Tag Archives: God

sum·mit [suhm-it]

In a previous post, A Summit of My Own, I told how God soverignly moved in our lives to bring about our second son, Summit.  Well, that was only the first part of the story.  The rest of the story is how we came up with, or rather how we were given, the name Summit. 

Selecting a boy name has never been an easy task for the Faught family.  We went round and round with our first child before settling on Shepherd.  The second time around the block proved to be no different, as we went back and forth over names for five solid months.  The big dilemma revolved around the fact that I like different names such as Shepherd, Titus, or Holland.  Julia goes in the exact opposite direction and prefers traditional southern names such as John, David, William, Charles, Fred, or George.  Okay, maybe not Fred or George, but you get the picture.  After much debate, like congress trying to settle on the budget, we had no results.  So, unannounced to each other, we individually began praying that God would show us a name. 

God soon began to answer our prayers.  One morning Julia informed me about one of her dreams.  In her dream, our baby’s name was Summit.  I thought the name Summit was a little too weird and did not favor the name to start.  I mean, is Summit really even a name?  Three weeks later Julia had a second dream and the baby’s name was, once again, Summit.  Poor traditional southern Julia laid awake in the early morn shocked and frightened by the implications of the second dream and this name that seemed to come from two miles past left field.

Right after Julia’s second dream, I woke up with stomach pains and woke up to an unusually wide awake wife.  In attempt to shake off the illness, I pleaded to Julia like a two-year old named Shepherd for something small to eat.  Lucky for me, Julia obliged!  As we ate breakfast, we discussed the second dream more in-depth and really began to consider the name Summit.  Julia eventually declared all she wanted was one more sign from God and his name would be Summit, whether we liked it or not! 

Five minutes later at approximately 5:00am in the morning and totally out of our normal routine (Julia is never up that early) we flipped on the TV (again we never watch TV in the morning) to Channel 5 News.  Much to our absolute dismay, the first thing out of the newscaster’s mouth was, “Summit Medical Center will be having a blood drive today…”.   Upon hearing this sentence we slowly turned our heads away from the TV and to each other.  I wish you could have seen Julia’s face and I know she wishes you could have seen mine. 

It is crazy to look back and see how God soverignly brought us Summit, but even crazier to see how God used two dreams and newscaster from Channel 5 to give us his name.  No hiking trip or human plan was going to prevent God from giving us our second child and without a question, God wanted his name to be Summit.  In light of the series of events surrounding Summit’s birth and his name, Julia and I can’t help but wonder what God has planned for this child.   We have no idea what it will be, but taking a hint from the definition of his name we know it will be great.  We are truly blessed to have Summit and we can not wait to see what kind of man he becomes.

sum·mit

[suhm-it]

–noun

1.

the highest point or part, as of a hill, a line of travel, or any object; top; apex.
2.

the highest point of attainment or aspiration: the summit of one’s ambition.

Bending the Rules

Some say he is cute, adorable, loving, sweetheart, precious, silly.  Some say he is smart, active, ornery, crafty, mischievous.  Some say he is his Dad.  As for myself and Julia, we say he is just Shepherd.  He is the kid at one moment standing beside you after church, as you talk with friends, and the next moment he is up on stage banging on the baby grand.  He is the kid that as you go to the bathroom, he seizes the opportunity to make a run for it and heads out the front door; leaving you to return to an empty house and jump starting you into “freak out” mode.  All the while he is chillin’ at the neighbor’s house.  He is the kid at 7:00 am in the morning who is sprinting back and forth between the living room ottoman and the front door.  Culminating in giving the front  door knob his best Tarzan scream and swing!  Yes, Shepherd is not the most content child and he sure does know how to experience life to its fullest.  You could say he is a slightly strong-willed child!  Although Shep does keep us constantly on the run, his comical and sometimes tiring energy opens our hearts to more laughter and our eyes to more wisdom.

