Tom Frye is a son, husband, father, working man, home schooling parent, and a man pursuing God's own heart. It's from these experiences that he writes songs, leads worship, shares in concert, ministers to his family and is ready to minister to you and your family as well. Tom is able to do this through the songs he writes, the ministry of the Frye Family Band, the Family To Family Conferences and this blog (among other things).
The purpose of Tom's Blog is to give him an opportunity to share his heart with you and your family. To gain more insight into where Tom is coming from, take a moment to read his story. Then we invite you to open your heart and allow God to speak to you.
Life is interesting. The average American lives 77.5 years, which translates into 28,307 days of which relatively few really stand out. Days turn into weeks, weeks into months and months into years and looking back we seldom can recall more than seasons.
There are however those few days which stand out; High School Graduation, our wedding day, the birth of our children, the loss of a friend, days which for one reason or another were truly life changing. There are still other days, which may not seem life changing, but have the ability to alter the course of our life. These moments can mold our hearts, such was the case earlier this week.
This was one of those weeks that was non-stop, work and meetings dictated my schedule. Mid week I was already tired and was heading up stairs to go to bed. I heard Maggie in her bedroom playing some music so I decided to see what she was working on. Lately she's been learning the lap-dulcimer and she said she was trying to play a Taylor Swift song. So I told her I'd like to hear it. She continued and I listened as she sang these words:
I'm five years old, it's getting cold, I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home
I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today
I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive till we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop until I forgot all their names
I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today
I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he's better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you
There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world
Now I know why all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today
As she sang those words it was like my little girl grew up before my eyes, my mind raced back to my little Maggie and those simple yet special memories, dance recitals, carving pumpkins, walks around our little town, and it became painfully clear - the leaves on the trees are beginning to change. This season of life is rapidly coming to an end. In less than a year both of my precious little girls will be on a college campus and their time at home will be reserved to a few months in the summer or a few weeks at Christmas. Those special times of taking walks or playing music together on a whim will soon be greatly limited. Though I was tired, I walked downstairs, grabbed my guitar and we played through the song several more times together. I could hardly hold back the tears, but I did. We smiled and sang together as we had done many times before in our home, but this particular night, sandwiched in between the hustle and bustle of life, was truly special.
All too often I have allowed that which is far less important to dictate my schedule, but those few moments at the end of a long Wednesday, reminded me of the importance of taking time to simply enjoy my family. I was so thankful I did not allow the fact that I was tired and had another long day on Thursday keep me from spending that time with my daughter. It may not have been a milestone day, in fact in many ways was an ordinary day in the Frye house, but Wednesday, February 26th was truly one of those "Best Days" I will remember as long as I live.
This morning I read Galatians chapter six, verse eight in particular jumped out at me, "For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life."
I began to think about the implication of that verse and asked "What am I sowing into?" We often think of "the flesh" in terms of sensuality or maybe materialism, which is certainly applicable here, but what about anything we do "in the flesh"?
Jesus said in Luke 12:34 "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." What does our life say about our treasures? Where are we investing our time and our energy? Is it in fleeting pleasures? is it in stuff? Status? Power? Or perhaps we're spending so much time and energy serving our ministry that we have lost sight of the very reason we began ministering in the first place.
When we serve in our own strength our efforts are limited by stamina and ability, but when we allow God to flow through us then we are strong. I believe that's why we're told in scripture that God is glorified in our weakness (2 Chorinthians 12:9). I have seen this in my own life, the times when I didn't feel I had anything to give were among the most effective times of ministry (service). When I had exhausted my energy, God was just getting started.
Life, as in gardening, requires not only seed to be sown, but the ground to be prepared prior to the scattering of seed. Earning the trust of our children by being a father worthy of respect, modeling respect to our children by respecting wives respecting your husbands and husbands loving your wives are necessary to having a healthy home. This is just one example of many applications I could give for the importance of preparing the soil of our life.
When we serve, we are not only sowing into, but we are continually cultivating the soil, fertilizing the ground, pulling the weeds and pruning the crop.
My family and I recently returned from a nine day missions trip to Jamaica. While we have been a part of several missions teams over the years this was our first trip out of the country. What we saw there was truly eye opening and life changing: poverty the likes of which we had never seen, blind and lame beggars in the streets and a society - other than small pockets - devoid of any real sense of family structure.
The need there is so great and our time there was so short it was easy to find ourselves asking, "Am I really making a difference?" But, because we trust that God provided the way for us to be there the answer of course was "yes."
Sometimes it is hard to see, often I believe that is because we are seeing through eyes limited by the here and now, eyes that cannot see the ripples that follow once we disappear beneath the surface of the waters into which we have been cast. It is in times such as these when we can not see the trees for the forrest, when we focus so much on the whole of the need rather than looking for the individuals God has placed in our path. Once that adjustment of perspective had been made, I believe we could clearly see many things we were accomplishing, coming along side the missionaries on the ground there providing them with the support of finance, fellowship and labor. Spending time with a few people trying to encouraging them through words and more importantly through example. And in a broad sense hopefully encouraging the people there by giving them an example of how it is possible to be a family, not only as we labored along side them but also as the kids and I shared our music during at our concerts and during the worship services.
