Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parenting Drive Thru @ TrueLifeMatters

truelifematters: Parenting Drive Thru: "Startled awake by a tentative teenage whisper…”Mom?” This is a morning I was going to sleep in – thus the ‘tentative whisper’. “Mom, I..."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Caught Off Guard and Unaware

My heart aches today for a couple that we know who just announced to us that they recently divorced. I'm stunned and also quite frustrated that I didn't see it coming and was not able to help change their direction. Although I'm not responsible for this couple's decision or the health of their former marriage, I feel that this is one of the very situations for which my wife Tracy and I have been equipped.

The truth is though; this is a painful reminder of an all too common occurrence of something that is happening all around us. Many marriages are currently in a state of distress. Blame it on the financial crisis or whatever you want; relationships are fragile because people are fragile. And unfortunately there is no amount of equipping or empathy that can make a difference in these relationships if someone doesn't reach out and ask for help. For whatever reason, this couple chose not to ask us for help. Maybe we aren't trusted friends or are unsafe in some way. I'm not saying that our influence would have made a difference in the outcome, but "all things are possible with God." Maybe they just didn't want help at all and so remained silent. Or maybe they had witnessed too much judgment in our world and didn't want to risk being the subject of ridicule from unsympathetic people. I hope to know why some day...

Today, I grieve for the loss of this couple's hope, for the loss of this covenant relationship and for the condition of marriage in our world. I also plead with all who read this; if you are struggling in life or in a relationship and are losing hope, please don't struggle alone. Reach out with whatever hope that remains and believe that there are still people who genuinely love unconditionally, people who won't judge you because they know that we all fall short of the standard set by the only one who is without sin. There IS ALWAYS someone with compassion for you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Daily Bread, Finding and Loving Manna

This writing is a short testimony describing my personal experience with Deuteronomy 8:3, which says, "Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD."

For the last four years I have been a man completely unable to provide for his family. This experience has been challenging as well as humbling, mostly because it seems that no amount of my own effort has really made a significant difference in the situation. Yet in all that time we have never gone without a single basic necessity. There were many very uncertain moments, sometimes days or even weeks, of not knowing where provision was coming from. Yet God would provide. That isn't to say that all of our bills have been paid on time or even paid at all. We haven't been able to pay a mortgage payment in many months. We also had to give both of our cars back to the bank. Many times we were down to the last "creative meal" put together from nearly empty cupboards. Yet God would provide before the cupboards were completely empty. We are also still in our house and have never gone without the ability to get from A to B when we needed to.

During this time I have learned many very valuable lessons. However, there are three things that stand out the most. God is truly a perfect provider, his love is enough for me, and he is the one that defines what my needs are. These lessons have sometimes been difficult to grasp when my perceived needs have gone unmet. Yet in God's perfect and long suffering love for me he has adjusted my sight. Not literally my eyesight but my spiritual sight of him, and my perspective of how he sees me. Today I am able to take God at his word no questions asked. I also know without any doubt that nothing can separate me from God's perfect love. I'm like a child believing with a simple yet profound certainty who says "my daddy says so".

For the Israelites, Manna was a food provision. For me it is the latter part of Deuteronomy 8:3 "we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord". If you're struggling in difficult circumstances and are not able to see God as the perfect provider that he is, I encourage you to ask him to adjust your vision and allow him to redefine your needs. He has never once let me or my family down, and he will and is doing the same for you even if you can't see it. His promises are trustworthy and always yes and amen! Manna, one of God's many perfect provisions, is our daily sustenance, but it may be a food previously unknown to you.