I may never again be able to preach on the subject of raising children. I now have one.
James Robert Duduit — light of my life and bane of my sleep-patterns — arrived in our household on March 30, 1996, at 3:01 pm. Since then, I have slept about 4.3 hours — none of them consecutive, mind you — and am convinced I will never get up to full speed again. If this magazine arrives at your door some time in December, you’ll understand.
My friends all chuckle at my bleary eyes and vacant expression. At age 41, many of my peers have kids starting college, while my son is starting diapers. (And doing an excellent job filling each and every one, I’ll have you know!) They tell me this will all be over in a few weeks; they assure me that my next full night of sleep is not 18 years away. I think they are lying to me.
Yet an amazing transformation is taking place. In my four decades of life, I had managed to avoid changing a single diaper or cleaning up after any child. Now I find myself juggling diapers with the aplomb of an acrobat — with the exception of that time my tie got caught in the diaper and, well, it wasn’t a pretty sight. I find myself willingly doing things for my son I would have avoided like the plague only weeks ago.
And when I hold him in my arms — whether sleeping peacefully or howling like a construction worker — there is nothing like it in the whole world.
I even think becoming a father is helping me better understand the nature of God, who has revealed Himself to us as Father. That’s not just patriarchal language; it is a divine self-revelation. I am glad to know that God has the same loving, protective, hopeful attitude toward me — magnified many times — that I have for my little son. If I can feel this way toward a little lump of flesh that just came into my life two weeks ago, imagine how our Heavenly Father feels about you and me.
I only hope God is as forgiving in cleaning up my messes as I have been (so far) in cleaning up after James. But then, my messes are a bit larger than my son’s — so far anyway.
For the next few weeks, I don’t expect to make much progress on the stack of correspondence on my desk or to make many inroads on my “To Do” list. I’ll be too busy earning a Doctor of Diaperology degree from Pampers University (also known as P.U.). And I’m going to love it.

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About The Author

Michael Duduit is the founding publisher and editor of Preaching magazine. He is also the founding Dean of the new College of Christian Studies and Professor of Christian Ministry at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Michael is author and editor of several books, including the Handbook of Contemporary Preaching (Broadman & Holman Press), Joy in Ministry (Baker Books), Preaching With Power (Baker) and Communicate With Power (Baker). From 1996 until 2000 he served as editor of the Abingdon Preaching Annual series. His email newsletter, PreachingNow, is read each week by more than 40,000 pastors and church leaders in the U.S. and around the world. He is founder and director of the National Conference on Preaching and the International Congress on Preaching, which has been held in 1997 at Westminster Chapel in London, 2002 at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and 2007at Cambridge. He has been a pastor and associate pastor, has served a number of churches as interim pastor, and speaks regularly for churches, colleges and conferences.

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