Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pretty. Smart. Strong.


I have two beautiful daughters. They are so fun and bring such joy to my heart. I absolutely love being their dad. They're my girls ... but even more than that, they are God's girls. I am blown away by the fact that God trusts me enough to raise His girls. I certainly won't raise them perfectly, but I want to raise them the best that I can.  

One thing I try to do as a dad is build a strong sense of identity and strength in to my girls. Several months ago I started saying to them that Yauger girls are "pretty, smart, and strong." It was a simple statement that I began repeating to them. I wanted them to know that their dad believed in them ... that they were pretty, smart, and strong.  But, then I transitioned from telling them what I believed Yauger girls were to asking them the question: "What are Yauger girls?" They're response to me: "Pretty, smart, and strong."     

Our voice as a dad is a powerful influence on our girls. I ultimately long for my girls to find their confidence and their identity walking with Jesus, but I also realize that, as their dad, I can intentionally pour in to them and let my belief in who they are begin to find it's way in to their belief of who they are. I know that the world can be a difficult place for young girls, but if they can start out knowing that their mom and dad truly believe in them and find them to be "pretty, smart, and strong" ... and so much more ... that can help lay a foundation for them actually believing it themselves. 

If you're a parent of girls, how you are intentionally using your voice to breathe life in to them? Do your words and actions help them to feel loved and enjoyed? Do your words and actions help them see that they have something to offer the world around them?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Second Chances


This past Sunday, I was standing at the outside doors in our West Foyer wearing my fancy "Info" lanyard that made me look official, when a car pulled up. I noticed a lady get out and go to the back of the car. She was getting out a wheel chair for an older gentleman who was sitting in the front seat. It was taking her awhile to get the wheel chair out. She was struggling. She even looked over at me a couple of times while I was holding the church door open for people coming in. I remember thinking to myself "Wow, that looks tough!" She finally got it out and wheeled it to the front of the car and proceeded trying to get the elderly gentleman out of the front seat and in to the chair. I watched this and remember thinking to myself "I have a lot of respect for this lady. She is doing all of this on her own. She is such a strong woman!" As they both walked through the door I was holding open, I let them know how happy I was to see them at Grace and thanked them for coming. I'm such a nice guy. 

Anyway, later in the service I'm met by an usher who wants to talk to me about a couple who were not happy. The usher told me that this couple needed help with a wheel chair this morning and nobody was showing any eagerness to help them. They expressed to the usher that it was a lot of work getting that wheel chair out of the car and in to the building and they expressed disappointment that no one had offered to help ... and by "no one" I mean ME. Even though I welcomed them and let them know how happy I was to see them at Grace, I bet they didn't feel very welcomed.  I bet that by the time this couple sat down in the service, they were probably frustrated and distracted, which could very well mean they would not be open to the worship and the message.  Failure. 

I felt horrible! As I reflected back on this after my conversation with the usher, I couldn't understand what was keeping me from helping this couple. To be honest, I typically do help. I typically notice things that like and try to go out of my way to help. But, this time, for whatever reason, I was too caught up in "welcoming" people to church that I wasn't "helping" them to church. I gave myself a brief talk and reminded myself of the importance of noticing people, noticing needs, and doing more than is expected.

Well, at the end of the service, I was at the opposite foyer standing at the outside doors when I noticed this same couple. They were walking my way and it was a second chance to help and to learn from my previous mistake. I was able to get the door for them, wait with the elderly gentleman as the woman went to get their car, and I was able to help the man in to the car and put the wheel chair away for the woman. Lesson learned. I was thankful for a second chance. 

We all make mistakes. We can all learn from them as well. And, I'm so thankful that we have a God who loves to give second chances ... who doesn't treat us as our sins deserve but who rises to show us compassion. Our mistakes often have natural consequences and we have to live with those sometimes. Some of the consequences are more difficult than others. But, I firmly believe that if we seek to reflect and learn from our mistakes, we'll be given the opportunity to do the right thing when faced with the same opportunity again.  Mistakes hurt, but a second chance is good medicine. Let's all try to learn from our failures and keep moving forward.

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