Parenting and Mercy

This isn’t my typical exercise and fitness post. I haven’t even posted in a long time, but for some reason (maybe it’s the Global Leadership Summit I attended today) I felt compelled to write. Every now and then, our hearts need some exercise too. Maybe someone out there will be touched by this.

So tonight, my seven year old daughter made a choice that she shouldn’t have. She had been warned that if she made this particular choice, she would have her Kindle taken away. This upset her a lot because she loves to listen to “Adventures in Odyssey” to fall asleep. She cried the entire way home. After we got home, I got down on one knee with her and we talked about it. I asked her what I should do in this situation.

She looked at me, with tears filling her eyes, and told me that I should take her Kindle even though she didn’t want me to. She then burst into tears.

I had a choice here. I could take the Kindle and follow through with the consequence I had put forward earlier. Or I could show mercy.

I thought about it.

I looked in her tear-filled eyes and told her that I was so proud that she did the right thing by telling me I should take her Kindle even though it hurt her heart. She could have easily told me that she didn’t deserve a consequence and that I should give her a second chance. Or she could have told me I could have taken something else away that wasn’t as important to her. But she didn’t. She told me exactly what she deserved. And it hurt her…a lot.

I look at that girl with so much love. It reminded me so much of the love that God has for me. I deserve a consequence. We all do. We are all born into sin and deserve a consequence. I asked her if she ever heard of “mercy”. She said she kinda did.

God showed us mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross so we didn’t have to.

John 3:16 says “God loved the world so much that he gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him would not die, but have eternal life.”

We deserve a consequence but God loves us so much that he didn’t give me the consequence I deserve. Instead, He died for me so I didn’t have to. It takes a lot of love to do that!

I decided that I wasn’t going to take the Kindle even though that’s what she deserved. I told her we should always do the right thing even if it hurts our heart. I told her that it doesn’t matter if she is 7, 8, or 30, I always want her to do the right thing. I always like to catch my kids doing good things rather than catch them doing something wrong.

I don’t know if I have this parenting thing figured out or not. I do know one thing though. I feel like I taught her more tonight about a father’s love and God’s love than I ever could have by giving her a consequence. I know that she is going to bed knowing that her dad loves her and that God loves her so much that He is willing to show mercy and grace even when she doesn’t deserve it. To me, that matters more than anything.

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How Fear Can Change Your Life

Today, I welcome Anthony Sloan as my first ever guest blogger.  I’ve been wanting to do a guest blogger for a while and I knew Anthony would be perfect for the job.  A couple of months ago when I was going through a rough spot in my life, I came across a Facebook page that Anthony belongs to called the Curahee.  Every now and then a video would pop up on my news feed and I’d watch it.  Slowly, the shell that I had been building around me began to break.  This was a man that was changing me and we had never interacted even once.  I’ve had numerous conversations since then with Anthony, both online and on the phone.  We both have this weird connection that somehow we were meant to be friends and our families will be super close one day. So thank you Anthony for being the man that you are working so hard to be.  We aren’t there yet brother, but we will die trying.  Without further ado, I give you….Anthony Sloan.

How Fear Can Change Your Life – Anthony Sloan

In 2005 I found myself In the middle of Afghanistan. My wife was eight months pregnant when our Unit left, so in our first month there, she gave birth to my daughter Brianna. Our deployment there was supposed to be 6 months long. Now if you’ve been to Afghanistan you know that they love to fight – and die. So every time that we went outside of the FOB (Forward Observation Base) on mission, we would get into a firefight. The first firefight I was in after my daughter was born, I felt something that I had never felt before. I was afraid! I know most of you are reading this right now and thinking ‘he’s been afraid before’. This was a different kind of fear! I was afraid I would never make it home to see my wife, to never even get the opportunity to see my daughters face. and to never get the opportunity to kiss her little cheeks. This fear was like something I’ve never felt before.  So in that moment I had two different ways I could’ve reacted, I could’ve froze and did nothing, or return fire and fight for my life.

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I believe men and women have to face fear at least once in their life. Maybe it’s not the fear of death, like I had to face; maybe it’s the fear of growing. You see we go to school and learn for so many years only to become adults and forget that we are supposed to keep pushing ourselves and growing as human beings. Most of us will spend a lifetime standing still and watching the opportunity pass us by. That day in Afghanistan I had a choice to live or die, to freeze up out of fear or fight like my life depended on it, cause it did!

