Hope Through Pain
Ahhhhhh! I was running late again! I tried to get there in time to watch my oldest girl cartwheel and roundoff at her tumbling class. My meeting ran late, traffic was bad and I went to the wrong gym to catch the tail end of my boys basketball practice. So I was a little winded when I climbed the stairs that led up to the room where I found my daughter’s best friend’s mom watching the activities from above.
I sat beside her and asked how she was? We chit-chatted about the holidays and family in town and work and such. Then I remembered that she had recently had a bout with Cancer and questions began to distract me from our casual conversation. What must it be like to return for a third visit to the family doctor with that news? Imagine yourself sitting across the table from the man who had written your family dozens of prescriptions for colds and flus, allergies and infections. Such simple fixes. Such easy answers. And now he has no …
I found this in my journal, written on September 12, 2007. This was just less than 2 months before my life fell apart. In hindsight, is was God preparing me for what was to come. He is Faithful…
AND, I needed this journal entry today!
The soulish are second to none in the matter of works. They are most active, zealous and willing. But they do not labor because they have received God’s order, they labor instead because they have zeal and capacity so to do. They believe doing God’s work is good enough, unaware that only the labor of God’s appointment is truly commendable.
– Watchman Nee (The Spiritual Man, Vol. 1)
And so goes my struggles! The idolatry of “doing”.
Julie is driving and we’re being transported from hospitality to productivity (south to north) in a hunk of metal on wheels propelled by liquid that is extracted from below the surface of the Earth and injected into a plethora of parts designed to interdependently function as a vehicle to speed up time and allow us to pack more stuff into a life that is too short anyway. If you add up all the…
The anticipation of the free-fall was almost more than I could bear.
I never was a huge fan of roller coasters. As a child I was deathly afraid. My friends would stand in line for hours, strap in for two and a half minutes, then chase each other to the end of the line wobbling back and forth like a candidate for an early morning DUI and then wait again. My first experience on a roller coaster was not of my own free will. I was tricked!
It was an indoor roller coaster at Dollywood and I had no idea that near the end of the ride the bottom would drop out and we would be thrust into a death-defying descent into a bottomless pit (so it seemed). You know what I did, I unstrapped myself and began a mad dash, chasing my friends to the end of the line just to wait again. From that point forward, anytime I heard the “rachety-rachety-rachety” of the train climbing to the sky, my stomach tied itself in knots as it awaited the pending dive into breathlessness. I hated being out of control. But the thrill of the hill was worth the fear of not knowing.
And now I am riding another roller coaster. One without …
I came across this 9-year-old article this morning and was reminded how much God cares for me. Maybe it will be a reminder to you as well! Understanding his fatherly affection for us is key to overcoming spiritual insecurity and self-abuse.
Daniel is 10 now and he walks JUST FINE!
Thirteen months is a magical age!
I’m sure you parents remember it well. Our thirteen month old is babbling! Ironically, in his mind it is a conversation deep as the Mariana. It has meaning and emotion and everything else that constitutes communication. The only thing lacking is the listeners comprehension!
And then there’s the feeble attempt at walking. Our little boy is taking a different approach. I’m not really sure how to explain it, but he walks backwards. Not that he is moving in the wrong direction, but that he is very intentional about picking his feet up as opposed to placing them back on the floor. If you could put an accent mark on his gait, it would be on the upward ascent and not the downward thrust. Maybe our child is immune to gravity, but chances are he’s just experimenting and learning the hard way. As his feet thrust upward they also spread apart. This translates into quite a display of toddling.
There are so many things …
Dewitt Jones has been one of my favorite photographers for many years. I have to disagree with one point – in the big scheme of things, there is one answer – Jesus. However, let this talk challenge you to see more than you’ve ever seen! Enjoy and thank you Dewitt!
Spoiler Alert: This is the last chapter of the book! (Wink and Smile)
What if… Why not? (the book) is filled with stories of how I deeply found God over 7 trips to Alaska. But the book is not about Alaska, and although the stories are mine, it is not about me. The book is about reckless abandon to all that God has for you! This is the last chapter. I share it because most will never read the book, but the message is paramount! Dive headlong into your “What ifs…”.
“THE TEMPTATION is always to reduce life to size. A bowl of cherries. A rat race. Amino acids. Even to call it a mystery smacks of reductionism. It is THE mystery.” – Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking
My first trip to Alaska was not the beginning of the stories; it was simply the gateway into the rest. I cannot even begin to explain how that first journey has affected every aspect of my life since we set out in the ARK02 with the three gypsies. I moved to Florida, finished Bible college, helped plant a church in Colorado, chose my wife, tweaked my life goals, developed a philosophy of …
Every once in a while one person makes a difference.
Steve Dean was my friend. Not just the “see you around town and chat a bit” friend, but the “see you for who you are and care” friend. Steve was a pastor and two of his congregants worked for me at the little consignment shop. I noticed what a huge impact he had on these two guys and how they were living far above where they would have been without Steve. I asked them about their parents and found out that their parents had also been impacted by Steve. None of these folks had a very “churchy” air about them, but they knew God deeply. That made me very curious.
The first time I really got to know Steve was on a three-day spiritual retreat. Both of us had pastoral roles and we served together as spiritual directors at the Walk to Emmaus. I tend to be a much more reserved person in public, so I often observe what’s going on around me. I watched Steve pour himself completely out for the sake of every single man at that retreat. I watched him view each one as equal to all the others. I saw him bring himself down to earth with honesty about his struggles and hope for redemption of failure. Whenever I see someone do that well, I know they have spent some time in the pit. That kind of relating to folks only comes through personal brokenness.
And then we talked. Way into the night. About issues that you only share with a very few. It was one of those talks where he felt as impacted as I and vice-versa. Mutual care, mutual love, mutual hope.
Over the course of the next months, I connected with Steve regularly and we even collaborated on some mutual projects. He even worked in the little consignment shop for a while. We walked through life together. When he came into my…
Pursuing and achieving your “What ifs” is one of the biggest challenges on life’s journey. It is the greatest barrier to reaching your full potential., which we reach by putting one foot in front of the other for a very long time. When pursuing your “What ifs” it feels like you are up against an army of obstacles and discouragement. And I’ll be the first to say you probably are. I bet it feels like you come up to an impassible embankment with a huge canyon in front of you with no hope of getting to the other side. Yep, that’s how I feel sometimes.
I call this barrier to crossing into your “What ifs” the Vision Gap.
The Problem: Bridging the Gap
The Vision Gap is a river without a bridge to those of us who peer into our preferred future. Those who are visionary often struggle to realize that the best food is cooked in the oven, not the microwave. In other words, the best result often requires the most patience. When we intentionally attempt to peer into our best future, we wake up to a reality that we are not living it today. That can be a discouraging reality for the impatient, particularly those of us driven to reach maximum potential. Unfortunately, the bigger the dream, the wider the gap.
The Solution: Build a bridge over the Vision Gap.
I found a short video on Youtube that shares simple steps for bridge building. Here are the steps with practical application to overcoming the Vision Gap.
1.) Measure the Distance Between Starting Point and Destination and Plant Support Platforms on Each Side of Water.
In our vision gap bridge building concept, that would represent a clear and honest assessment of where we currently are and what it will look like when we reach the other side of our vision. This could include …
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
― Howard Thurman