the wedding of my son, Matthew and his beautiful bride, Ali just seven months before…and I cried. But it all worked out to be a perfect day and wedding.

The first time I knew I was in troubDSC_1248le at Emily’s wedding was as I walked my beautiful bride of 36 years down the aisle…and cried, although it was silently and I covered pretty well. Then as the doors opened and I stood there with my precious daughter on my arm facing the crowd of people who were there to express their love to Emily and eat my tacos, I cried. I walked her down the aisle and ever so gently, cried my eyes out. It was such a precious time for her and for our family. I was finally giving her away to a special guy who adores her and is a wonderful husband for life.

Steele’s best man was his dad, Russell who finally asked me that question every father either dreads hearing or has anxiously anticipated, “Who gives this woman in marriage?” “Sherri and I,” I replied. Then I took my place in front of the couple and throughout the service, struggled keeping it together. It was fun and having the opportunity to officiate my kid’s weddings is an incredible experience for me.

I try to keep from developing unreasonable expectations. I think getting through the weddings of my son and daughter without showing any emotion is pretty unreasonable. So, my expectation of crying at my daughter’s wedding went fulfilled…and I survived.

The other day I was looking out the front window of my home and saw the neighbor boy running up the sidewalk, wearing his Superman t-shirt and cape.  He had his hands out in front of him and I am sure he thought he was flying.  I watched as he stumbled, fell and hit the pavement with both knees and hands.  It startled me but for some reason I just kept watching.  He rolled over and sat on the pavement crying and yelling for help.  In just a moment his ever-vigilant dad was kneeling at his side, holding his little hands and checking out his bloodied knees.  And then, all of a sudden, it occurred to me who the real Superman was! 

I turned 60 the other day.  It was painless but it certainly was not missed or forgotten.  Whether it be well-intentioned friends and family, or just the fact that I do not consider myself “old,” my 60th birthday did not go unnoticed.  I genuinely believe that the next 15 to 20 years will be my best.  I am a better husband and father than ever before.  I am slower to speak and more quick to listen.  I even notice glimpses of wisdom every so often.  I enjoy less not more, simple not complicated, easy not hard, and am more easily entertained than ever.  I have always valued people but now find family and friends more important and significant than I did even a few years ago.  I love entertaining movies, good spy novels, wine, sitting on my deck at night, driving my Jeep,  shooting all of my guns, and spending time with my kids.  My life is much better than I deserve.

At 60 I enjoy work in ways I never did before.  Maybe because my job is not work to me.  It brings me great joy and fulfillment.  It is obvious to me and a few others that being a corporate chaplain is what God “wired me up” to be.  I get to talk with people all day, direct them to what and Who can help them, and hopefully make a difference in their life.  And I actually get paid to do it!

Twenty years ago I was 40.  I rode my first “century” bike ride.  I was raising teenagers.  I had only been married 15 years! My dad was still living.  There was no gray in my hair.  In fact, all of my hair was still on my head!  And, it did not hurt to get out of bed every morning.

What about the next 20 years?  Well, I promise to be a better husband and a man Sherri can count on.  I promise to be the absolute best “Pops” whenever my kids decide to give me grandchildren.  I promise to chaplain and make a difference in the lives of people for as long as I stay healthy.  Retirement is not in the plan.  And I promise to love you, whoever you are, and lead you to the only One who can truly make a difference in your life!

I heard his voice yesterday. I opened the package from my cousin and it was a cassette tape of his mother’s funeral years ago. In the service my dad spoke for a few minutes and then prayed. It was the first time I had heard his voice since he passed away two years ago.

Seeing what it was, I went and got my wife’s cassette player, took a seat in my recliner, and listened to the tape by myself. I cried. I cried again as I thought about the experience earlier today. I am crying now as I write this. His voice was comforting. His voice took me back to a time in my life when my dad represented stability and security. He was larger than life and in him I could find no fault. He shared with me absolute and unconditional love. For a long time he was the most important person in my life.

I call my wife a couple of times each day. Sometimes I think it bothers her but usually I just want to hear her voice; to know she is there and that all is well. I call my kids, usually for no reason at all, other than to hear their sweet voices and know that they are alright. I call my mom nearly every day just so she will know the comfort of a son’s voice. And after all these years, I wish I could call my dad and hear that comforting voice on the other end of the telephone.

