‘Tis the season.
Piles of shoes heaped around our front door and some of them look gigantic.
A bunch of girls and dudes teetering toward adulthood all with in process frontal lobes.
From movie groups, to small groups, to friend groups.
From best buds, to boyfriends, to co-workers, to get-to-know-you-better acquaintances.
Ours has always been an open door policy and that’s the way I like it best.
More is always better around the kitchen table and we’re no strangers to cramming six in an apartment sized bedroom.
Dollyhouse, card games and homemade movie making have morphed into dialogue about worldview, culture, faith and relationships, seemingly overnight, and all of it energizes me.
Your girl friends and their drama, it entertains.
But it’s the dudes that fascinate me most.
Maybe because God didn’t write brothers into my story.
Or because your brother is missing in all our family pictures.
Whatever the reason, males add something special to the mix.
It’s been just about 23 years and 271 days, that I’ve been asking God to raise up a generation of good men. I’m hoping for an army of them but at the very least, our family needs 4. And those guys, they’re gonna be looking for travelling companions because “People are meant to go through life two by two. ‘Taint natural to be lonesome.” (Thornton Wilder, Our Town)
So what defines a good man, according to the Hope Webster dictionary 2018 edition?
Good men love God.
Good men are teachable.
Good men are truth tellers.
Good men are protectors.
Good men are self-controlled.
Good men are accountable.
Good men are respectful.
Good men are courageous.
Good men are chivalrous.
Good men are loyal.
Good men define leadership as being first to serve and ready to sacrifice.
Good men laugh…but also cry.
Good men listen…but also share.
Good men work hard… then play too.
Good men celebrate food, drink, wives of their youth, and all sorts of everyday blessings.
And it’s a bonus when they do it with a sense of humor to boot.
I didn’t realize it, but I originally prayed for a photo edited guy to be each of your life companions. It’s not that I wanted him to look perfect but I wanted him to be a dude with a flawless resume. A guy without the consequences of any stupid choices. A man without scars from previous relational wounds.
Honestly, I might have been mistaking him for Jesus and He’s not available.
Over time, I’ve let go of that mirage, naively well intentioned though it was, because a good man isn’t necessarily accurately identified by externals.
A perfect gpa might mean he’s smart, but it may also indicate that he’s arrogant or that his identity is rooted in performance.
One of those courtship dudes might commit to not kissing his girlfriend before marriage but imbibe privately on a cyber sexual addiction.
And the “clean cut” sort might look the part to please grandma but be disrespectful of your intellect, your feelings or your body.
Tattoos don’t predict character or lack thereof.
Hair length doesn’t indicate anything about spirituality.
And skin color is completely inconsequential to compatibility.
In its place, I’ve been learning to embrace the raw humanity of broken-beautiful, 3 dimensional boys who God’s writing into our family story. I’m making space for them to be in process. I’m valuing the lessons that can be learned by trial and error, the authenticity resulting from wrestling with God when His mercies have been sovereignly severe in their lives. Now, I appreciate guys who stumble clumsily into manhood with courage, humility, determination and resilience. The ones with a teachable spirit who get up and walk stronger, wiser and more humbly dependent on Jesus every time they trip and fall.
You girls have been stumbling your way into adulthood too, each nursing your own bumps and bruises, your own brand of broken. No, you’re not picture perfect either. You’re miracles of metamorphosis instead, growing into the likeness of Jesus and I’d say that makes you the best kind of beautiful.
Back in Texas, I planted a sapling in the back yard—a forest pansy redbud. Remember how it struggled the first several years to assimilate into the soil? It looked pretty sickly most of the time and I wondered if it’d ever thrive. Sometimes an ice storm passed through and weighed down its tender branches. But over the years, it acclimated to native soil. It soaked up the sun’s chlorophyll and the rain nourished its roots. Even the perils contributed to its growth and eventually it matured into a healthy, strong specimen of a tree.
That’s you, Angela, Lily, Robyn and Starla, engaging the lifelong process of growing up in Christ.
And that’s the kind of guy times 4 that I’m asking God to tether you to in an enduring bond of intimate friendship.
All in good time…..
Amalgamated together with grace and courage and hope, transformational love will mature and kingdom impact multiply exponentially,
Just like the proliferation of my future grandchildren:)
“Dwell in Possibility,” says Emily Dickinson. And I do.
Anticipating His fresh mercies each new day as we wait to see how and with whom your futures unfold.