While we were there, my thoughts often turned to the people back home who helped us, people from our amazing church family who helped coordinate and actively participated in fund-raisers. Strangers and friends alike to came to plays, concerts and supported other various fund raisers, my brother and sister-in-law who drove us to and from the airport. So many people making it possible for us to go. But my thoughts also turned to one man who during one of our fund-raisers informed us that while he was buying something he was "…not in favor of foreign missions because the need is so great here." I thought about that man a lot during our trip, and though I understand the perspective from which he was speaking, while in Jamaica I was struck with the reality that as followers of Christ what land have we ever been in which wasn't foreign?
I believe this was the perspective from which the Apostle Paul wrote when in Ephesians chapter six he referred to himself as an "ambassador." "…and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:19-20 (emphasis added).
An ambassador by definition is :
1: an official envoy; especially : a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment
2: an authorized representative or messenger
- Merriam Webster online dictionary.
To paraphrase an ambassador is an authorized representative in a foreign land.
While in Jamaica this became so clear to me, not only the realization that we were in a different part of the world, but that if we are followers of Christ, He has called us all to a "foreign mission" even if those we serve are right next door.
Recently, I have had conversations with two individuals who were the victims of childhood abuse. The scars from these events have caused lifelong pain and lasting confusion regarding their true identity and value.
There are many types of abuse: physical, verbal and emotional, but there is another category of abuse (in my opinion) which, though never really referred to as such, is rampant in today's society, that being the abuse of entitlement.
The motivations can be good: the desire to give our children a better life than we had, or possibly not so good: a form of bribery or appeasement to bring about a momentary change in behavior without a lasting change of heart. But, whatever the motive, when we provide for our children all of the creature comforts and the latest in fashion and technology without a sense of personal effort or responsibility what we are really saying to that child is: "Your immediate wants are more important than the needs of others." This not only skews their sense of reality, but also sets them up for future struggles both emotionally and financially.
When this child enters the work force, it's doubtful their entry level salary will keep up with the life to which they've grown accustomed. If this lesson isn't learned quickly, massive personal debt can certainly follow. This attitude of entitlement can also effect their personal relationships, even their marriage, expecting their spouse to cater to their every whim will only serve to add to the stress load. And thirdly there's the greater risk of having wrong sense of identity, thinking who we are and how much we are worth has everything to do with what we possess.
The reality is this, our value comes from God, who lavishes us with a true and lasting love. Our purpose is not found in having others serve us, but in serving others, even the "least of these." And our hope is not found in the treasures of this world which will rust, rot or erode, but in our relationship with Creator God.
As parents, our job is our children with true love, reflecting the nature of Christ Himself to our children. A nature, which teaches us to serve others, to enjoy the work for which we were created and to appreciated that which we've been given, even…if it's a 20 year old sedan with a tape deck.
I recently had a conversation with a couple who were first-time parents. Their joy at finally having a child was not only evident, but encouraging!
Like most first-time parents they had lots of questions, one of which was: Which stage is best? From my vantage point, now having three teenagers, 15, 17 and two weeks shy of 19, it seems that just when I think, “This stage is so much fun, it can’t get any better,” it does. I’m not trying to imply parenting is always peaches and cream, each stage does have its challenges, but also its blessings. I remember holding my children and simply being entertained by the faces they would make while they were sleeping. Then there were their first words, first steps, training-wheels, and most recently a high school graduation.
Each season offers its own unique set of joys and trials. There are ways, however, to help insure the difficult times are more tolerable and the good times are genuinely good. I believe this starts by fostering communication from the earliest stages of our parenting: always being willing to talk with our children, giving them honest age appropriate answers, but it goes deeper than just talking when we need to, at the heart of the parent-child relationship is loving concern and genuine enjoyment—which I believe is also reflective of what God the Father desires in His relationship with us. It is this concern and joy which drives us beyond obligation and into fellowship.
We often think of fellowshipping with our church family, our friends at the gym, or at the club, but with our children? Deuteronomy 6:4-9 says it this way: Hear, O Israel: The Lordour God, the Lordis one. Love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gate.Sitting at home, walking, resting—I would add bike rides, working in the garden or yard, throwing Frisbee, watching dance recitals, soccer games, and of course playing music, all of which provide opportunities for family fellowship, in essence simply doing life together.
We recently had a call from a reality-show wanting to know if we’d talk with them about a Family Band segment. I was pretty sure right from the start that the reality show thing was not for us, but it was worth a conversation to find out. And it came as a surprise to anyone in our home when our suspicions were validated. About half way though the conversation the interviewer asked, “Isn’t it weird for kids to write music with their dad?” Not, what is it like? Or, isn’t it cool? But, isn’t it weird? The pre-conceived notion that it is odd for a parent and child to work together—no matter the work, may be the world’s notion, but God has so much more for us; nurture, fellowship, rest. Whether it’s talking through ideas for a new song, a particular scripture during family devotions, or--something sure to increase the number of grey hairs on any parents head--teenage romance; even heavy things like why are our friends are getting divorced? When communication (fellowship) is a normal part of life together, though situations may be difficult, but they do not have to be awkward, or “weird” as the interviewer seemed to suggest. When living and parenting according to the instructions of Deuteronomy 6, I believe we best reflect the personality of God to our children, a God who does not push us away, but who has done everything in His power to draw us to Him, so that we might rest in His presence, and know the peace of His love.