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Friday, March 30, 2007

I had someone ask me the other day "Is there anything good going on with you? I mean, I read your blog and I hear about your struggles but surely something good is happening that you can talk about." Okay, fair enough. I'll give equal time to all the good things that God is doing with me. Like today, something absolutely amazing happened today. It's not like it hasn't happened a million times before--over 14,500 times to be more precise! I got up. Before you laugh and scoff at this idea, getting up is something that's very important to me. I like getting up (on most days). I like walking through the house God has blessed me with and cooking breakfast (yes, I can cook a few things). I love opening God's word and finding out what new things He wants to show me each day. I love being able to holler upstairs to my beautiful kids and listen to their sleep voices as they stir from their sleep. I love those blurry eyed kisses I get from them every single day. There is nothing in this world that I love more than being able to walk through this world with all of its good and its bad. Nothing in this world. But I can tell you that there is a place that I long for more than this. A place that, someday, I'll get to hang out with all three of my kids and my beautiful wife. It's a place being prepared for me and it's grand. But till then, I don't want to take for granted the privilege of standing in line, waiting my turn, banging my toe on the side of the bed and flossing my teeth (I still have every one of them). I thank God--though it's not nearly often enough--for every gray hair, every lost hair, every achy bone and the fact that my kids think I'm ancient. I hope I some day live up to that description. This life is not all that there is BUT it is all that there is for now. And, even though it has had more than it's share of rough places, it is a good life and I am very blessed. I will choose to make the most of these days--even the worst ones. As I approach the third anniversary of the accident that ripped apart my family and cost my kids there mother and little brother, I see that I have two options. Live like there is no tomorrow with a grim outlook and a grimmer disposition. Or, as I prefer, remember that I still have days to use for God's glory beginning with this one. I hope you will choose to do the same. Because, no matter what you have been through, you have come "through" and this next minute could be your very best. I choose to believe it can!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Because I've played sports most of my life, I've been taught to deal with pain, to play through the hurt until the game is finished. Not always the wisest advice from coaches but it was the consensus opinion nonetheless. It was an attempt to train young athletes to take the nicks and bruises that come with competition and to keep pushing forward. I think those years prepared me for what I go through now. I can't tell you the number of times I have thought it would be easier to "sit this one out" or to walk away because it would be easier (at least it seemed that way). I examine my heart--all the nicks and cuts and bruises that I have received in this life--and think to myself how great it would be to step away and allow some healing. While I have taken the time to do that, I've more-often-than-not pushed myself to stay in the game. As Paul the Apostle would put it, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Pressing on. On many days it has become my life's mantra. Ignore the pain. Forget the nicks. Train your body to keep moving forward and know that there will be a reward, a prize for those who do not stop the marathon. I guess the up side to it all is this...my longing for heaven increases more and more with every passing day. I can't wait till that day where the bruises and hurts will be healed. Where I won't have to listen to anyone else's opinions of my life or their judgments of my actions. A place where the burdens I bear presently will become long-forgotten memories of a world that used to be. So I keep pressing, keep pushing, keep longing for the "more" that is to come. I will enjoy the moments God gives me here--love my kids, love my job, love the friends He has blessed me with--but will always know that this world cannot compare to the place I long to be.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

If you're like me, you have probably uttered the words, "If I had only known..." at some point in your life. In fact, I've probably done it more times than I care to admit. The implication is that, with some kind of foreknowledge of the situation, I might have altered my behavior to choose some different path. Lord knows that there is much about my life that I would have changed had I known ahead of time what the repercussions would be. Like that spring day when I let my wife take the wheel for 30 minutes and drive us home. "If I had only known..." How many times have I spoken those words regarding that one monumental event in my life. If I had only known... That came to mind as I read this verse yesterday morning: "O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago." The amazing thing about God is that he did know. Long before a single star had been flung into place or one drop of moisture had fallen to the earth. Long before he ever placed Adam or Eve or you or me into existence, he knew everything about us and the choices we would make. He knew the times we would frustrate him, the times we'd make the wrong choice or fail completely. He also knew the times we'd cause him to laugh with pleasure or smile with delight. He knew his Son would have to die. And never once in that Holy, perfect and amazing mind of his did he utter the words "If I had only known..." More appropriately, I think he might say, "Because I did know, I came..." And because he did know and he did come, I don't have to know everything. I can lay my hopes and dreams and ambitions and family and kids and life before this God who knows. I can trust that he has the best interest of us ALL at heart. That he loves you and me desperately and that he desires what's best for the whole world. I can trust that knowledge and know for myself that, even though I cannot change that spring day in 2004, I can change my life for today and tomorrow so that I do not miss what God has left for me.