Send Em On Down The Road

IMG_1311-001Tough week last week. When I say “tough” I’m always quick to point out that the word is very relative. Last week was one of those weeks where you’re looking for that chapter in the parenting manual that covers how to handle certain situations. Truth is there is no manual. An even bigger truth is you navagate as you go.

I said last week that the details were not important. They really aren’t. Last week was a lot of things. Last week stretched our parental “wisdom” (I use that term losely).

It was about seeing God given gifts in your child that they don’t see

It was about pushing where you can while allowing them to make choices

It was about choices and consequences

It was about trust. Trusting them and them trusting you.

There were tears. There were words…a lot of words.

There were inspirational speeches and motivational speeches.

There was a let down and building back up.

When you become a parent there is so much you don’t anticipate. You assume things. You dream big dreams. Last week was a reminder that we are all given gifts and talents but until we step into the moments, our gifts and talents will never be fully appreciated or realized. We need people in our lives to encourage us to step into those moments. To be brave.

The sports reporter Rick Reilly once wrote – “We are here to be there for our kid when they score the game winning goal…and especially when they don’t”

Last week was one of those kinds of moments.

On Tuesday I downloaded the new Garth Brooks CD. I’ve often said that if they put a soundtrack to my life, Garth Brooks music could pretty much play the entire time. One song jumped out at me right away called “Send Em On Down The Road.” It’s classic Garth. These words really hit home…

You can cry for ‘em
Live and die for ‘em
You can help them find their wings but you can’t fly for ‘em
‘Cause if they’re not free to fall, than they’re not free at all
And though you just can’t bare the thought of letting go
You pick ‘em up
You dust ‘em off
And you send ‘em on down the road

I said last week that I was so proud of “the boy.” Always. As parents we have and will face moments when we will “help them find their wings but can’t fly for ‘em.” Wisdom tells us there will be days when we wish we could step into the moment for them.

But it’s not our stage and it’s not our spotlight.

You pick ‘em up.

You dust ‘em off.

And you send ‘em on down the road.

Mom and Dad, you gotta let em go. Today’s hurt will be tomorrows victory. Life is lived forward and understood backward.

Send ‘em on down the road…..

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There’s This Guy…..

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Sunday after Sunday, I have had the same thought. Sunday after Sunday, I forget to put it into words. This morning I reminded myself as I was taking notes in church by writing three simple words…. “There’s This Guy….”

There’s this guy at our church…

There is this guy at our church that inspires me every single week. He doesn’t sing (that I’m aware of). He doesn’t play an instrument or lead worship. He doesn’t stand up and preach (at least not verbally). He doesn’t run the sound, lights, usher or speak a word. Sadly, I don’t even know his name.

What he does speaks to me every single week. After our worship team is done and as the Pastor takes the platform, he appears from behind a door. He quietly moves the microphones, hides the pedal board, sets up a stand, places a glass of water on it and puts the makeshift pulpit on the stage. Then he quietly disappears to his seat somewhere among the rest of us.

And this speaks to me. Every. Single. Week.

I wish you could see this guy. I wish I could put into words what joy beams from him. I wish I had a video of him doing what he does. I really wish I had a video of him doing this when he had what appeared to be a bad knee for several weeks. He literally limped out there, moved all of the things he moves and limped off the platform. Never complained.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. (1 Corinthians 12:4)

This is the sermon he preaches each week while never saying a word. Every Sunday when I see “this guy” do what he does, I’m reminded that we are all given different kinds of gifts. We’ve got an incredible worship team. They sing like I could only dream to sing. The guys that rock the guitars make me wish I would have taken lessons and practiced a lot. The people that do sound and lights and video and usher and greet….all important. All great. And then there’s this guy….the one that does something that needs to be done and does it so well. He oozes joy in doing it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it (1 Corinthians 12:27)

What I enjoy about “this guy” is that he is fulfilling his purpose. Again, I don’t even know his name. His “sermon” is short but the message is strong.

Do what God designed and gifted you to do.

Do it with joy

Do it even when you don’t know others are watching

Do it even when you don’t feel 100%

When you use your God given gifts, that thing that comes naturally, you’re doing so much more than a job or duty. You are bringing Him glory. You are inspiring others to do the same.

There’s this guy that preaches a sermon every Sunday and never says a word.

What sermon are you preaching today?

#BeBrave

What Do You Tell Them?

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This morning I had the absolute pleasure of running into the three children of a friend that passed away a few years ago. He left this world all too soon. Let me start by saying I struggled with if I should post this or not. I wrestled with if it would be honoring to him and to his family. For some reason I feel this incredible tug to share it though. Please know the heart in which this is written.

Our encounter was brief. Just a few quick minutes to catch up on the years we’ve missed. While I asked a few questions and they gave their answers, I have to be honest and say that my mind was listening but also processing the memories. In the quiet moments after our time together, I just kept thinking back to that time just a few years ago. It was a hard time. When I say “hard time” I know that term is very relative. I didn’t have to fight the battle my friend fought. That was the definition of hard. Walking a journey with a friend your age, with kids your kids age, is life changing. Literally.

I’m not the same man I was before that time. I think that is a good thing. He left fingerprints on my life. He was a great, great man and a brother. We shared so many conversations about life, and family and our children. I remember his dreams for them. I remember his admiration for them. So many times he would speak and I felt like I was listening to a recording of myself if I were asked these questions and faced this journey. They were younger then. To be honest, I think only one of them was old enough to vaguely remember me this morning.

I stood there weighing each one of my words. If I am really honest, I just wanted to hug each one. I wanted to say so many things and yet, I know that time and healing have moved them forward. So I asked about their schools and their sports. While they answered, I just kept thinking….

What do you tell them?

