According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Advice to Future Parents Thinking About Having a Family

7 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a Parent

by Zachary K. Perkins
March 24, 2014

I'll never forget it.

My wife had an emergency c-section and I was sitting in a room off to the side of the operating room, nervously waiting while the doctors cut open my wife and "airlifted" my baby daughter.

I was 25 years old.

When I finally heard her yelping from the other room, I stood up and a nurse escorted me into the brightly-lit, sterile operating room. Like a dream, my life had changed in an instant. My life-focus instantly shifted from thinking about myself to thinking about this little, blotchy red person screaming before me.

In our young life, the thought of children may be far, far away, and even if you're still in college or single, there are things you can do right now which will prepare you to handle children. In one sense, they're also the marks of maturity, but not all parents become mature people and not all mature people become parents. Even if you never have kids, you might find these points useful.

1. Put down the iPhone and play.

One of the hardest parts of being a human in the digital age is our complete saturation into our phones and other devices. There's all sorts of distractions that will constantly pop up and when you have children, where you put your focus will speak volumes about your love towards them and towards others. If your focus is on your phone, computer or other entertainment device with very little time left for your children, the child will come to think of that thing as being more important than they are.

I'm preaching to myself as well when I say this: put down the phone for a while.

2. Build up patience and even if you already have some, build some more.

I always felt like I was a naturally patient person before having kids. When I'd have to wait in long lines at the DMV, I would just smile and twiddle my thumbs. When someone would cut me off in traffic, I was pretty stoic. "I'm not in a rush," I would say.

But when I had kids, the game changed. Think of it as if adults are on normal playback speed while children (especially preschoolers) are on ultra fast-forward or on super slow-motion. Also, surprisingly, they don't just do what you ask them to immediately. You have to learn to train your children with a patient attitude. I had to learn that even when I thought I was most patient, I had to gain more because children don't clock out at 5 p.m. The training never ends.

3. Enjoy your alone time now.

From high school to college and into the workforce, many young people put themselves on a trajectory of constant busyness. There's so much to get done and to do, but it's also good to take time for quiet and solitude.

When you have children, these moments will come but there will be far less time for it. Take time out for yourself and no one else now, so that when you do have children, you'll appreciate it all the more!

4. Hang around some married people with kids.

Sometimes hanging around married couples with children might feel awkward for single people. Maybe the single person doesn't have any family with kids, but if you go to a church or small group with many families, you can get used to having little kids around. It can help you learn to communicate on a child's level. It also helps you to see how the parents might handle certain situations with their children.

Plus, some younger couples may just be learning how to wrangle their children, so give grace and love to them. Let them know that their efforts are not in vain. Be a blessing.

5. Enjoy sleep now.

This applies more to when you have little children, but if you are a night-owl, that may either be to your advantage or to your doom. Children need 13 or more hours of sleep a night, and they usually get sleepy early in the evening. That means that if you put them to sleep at 7, they'll most likely be awake and ready to go at 8 or sometimes earlier.

If you're not an early riser, it might help to try and become one, but also just enjoy the time you have to sleep now. You're going to need it.

6. Be ready for the unexpected.

If you're the kind of person who when life gives you lemons, you throw the lemons back and start weeping while in a fetal position in a corner, you might not be ready for children.

Plans will change when you have kids, and it's always good to be prepared. The same can be applied to many other situations in life. It's part of growing up and maturing as a person.

So learn to evaluate the situation and adjust your expectations accordingly. Be ready for when things may change, because they are most assured to with children.

7. Learn to give affection as well as receive affection.

One thing I've learned as a parent is how to give good hugs. Children see physical affection as their primary language of love, so hugs and kisses are a huge part of providing a safe environment for kids.

Maybe you didn't receive much affection as a kid or just were never one for much physical affection. Maybe you suffered physical abuse as a child. These are understandable reasons to shirk affection, but I would encourage you to seek healing now. It's never too late to learn to give affection as well as receive affection.

In conclusion, start now with making each day count towards your future. Not just your financial future, but the well-being of your possibly eventual family and for yourself.


Zachary K. Perkins is a freelance writer, blogger, full-time husband and father of three. Trying to navigate Christianity as a Millennial through the Orthodox way. You can find him on Twitter or his blog.

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