Dad of Steel

Hot DogsThe smoke-permeated backyard patio is the “Fortress of Solitude” for the hero known as “Dad”. In fact, nothing says “dad” like the smells of charcoal, fire, and frankfurters. Whereas the kitchen is a mom’s castle and all peasants are banished from her space (until it’s time to load the dishwasher) the grilling area is the original man-cave where the resident dad attempts to perfect his craft. For years, he toils in the heat, one Texas summer after another in pursuit of the holiest grail of them all, the steak or burger cooked to perfection. He employs all the resources he is afforded but often finds frustration in the coals that won’t light up without a gallon of jet fuel poured on them. Eventually he gives in to the propane which seems a flawless technique, only to learn the 15.00 lesson of failing to shut the valve on the tank. Indeed, grilling is his kryptonite.

Throughout the years, he visits other worlds whose resident dads grill their own super-burgers. He takes what he learns from them, but his results are an accumulation of hockey puck patties and ones shaped like the state of Louisiana. Fortunately, he knows he can always fall back on his signature dish, the fail-safe, the hot dog.  Franks are forgiving as they cook evenly and quickly. He can feed 10 people for roughly 3 bucks without the fear of sending them to the hospital. Of course, he’s not invulnerable. There’s always the possibility of clumsily tipping over the grill and watching 16 franks fall to their deaths as hot coals rain down upon them. Though Dad escapes 3rd degree burns, his heart is singed. He groans in agony if for a moment, shakes his head in self-blame, but shakes it off altogether. There’s no time to cry! People are arriving and another fire must be started! Replacement franks must be secured! Another 3 bucks must be spent! Our hero must rise from the ashes of coal and processed meat and come to the rescue! “To the Dad-mobile!..the store….back to the Dad-mobile, and back to the fortress!……must feed the hungry…must grill!”

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My helper

In the first days of creation, God placed man as the protector of the garden.  Protection is what "keeping" the garden is all about. Then God created woman as a helper, not to cultivate a garden, but to help man protect the purity and sanctity of God's dwelling place.  Eventually, they both failed in their jobs, man as protector, woman as helper.

True to His promise to crush the head of the serpent, Jesus entered the wilderness to restore the roles of man and woman. Now Jesus calls man as a protector of God's new dwelling place, not a garden, but a heart.  Man's job is to protect the heart of his helper. The woman has been called to help the man by encouraging him, loving him, and forgiving him so he will maintain the spiritual strength needed to protect her heart, the very heart that encourages him, loves him, and forgives him.

They will not fail in their roles because Jesus has already perfected their roles for them. He protected God's dwelling place by defeating the Intruder and left His Spirit to help his children by teaching them daily how to protect the dwelling place of God and freeing them to fulfill their roles without shame. 

Over 20 years ago, I met my helper for the first time. I haven't always lived up to my role as protector, but she has filled hers with a grace that only God could provide. Thank you Jesus for sending me this person, Tina Wren. She doesn't complete me because only you can, but she does help me draw closer to you, and that's a role with eternal implications!