Shepherd’s age and active personality has required us to become more disciplined in our disciplining.  At a certain point you begin to recognize that saying, “Shep! Shep! Shepherd! Jonathan Shepherd! Jonathan Shepherd Faught!” does not prevent your child from conducting the mischievous task at hand.  So, we have begun to clearly communicate and warn Shepherd once of the impending consequences.  If Shepherd continues in his mischief, he gets into trouble.  One of our latest “warning sessions” turned humorous and enlightening.

We store our DVD player and DVDs in a small two door cabinet adjacent to our sofa.  Usually, the two door knobs are Shepherd proofed, a.k.a. rubber banded shut.  At this particular moment the cabinet, for some reason, was not Shepherd proofed.  Of course, Shepherd was drawn to the DVD cabinet like a magnet, along with his usual partners in crime Bob and Larry from VeggieTales and Woody from Toy Story.   So, off I went to warn Shepherd and steer him clear of trouble.  I bent down to his level and gently and clearly warned him to stay away from the DVD cabinet.  I made sure he knew that if he got into the cabinet one more time he would be in trouble.  How did Shepherd respond? He, without hesitation or reservation, immediately picked up Woody and began using Woody’s arm and hand to open the cabinet door!  So therefore, it was no longer Shepherd who was getting into the DVD cabinet, but it was Woody!  Now, I know the Woody picture is a little freaky, but this picture perfectly captures the moment.  I was stunned, caught off guard, and truly amazed.  All I could do was laugh and walk away.  I should have disciplined Woody, but sad to say, I was not as quick-witted as my 23 month old son!

While the latest Shepherd incident was pretty humorous it was also revealing.  I was amazed at the sinful nature of man and how it shows up crystal clear in a 23 month old.  Like every other toddler, Shepherd lives for the moment.  In an instant, he would choose the temporary excitement to crack and shatter VeggieTales DVDs over the longer lasting enjoyment of watching a VeggieTales DVD.  And as he showed with Woody, he would bend the rules or even break the rules to achieve his temporary desire.  Oh, how we all succumb to this sinful nature!  A nature that dismisses God’s plan and structure for eternal pleasure.  It is a nature that will vehemently break or recklessly bend God’s eternally provisional order to achieve temporal pleasure.   

I am reminded of a C.S. Lewis’s quote from Weight of Glory,

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

Our desires are too weak not too strong.  Our strongest desires are for fleeting pleasures and our weakest desires are for the eternal pleasures.  

So, what is our escape from this trap?  How do we overcome that which is rooted in the depths of our heart and soul?  The best answer I could find comes from  Ezekiel 36:26-27,

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you.  And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit within you,  and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules”. 

 Sign me up!  Don’t we all need a new heart?  Don’t we all need to be regenerated?  Don’t we all need to be born again? (John 3:1-8)  I am so thankful for the grace and mercy God has bestowed on me in transforming my heart and life.  Now, I pray every day that he would extend the same grace and mercy to my two sons.  I pray that He would open their eyes to recognize the difference between temporal and eternal;  that God would transform their hearts and set them free to pursue Christ and His eternal promises and pleasures!

Now, off to clean up the lipstick  Shepherd just used to paint the carpet and himself! No joke – Julia is going to love this one!

Ezekiel 36 – John 3:1-8Ephesians 2:1-102 Corinthians 5:17Titus 3:1-8


A Summit of My Own

 

 

Every summer a group of men from our church take a trip to hike a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado.  The name of the trip is creatively and cleverly dubbed The Man Trip.  This  trip is a “Man Trip” in every single way.  All done within 72 hours the round trip covers 1700 miles and spans over 25,800 feet in elevation change.  Some guys take off from Arkansas on an early Friday morning, arrive at base camp Friday evening,  hike the 14er on Saturday, and return home by Sunday evening.  Seems a little crazy? Absolutely, but this is what happens in a trip that includes over 20 men and 0 women or children to slow them down! 

I set my eyes on conquering Man Trip 6 months in advance.  I gained “clearance from Clarence” (aka Julia), scheduled a day off work, and decided on a training regimen. Of course, a trip like this takes some training to develop leg strength and respiratory stamina to handle the mountain incline and the thin Colorado air.  So, my training goal was to conquer the dreaded JBU stairs. The stairs located on the John Brown University campus are 100 hundred steps that have a monstrous incline.  I planned to conquer the stairs by running 10 up and downs with out a break; I was certain this would prove my readiness for Man Trip!  

