Friday, November 5, 2010
Humility is something that I struggle with because I believe that to be humble means to admit that you need help. I have no problem admitting to God that I need help but sometimes I have a real problem asking others for help. Maybe it's because I am male or maybe I have this feeling inside of me that wants to help others but never admit that I need help myself.
Over the past few months, I have learned to humble myself before lots and lots of people and say that I need your help. My wife and I are in the middle of adopting two beautiful children from Russia and the money needed for the adoption is great. We had some wise friends that have adopted several children advise us to ask for help. I remember well Kat and I leaving that meeting and both of us thought that asking others to help us was not something that we felt comfortable with.
God changed our minds. I think that maybe that was the day that I became a parent. I thought more about my children and how to get them home than I did about myself or asking others to help us. We sent a letter to a few friends and asked them to help and God showed up. Friends, family and people that we didn't even know gave us items for a yard sale. Praise God because we raised enough from the yard sale to buy our remaining plane tickets. Literally, the people that helped with our yard sale are responsible for bringing our children home.
However, the humbleness did not stop there. God continues to work on my heart. We were asked to submit our story to an online magazine to raise awareness about November being Orphan Awareness Month. Then we were told that for every person that comments on our story, we receive $2 to go towards our adoption.
Above is the link to our story.
God did not stop here. A friend of ours and the lady that cuts Kat hair wanted to help. She decided to have a Cut-a-Thon at her shop, Envy. She will give all of the money raised to our adoption fund. This event will take place Sunday November 14 from 1-4 p.m. She and some her associates will do trims and eyebrow waxes.
I was sure that God was through but he was not. A lady that my wife and I have never met wanted to help. She decided to have one of those 31 parties. So she set up an online party where people can go and shop and we get part of the proceeds to help with our adoption. This same lady had her house burn down within the last few months and she lost everything.
Humbled. I am Humbled.
On top of all of this, people have been giving us cash donations. It is so difficult to accept money from people. I have seen God through so many people from helping with our yard sale, donating items, bringing gifts to our shower, kind words of encouragement, donations, helping get the word out for our fundraisers and so many other ways that I can not even remember right now.
And I believe that God has humbled me the most seeing so many people care for and pray for our children without even meeting them. I believe that our children will hopefully never doubt for a second they are loved because of the kindness that you have shared during these past few months.
I sit here in awe of God and the people that I call my friends.
"All of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time (1 Peter 5:5-6)."
Thursday, November 4, 2010
I am afraid of all sorts of things. Spiders. Clowns. Spider Monkeys dressed up like Clowns and Heights of course.
What are you afraid of? What are the deep fears inside that you don't talk about? I am not talking about spider monkeys dressed up like clowns (but that would be really scary).
One fear that I don't discuss or even think about until I decided to type this blog is that my children will not attach to me. Anytime that you adopt, a parent reads material and articles about attachment and the difficulty that can occur. I pray that this fear will never come true.
Do you fear God? This was a question that I never thought about until Wednesday. My Wednesday night class watched a dvd called Basic. As the class watched the dvd, we all began to ponder the role of fear in our relationship with God. Psalm 111 states that the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We all want more wisdom but I had never equated that Fear and Wisdom were interlinked.
So are we to fear God? Is there such a thing as a healthy fear? I am not sure I have wrapped my mind entirely around this subject but I plan to continue digging deeper into these questions. Will you join me on the journey of determining how fear plays a role in our relationship with God?
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
After reading my wife's blog this evening, I felt compelled to post my thoughts.
Growing up, birthdays were filled with family and cake, friends and cake, toys and cake. It was always a great time of happiness and love. I remember parties when I was young where my friends came to my house and I remember a recent birthday where Kat surprised me and took me to Indianapolis to see a concert.
However, today our son B turns 2. We will not be there to hold him, give him presents or to watch him blow out his candles and my heart breaks. I know that it seems trivial to some but tears stream down my face as I think about not spending the day with my son on his birthday.
I hope that we will not miss the 1st birthday of our little girl in late December. If you think about it, will you pray that our son feels God's love on a day that we, his Earthly parents can't show him love.
You may have noticed that I changed the name. I feel that with our adoption and the simple fact that my life is about to change, I wanted to change the focus of my blog to encompass my entire life. I want this blog to look at my life from all of the hats that I currently wear or will wear in the future. I had considered writing one blog about my adoption journey and another blog about my career. I think that a life is interwoven and needs to be multi-faceted in order to reach many people. So my hope is that this blog will reach people from all backgrounds and all walks of life.
