Category: Faith

Broken and Beautiful

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My kids love birthday celebrations at the house. Especially our youngest (aka Princess 2.0). Throughout the day yesterday I was instructed that I “couldn’t go in the loft” and I “wasn’t allowed in the dining room.” Since I was running out of places in the house to go, I ended up in my office. Princess 2.0 would later come in, head down, tears streaming down her face. All I heard in between deep breaths and sniffles was “daddy…I tried to make a basketball…and it fell apart.” At this point, she handed me a broken beaded iron ornament….and she broke down. I mean, full blown tears. She was crushed.

I picked her up and just held her for awhile. Over and over again, I just kept telling her I loved it. I kept repeating that what meant more to me was the time, thought and heart that she put into this project. I kept telling her that her heart is what I love more than anything she could possibly make me. It was so important to me that she knew that. I don’t know if she understood or received that, but it really meant the world to me.

We then took all of the pieces of her project and together we rebuilt a new one. We took what she had worked on, added some new parts and when it was all done, I have a treasure for my office and she has something she is proud of. We took what was broken and made it beautiful.

Last night I went to bed and re-lived that moment over and over. Quietly I had one of those “Hello McFly” moments. Over and over in this life I have started something with the best of intentions. I have wanted to make something of my life for the God of this universe that He would be proud of. All too often, my best intentions fell apart. My fresh start turned to another failure. Slowly I approached the throne broken and frustrated. I started off with intentions of being holy and ended up saying “what do I know of holy?”

What hit me last night is that we are His children. Our broken, failed attempts at holy are beautiful in His eyes. Our time is what He cherishes. Just like 2.0, He knows my heart. It doesn’t end there. Over and over He reminds us that He loves us. He then takes the broken attempts and the failed intentions and, if we’re willing, creates something beautiful. Together we take what was broken, mix it with other elements and create our new story. It might not be exactly what we originally thought, but it is whole.

Feeling broken? Feeling like your best intentions and attempts at seeking a life of faith have failed? Take what you have to Him. He’ll take what was broken and make it beautiful.

#BeBrave

What You Believe…

My father-in-law was recently at the house and popped his head in my office. He said “so, are you ready for Monday?” I sat there going through my mental calendar and couldn’t come up with what significance Monday had. I finally had to ask “what’s Monday?” He then reminded me that Monday is a day on the calendar that I age one more year. He asked if I had a post ready to go to impart wisdom I’ve gained in my many years.

Nope.

I was glad he reminded me what Monday was because I needed to renew my drivers license this year. As I stood in that hateful long line at the DMV, I pondered what I could possibly share. What wisdom have I gained? What words can I put in a post?

I’ve got nothing.

I’ve spent the days since that conversation going round and round about this post I could write that would change the world. What I have learned in these years on this big rock that I can pass on to my kids and anyone else that might read this? Then one day it hit me….while I was making the bed (I kid you not). I thought back to a friend that had a birthday close to mine. Sadly he is no longer here. We lost him all too soon. I thought back to the words I spoke at his funeral. A simple sentence that I still believe sums it all up…

You can say what you think but you’ll live what you believe.

That’s it. It’s funny that I share that in a blog post. I’ve said multiple times that it is really easy to sit behind the keyboard and act like you’ve got the world on a string. For over 9 years I have posted thoughts and hopefully, shared the struggles too. Social media has exploded over the years. Now more than ever before I believe that statement has to be our filter. It’s easy to only post the great moments, the times when the kids did amazing things and when the house looked incredible. Hopefully you’ve seen our not so primetime moments through social media too. We’ve got them. I’ve got a ton of them.

I hope that whenever my number is called, those that knew me personally or from afar will all be able to say the same thing. I hope they will say that I said what I thought and it matched the way that I lived and what I believed.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t just speak highly of my wife, I honestly treasure and honor her above all others.

I hope you’ll see that I wasn’t bragging on my kids, I made it my goal to treasure each moment and never leave a doubt in their mind as to how I felt about them.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t throw around the word “friend” like it’s something you accept on a social media site. I believed that relationships are important and that people – no matter who they are – matter.

I hope you’ll see that I didn’t just talk about faith to be high and mighty. I live a life filled with questions, doubts, struggles, fears and wrestled through the journey to be not high and mighty, but second and humble.

So thats the best I’ve got. The calendar turns on another year older. It’s another chance to say what I think and most importantly….

Live what I believe.

#BeBrave

The Greatest Lesson My Dad Ever Taught Me

Fathers Day is this Sunday. How do you possibly honor your father for all he has done? Especially when you are a father now and know the requirements of the job. Today I wondered what the greatest lesson my father ever taught me was. The answer was simple and it took very little thought. Before I get to the answer, let me give you some other thoughts.

Now that I am older and a home and auto owner, one of the greatest regrets is that I didn’t pay closer attention when my dad would work on the house and cars. I was usually in the driveway shooting hoops at our garage while he was working away under one of our family vehicles. When it was time for home projects I was most likely in my room impersonating a rock star or playing Atari.

I never became a rock star, basketball star or great video gamer but I sure could use the knowledge I would have gained measuring, cutting, installing and removing. I thought it was important to point out that the teacher was always available. Sadly, the apprentice had other priorities. Thanks for always being willing dad and for still being a phone call away when I need the help.

