Hey, It's Papa E. I felt led to share some of my reflections here as well, during one of the most turbulent years in my life. As you've been reading from my wife's posts, from the birth of our son, my loss of employment and a shakeup of our family dynamic, I've been forced to wrestle with some big questions. Here are some of the answers I've found.
What does it mean to provide for your family?
As head of household, I'd heard several biblical references as to what my role was, and that often centered on a theme of providing. This idea troubled me for a while, until I was encouraged by some friends that providing can be in the form of taking care of my kids, keeping our house in order, and being the spiritual leader of our family. I can't say that I've mastered even one of these, but I am doing my best to provide in this way, and know that God is blessing it.
What's my next move?
This one probably bothered me more than any other question, and lead me into a rather dark period for almost a month. I felt angry with God, betrayed, let down by people in my life, and all for very selfish reasons. I felt that I had essentially wasted so much of my life on training and things that didn't matter. I felt I have no real marketable skills or assets to highlight on a resume for if and when I am able to get a job again. I was angry at the people who told me to "follow my passions," since following my passions lead me into retail and many other things I didn't particularly enjoy simply out of necessity. I was really waiting for my Job moment when God would essentially tell me, "Ok. You've questioned me enough. Strap on your boots, and answer me. Where were you when I formed the world? ..." This moment never actually came. God instead showed up at a candlelight service at church and simply said, "I'm still here." It was all I needed. Over the next few weeks, I felt rather foolish for my anger and lack of gratitude, and spent the rest of the holidays simply thanking God and others for all the blessings I've been given.
How do I lead my family?
In Humility. That has been a hard lessen to learn, especially through my daughter's rebelliousness and mischievousness, and trying to time manage with preschool, feeding schedules, cleaning and the like. My temper has far too often gotten out of control, and my words have not always been encouraging. But when I am able to accept criticism and think clearly, I can be humble, and apologize for my faults and get us back on track. That has lead to some great moments with my children and my wife.
What is worth writing about?
This seems like a trivial question, but if you look back at some of my posts in this blog, you can see that I liked to make broad social commentary. I think I had a compulsion to honor God with my thoughts and somehow enlighten people. In retrospect, many of my comments were not only ignorant but entirely conceited. The only thing I have any authority to write on is my life and the life of my family. I will focus on them.
Now that I feel like I've got some answers to some questions, I'm going to be open to new questions this year, and be honest about them here. A few quick things I would like to resolve to do this year (mostly inspired by and stolen from my wife):
1. Grow Spiritually - I witnessed my wife grow closer to God this year, and would like to emulate that.
2. Be more creative - My daughter has become engrossed in music and I want to foster that. I'd also like to write a couple of songs, and maybe start working on another choral piece.
3. Be more thankful - from new friends and new beginnings to family and physical blessings, I want to express my gratitude whenever possible.
On that note, I think I'll go hang out with the fam. Happy New Year and Cheers!
- Papa E