Thank you for reading!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The words of Donald just swam through my mind and coursed through my veins. Our world is falling apart because we can't admit that we are wrong. This statement is so true. Too often we become so consumed at pointing out the flaws of others that we do not see our own miserable failures. We are a society that is quick to become defensive and even quicker to become offensive.
We spend way too much of our time concerned about other's issues. I feel challenged to take a look in the mirror and humbly admit to our Heavenly Father my "own crap" where I have fallen short. What would our world look like if more people were able to confess their own failures instead of looking around for someone to blame?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Monday's night episode took place in San Francisco. The Bachelor, Jake, had several one-on-one dates with the ladies. The first one-on-one date was with a girl named Tenley. Tenley had been married before and her husband cheated on her so Jake was being cautious about whether or not Tenley was ready to fall in love again. Jake asked some questions about Tenley and her state of mind. After Jake's questions, Tenley posed a question that I think has me thinking about how I will tackle the difficult task of premarital counseling in the future. Tenley's question is, "What are your expectations of marriage or for a wife?"
This question is so deep on so many levels. First, Tenley made the comment that all people have expectations about marriage or about a spouse. I think often times people do have
preconceived notions about marriage but they do not articulate them before marriage. This creates many sources of frustration in the early days of marriage because we have expectations that we have not discussed with our spouse but we expect them to meet those or fulfill those.
Another point is that even though we think that we can understand what marriage is all about, we can never fully understand it until we are actually in it. You hear the same adage about not understanding what it's like to have kids until you have them. I agree 100%. You can give advice, you can share experiences, and you can try to prepare someone as much as you can but someone will not understand it completely until they are in it.
Another deep thought gained from the show was a quote from Vienna. Jake asked her what she thought marriage would be like? Vienna responded that she thought marriage would be like they were 2 16-year olds for the rest of their lives. I disagree with this sentiment so much. I want the spark, the passion to be there like we are young kids for the rest of my life. However, I believe that as you grow together, your relationship gets deeper and deeper. It changes. You go from young love, to an intimacy that makes you want to be a better person both for yourself but also for the one that you love.
The final deep thought that I learned from watching the Bachelor was how excited I was that one of the contestants was saving herself for marriage. Her name is Corrie. For me, it was so refreshing to hear that young women still believe in the sanctity of marriage. I was not raised in a Christian household but I hope that if I have daughters that they will have that choice for their lives and for their future spouse. And even though the Bachelor said that he respected her decision, he sent her packing. May she find the Man that God has in store for her!
Monday, February 1, 2010
As we arrived at the hospital at 10:15 am, the snow started to fall. As we got into the building and Shane filled out his paperwork, the snow had already covered the ground. As Shane went back for his test, the snow fell so hard it appeared liked blizzards in the movies. I started to get worried because I am from Tennessee and have never been in conditions like this. I called my wife and urged her to leave and go home but because her boss was in Nashville, she was unable to leave as early as I would have liked. Shane finished his tests at a little after 11 am and we hurried to leave. As we got outside, the snow was everywhere. We got into my Cougar which is a front-wheel drive vehicle and headed off. We were making progress by taking it slow and that is when I got the call from Kat that she had gotten stuck not far from the Hospital because of a bad hill, bad tires and her inability to get enough speed going up the hill.
Shane and I went to the rescue. We were able to get close and parked in the parking lot of the Autism Center. We hiked down to Kat's car and were able to get her turned around so that she could park in a lot. All three of us hiked back to my car and started off. My car was having trouble and I was having to rev my engine in order to move forward because I could not get very good traction. We finally made it to Bear Creek McDonald's and my parents picked us up from there. We called a neighbor to see if they could pick us up from the top of our neighborhood because they have a 4X4 truck. Our neighbor was actually just down the road and offered to pick us up at McDonald's.
They picked us up and we headed off. We went to pick our neighbor's kids up first and then headed to TSC to pick up some inter tubes so that we could go tubing down the hill. After that, we headed to Kroger to make sure that we had groceries for the weekend. We loaded up. Then we finally headed back to our neighborhood. The roads were covered so we decided to take a back way that Kat and I had never been down. It is actually almost like a hidden way into our neighborhood. It was such an adventure.
When we got home, Kat and I unloaded our groceries and just relaxed on the couch. After just a short time, we heard our neighbors and their kids coming up the hill with the tubes ready for more fun. Kat and I joined in the fun. By the end of the night, we were having a great time. We even added water to the hill so that we could go faster.
