All posts tagged: family

Mia McLean

At 8:29pm on Monday, February 27th, we welcomed our fourth child into the world: Mia Grace McLean.

A lot of people have had a lot to say about having our fourth child. It’s funny the comments, looks, raised eyebrows and looks of surprise we get.

The next obvious question we get is, “boy or girl?”, to which we answer “girl”.

Next question: “how many boys/girls”.

“One boy, three girls.”

“Oh my goodness!” and “Well at least you got your boy…”

Well, I don’t know what to say – we’re not expert parents yet, and probably never will be but I do know this: we are extremely blessed. We are the parents to four perfectly healthy kids; great kids. And they love their new sister, as we all do.

So now we are a family of six and today I’m reminded of God’s calling on my life, and his many, many blessings. This verse has been on my heart and mind lately:

3 Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy?4 Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth.5 Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!

Psalm 127:3-5

So, not a lot of deep thoughts and revelations here. Just thankfulness to God for his continued blessings, mercy, and grace in my life (thus Mia’s middle name). Thankfulness to my incredible wife and the amazing family and responsibility we get to enjoy together.

Here’s some pictures of the first couple of days of Mia’s life:

Over the past couple years I’ve had quite a shift in my view of the church, family, and how they intersect. I always knew I believed something, I just couldn’t quite express it – although I lived it out. From the beginning I’ve always included my wife. She was by my side as a youth pastor – she helped plan, organize, teach, etc – she filled in the gaps that I naturally had. Then, as a church planter I remember my family always being around. My wife would hang out and talk with people as we tore down & loaded the trailer full of gear. My son would play the drums as we were literally taking them down. My daughter would run around with other kids whose parents were working hard. This was our joy. Some days were harder than others, but it is what energized us and gave us purpose.

Then, I remember a distinct shift. That church & community that was built on families serving and living life together began to settle. We got a building, we opened offices, and we began “normalizing”. Well, I didn’t. I still brought my family early. I still let my son come and hang out at every opportunity. And they still loved it. But somewhere along the way, as a church, we lost what we once had. We had fewer opportunities for families to serve together, and more and more we said without saying, “not welcome”. It was then that I knew things had to change for our family.

Fast forward a few years and we’ve come to realize that we may never experience church in the way that we once did; those were special times.  I still try and include my family when I can, but it’s just not the same. We are blessed to be a part of a church that believes how special and sacred family is. We are doing what we can to show our kids that “church” is more than a weekly gathering – and even that weekly gathering can be a great connecting point for our family to be with other families.

I write all this with these following articles in mind – articles that I’ve read over the past week that kind of prompted this post. A little heartbreaking, but this inside look from a pastor’s wife is so raw and real. Walking with my friend Rich as he and his family have been seeking to follow God’s lead and serve the local church has been interesting to say the least. (by the way, neither has anything to do with the other).

Take a few minutes and read through them. Then think through some questions:

How does your family view “church”? Is it a positive experience? How has the church failed families? What could we do differently to pour into families?

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve fired up the old blog. It’s amazing how much time I used to invest in this place. I really don’t know why I’m not consistently blogging lately – maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just don’t have Internet at home. But here I am writing “unplugged”, not sure why I don’t do this more often.
Anyway, this is a quick one – just an idea that we came up with that I thought I’d share with other families. We’re always thinking about simple things we can do to incorporate Christ in our lives since we’re so easily distracted by the hustle and bustle of life.

Every night we pray together as a family, right before bed – it just works for us. To make it a little more interactive, we started the “Prayer Box”. It’s just a little box that we filled with little papers. On each paper is written something to pray about. Right now we’ve got about 12 or so right now and we’ll keep adding to the box as thing come up – things like:

  • Our own family
  • Our kids teachers & school
  • Our church & our pastors and families
  • Extended family
  • Friends

You get the idea. Each one of gets to pick from the box, and each paper is a “surprise” for us – then we all take turns praying for whatever thing was on our paper. It’s fun watching the kids get excited as they read their slips and so encouraging to hear them pray for others. It’s a habit that we want to instill in them now.
Of course we don’t always do it – some nights we just say a quick prayer, but we’re really trying to get into the habit of doing this every night. I’m looking forward to adding things to our prayer box as our kids grow, things like:

  • Global events (disasters, missions, etc. – we want our kids to think bigger than themselves)
  • Their future spouses (I know, crazy to think about but it’ll be here soon)
  • The Kingdom (We want to teach them that this life is about advancing God’s Kingdom and spreading the Gospel)

So there it is, the “Prayer Box”. What do you do to help your family spend quality time in prayer?