Who do you need to call today? Whose voice is precious to you and represents all that is good in your life? Don’t neglect those voices. Make the call because someday the only way you will hear that voice is on an old cassette tape.

I talk to people all the time who dread the arrival of the holiday season.  Whether it is the stress brought on by additional financial burden, the sheer pace of back to back weeks filled with activity, or added pressure on personal relationships, it is a time that requires all of us to make wise and unselfish decisions.

“Family relationships can be tricky—especially at this time of year.  Minor issues like who will cook what or when to open gifts can lead to more serious conflict.  For some, deeper issues loom: Whose family will we visit?  Will the kids be with me or my ex?  How do I handle the hostility between family members?”*

These issues large or small, significant or not, can provide us the opportunity to evaluate the quality and value of relationships.  Consider your honest answers to the questions that follow:

  • Is the issue that is causing conflict something that is really worth the battle?
  • What is the conflict really about?  Perhaps it is just your desire to be in control.
  •  Can you express love and concern by choosing to help rather than needing to have your way?
  •  Is peace in your family worth the conflict that will follow a certain decision?
  •  What other options do you have?

This is a time of year when wisdom and unselfish attitudes should prevail.  Consider the long term implications when making your decision regarding your holiday activities and relationships.  How will those decisions affect your friends and family?

*Quote from www.troubledwith.com

As they sat at the kitchen table his wife said, “Life just hasn’t worked out the way I thought it would,” It was a statement that struck deeply and broke his heart.  He knew his wife felt he was responsible for her life not working out the way she had planned.  She held it against him.  And he didn’t know what to do about it.  He felt helpless.  His wife’s unmet expectations weighed heavily on his mind and heart and held him captive in his guilt.

Many times in my life I have had to remind myself that my expectations will not always line up with reality.  How I respond to unmet expectations reveal much about my personality and character.  It also reveals much about what I believe about God.

A pastor friend of mine said, “All of us have expectations in life.  We expect things will occur according to our preconceived ideas and plans.   Sometimes things do not happen as we expect, and our response to those unexpected events can determine whether or not we miss out on God’s best for our lives.”

Another friend of mine says that unmet expectations are usually unspoken expectations.  “When our spouse doesn’t come through on something we expect them to naturally come through on, our response is typically anger and withdrawal.  We hold them hostage to the expectation they didn’t meet.  So, as that expectation continues to go unmet we pile up anger, hurt, and resentment toward that person,” he says.

You may need to determine if your expectations go unmet because they are unrealistic.  People will always let you down.  Even your closest friends, your spouse, your parent, will eventually disappoint you in some way.  No one will meet your expectations all the time.

My pastor friend reminds us, “God will never let us down.  He promises to never leave us or forsake us.  He promises to love us and meet our needs.  He hears our prayers.  He loves us absolutely and unconditionally.  But sometimes we confuse what God promises with our expectations of what we would like God to do.”

We do the same with others around us.  Are you holding someone captive in your unmet expectations of them?  Perhaps you need to examine your expectations and decide if they are reasonable and grounded in love for God and others.

My friend suddenly and unexpectedly passed away one week ago tonight.  He was only 49.  He went to the hospital for some tests and less than six hours later he was dead.  Lynn Lindsay left a beautiful family: His beloved wife Sandy and two pretty cool kids, Ashton and Austin.

Sandy gave me the honor and privilege of officiating Lynn’s memorial service.  Several of Lynn’s friends shared their thoughts and memories.  His son, Austin at the age of 18 showed incredible maturity in his comments about his dad.  Every dad would want a son to say the things about him that Austin said about Lynn.

A work associate of Lynn’s wrote, “What was so amazing about Lynn was not just that he led an exemplary life, not just that he was kind, compassionate and generous, but that he was this way not out of a sense of duty or obligation or to get recognition, but because it made him happy.  He took joy in bettering the lives of others.”  Living this way did make Lynn happy, but it made him happy because he knew it pleased God and pleasing God was what Lynn’s life was all about.

I wonder what others will speak of at my memorial service.  Will their comments about me point others to Jesus?  Will others speak of me as being a wholly devoted follower of Christ?  What about your life?  Are you living a life that is all about pleasing God?  Lynn did.  He was a great example for Austin and the rest of us.

In the eternal perspective of time, all the years between last Thursday night and the moment I get to see Lynn in heaven amounts to just a small speck of time.  Knowing that I will see Lynn again is what the Bible refers to as “the hope of our salvation.”

See you in a minute, Lynn.