Aroma Of God . . .


A few weeks ago I started thinking about the
Aroma of God. Often it is hard for me to think of a smell being anything more than an odor, but this time it gave me comfort. After only being back in Bangkok for a week without Jana, I suddenly realized the uniqueness of Jana’s aroma on her pillow. Before going to sleep the first night back without Jana, I rolled over on her side of the bed, and grabbed her pillow.

The scent of Jana’s pillow filled my nostrils and gave me comfort; much in the way a child is comforted by the fragrance of a mother.  As I reflected on this concept, I started realizing the importance of aroma and our relationship with God.  I think about how often I cry out to God and just the hint of his aroma brings comfort to my soul.  The fragrance of God is everywhere, if we would only take time to smell it.

“But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place”

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It has now been several days since Jana left and her pillow is starting to lose its fragrance. Unfortunately the pillow is losing its fragrance because she has been gone for so long. I think the same is true in regards to our relationship with God. I believe many of us no longer smell his presence because we are simply not spending time with him. I often miss God’s fragrance because I am not close enough to Him to smell it.

If we are too busy to “stop and smell God” then we should not be upset when his comforting fragrance is absent from our life. Jana’s pillow would be absent of her comforting fragrance if she never slept in the same bed as me. We cannot be upset when we cannot smell the aroma of God if we never have the time to spend with Him.

Take a few moments this week to seek God’s aroma. I truly believe if we invite the presence of God into our daily lives, then His aroma will always be with us throughout our struggles and victories . . .

Jack Barr is a award winning author of his debut book, “Failing At Fatherhood: a book for the imperfect father.”


(click book to buy on Amazon)

Cherished Moments . . .


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Yesterday afternoon we said goodbye as our family split up for the first time. Our whimsical autumn trip in the States came to an end as I said farewell to my two girls. Now, I am flying over Japan on a fourteen-hour flight to Taiwan. After spending a few hours in Taiwan, I will take another three-hour flight to my final destination, Bangkok.

For the first time in thirteen years, my wife & my daughter are not traveling with me. They are staying in the States because our daughter needs additional speech therapy that is not available in Thailand. Our world has been turned upside down since her initial diagnosis this summer, and for the first time in many years, our future is uncertain. But, for this blog post, I want to focus on the cherished moments Jana and I shared the night before our tearful goodbye.

Rarely do I think about it, when I am living my fast paced day-to-day life in Bangkok. It never enters my mind that I might not see my family again every morning when I ride my scooter to work. Jana & I assume that we will be faithful servants for the day and be reunited again for dinner. But, when an unchangeable event forces you to sacrifice a significant amount of time apart, the dark thoughts of never seeing each other again creeps into your mind. (Hey turbulence just hit, someone must have a sense of humor). And unfortunately when these dark thoughts overcome me, I instantly occupy my mind with busy chores. Instead of embracing the pain of the separation, I launch into packing, cleaning, reading or surfing the Internet.  But thankfully, the evening before I left, Jana forced me to sit down and focus on her.

The tears, laughter, intimacy, and conversation we shared that last night together was a breath of fresh air during this troubling time.  We talked about the ‘what ifs’, we contemplated the ‘maybes’, we cried over the ‘separation’, and we loved each other with a ‘passion’ of saying goodbye. Of course we did not want to embrace the “unthinkable,”  but sharing those cherished moments that last night prepared for us for the possibility of never seeing each other again in this life.

It was refreshing to take the time and truly enjoy one another. I truly embraced my wife with a passionate love that had been buried in busyness the past few months.  Praise God that Jana forced us to turn off the distractions and spend time as a humble couple hurting before God.  If the unthinkable happens and I do not see Jana again, I am thankful that we spent our final night together cherishing one another instead of “just surviving”.

“How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.”  ~ Cherished Moments . . .