In the six months leading up to Man Trip several hurdles were thrown into my path to impede my training and the hurdles convinced me to abandon the manly excursion.  The first hurdle was a badly sprained ankle, acquired in a pick up basketball game with kids half my age!  After a long and slow recovery,  I was still determined to conquer Man Trip and I quickly resumed my training regimen.  The second hurdle came way of a mysterious alignment to my healthy foot, later to be diagnosed as planters fasciitis, just another form of  getting old.   I could barely walk the stairs a month prior to the trip.  The third hurdle, everybody at work began to take vacations the week of my excursion – perfect timing!  And yes a fourth hurdle 10 foot tall was thrown my way.  It was a little tap on the old shoulder from Julia distributing the notification that Man Trip took place on “ovulation weekend”!  Of course she handled the notification very graciously and it was a notification that included no hint of a guilt trip.  She gave me total freedom to go or not go on the trip. 

He wasn't meant to clear this hurdle!

The fourth hurdle was different from the three previous hurdles.  A few months earlier Julia and I decided to try for our second child.  In our experience, this decision always brings its ups and downs.  We quickly received news we were expecting not one child but two.  In the same week we learned of our expectations, we lost our expectations.  So at the notification of “ovulation weekend”, I began to recognize a sovereign God moving.  As the last hurdle was thrown up, I recognized the three previous hurdles were cleverly placed by a higher being.  I recognized the fourth hurdle was not meant to be cleared and I gave up on my goal of conquering a Colorado mountain.  I knew God had something in store for us and sure enough he did!  We found ourselves expecting once again!  

As I look back on this time and examine all the hurdles placed before me, I began to contemplate one of the greatest theological debates of all time.  The absolutely sovereignty of God and the free will of man.  While I can not answer all of the questions that surround this long-standing debate, I do know what I have experienced.  It was a human choice to train for Man Trip, it was my human choice to jump the first three hurdles in my path, and it was my human choice to stop at the fourth hurdle and choose another path.  A different path that accomplished what God had planned before the beginning of time.  I experienced human will miraculously running in stride with divine will  to achieve God’s ultimate plan.  A plan that is greater than our hearts could ever dream. 

The heart of man plans his way,
   but the LORD establishes his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 

My plan was to gain myself the summit of a mountain. God’s plan was to give me a Summit of my own.

                                                      David “Summit” Faught


The Advent of Shepherd

 

Surprises?  Totally my thing!  Keeping surprises?  Totally not my thing!  Secrets?  I don’t want to know them, because it’s hard to keep them!  Presents?  They’re made to be found before they’re wrapped!  Presents are meant to be opened before Christmas day!  Sometimes telling people about their present is actually better than waiting to watch them open it!

Dealing with anticipation, by far, is not my greatest attribute.  So, you can imagine my anticipation and frustration in waiting for my son to come into this world.  I felt like a 5-year-old boy tortured by being forced to look at his Christmas present everyday for 9 solid months.   Imagine the agony of watching the present slowly grow and actually move without being able to take a peak.  The worst part, not knowing exactly when Christmas day would actually come!

Our First Glance at Shepherd

This future son consumed my thoughts and prayers.  What would he look like?  What would he act like?  How much sleep would we get?  Would Julia make it through everything okay?  Are we ready to provide for a child?  God, give him a heart for you.  God, help him be healthy and strong.  God, let him get here safely.  For 37 weeks I lived and dreamed to see the day he would take his first breath.  Many things bought, many books read, the house and nursery prepared.  Then Julia, for the first time in the existence of our relationship, randomly and unexpectedly cleaned out the freezer!  This could only mean that the day had come, he would soon be here. 

Shepherd’s arrival prompted me to think about the two advents of Christ.  First, I wondered about God as a Father sending His only Son to redeem the creation that was lost in Eden.  There must have been so much joy and excitement to fulfill his first promise to restore man, earth, and ultimately destroy death. 

