Most of us live in a rather sheltered and comfortable community, and sometimes it can be easy to hear intensely difficult stories and think, “That is so foreign to me. I can not relate at all.” And maybe we write it off because we didn’t find it relative to us, or maybe we glaze over it because we don’t want to hear those kinds of things and expose ourselves to that level of hurt and pain. We want to protect ourselves from the heavy, dark and painful things in this world.
Well, I want to speak into that self-protective tendency in us all. Cause I can do the same thing, especially when my own life is feeling pretty heavy. However, I have a unique perspective on this, because I actually have one of those intense stories as my own story. It has often been difficult for others to hear. It makes them face the evil that exists in this world. An evil that I never had a choice in knowing about.
Continue reading “Uncomfortable Love”
Being a single mom is a hard road to walk. It is made harder by the fact most people do not plan on walking it and usually find it through traumatic situations. However, like many dark circumstances, it can serve as a back drop to show off the brightness of God’s love and depths of His grace.
Continue reading “The Beauty of Being a Single Mom”
My white-haired, blue-eyed, 83 years young Mom was finally ready to consider downsizing from her 2,500 square foot home on an acre of land. She’s been living in this home alone since 2008 when Dad went on to be with Jesus.
For years, this idea had triggered an emotional tug-of-war. She would toy with the idea and then dismiss the notion as she considered all the work involved in a move. This decision would mean surrender…moving from her 2,500 square foot home into a smaller space would require letting go of treasures. And this triggered insecurities – she felt safe in her home, surrounded by neighbors who are friends from church.
Continue reading “Timing Is Everything”
“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:27
One of my dearest friends and I have known each other for going on 20 years now. We’ve seen each other through a lot of different stages and seasons of life. Bad boyfriends and breakups, new jobs and HR moments, haircuts we never should have had, even weddings and a divorce. Now for the first time in nearly two decades of friendship, we’ve started talking about Jesus.
For a long time, I was skittish to talk about my faith. She’s the friend who has seen me at my ugliest and my lowest. She knows the path I was on before Jesus came into my life. She has also seen how even now with Jesus as my savior I struggle to be obedient, still fall and skin my knees, and at times behave in ways that defy the faith I profess and the Jesus whom I love. Knowing that I’m a poor follower, I’ve let that fact keep me from talking about Jesus too loudly or too much.
Continue reading “Sprouting Seed”
I can’t remember a time I didn’t think of myself as a Christian. Now granted, at my age, there are a few things I don’t recall all that clearly—but I’m pretty sure I have never been a Buddhist, Hindu, Zoroastrian or member of any other non-Christian religion. Like many, I grew up in a middle income home with parents that made sure I went to church and Sunday School most of the way through high school. Following a small period of revolution tied to my college years in the ‘70s, my wife convinced me to return to a mainstream “Top 5” Protestant church where I dutifully sat through Sunday sermons and adult Sunday School classes. I tithed. I volunteered for service projects that fit my busy schedule. By comparison to many of the people I knew at that time, I wasn’t just a Christian—I was devout!
In fact, I was deluded. About two years ago, a crisis in the leadership at that Top 5 church convinced us to shop around, and Two Rivers Church changed my life. I now know I was living only in the Word, and was largely dead to the Spirit. I had ignored the Holy Spirit dwelling in me for so long, I think the boredom had put Him into a coma! I didn’t talk to Him, and therefore, He didn’t talk to me. I didn’t ask Him for help, so He respectfully didn’t help. As a result, I routinely messed stuff up and wrote it off to “we all sin” or “God will forgive me, after all, He made me this way” or “I was saved as a teenager, so it’s all good anyway.”
Continue reading “Holy Spirit in a Coma”
Things began to change as I grew up a little (physically, mentally and spiritually), went to college, and experienced some trials. I traveled a bit and remember feeling a little out of place.
I made many mistakes. I took the road that many traveled and left the one that few take. I decided that I knew best. In the end, it was hard to even see my reflection. God brought me to a place of brokenness. A place that ultimately led me into His arms.
Now, you’re graduating. You’re ending a chapter to begin another. Time moves so quickly. So I want to write you a letter to help you begin this new journey. I hope this reaches your heart and you remember it in moments of indecisiveness, trials and failures.
Continue reading “Dear Senior…”
I have a Yamaha Thinline Acoustic Electric Guitar that sits proudly in its case underneath my bed. I purchased it off of my best friend during my sophomore year of college, bound and determined to be the best guitar player this side of the Mississippi. I bought new strings, picked up the best set of picks I could find, found an instructional book on how to play the guitar, and even scheduled daily times for learning new techniques and practicing my new found skill. In short, I had all the pieces I needed to become a master guitarist. I was set to enter my name alongside the likes of Jimmy Hendricks, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King. I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for the spotlight, swooning girls, thousands of autographs and adoring fans. The future looked bright.
Nearly six years later, the only attention my guitar gets is from the dust bunnies that co-inhabit the space beneath my bed. I learned a few chords and was able to struggle through a few Chris Tomlin songs at youth group, but ultimately my career stalled out before it ever really began. All the pieces were there, the passion, the vision, the tools to accomplish my goal, but I lacked willpower and perseverance. I wanted all of the glory without the hard work. I wanted to pick effortlessly through the most complex songs, but avoided the calloused fingers and monotonous hours of practice. I wanted to pull off the impossible, move from Point-A to Point-B without taking the journey to get there.
Continue reading “So, I’m Not A Master Guitarist”
My wife absolutely loves maps. Her dad loves maps. And somehow even though we have navigation apps on our phones she still reaches for that massive road atlas that takes up the entire front seat on trips. I wish I had something that big and clear today, cause I’m out of map. I was just getting a feel for parenting and then our girls became grown ups. What’s up with that? My screensaver still portrays them as little cherubs, but reality displays a very different picture. I think they still need me, but at this point, I need to be invited in. And frankly, I’m not sure how well I’m doing with all of this. If I had to place the “you are here” arrow over the map of our parenting, I’d be hard pressed to know exactly where to put it.
Continue reading “No Real Road Map”