A Special Share Of My Book, Failing At Fatherhood. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

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Excerpt From Failing at Fatherhood

Marley, today I came home from work, and I heard you yelling when I pulled up on my scooter. From the street I could hear your innocent voice calling out to me—“Da-ddy, Da-ddy.” As I walked up the steps towards our sliding glass front door, I saw you standing there with your arms up in the air waiting for a hug. Only God knows how long you would stand there waiting for me so you could give me you’re welcome home hug. As I bend down and hug your little toddler body, I can barely hold back the tears of shame that I now carry in my daily life, the shame I have of abandoning you mentally and emotionally for the first year of your life. How I long to go back then and know what I know today as I hug you so tight that you begin to giggle. You have shaped my life for the better and taught me about a love I could never truly understand before your birth.

When I wrote the CNN article, I read comments about the hatred you would feel towards me one day. How could I share the darkest thoughts of my soul about my own daughter? Many parents were sure to point out that one day you would not only hate me, but also refuse to love me because of how I treated you during your first year. As I finish this book, I accept that you may abandon me the same way I abandoned you that first year. If that fate comes, I will fully accept it, because that would only be a fair response to my failures as a father to you. The day is coming that you will not see me as the hero hugging you now, but before that day comes, I want you to understand that I believe true healing comes through honesty.

This book is because of you, and the change in my life would never have occurred without you. Today, I have a love for you that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for you and the journey of our lives need to be shared because many fathers out there are receiving news that will forever change them. You are a beautiful blessing who has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult for me, but I promise you I will be right here loving and caring for you until we meet our father in heaven. When you were born, I was scared. Even before I knew about your extra chromosome, I was scared. The idea of having another person in my life to care for worried me day and night. I never really told Mommy, but I was fearful of being a terrible father. From the moment you were born, I was anxious about you and your health. The only things I could think about were the problems that you might have instead of enjoying the beautiful person you are.

When the doctor told me that you had Down syndrome, I went into panic mode. I knew you were different. The problem was that I could not see past the diagnosis. You are different, just like how I am different, and how Mommy is different. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met and the sweetest girl in the world, except when you don’t nap. Now I look forward to spending time with you every day. Things I used to love to do like play basketball, watch ESPN, and listen to the Orioles all come second after you. You have made me a better husband, father, and person in this world. The bear hugs we share are some of the happiest moments of my life. Our secret kisses through the mosquito net on your crib are the final nightcap I cherish every evening before going to bed. The little things like chowing down on hamburgers together because momma refuses to eat that junk food would have been nonexistent without you. I pray to God that we are able to spend many years together, and I thank him for the great blessing that you are in my life.

As I close, I pray that you will one day forgive me for my insecurities and doubts. I am going to spend the remainder of my life teaching you, loving you, helping you, and protecting you. You are a gem in this world that some people may never choose to experience. I know there will be days that we will cry together, but there will be more days that we laugh and dance together.

The world can be a cruel place but the great news is that you will overcome it. You have a bloodline of fighters, and I already see the fight you will bring against anyone who doubts you! God is on your side, and he has a greater plan for you than he ever had for Mommy and me. The things he has done with your life these first three years are amazing. I love you, my beautiful daughter, and thank you for entering my life so I could see the beauty that only you could show me. —“Da-ddy”

www.iftheyhadavoice.org
Jack Barr, Author of Failing at Fatherhood
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

My Guest Author Interview With Peoples Internet Radio Host, Stephen Roberts of “Cancel The Cabal.”

Hello Friends and Welcome Readers & New Visitors,

 

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Failing at Fatherhood: A book for the imperfect father

I want to share a wonderful opportunity I was given to share all about my new book, Failing at Fatherhood, A book for the Imperfect Father, family life, and share about Down Syndrome with Peoples Internet Radio Host, Stephen Roberts, from the show “Cancel the Cabal.”

I want to thank him for the wonderful talk and interview. I hope you will take a little time out of your day to take a listen to my interview, and hope you learn more about Down Syndrome and my book.

There were a few internet clichés due to me being across the world in Bangkok Thailand, and we lost out signal a few time, but over all it went great. So I hope you enjoy listening to the interview and hope to learn more about our family, and our advocacy about Down Syndrome.
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Failing At Fatherhood author Jack Barr on February 27, 2015 Peoples Internet Radio.