So how can fear, growing and learning all tie together?

You see as Fathers and Mothers we have to grow daily, pushing ourselves to learn something new and forget the fear of trying! Just the fear of trying alone can kill you. It will make you freeze up in life and instead of doing something, you will stand by and watch life pass you by. Then one day you will be old and gray and the only thing you will be able to remember is what you didn’t do when you should have done it. The moment that would have gave you the perfect job, but you didn’t do anything to get it because it interfered with your current job.  How about that moment where you could have been a better father or husband?  Instead you failed by spending all of your time at work making money, instead of at home spending time being the father and husband that your family wanted you to be.  Your growth just doesn’t affect YOU anymore. What you do affects everyone around you. More importantly it affects the children that you have or the ones you will have someday.

I got out of the military in 2011 and I found myself in a world I didn’t recognize anymore. It wasn’t so much the world had changed, but more that I had changed. I didn’t feel like I belonged in an environment other than war anymore. Then I got around people and realized that they live everyday like the day before. They go to the same job and do the same thing every single day.  Technically they don’t have to really grow. Now I was in the same boat and instead of growing, I slowly slipped deeper and deeper into depression. My PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) started to slowly eat away at my head. I started to believe the lies in my head that I didn’t belong, that my life should have been taken away in another country, and that my family would have been better off with the $400,000 life insurance policy than to have me in their life.  I was hurting so bad and it caused me to start pushing my family away because I couldn’t explain to them what was going on in my head. I was still praying, I was begging God to take these thoughts from me.  Then I believe God answered my prayers and my wife changed our lives forever.

Jennifer wanted to lose her baby weight and decided that we were going to start our own online fitness business. At this point in time I was drunk at least 90% of my day. So Jenn started fixing our nutrition, she started to shop better and made sure that I would drink my shake everyday. It was such a drastic change for my mind, body and soul. Just by switching up my nutrition I found myself being a much happier person. I had been around while my wife was making daily exercise a priority for herself. It began to make me want to do it.  After a few months of not being able to do the gym anymore due to my time at work and the hours I worked, I started to try the 30 minutes a day workout.  I began to really enjoy it and I was seeing great results come about too. Then as the time progressed, I enjoyed it more and more.  Then I started to work out with her everyday. It was always only a 30-minute exercise, and not very often was I doing weights. For a guy that grew up in the gym, in a weight room, since he was 12 years old, this was awkward for me. But then all of a sudden I started to notice I was a happier person, I was living life Instead of life taking over and being this monotonous action that I felt like I had to suffer through. Then again, I started to notice this different self-confidence. I started feeling good about who I am and started to push myself daily in my workouts. I tried to go harder than the day before. I had an image of what I wanted my body look like, so I pushed myself every single day to get there. As my self-confidence changed, I became a new father, and a new husband! I believe that our bodies want nutrition and exercise. Just think about it for a second, if your body was a machine, what would make the machine run correctly? Would it be drinking an energy drink everyday? What about eating at McDonald’s?  Would that make your body run the way it should and to the best of its abilities?

Before PICS 2014

Exercise and nutrition changed my life. Now my wife and I work out together every single day. We push each other to get better every single time that we work out together. I can honestly tell you that the key to happiness is through exercise and nutrition. That even with my brain being chemically disabled, the release of endorphins into my body saved my life. It made me a better man; it made me a better father and a better husband. Now my kids will exercise with us every single day. Just by that decision in our lives, it has developed a mental strength in us and it is being created in our kids as well.  It all started from watching us daily and that has been an unbelievable difference in everyone!

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So let me finish with a couple questions, just to get you to meditate on your own life for a couple minutes.

Do you wake up tired everyday?

Do you find yourself wondering what could have been instead of how today has put you closer to the vision and goal you have planned for your life?

What did you do today that will change the lives of others around you?

I want to thank Gerad for the opportunity for me to write this and share my heart and life of transformations.  I also want to thank our team, Warrior Team Fitness! Warrior Team Fitness is the team Jennifer and I have developed with others having the same passion to change lives around them with daily nutrition and exercise. I love that we are changing lives for the better! Building a stronger world through 30 minutes of exercise and nutrition easily accessible because of online accountability, also giving people the opportunity to work for themselves and change lives and homes at the same time.  

Fun Kisses