God says to the serpent, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel”.  Genesis 3:15

 So much joy and excitement that it  outweighed the knowledge He would be separated from his only begotten son.    The knowledge that knew He was sending His Son into a world that would  betray Him, beat Him, and scandalously murder Him.  This thought helped me catch but a glimpse of how much God truly loves us.  It is unfathomable to think how He makes such a sacrifice with such joy, with such excitement. 

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord…”   Luke 2:10-11

Secondly, my anticipation and preparation for Shepherd made me consider how I was anticipating and preparing for a greater “coming” to this world, Christ’s return.  I began to ask several questions.  What was my relationship with Christ?  Was it moving, growing, digressing, or even stagnant?  Was I allowing Him to prepare me for his return?  Was I moving along the path of progressive sanctification?  Was I still being transformed?  Was I surrendering all of my life in exchange for a loving pursuit of His?

At the time, the answers to these questions were eerily humbling.  I realized my need to allow the Holy Spirit to move and transform me as a son, a friend, and a husband.  I needed His guidance to leave footsteps I wanted my son to follow.  Footsteps that humbly headed towards the cross and prepare for a greater advent than Shepherd’s, the advent of Christ.

As I look back over the last two years, it is an amazing wonder how God used Shepherd’s coming to transform my life.  I can truly say that getting ready for my son’s arrival has propelled me to prepare for the greatest “coming” of all.  He has a little child to make me a better follower, leader, son, friend, husband, and now father.  My hope and prayer is that Christ will use something in life to do the same for you.


Matchbox Car

As a father, one of the days I have looked forward to for so long was the day I would walk in the door from work and have Shepherd scream from the top of his lungs, Da-da Da-da!!!! Then run into my arms to give me a great big huge tiny hug. The funny problem and great disappointment was I expected Shepherd to be jumping with excitement upon my entrance at a week old. So, you can only imagine the anticipation and excitement I had for this great moment in life. You can also imagine my disappointment upon 12 months of Shepherd’s existence when Shep would take a break from his activity to give me a lackadaisical “wut up” nod as I came through the door. Then almost without hesitation, he would quickly refocus his attention on playing with his toy, watching his cartoon, or eating his food.
This routine, much to my chagrin, continued to happen on a daily basis, until that one day. It was truly an unexpected and surprising day in every way. The day was mid February and the temperature was 75 degrees, the sun was shinning with no gray in the sky. I walked through the front door to hear the voices of Julia and Shepherd in the backyard enjoying their release from being imprisoned in the house by long cold winter days. I quietly stepped out on the back porch to see Julia watching Shep bent over in the grass playing with his favorite matchbox car, Buzz Lightyear, Bob the Tomato, and Larry the Cucumber. I whispered in a quiet voice, “Hey!” Shepherd jolted up with both hands high in the air, dropping all his toys upon hearing my voice. He turned around scream “Da-da, Da-da!!!” and then baby sprinted into my arms for that long-awaited great big huge tiny hug.
That moment was just as good as I had dreamed for years and anticipated for all twenty months of Shepherd’s life. But that moment became so much more when God allowed me to see it though a different set of lenses. I saw a Creator and His most beloved creation. I witnessed the beloved creation playing with and loving other parts of creation more than the Creator. The view showed God faithfully and continually seeking us by whispering, “Hey!” I felt a fragment of what He must feel when His most beloved creation throws down their favorite matchbox car, their Buzz Lightyear, their Bob the Tomato, and their Larry the Cucumber to run into His arms for that great big huge tiny hug. I can’t imagine what our God feels when we glorify Him over His creation, when we worship the Creator instead of creation. It made me wonder, reflect, and ask what was my matchbox car, Buzz Lightyear, Bob the Tomato, or Larry the Cucumber? What did I worship and value more than listening to my Creator, studying my Creator, praying to my Creator, spending time with my Creator, or just simply glorifying my Creator? I urge you to ask the same question.


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