I didn’t say what I wanted to say but I feel that I simply must share those words somewhere. Again, out of a heart of complete respect, I share them here.

I wanted to tell them they were all that he dreamed they would be.

They are handsome and beautiful.

They are well spoken, kind and respectful to basically a stranger (me).

I see so much of him in their words and mannerisms. I see him in their eyes.

I wanted to tell them so much yet I felt like no words were needed. I’m sure they have been told repeatedly and time has allowed them to be in a place where the words are treasured reminders of who he was.

I have spent countless hours worrying, thinking and praying over my “what if.” Somehow I wish I could tell him that they are all he hoped and dreamed and prayed they would be.

His legacy, his words, his instructions and his shadow put wind in their sails early in their lives.

His fingerprints are still on the clay of who they are becoming.

I must pause here and acknowledge that his wife and all of the support around them must be mentioned. I have no words for what the last several years must have been like and the road they traveled. This morning I witnessed three children that have had incredible support, teaching, instruction and examples. They are who they are because they have been raised by who they have been raised by.

What do you tell them? What could I have said?

I think I would tell them how their Dad would be so proud.

Then I would thank them for sharing small glimpses of him with me today in who they are…

and that is a very good thing.

Who Holds My Hand

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As summer comes to an end, we do our best to make one final memory by going to Kings Island each year. It was a bit more challenging this year, but thanks to some discount tickets and good timing, we were able to make it happen again. The kids are old enough to enjoy all of the roller coasters and thrill rides now. Princess 2.0 is not a fan. She made it very clear last year at the park when she firmly yelled “I HAVE FEARS!!” While the rest of us hit the rides, she gladly stands by the workers at the exit gate.

Maybe I’m getting older but after the first twisty ride o’ death, I was feeling a little green. After the second one, I was pretty glad I hadn’t had a big breakfast. By the third ride, I was done. As we pulled into the gate, I was sweating, nauseous and dizzy. I gladly took some time off with Princess 2.0 as the other 3 rode their day away. The interesting thing was that from park open to park close, Princess 2.0 held my hand. All day, from ride to ride, she held my hand. She remained very close to my side. This isn’t unusual, but it was noticable.

In late September we grabbed the opportunity one unseasonably warm day to do some creek walking at a local park. The water was so dark you couldn’t see to the bottom and the footing was unknown. As soon as our feet hit the water, Princess 2.0 found her way to me again, holding my hand. The entire time we walked the creek, she held my hand. Ironically enough, I was the only one that lost his balance and fell. Regardless, Princess 2.0 found some peace in holding my hand in these troubled waters.

That was a lot of set up for one very simple thought today….

We are, as a nation, in unknown waters. When I say “unknown” I mean that I don’t know if we should be concerned about potential threats (ISIS, Ebola, Economy) or if the media hype of it all. Some of you may feel like 2.0 did at the amusement park and are screaming “I HAVE FEARS.” So let me ask you something today.

Who holds your hand?

In other words, where do you find the comfort that 2.0 found in holding my hand at the amusement park and in the local creek? I didn’t have the answers, I actually feel and felt ill on the rides. I fell in the creek. Somehow, she found peace and comfort from her fears in each place by simply holding my hand.

I can’t give any answers for where all our fears are headed. I know I have many concerns as a provider and protector in our home. I’m trying to find some balance between being a “doomsday prepper” and not having my head in the sand. As the old song says

Many things about tomorrow

I don’t seem to understand

But I know who holds the future

And I know who holds my hand.

We are in unprecidented times. There are fears of outbreaks. We’re at war with a brutal enemy. My IRA is plummeting. Finances are razor thin.

I HAVE FEARS!!!

I also have PEACE.

I know who holds the future

and I know who holds my hand.

Do you?

#BeBrave

I Was Fixable

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Today would have been my Moms birthday. Actually, today is my Moms birthday. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to say that because I never anticipated saying it that way so soon. This is the 4th year that we have recognized her birthday but she is not here to celebrate with us. So I honor her legacy. I honor the gift that I was given to be loved and raised by her.

Anyone that has lost someone close to them will know the feeling I had just last week. I was having one of “those days” and immediately thought, I need to call my Mom. I was and am a “Mama’s Boy.” I wear that title with honor now. This was one of those days when a boy needed his Mom. It is still surreal to think that phone call can’t happen.

I’ve shared the story below before, but I thought I would share the message one more time. To honor my Mom by sharing who she was for those who might not have known her. Her mission was clear. Her message was simple. I honor her today by sharing just one story of a life she forever changed. I love ya Mom. Save a place for me….

*Below was posted May 20, 2010

On Sunday, we had a “celebration of life” service to honor my Mom. As most of you know she passed away on March 5, 2010, but this was our first opportunity for the entire family to be back in my hometown. The service was a beautiful time of reflection on the legacy, the ministry and the life of the woman I was honored to call my Mom. The turnout was amazing and the words that many spoke to me before and after the service were a testimony to the impact that one person can make when dedicated to two things.

Loving Jesus…Loving people.

One of the many women that my Mom impacted stood up and shared her story with us during an open time of sharing. She shared that she was broken and how my Mom reached out to her at a very low point in her life. She said that it made all of the difference to her and her faith and now she is well on her way to recovery. Then she said three words I will never, ever forget. She said

your Mom looked at me and saw that……I was fixable”.

Man I love that.

“I was fixable”.

The more I reflected on that in the hours that followed the service, I couldn’t help but think about how we all are fixable. We’re all broken and for that reason, we are fixable. What many of us need most often is someone to care. We need someone else to see that we are fixable and show us the way. We need to be that someone to others as well. Think about that today.

Imagine if we didn’t see broken, we saw fixable. 

If you’re broken……know that you’re fixable

If you’re not broken….find someone that is.

Let them know….they are fixable.