Everyone’s writing (or has written) blog posts about the new year, resolutions, goals, anti-resolutions, etc., etc. It got me thinking about the new year and how I’d like to approach it. So for me there will be no resolutions this year. This year I really just want to be faithful and obedient to what God has already called me to do, and to grow more into the image and character of Christ. And this post is probably more for my benefit than anything else – those closest to me may pray for me and help keep me accountable. I know that together, in community, is where I grow and learn the best, so maybe this will help you as it helps me. So here’s my list of things that I know, without a doubt, God has called me to in 2010.

  • Discipline Myself
    Check out 1 Corinthians 9: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

    I guess I can authentically admit, that’s not me right now. I tend to stumble into God’s will for my life – to be honest. God has been gracious beyond measure to me, and to my family. I’m approaching 35 this year and I feel like I might finally be on my way to becoming an adult. But I’ve got quite a bit to tackle. I’d like to be more disciplined in my spiritual growth – rather than on-again, off-again devotions and study. I’d like to pray more specifically, and focus more on hearing God, especially through his word. And not out of duty, but out of a love and desire to grow closer to God and to hear his voice in my life – so that ultimately my life would be just a story of what God is doing and how great he is.

    And of course as I’m getting older, my body is not quite the same as it used to be. Again to be honest, it’s mainly because of my lack of discipline. So in order to honor God, be an example to my family, and of course to impress my wife, I’m working towards taking back control of my body and literally beating it into submission.

  • Pastor my Family
    How do I know that God is calling me to this? Just take a look at Ephesians 5 & 6:
    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise – “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

    If I have ever thought that I’m a “good” husband, this verse quickly reminded me of how selfish and self-centered I am. I’ve had this recurring thought in my mind in the past weeks, “How can I serve my wife”. And while I am trying to live that out – after reading that “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, I realized that I am nowhere close to where I need to be in building our marriage to be a picture of Christ and his church.

    And the same goes with being a father. This isn’t an “I suck” post, it’s just a reality check. There’s so much more I need to be doing to truly pastor my children. I need to increase my patience threshold for one thing – some days the kids just drive me nutty. I want them to see their dad becoming more and more like Christ. More loving, more patient, more kind, more selfless, more interested in their world, more consistent, and more caring. I don’t want to tell them how to live – I want to show them.

    A question came up in our staff meeting this week, “Are you Christian at home?” because it seems so easy to be a Christian at church, or at work, or around other Christian friends, but it is in the home where your true character emerges. And that is the place where it is the most important to be Christian because the family is the expression of God’s love and plan for this world.

  • Lead at Work
    Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. -Colossians 3:23,24
    This one honestly, and embarrassingly, is the easiest for me. I love what I do – sometimes a little too much, and my family pays the price. So what I’m working on is time-management and balance. It’s really about trust I think; do I trust that God is in control? A lot of times I act like he isn’t.

    I do though, have a monumental task facing me this year at work: Rebranding a school – new logos, new website, new look & feel, updating all the paperwork and sharing vision with the staff, students and families. We’re hoping to increase our enrollment, take our school to the next level, and bring a new fresh sense of customer service and school spirit onto our campus. I will say that we are poised to accomplish these goals because of the gifted staff, the history and establishment of the school in this valley, and great attitudes of willingness to change and grow from our staff and our school families.

I’m looking forward to an amazing 2010 – the best year ever. Not necessarily because of my wonderful family or my job, but because I plan on spending 2010 walking closer with Christ than any year before. And whether he brings success of failure, joy or tragedy, health or sickness, my goal is to glorify him in my life, through my family, and in my work. If you’re the praying type, I’d sure appreciate your prayers throughout the year.

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Me & Jen rockin the sled

Every Christmas the McLean side of the family has a tradition of getting all the brothers & sisters together. Fortunately for us we all live super close, except James, who’s in Virginia – he makes the trip each year. Normally we go to “The Happiest Place on Earth” (Disneyland), but over the past few years we’ve come to the realization that while Disneyland is alot of fun, it might not be quite the happiest place on earth, especially at $75 a pop, unbearably long lines, and crowds of people who don’t believe in daily bathing. (I’m not a Mickey Mouse hater – we’ll go back someday when we hit the lotto!).

So this year we decided to ditch Disneyland and head up to the mountains, Big Bear! Our kids were STOKED to go to the snow – it was Macy’s first real trip to the snow and we got lucky as it DUMPED just before we went up there, like 4 feet. Once we got up there it snowed again, and the next day was absolutely beautiful – perfect for sledding, which we did of course.

We had a blast with our whole family: Mamo Barbara & Papa Bob, Uncle James, Lisi & Beau, Travis & Emmy, Me & Jen, and Miles & Macy. Here’s a little slideshow from the trip – my camera ran out of batteries & I forgot the charger, but we got a few pics…