Failing At Fatherhood author Jack Barr on February 27, 2015 Peoples Internet Radio.

March 2, 2015|Posted in: article, broadcast, Cancel The Cabal, network, News, Stephen Roberts, truth broadcast network, video

“Click And Listen”: http://www.youtube.com/embed/MATGEYHaeZ4

Failing At Fatherhood Author Jack Barr was here on Friday night, February 27,m 2015 On Peoples Internet Radio’s Cancel The Cabal Show to speak on his book.

Failing at Fatherhood ~ Award winning Author, Jack Barr’s honest struggles as a father, after receiving his child’s diagnosis of Down syndrome three weeks after her birth. He excavates the past, examines the present, and explores his future life in a sincere attempt to understand his personal failures as a father during his first year of parenthood. Throughout the book, Jack wrestles with the decision of divorce, suicide, and the existence of God. However, with His ultimate direction, Jack is able to understand the significance of fathers being committed to their children.
A truly surprising and inspirational interview. And I thank you to everyone who tuned in to listen.

Author, Jack Barr, Jana & Marley Barr
Please connect with us on Twitter @jackjanamarley ~ Like Us On FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood

And visit our Website: http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/
My Book is Available here on Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA/

What Has God Taught Us? Let Me Tell You. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

As many parents who care for a child with down syndrome or any disability, it can be a challenge.
But Jana and I keep close to our faith to help us through each day. So I thought today I would share with you what God has taught us so far on this journey we all call life. No matter what lies ahead for our future, we know when we keep our love and faith in God, we can make it through even the hardest storms that come our way. . .
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Nine years ago we made the decision to leave everything that was familiar to us and move to the other side of the world. One night while we were still living in Tennessee, Jana came home from teaching gymnastics, and asked whom I was talking with on the phone. I told her I was interviewing for a job at an International Christian School, in Bangkok Thailand.  She gave me a look that was intended to be profanity, but since we were good little Christians, she did not openly yell at me. I knew immediately it would not go well after I finished my phone conversation with ICS.  Once I hung up the phone, I quickly told her that I was offered a job, and the good news was they had an open elementary position.

What happened next was not the yelling attack I expected, but instead she smiled, and we started searching for Thailand on a map.  As I reflect back on this life changing decision, I think it would be good to share some things we have learned while serving in BKK.  I also want to encourage you this week to contemplate what God has taught you these past few years.  Too often in life, we don’t take the time to see what God has done in our lives.

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Jack – I have realized the true definition of depression.  I spent an entire year depressed after Marley was born.  I believe it was the hardest year of my life and I was worthless as a father during that time.  God taught me the value of a dedicated wife, and the healing we can receive through talking with people who have been there. The greatest part of that year was realizing my relationship with God was not where I thought it was, and my need for daily faith.

Jana – God’s creativity runs deep and wide. We have met so many different and interesting people while living in Thailand. Through each of these encounters and relationships, God has revealed Himself to us in different ways. It is through and because of these relationships that my relationship with the Creator has grown.

Jack – The enormous responsibility we have to mentor the next generation. God has opened my eyes to the struggles of our students at ICS.  The time we spend talking and caring for these students is a necessity.  Numerous young men and women have told us thank you for just taking the time to build a relationship with them outside of school.  We believe that is our greatest ministry at ICS.

Jana – God has been teaching me about humility for years and years. He has used so many of the years here in Bangkok to show me how little control I have in my own life, AND how much greater His plan is for me than what I have planned for myself.

Jack – There are days I love being a father and days I hate being a father.  I love the sweet smiles and hugs Marley gives me constantly throughout the day.  But I also hurt when I see people look at her differently, or when she struggles to complete tasks that are easier for others.  My own father dying at an early age inspired me to change my life, but I wish I could sit down with him now, and tell him I finally understand the love he had for me.