So what is the greatest lesson I learned from my father? Three words….

Love your bride.

To the best of my recollection, these words were never once said to me by my dad. He never sat me down and gave me this lesson. As I have learned as a father myself, the best lessons are caught and not taught. Dad loved his bride. Every moment and every opportunity he honored his bride. My mom glowed because she was made to feel like she was the queen in his kingdom.

When my mom entertained in our home (which was often), it was a big deal. Behind the scenes, in the kitchen with an apron on was my dad. He would wash dishes, prepare food and make sure everything was as it should be. He supported her dreams and her spiritual gifts. He understood that when your bride is in her sweet spot in life, she radiates Gods glory.

My mom had a crush on Kenny Rogers. He was fine with this crush and every single time Kenny dropped a new album, she was one of the first to have it. The night or morning it came out, you would find my dad in a line at the record store buying one for his bride. He taught me the little things mean far more than the big trips to extravagant places.

In her final years, my mom needed constant care. While I have always respected my father, what I witnessed in the final years of my moms life was an entirely different level. He bathed, tended and provided for her every need. As the song says, he “walked her home.” He taught me what “in sickness and in health” really means.

Dad, Happy Fathers Day.

Thank you for the lessons you were willing to teach.

Thank you for the lessons you taught.

Thank you most of all for loving your bride.

I love you Pop.

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Knots In Your Rope

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We arrived home safely last night after a week in the Outer Banks. In case you missed it, I covered why this trip was important (HERE). I also gave a mid-week update of some of the not-so-brilliant moments (HERE). It was an incredible week on so many levels. I once again was reminded who I am on the Outer Banks of North Carolina (AKA – Gods Country).

My wife is a runner and I jog at a pace just a tick above walking so we typically map our various mileage routes when we arrive in OBX. One route we mapped out had a series of inclines and seemed to be a challenging 6 miler. I let my friend “D-Rich” somehow talk me into coming out of race retirement and sign up for a quarter marathon in August so I set a goal to get said challenging 6 miler before we left OBX. Saturday morning came calling and I always try to achieve goals I set. When I pushed off and hit my watch, I decided to take the 6 miles and compartmentalize all that had taken place on our week away. Immediately, my useless knowledge kicked in and this quote came to mind:

“Y’all come up here about the same time with the same problems. You spend 50 weeks a year getting knots in your rope and you think 2 weeks up here will untie them for you. None of you get it.”

-Curly (City Slickers)

Sure enough, old Curly was right. The only exception is I usually take 51 weeks a year to get knots in my rope. Then I spend a week in OBX thinking it will untie them for me. As I pounded away at the pavement, I kept wondering how a week off the grid somehow will solve all of the problems of the other 51 week mundane. Had I somehow found the magic I was seeking when we arrived 6 days earlier? Was there an “ah-ha moment” that I would now take home with me for the year ahead? If so, what was it?

“None of you get it”

If you’re familiar with the movie, Curly goes on to deliver his “One Thing” speech and it’s brilliant.

There is so much truth in such a silly little movie clip. Honestly.

While we were on our vacation, a good friend sent me a text asking for some advice. I called him a bit later and we discussed a decision that was weighing on his mind. As I ran those miles, I couldn’t help but think I shared my one thing with him without even realizing it. Our week away didn’t help me discover my one thing, it removed the distractions so I could focus on it much more clearly. It’s like his text and call were that ah-ha moment for me without flashes of lightning and rolls of thunder.

So what is that one thing?

What I told my friend is that he must decide on the hills that he is willing to die on. In other words, he must decide those things that are the non-negotiable things in his life. Everything else will fall into place and be viewed through this lens. They are the one thing. You figure that out and everything else just doesn’t matter.

Getting knots in your rope 50 or 51 weeks a year can’t be solved with a week or two away. It can’t and won’t untie them for you. Knowing your one thing and the hills that you will die on help keep from ever getting knots in your rope in the first place.

What are the hills that you are willing to die on?

What is your one thing?

It’s probably obvious by now, but these four are just one of mine. Every. Single. Time.

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Grace Week – The Finale

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So here we are. Seven days of pressing pause during the week of Easter to reflect on the grace that was poured out on Good Friday and the hope of Easter Sunday. How do you wrap this up? How do you put a bow on all that we’ve walked through, thought through, examined and reflected upon? What is the anchor you drop? As I have said throughout this week, I’m certainly no expert on grace. I’ve walked this journey with each of you this week. Actually, you’ve walked it with me and for that I thank you.

Tonight as I was winding down from an incredibly beautiful day in Columbus, I thought more about this post. I thought more about what to say, how to say it and how to wrap it all up. It was then when something so simple came to me.

“Live it.”

As I unpacked those two words a bit, I think what it means is that if we don’t accept the grace we’ve been given and live it out each day, it doesn’t mean much. It’s like the tree that falls in the forest. Imagine if we all accepted the grace we’ve been given and lived it out to those we impact each day. Imagine if our words and our actions were grace giving. I can think of no better way to honor the gift of grace than to give it away.

Today we celebrate a risen savior that is very much alive and interceding for each one of us. Today we celebrate a grace we’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. Let’s do our best to walk out that grace as our way of saying “thank you” to the one that paid it all.

Christ is risen.

Amazing grace.

If you made it to a church service or not this morning, take a few minutes and set up camp around this song. It says it all.