Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fathers and Daughters

"My son, hear the instrustion of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck." -Proverbs 1:8-9

One of the facinating things about the book of Proverbs is the fact that it is a book of instruction: of a father discipling his children. The reason I find this facinating? Because despite the fact that there is an entire book in the Bible devoted to fathers discipling their children the church still somehow thinks that it's their job to teach the children and if the fathers aren't interested, too bad. I am thankful all the more with each passing day for the parents that God has so graciously given me. I am especially thankful for the relationship that my father and I have. The father-daughter relationship is unique and incalcually valuable. Women, as the weaker vessel, are vulnerable, physically, spiritually, emotionally. We were created to be helpers, to further the vision of another. Men were created to be stalwart and valiant leaders, protectors, providers. If a daughter does not have the love and protection of her father she is left vulnerable to the world who would gladly steal her loyalty and destroy her life by selling her on a cheap, counterfit vision of womanhood. And sadly this lesson keeps on hitting closer and closer to home as I watch the lives of three girls I dearly love fall apart. One is involved in a situation so bad I won't describe it for the sake of any young readers. The second is a run away on illegal drugs to numb the pain of life, and the last has been labled "mentally unstable and depressed" and has been put on legal drugs to numb the pains of life. In the case of the first girl, her father lead her into the sin she is now in, in the situation of the second girl although her father dearly loved her, he had no idea how to protect her from the world and in the end he lost her heart to it. And the final girl has a similiar situation, her father had no idea how to show her love and protection and now that she is 20 he assumes that most of his responsibilities toward her are through! Does that mean that at 20 she loses the character of a woman? That she is no longer the weaker vessel, created by God, of equal importance (though a different role), but in need of the protection of her father?
I ask you to pray for these young women, that God would bring them to repentence and teach their fathers to be what their girls need them to be. And if you have a father who seeks to love and protect you, be sure that you let him know how thankful you are and pray for him faithfully. Show him you love and respect him, be the daughter he needs, remembering that women were created to be helpers, what can you do to help your father in the work God has given him?
I for one, am thankful and humbled to be my daddy's girl.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day
A Warrior Twice Over
I thought today would be an appropriate day to introduce you to one of my heroes. He is not exactly someone who would stand out for any specific physical trait, he doesn’t stand ‘head and shoulders above the rest’ and he doesn’t seek to draw any kind of attention to himself. You might not be able to pick my hero out in a crowd, but like most heros, that’s the way he prefers it. He does what’s right because it’s right, he lives his life to the glory of God, loves his wife, loves his children, works an honest job, and lives a life of integrity, not because it gains him ‘friends’ or makes him ‘popular’ but because it is the right, God-honouring thing to do. My hero gave 20 years of service to his country in the United States Navy. When we ask him for stories of his service they usually go along the lines of, “Well, we were in the sea of none-of-your-business doing nothing-you-need-to-worry-about. . .” Once, my cousin asked for an ‘unabridged’ story and with a grin my hero replied, ‘well, I could tell you, but then I would have to shoot you’; my cousin decided the story wasn’t worth it. My hero believes in diligence, perseverance, boldness, and discernment as basic, fundamental character qualities that he needs to develop in his children. While I could go on with the physical service my hero gave and the lasting impression it made on me, I cannot leave out the spiritual service he gave.My hero was born-again 12 years ago; he spent 20 years facing physical giants and the last 12 facing formidable spiritual giants-not because it makes him feel good, but because it’s right. I have watched my hero work through tough issues with sweat and blood, refusing to back down, even when mocked and verbally assaulted. It’s because of this that I am not another “Christian Casualty” like five other kids I’ve known over the last several years who have totally abandoned the faith and left home, much to the grief of all who know them. Watching him fight these battles he given me the courage to persevere when the road gets tough, makes me stand tall and confident, teaches me to depend on Christ as my sufficiency. My hero doesn’t want his passion for Christ and His holiness to go to the grave with him and spends a great deal of time teaching his family the scriptures and explaining to us how to apply the teachings therein. He sits and listens to us pour our hearts and gives us guidance and direction, so that we aren’t wandering aimlessly, trying to figure out what to do with ourselves and picking up baggage on the way.In case you haven’t figured it out, my hero is my father:
Senior Chief Petty Officer Joseph Emmett Hoffman III, USN RET.
I consider it an honor to be a bona fide “Navy Brat” and even more so to have grown up under the love and training of a humble Giant of the Christian Faith.
Daddy, I love you.
Thank you for all your sacrifices over the years, they have not been in vain.

Originally published on May 26th

Her Children Rise Up and Call Her Blessed. . .

I wanted to take a moment and honor my mother. There are many qualities for which I highly respect her, many important life lessons I have learned from her, too many to note in one post. However, here are some of the things that have always stood out to me. My mother is actually a Canadian citizen, and no matter how you may feel about Canada, I at least respect them for my mother's sake. When mom married daddy she gave up everything to follow him to a foreign country (where they serve cold tea instead of hot tea, yuck!) :) Daddy was in the Navy and eight months later he was off to sea and mom was left to manage their home in a land where she knew no one. At the time she was only 23. They began in New York and over the years my mother would live in 7 different states, some of them twice, and experience long deployments, one year we only saw daddy 5 days out of 365. Those times were tough on my mother, but my memories of those days are all pleasant and secure. Even though she was being put through an emotional wringer mom sought to give us children a secure childhood. After daddy retired from the Navy mom continued to stand by him in the midst of great difficulty, many of the biblical stands that my father has taken have brought us much verbal persecution, mostly from those who call themselves Christians. I can specifically remember a time about two years ago, we were in the process of moving and my mother had a terrible accident, which resulted in my baby sister being born 6 weeks early, only a few months later mom again had an accident and tore her rotator cuff as well as giving herself a nasty blood blister the size of a small plate. In the midst of all this my father recieved a letter letting him know that a certain man had taken the liberty of writing a rebuttal against my father for his decision to hold our family accountable to high standards of personal holiness as outlined in scripture. I remember the way daddy's shoulders dropped as he wearily said, "I don't mind if he writes a rebuttal, I just wish he would have picked a better time. There's not even a "we're praying for you" or "how's your wife?" in this letter." Everything in me burned with fire and indignation. Later mom and I saw that man at a funeral we were attending. I wanted to demand to know what gave him the right to be so cruel and heartless to my family, but my mother displayed an attitude of forgiveness. She went up, gave him a hug and asked how he was doing, all with Christian love and grace. Her actions spoke volumes to me and were a humble rebuke. That is the attitude that I have seen my mother constantly live her life with: forgiveness, grace and child-like faith. She has never been bitter at God for the trials He has brought but has embraced them as an opportunity to bring Him glory. For that, I have seen my mother grow and radiate His love. I onced asked mom if she could be remembered for one thing, what would she want that to be? "That I found my sufficiency in Christ. He is my all in all, and that's what I want to be remembered for."

Originally published May 16th