Jana – Unreached people groups are hiding within our own communities. We must pray for God to open our eyes to those people in need. We were never aware of the great need for families with special needs children until God made us aware. I think some of the raw emotions that we experienced as God showed/catapulted us into awareness is a taste of the deep love that God has for those who are hurting and lost.

Marley – I would say that she has learned that life is going to be fun sometimes and hard sometimes.  There will be times that Daddy/Mommy will let her splash in the rain puddles, eat a French fry, and wrestle the cat into submission.  Unfortunately, there will also be times that she will not get what she wants just because of who she is.  Pulling the cat’s ears, throwing her food, and biting will be followed by disciplinary actions.

Learn more about Jack and his book at http://www.iftheyhadavoice.org/
Follow Us on Twitter @jackjanamarley
Follow & Like Us on FB: https://www.facebook.com/JackBarrAuthor.FailingFatherhood/
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God Bless Friends,
~Jack, Jana and Marley~
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA

I Need Your Vote Readers & Friends. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Visitors,

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CHRISTIAN SMALL PUBLISHER BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARDS 2015 . .

 


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I’m very excited to announce that my book, Failing At Fatherhood, A book for the imperfect father, is up for a Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award!

Voting has just started, and I could use your help with a Vote.
It would mean so much to me and for my book so I can continue sharing my message of hope to other parents who can benefit from reading my personal story. Winning can also help me continue advocating & helping other families who are also raising children with Down Syndrome.


NONFICTION – RELATIONSHIPS / FAMILY
Failing at Fatherhood: a book for the imperfect father
Jack Barr;
Trinity Grace Press;

It is easy to go vote by using this link: http://www.christianpublishers.net/15votes/
Just fill out the short voting form, then scroll down to “Non-Fiction – Relationships/Family” until you see my book cover, vote and submit! It’s just that Simple.

I appreciate your vote and support as I continue my efforts to raise awareness and hopefully help many parents through my book. Here is a little about CPSA . . .

Christian Small Publishers Association is a member only based, and very helpful publishing resource for small publishers and self-published authors. They have fantastic benefits for both to help educate and help with many area’s of publishing and book promoting. They are a professional organization. Here are just a few benefits you’ll gain through becoming a member if your a publisher or author:

Educational / Networking Benefits, Marketing / Advertising Benefits, Book Distribution Benefits, Financial / Legal Benefits and much more.

So while your there to vote, check out all the member benefits if you’re a small publisher or self-published author!
Thanks friends for your votes and help elevate my book to farther to reach more parents and families.
Again, the link to vote is: http://www.christianpublishers.net/15votes/  . . .

God Bless,
Jack Barr
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father/dp/B00OSSQDGA

Another New Author/Book Interview For Failing At Fatherhood by: Chelsea Patterson of Patheos.

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

I have been blessed with another wonderful invite to be interviewed about my book and what my family advocates for by the good folks at Patheos, http://www.patheos.com . . .
Here is a little of who they are and what they do.

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Hosting the conversation of faith. . .

Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information about religion. Patheos brings together faith communities, academics, and the broader public into a single environment, and is the place where many people turn on a regular basis for insight, inspiration, and stimulating discussion. Patheos is unlike any other religious and spiritual site on the Web today.

As evidenced by the company founders’ story, religion and spirituality continue to be an important part of American life, with more Americans today than ever before identifying themselves as spiritual. In fact, according to the Pew Internet Project, more than 82 million Americans (and 64 percent of all Internet users) utilize the Web for faith-related matters. The importance of religion and spirituality, coupled with the growing use of the Internet for religious matters, point to the ongoing need for an online resource for religious and spiritual engagement and dialogue. Patheos fills this need.

My Guest Author Interview:

My Daughter With Down Syndrome – Every Life Is A Gift

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I learned more about Jack and Marley’s story. Jack demonstrates with stunning love what it means to truly care about someone, even in the most difficult circumstances. Their beautiful story was featured on CNN, and voted a top story of the year (2013). I had the privilege of “meeting” Jack and talking about his experiences as a father to a child with Down syndrome.

