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I wrote this article for Brian over at X2J.  Enjoy!

Ah, the holidays are here at last!  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, one right after the other in a 30ish-day blur of food, family, and festivities.  I love all of the traditions that go along with the holidays – Thanksgiving dinner, shopping, decking the halls, the church play, the Christmas fight…

Wait, what?  The Christmas FIGHT?  How did that one slip in there???

Hmm…  I think if you’re family is anything like mine, you might not be so surprised by that particular “tradition”.  The holidays can be a time of great joy AND a time of all-out-no-holds-barred-you-better-watch-out-or-I’ll-make-you-cry DRAMA.  I don’t know exactly what it is (maybe the combination of busyness, stress, financial strain, cold-and-flu season, turkey overdosing, etc.) but the holidays seem to bring out the best and, often, the worst in us.

Whether it’s your mom, your dad, your brother, your sister, your crazy Aunt Marge, or YOU, someone in your family may drop the drama bomb this year and put you smack dab in the middle of a warzone.  What do you do when the d-bomb drops and you’re caught in the middle?  Does the Bible say ANYTHING about family drama and how to deal with it?

Definitely!  Here are just a few of the things the Bible says that you need to remember when facing the drama during the holidays:

#1.  Do your part.

Ephesians 6:1-3 says “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise-- ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’”  I know this isn’t the most popular part of Scripture among teenagers – I mean seriously, honor AND obey???  Nonetheless, that’s what God’s Word says you have to do as a son or a daughter.  Honoring and obeying your parents means you do what they ask you to do as long as it doesn’t go against God’s Word.  It’s important to do this with a good attitude and a right heart!  If the idea of submitting to your parents makes you want to drop the drama bomb right here and now, pause for a second and think about this: honoring and obeying your parents is more about honoring and obeying God than anything else.  Disobedience and dishonor to mom and dad = disobedience and dishonor to God.  DO YOUR PART during the holidays by exemplifying this attitude of honor and obedience at home and you just might be surprised at the results!

#2.  Remember to pray.

Seriously.  Pray for your family and the drama that’s going down.  And I don’t mean like this: “Dear Santa – I mean God! – I want an Xbox for Christmas, and so much candy in my stocking that it could kill me if I ate it all at once.  Oh, and also, could you get my mom of my back – she’s driving me NUTS!  Amen.”  Lame!  No, I’m talking about the kind of prayer James is talking about when he says “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).”  Do you believe God can change your family and diffuse the drama?  HOLD ON.  Think about it for a second.  God – who made the universe – who spoke entire galaxies in to being with just His WORD; can that God change your family and your circumstances?  You better believe He can!  Prayer can DEFINITELY be a catalyst for change – at the very least it will change YOUR heart, mind, and attitude.  And just like honor and obedience, you may be surprised at what else it can accomplish. 

#3.  Keep your eyes on Jesus.

As much as it pains me to say, sometimes when it comes to family drama, the best advice I can give you is “get through it.”  As a young person, a lot of times your circumstances are out of your control.  You may not have dropped the D-bomb, but you’re still going to be caught in the crossfire.  When you find yourself in the middle of a fight you didn’t start or an argument that you’re not a part of, remember to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  It IS possible in the midst of all the chaos around you to find strength, peace, and even rest, and that place is in the arms of Jesus.  Keep your eyes fixed on Him and know that even with all the drama, everything is going to be okay.

I wish I could say that this is a three-step plan for you to bypass holiday drama altogether, but that wouldn’t be the truth.  The truth is that we live in a broken world and we’re all broken people, and sometimes the craziness of the holidays brings out that brokenness even more than usual.  BUT the beautiful thing about this time of year is that light and healing came in to a dark and wounded world, and Jesus came to rescue us!  Remember that truth, and if you’re facing drama, remember these simple Biblical principles, and you may see God do something amazing in you and your family this year.

Happy holidays, and merry Christmas!

- Tim B.

 
 
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"Jerusalem!  Jerusalem! ... How often I've ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings..." - Matthew 23:37, The Message

Tonight I was wrapping up Grayson in his swaddle blanket, getting ready to put him to bed.  As he looked up at me I was overwhelmed by the desire to know what was going on in that little mind.  I'm desperate for him to start talking - not because I want him to say "dada!" or so I can brag to everyone that he already speaks at a two-year-old level - but because I have a deep desire to communicate with him.

I want to know what he's thinking about.  What he likes, what he doesn't like.  I want to know what he has questions about, and I want to answer those questions (if I can).  I want to know what he thinks is fun and funny (me, I hope!).  I want to just talk with him about what he's thinking about at any given time because I have a deep longing to KNOW him.

Of course I can't help but make the connection between these new feelings I'm experiencing as a father and how they mirror on an infinitely small scale the feelings our Abba (Hebrew for Father, or more appropriately "daddy") must have for us.

I think God longs to know us, to communicate with us, to relate with us in the same way I long to do all of these things with Grayson.  I'm AMAZED at how being a Father has helped me to realize not just more about God my Father but more about my role as His child.

So as I wait not-so-patiently for those first words and the inevitable flood of communication with my own son, I remember that I also have a Father who is waiting with infinite love and patience for His son to speak with Him.

Here I am, Abba.

- Tim B.
 
 
I heard this on the radio today for the first time. It literally brought tears to my eyes - and I do NOT cry often!Husbands, fathers, MEN - this is for us.
 
 
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So this week Trisha and I both headed back to work, me full-time (I'd already been back part-time for several weeks) and her part-time for the next couple months.

I know it's going to be hard - a big adjustment for both of us - but it CAN be done!  I'll be bringing GGB with me to church in the mornings while Trisha goes to work, and then I'll drop him off to her at lunchtime and she'll have some mommy-time in the afternoons with him.

Check out the picture above of my new workspace.  Do you think I'll be able to be productive?  :)

- Tim B.
 
 
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Grayson after his first bath, rockin' the poof-hawk!
So I've been blogging for several years now and I'm excited to be posting on the new website here.  I can't think of a better way to start this new blog than by giving you a quick update on our 2-week-old son, Grayson!

Grayson came home a week ago today, and I have to say it has been the craziest, most surreal week of my life.  Trisha and I are adjusting to life with a baby fairly well, but the lack of sleep and the crazy-busyness kind of caught us off guard.  Trisha is doing well and recovering from her c-section well also.  She continues to amaze me - she's the strongest person I know, and I'm not just saying that.

Being a dad is so crazy.  People said before he was born that when he arrived it would change everything, and I'd say that's a pretty fair summation of parenthood so far - it DOES change EVERYTHING!

I'm looking forward to the next several weeks, months, and years as we watch our little one grow up, but I don't want to miss all the "right nows" along the way.  Tonight I held him in my hands and realized that the part of his life that I'll be able to actually HOLD HIM IN MY HANDS is short and I just thanked God for that moment, trying desperately to burn the memory into my mind.

I can't wait to update you more - Grayson is so cool and I'm sure his life will be full of great stories to share.