Posts by Dan Errickson

New Year: A time for do-overs



Editor’s note: One of the appealing things about the new year is claiming a fresh start. Maybe you didn’t maintain your weight like you wanted to in 2014 — or read your Bible as consistently as you would have liked.  The new year offers that most magical of concepts — the do-over.

We thought this would be an appropriate time to re-post something by Dr. Dan Errickson, who reminds us that the do-over isn’t just for kids and that the concept itself is a holy one.

You can start life over again.

Every kid who has scampered across a playground or jumped into a backyard ball game is familiar with this magical phrase.

A ball may have become stuck in a tree branch or sailed over a roof. Or a play was so controversial that the only recourse was for a fourth-grade batter to scream, “Do-over!”

These powerful words gave the elementary school athlete a momen­tary rebirth. A third strike would always be forgiven because the other children knew they would also need one.

“The do-over was one of childhood’s most powerful rites, for it ex­erted our dominion over the laws of space and time,” observes the website Streetplay.com. “The clock was rolled back, the game was restored to the exact status it had before the contested event, and play was resumed. … It is with fond memories that we recall the do-over, a divine method of resolu­tion, and contemplate the untold blessings it could bring if it were some­how extended into our contemporary lives.”

Based on its many references in popular culture, there appears to be broad appeal to the idea of a do-over for adults.

“Do-over’s” premise invites intellectual speculation about what a man or woman could accomplish if they had a chance to do it all over again, observes web reference Wikipedia. “Many an adult laments, ‘If only I knew then what I know now.’”

Fortunately for Christians, no speculation is required! The good news of the gospel is that God offers us a fresh start irrespective of our age and the number of skeletons in our closet. Although we can’t transcend time and rewrite our personal history, we can use the wisdom of lessons learned and the favor of God to start over.

Instead of giving up when we fail, the Bible tells us we can “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Our emotions may tell us that we aren’t good enough for God—that we’ve squandered too many opportunities. But we must look beyond our feelings to the truth of Scripture. We can have another chance because God never gives up on us. In fact, he counted on the entire human race needing a do-over. That is why he sent Jesus Christ to die and rise again on our behalf. Because of the forgiveness of God, every day can be a new beginning.

You may be thinking, “Yes, but you don’t know what I’ve done.” Well, we don’t know, but God does. And Scripture tells us that he has “unlimited patience” (1 Timothy 1:16). The miracle of Christianity is that God, who knows our darkest secrets, loves us more than any human being ever could.

With him, a new life is really possible.

The Message (a biblical translation in contemporary language by Eu­gene H. Peterson) in 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Anyone united with the Messiah (Jesus) gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!”

Scripture also tells us that, because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, “God is for us” — not against us. (Romans 8:31).

So the goal of his do-overs is to help us put aside any notions that, as followers of Jesus Christ, we must give up and resign ourselves to a life of uselessness and brokenness. It has been God’s plan from the beginning to allow us to start anew, to give us a fresh start. So reach up and receive God’s do-over for your life found in Jesus Christ and then imagine the possibilities!

(For more on this topic go to “Grandfathering: A dad do-over” by Dr. Dan Erickson.)

Grandfathering: A dad do-over



I walked into the living room, looked into the sweet eyes of my daughter Shannon, and instantly she began to cry.

She seemed overcome with fear and her eyes gazed at the floor while tears streaked her cheeks. Through sobs, she said, “Dad, I’m pregnant.”

My wife Cathy sat beside me as Shannon’s sobs broke my heavy silence. I sat there bewildered as the waterfall of thoughts rushed through my head. My daughter had recently graduated high school and was beginning her walk into adulthood.

Travel weary, I had just returned from training in Denver, after recently being appointed as Promise Keepers’ regional director for the Northwest. I was just 44 years old, and a pregnant teenager was not part of my five-year plan.

Thankfully, my heavenly Father quieted my inner turmoil and not a word of my initial thoughts was breathed. In a still small voice He spoke to my sprit: “Tell Shannon what I have told you time after time. This is part of my plan for her life and I am with her. This child will usher in the beginning of a new and rewarding life for you and Cathy.”

I must have been quiet for an extended time, because Cathy shook me out of my bewilderment when she said, “Say something!” I expressed to Shannon our commitment to be there for her and her baby. I told her, “There was a God in heaven who loved her unconditionally and there was a dad on earth who did too.”

God was right! It began a journey of grandfathering that changed my life. I have to admit that I was a preoccupied father. I struggled with my own insecurities, seeking to please others, and I often lost sight of those people in my life that really mattered most. I often allowed the “whats” in my life to determine my identity and significance. This affected how I related with the “whos” in my life – my wife and children and now grandchildren. In many ways, through my grandchildren, I got a “do-over” and a fresh start.

grandfathering

Photo by Tina Vanderlaan

Shannon gave birth to our first grandchild, Gabrielle, who we affectionately call “Gabby.” She is now 19 years old, going on 25, and working her way through college.

God allowed Cathy and me to become part of a moment in their destinies. That moment in 1994 could have gone quite differently. I realize now that God was testing me. He already knew what he was going to do. He was giving me a fresh start; He was giving me a do-over.

Shannon would get a do-over too. She married a wonderful man who adopted Gabby, and they gave me four more grandchildren. My younger son, Doug, found a beautiful lady and gave me two more. God has blessed me with a full quiver. My God, my wife of 43 years, my two kids and my seven grandchildren are the loves of my life. Apart from God and them I am nothing.

Family is the true expression of the heart of the Father.

I have determined in my heart and spirit, with the help of God Almighty that I will live a life that will leave a legacy, one that will echo now and for eternity.

Whether you’re a grandparent or not, you too can leave a legacy in the lives of those who matter most to you. Today can be the beginning of the rest of your life.

Maybe you can identify with me; you also need a do-over. I want to stir up and call out of all grandfathers (and anyone else who is reading) the belief that they can make a difference, that they can leave a legacy through grandparenting.

We should not fear failure. We should fear that we would spend our lives succeeding at what really does not matter.

Imagine the possibilities!

ErricksonDanMugDr. Dan Erickson is the author of “Grandfathering: Live to Leave a Legacy,” and leads People Matter Ministries. He is a former executive director of the National Coalition of Ministries to Men, and a former national director of PromiseKeepers. He has two children and seven grandchildren.

© 2014 by Dan Errickson. All rights reserved..

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading a guest post by Dr. Dan Errickson, “Grandfathering: A dad do-over” on Stepping Up blog.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistWhat would you do over about parenting? What kind of legacy do you want to leave your family and grandchildren?

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistRead “Creative Ways to Teach Your Grandchildren About Life” by Jack and Lisa Hibbs on FamilyLife.com.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistBegin writing or recording stories you want to pass on and values you want to instill. It’s never too late (or early) to start.

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