Our neighbor asked if they could bring some chili over for us all to share. They grabbed the chili and we all had a great meal. The chili was fantastic. We ended the evening by playing a game of Apples to Apples. It was a day of twist and turns, ups and downs, but in the end it was an adventure. It was a day I will never forget. Thank you God for family and great friends that are there when you need them.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Many churches follow the lectionary, which is a pre-selected collection of scriptural readings from the Bible that can be used for worship or study. The lectionary has 4 verses for each Sunday from different sections of the Bible: Gospel, Old Testament, New Testament, or Psalm. The verse that I have chosen today is the New Testament selection, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. As you read these verses, may God whisper his Truth to you and may the words themselves allow you to connect with God in a more intimate way.
Transformational love is a love that can only happen when we have Christ as our Lord and Savior. We can love many things from favorite foods, to old comfy jeans, to our pets, but we must learn how to be transformed by God’s love so that we can share that love with our neighbors. May we learn how to love in the same manner that Charles Spurgeon suggests:
"I would, my brothers and sisters, that we could all imitate the pearl oyster. A hurtful particle intrudes itself into its shell, and this vexes and grieves it. It cannot eject the evil, and what does it do but cover it with a precious substance extracted out of its own life, by which it turns the intruder into a pearl. Oh, that we could do so with the provocations we receive from our fellow Christians, so that pearls of patience, gentleness, long-suffering, and forgiveness might be bred within us by that which has harmed us."
In this quote by Spurgeon, not only is the Oyster changed by the dirt but the dirt is transformed as well. This is the type of transformation that can occur when we share the Love of God. Not only will we be changed but we will change the dirt around us. I have heard it said that it is easy to love those who love you. I agree. But God calls us to love all. God says to love everyone from that annoying family member that has never been nice to you, to the homeless man that smells and talks to himself, to the friend that wronged you. God calls us to be an ambassador of his love. God wants us to impact our world for him.
So as you read through the verses of 1 Corinthians 13, may you see the Love that God wants us all to have. May you understand love from God. May you understand a self-sacrificing love that God not only talks about but demonstrated by both giving his Son to die for us and also by the life that Jesus lived here on Earth. May you not be held down by the dirt that enters in your life, but allow God to change both the dirt and you for the better.
May you have a morning filled with the Love of God as you read these words.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
However, tonight was a different experience. The owners of Marcy Jo's are Joey from the Country Duet Couple of Joey and Rory and Marcy is the sister of Rory. Tonight was a special evening of food and music by Joey and Rory. The food was delicious. We started out with a salad and the main entree was lasagna with a cheese/garlic biscuit. We ended our food with a choice of Coca-Cola cake or Peach Cobbler. I had the cobbler and it was delicious.
After the food was cleared away, Joey and Rory took the small stage. Growing up I loved Country Music but as I got into high school, I stopped listening. However, tonight I remembered why I loved Country Music. Country songwriters know how to tell the story of life. As I sat there and listened to the lyrics, I felt I was part of the story. I heard songs of life, of love, and of course of cheating. A country song can not be a hit if it does not include lyrics of cheating. Both Joey and Rory sang songs and sang some together. They ended the evening by having Joey's mother sing an old hymnal with Joey and Rory backing her up. Kat thought that she sounded just like June Carter Cash.
We shared the evening with Kat's parents and were at the table with some very nice people. It was a delightful and relaxing evening and you will be sure to find me at future Songwriter's nights around our community.
Make sure and check our Marcy Jo's for good times, great people, and wonderful food!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I started thinking of some of the things that make a good funeral that I have seen.
- Personal stories of deceased
- Stories of the person's faith
- Picture slide show of life
- Family members sharing their personal stories about the person
- A message of hope, salvation, or love for audience
- A challenge to make changes in life
- Sharing of scripture
As I sat in the funeral today and heard the kind words shared by the pastors, it made me sad that I had never met the lady. It made me reflect on how much time we waste on things that are unimportant. I left challenged to not waste time on trivial stuff but instead to invest my time in people. I want to know people at a deeper level, so that when I attend a funeral I will be able to reflect on my own memories of the person and not just stories of the pastor.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
- There were people at many different stages in their walk with God. Some believers, some non-believers, some searchers, some indifferent to the whole thing.
- It was tough speaking in front of my dad (It was the first time, he has heard me speak).
- Being transparent is difficult when the ones that you have hurt are hearing you speak.
- Feels that it is difficult to deliver a message that does not include many areas of laughter. Hard to know if crowd is connecting or not.
- I love speaking God's word.
- Three services is mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually draining.
- Feel so fortunate to be where I am!
- Hopes that God's plan includes me staying at Grace for many years to come.
- Glad Kat talked me out of putting a Lord of the Rings reference in the sermon. A Star Wars and Lord of the Rings reference would have been cause to run me out of the church as the Ultimate Dork.