The theme for the March for Life this year is, “Every Life is a Gift“, focusing on the fact that all lives matter, have value and importance. I thought Jack was the perfect person to feature, and I think his story will touch your heart, encourage and challenge your faith, and leave you wanting to make this world a better place!
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Tell us a little bit about your story:

The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.  I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome. I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.

Can you explain a little further about the title of your book, “Failing at Fatherhood?”

I chose the phrase “Failing at Fatherhood” because it best describes the view I have of myself these past first three years as a Dad. I have made many mistakes since Marley’s birth and I am deeply ashamed of them. So, why share this when it will be out in the world for others to criticize? It came down to what I believed in as a Christian. If I was going to stand up and say that I believed in God; then I had to be willing to share the struggles and triumphs in my life.

The theme of the March for Life this year is “Every Life is a Gift”. Why would you say that all life sacred and a gift?

The change in my life would never have occurred without Marley. Today, I have a love for her that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for her and the journey of our lives needs to be shared because many parents out there are receiving news that will forever change their lives. Marley is a beautiful gift that has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult, but I promise you, if you accept the gift, then God will bless you in ways you could have never imagined.

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How have your personal experiences being a father to a daughter with Down syndrome influenced your life, and the lives of others? 

For the past few years I have really talked to God. I talk to God in the same manner I would talk to my wife sitting at the dinner table. I openly share with him my anger and disappointment about my child’s disability. Sometimes this will last for hours and involve screaming, fighting, crying, and praying, but I know this has helped me build a stronger relationship with my Creator. My faith is still not without doubt, but now I believe in a God who I can actually share my life with and can handle my real, un-suppressed emotions.

What would you say to parents of children with disabilities?

The most important thing in life is not our children, but helping our children accomplish the calling God has for them. It was never that I hated my daughter; it was the fact that I hated her having Down syndrome. If I did not share my story, then everything Marley has taught me would be lost once my life was over. What if a mother decides to keep her child because she hears about your story? What if a father decides to come home one night instead of leaving his family because of you? And finally, what if someone takes a step out of the pit of darkness instead of ending everything in death because you brought him or her hope? People need guidance and hope, and this is not our stories, but the stories of our children transforming our purpose, beliefs, and ultimately, society. What a miracle it would be if our children that have been labeled as “broken,” actually helped saved lives, families, and other children! This is where I find peace.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned through being Marley’s father?

The most important lesson I have leaned is that our lives are not our own.  Look at the story of Abraham and his son. Abraham did not want to kill his only son, but he knew that if God was asking him to do it, then there was a greater purpose. The same is true with our lives. 

I don’t want Marley to walk in one day and say, “Daddy, why did you not want me when I was born?” I know that day is coming and I will endure that crisis when it darkens my door. But facing that day is so much better than the alternative of not being honest with God, my daughter, or myself, and letting our story go untold. New fathers and mothers are hurting, and they need to know that there are other parents in this world that can show them a glimpse of the joy they will have with their new child. It was not Marley’s birth that led me to fail as a father, but it was my previous issues that were never resolved which led to inadequate healing. If sharing my deepest thoughts helps someone start a relationship with God, convinces a father to stay with his children, or helps parents mend their relationships with their own children, then I believe it is worth every bit of criticism.

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How have you seen the hand of God at work in your life and in Marley’s life?

My daughter and her disability inspired the If They Had A Voice video.  It has been viewed over 40,000 times and we continually receive emails from people touched by the video.

Marley’s CNN article was voted a top story of the year (2013).  The posting alone had over 1000 comments and generated enough traffic to be on the CNN front page for several days.

When Jana and I finally accepted God’s plan, you could immediately see His work in Marley. 

Follow Jack Barr on Twitter here

I want to thank the wonderful new friends and Chelsea from Pathoes for this guest interview. Our faith helps us through each and everyday. We appreciate all the support from everyone, and for myself as an author sharing a message of hope to other families. . .

Jack Barr
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA