I wanna be in the Light



Light pouring in from the window this morning provided a great example to attempt answering some questions Ava had.

Occasionally (probably more than that) we give quick answers that fall way short in explaining something on a level kids can understand.

Ava might smile and nod but then she wakes up with more questions, like she did this morning.

So here’s the plot:  Last night after a long awesome day at Six Flags, we were talking about the friend we brought with us, Anna Grace, and how our friends will influence us in good and bad ways, and how we need to choose those friends wisely.  Some friends might be more like role models for us to look up to with our ultimate (most important) desire to be like Jesus!
So we used her friend Anna Grace (who at 13 yrs old modeled incredible behavior at Six Flags yesterday) as a strong example of someone to look up to and how to behave, which we learned this morning can be confusing for an 8yr old.

She translated this to mean she should be like Anna Grace and maybe not be herself. As if she wasn’t enough and we wanted her to be different or we didn’t like who she was, which she revealed to me with eyes full of tears.

Broke my heart to smithereens.

I quickly said, “Oh Ava, no way sweetheart, there is only one you and we LOVE who you are.  We wouldn’t change you for the world.”

I continued, “Acting like someone and looking up to someone, as a way to behave, are 2 different things.  When you see Jesus reflected in someone, that’s a good person to be friends with and look up to, because they will influence you and ultimately you want to be like Jesus!”

Understanding this at an early age is HUGE but difficult to communicate.  How the people or things we let influence us will be reflected in our lives one way or another etc.

So while I was fumbling through explaining this, the light was dancing off our feet… and the idea came to me…  Or God just knew I was needing help!

I began moving my feet in and out of the light.

When my foot is in the light, it is reflecting light and when it’s in the shadows, it is covered in darkness.

God desires us to be children of light and have relationships that encourage us to be in the light as well.

As this started sinking in she asked who I looked up to, so I listed several people like our pastor Andy Stanley, my dad, Steven Curtis Chapman and a few others, also giving her examples of friends I have chosen to be good influences on me even as an adult.

“Mommy doesn’t want me to ‘Be’ these people, but loves when I have good men in my life influencing me, to help me grow as a husband and father and follower of Jesus.”

“That’s what we meant when we were using Anna Grace as an example and as someone we were very impressed with… We clearly see Jesus in her, and that’s a great thing!  She is a great friend to have and to look up to!”

her facial expressions revealed she was understanding and growing in that very moment.

We told her to expect us to be pointing out people like this for many years to come, because the people we are friends with WILL influence you and as a result WILL leave something with you… And we want it to be as light-filled as possible.

So we took that picture above, smiled and went on with our day.

And now as I reflect, at the end of the day, this was an unplanned moment, but so grateful we had it, 1 talk out of 10,000 I’m sure I’ll get to have.  And I’m pretty sure I learned more in explaining it than she did.

Here’s some scripture I used to unpack it with, as truth from God’s word not just her dad’s opinion 🙂

“Do everything without complaining and arguing… shining like bright lights in a world of darkness”
(‭Phil‬ ‭2‬:‭14-15‬)

“God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all…. And if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other”
(1 John‬ ‭1‬:‭5-7‬)

“If we walk with the wise, we will grow wise; but a companion of fools will suffer harm”
(Prov 13:20)

To wrap up, I quoted the once popular DC Talk song, which says it best I think:

I wanna be in the light,
as you are in the light.
I wanna shine like the stars in the Heavens.
Oh, Lord be my light
and be my Salvation
’cause all I want is to be in the light.


Jenner Opinions and the Talk about Town

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 5.01.47 PM

There is SOOOO much “wisdom” on public display currently, regarding a topic most didn’t care about the day before.
Or maybe you care, but when did you become an expert on it?
Honestly, it’s like a Golden Corral Smorgasbord of what everyone thinks.
And the quality is about the same.

I read the bible too, but didn’t realize its intention was to have the pages torn out, balled up and thrown at others.
It’s as if someone changed how a doughnut was made, we got ticked and all suddenly became expert doughnut makers.
(doughnut is the 1st thing I thought of cause I’m hungry)

But for real, how dare someone in a broken world, act in a broken way, because they are… broken?

How dare someone else show kindness or forgiviness to someone else “undeserving”, as if they had been shown that themselves… pssshhhh….

What’s that? You’re not clear on what is right or wrong or what Jesus would do?
So rather than voice your confusion or anger at the broken stuff… you just show kindness and save your opinions?
And let me guess… you got attacked for that too.
Not bold enough in your page from the bible flinging…

I’ve seen a lot of opinions (scriptural and not) flying around like deflated footballs, but this is all I keep coming back to regarding opinions:

“Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you…” – James 1:19

Most of us get angry and then start typing.
I know i’ve done it.
Even had to wake up and delete it in the night before you read it smile emoticon
But, we blog, tweet, post and share our opinions or some scripture that supports our angle… and while that is permissible, it just feels… not wise… when I step back and just look at it all.

That scripture above offers no opinion on the topic, rather an attitude we should have that requires self control.
Something that seems to fly out the window when we get our angry opinion rolling like a hamster wheel.

Regarding the talk of the town, I wonder if the world would stop turning if we were to be slower on the quick-draw opinions and false wisdom, parading it around to feed our closet arrogance of how much we think we know?

Read that verse in James again, pause on your opinion today and see how that time could be better used face to face, letting your ears lead the way.

To quote my friend Carlos Whittaker “It’s better that way”  –  but than again… this is all just my opinion.

You’re missing it

I recently introduced my girls to one of my FAVORITE movies as a kid…
Hook, starring Robin Williams.

I once again felt all the wonder that I felt as a kid watching it.  How hard I tried to fly.. When no one was looking.  But that’s not the point of this post.
(Though I still hope flying is a reality in Heaven and If it’s not, since we can’t die in our new bodies, you’ll surely find me jumping off things “flying”)

Okay back to the point.
There’s a scene that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate as a kid.
It’s the moment when Peter is about to accept a phone call when his wife grabs it and launches it out the window.

At this point in the movie, he has consistently given Brad (work friend) first dibs on his attention. Missing his son’s big game and being distracted during his daughter’s play.

So finally, they are in London and a bad news phone call come through that angers Peter.
He blows up at his family and his wife has had enough.

That’s when this moment in the video happens.

I don’t want to miss it.

But I know I am… and more than I want to admit.

I don’t want to get anyone on the defensive here so I’ll only shoot at myself.
It’s not wrong to work. And you will HAVE to miss things, just a reality of reponsibility and children don’t fully understand that we can’t do anything, anytime they want.
That being said, it’s not the important things that steal my attention away and rob me of the special moments.
It’s the things I deem more important than they actually are that rob me.
My phone isn’t the enemy, just the messenger.

Confession: I have blown up, raised my voice and said things I regret.
And though it’s so clear to see when I’m watching this clip, how awful it looks and terrible that Peter takes things out on his family, when he is so clearly wrong, I still so easily miss it in my own life.
BTW, Apologizing as an adult to your kids is HUGE, and I’ve had to do it, but that’s not the focus of this post.


The phones have updated but the distractions are the same… So we have to choose.
We answer texts and scroll through instagram when someone is talking to our face.
It’s rude, but we do it. We grant someone else not with us, the permission to interrupt us.
We may not think we mark everything as urgent, but we give it the attention only real urgent things deserve. I’ve done this, I am guilty.
But I’ve had it done to me, and I NEVER LIKE IT.
I feel unimportant or boring to that person.
So… how do our kids feel over the 10+ years we get when they actually care and want our attention, as she says in the snippet.

The beauty of this movie is not just Peter’s discovery of who he really is, but in realizing the trade off he was making, while he still had time to change and make his days count.

An interesting thought:
If we could see our live’s in a movie right now, would we see ourselves as a dialed in parent, engaged in those fleeting moments or would it be clear to the audience “you are missing it!”  Are we aware of what we allow to consistently steal our attention?  Worse, are we aware but just don’t care cause we are numb.
I think Peter cared and was even aware, but needed a wake up call.

Maybe this could serve as a small little wake up call…. So… WAKE UP!!!

There’s still time… Don’t miss it.