This week, my wife will have her final surgery after a year of surgeries for breast cancer and breast reconstruction. It has been a long journey with 5 total surgeries (2 surgeries were done in the same day). Through it all I have been blessed to see how God has taken care of Erin and helped her through each surgery. I’ve also been so amazed at how Erin has handled every surgery with strength, courage, and hope. She has been through more than I can imagine, yet through it all she still praises God and has been such a Godly example to me, our children, and everyone she comes in contact with. We both are praying that she will never have to go through cancer again and now can finally get back to normal. Please pray with us that this surgery goes well and that she will remain cancer free!
Today, started out really well. I had the opportunity to go share with a church about our ministry with FCA and ask them to partner with us. I felt like I clearly communicated the vision of FCA and our passion for working with coaches and athletes and we seemed to have a good response. I love sharing about the ministry God has called us to and am thankful for the opportunity to once again do so.
The ride home from speaking though was where things started on a rollercoaster of an afternoon. When I was halfway home, my wife called me to let me know that the battery in her van was totally dead. Earlier in the week I had to buy a new battery for my car and so automatically I saw dollar signs and was cringing at the prospect of paying for another battery.
I arrived at home and managed to jump start her van to take it to the auto parts store. As I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed water rushing from around our water meter and down the street. Once again a sense of dread filled me as I pictured the water meter just spinning out of control and getting a bill that we would never be able to afford. I called the water department and let them know of the issue and on the verge of wanting to cry I drove to the auto parts store.
On the way to the store I began to pray that God would take care of these issues and that we wouldn’t be financially overwhelmed. I did a lot of pleading and just let God know that I was trusting in Him to help us out no matter the outcome. While God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way we want, today I was overwhelmed by his immediate answers to prayer and the way he met our needs.
First of all, when I got to the auto parts store we were able to find out that the battery that went bad was under warranty. They replaced it for free! When I arrived at home the guy from the city water department came and was able to determine the water leak is on the city’s side of the line and so I won’t be responsible for any of the water or repairs!
I am so thankful for the way God worked all this out today, but most importantly just that once again I have seen Him work. God is good and I am so thankful for all he has done, is doing and will do!
Time to start another year…and no better way to do it than starting a renewed commitment to blogging only 3 weeks into the new year! That being said, one of my many resolutions for this year is to be better about blogging and writing down thoughts. Whether it’s just to get them out of my head or to share actual depth of thought.
This year I have also renewed my commitment to fitness. My family kicked off the new year by getting a Y membership and I have been faithful so far to go work out. I know it’s a marathon, but I am determined to reach 2019 thinner than I did 2018.
I also want to do a better job of reading this year. Reading for my personal enjoyment, continuing to learn, and also to grow in my walk with Christ. This honestly may be the toughest resolution I have. Finding time to get reading done is tough and so I want to really make sure that I am setting aside time to do it.
Alright, I have put out some resolutions on here….now it’s time to stick to them!
A little over a week ago I turned the big 37 and I have to admit since that time I am really riding the struggle bus. Don’t get me wrong, nothing bad has happened and I have truly had some enjoyable times with my family during this busy Christmas season. That being said, it’s in those times when we should be joyful and thankful for all that God is doing around us, that Satan so often wants to get us down. Everything from loneliness, to fears about finances and our ministry support, to worrying about my kids, just keep coming out of nowhere to leave me just sort of down.
This morning as I took my daughter to school we were listening to “Don’t Bring Me Down” by ELO and she asked me what Don’t Bring Me Down means. I explained to her that often when we are feeling really good people try to make us feel bad or hurt our feelings and take away that joy. So the song is saying, don’t do that. She understood and then went back to singing at the top of her lungs. Sadly I couldn’t explain to her who “Bruce” was in the song. The song though sorta hits where I am at currently, there are lots of things to be thankful for like the Christmas Season, my family, some great ministry opportunities, doors that I constantly see God opening. Yet I really feel like there is this cloud that is hanging over me trying to bring me down and leave me in a funk.
It’s in this time that I am really trying to pray more and just ask God that I not be robbed of joy and that I will give fears and worries to Him. I hate the struggle bus…
I have always been what most people would consider an outgoing guy. I can go in and talk to people and joke and have fun. The truth is though that while I can do those things, it’s not really me. Going into a group of people and having to mingle petrifies me with anxiety and then take it another step further an have to speak to everyone and I get even more anxious. The biggest anxiety of all though is when I am charged with sharing a devotion or preaching a sermon. The pressure of making sure that not only am I communicating well, but also handling the truth of God’s Word properly very much overwhelms me.
Yet, I am in full time ministry where I have to do all those things that cause my anxiety. From 2005-middle of 2016 I was in a ministry where I may only have to speak in front of a group a handful of times a year. That all changed last year when I went full time with FCA. Since that time I have had to share in churches, civic organizations, schools, and lots of other places. In just a little over a year I have had more opportunities to speak than I have had in the 11 years prior.
All this is to say, I am so thankful that I have a God who encourages me and gives me strength to over come, or at least ignore the anxieties that attack me about speaking. Where once I had a sense of dread when someone asked me to speak, now I am open to it and sometime find myself excited for the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still scared and worried, but too many times has God showed himself faithful for me to be held back by those feelings.
This Sunday, I will be speaking at a church that I have never spoken at before. I am blessed to have the opportunity to not only share about our ministry with FCA but to also share a message from God’s Word. The nerves and fears will come, but I have a great God who will give me strength and allow me to do all things through Him!
My wife says that I have a problem. That problem is that I love collecting and reading different Bibles. She has threatened to hurt me if I buy any more. While not prone to violence, I think I may believe her! Just kidding.
Anyway, earlier this year I made the switch to the Christian Standard Bible for my main personal Bible. I really like the fact that it is a great mixture of accuracy and easy to read. Falling right in the middle of most of the very literal and easy to read versions. I even got my daughter the CSB kids version because it’s easy to read to her and I know the truth of the Word is not compromised in anyway. I highly recommend the CSB to anyone looking for a great modern translation.
A few weeks ago, I saw that CSB has released their new study Bible. It’s a beautifully done Bible that has very detailed notes and study helps. Not only that, but the color pictures, maps, and design are awesome. After looking at the Bible I knew that I needed one, but didn’t want to risk my life.
I happened to be on Facebook and one of those ads where they offer you a deal on something you were googling popped up for the CSB Study Bible. It was to click here to get a free CSB Bible. I clicked on the link to a Lifeway page and saw that the deal was for people who work in churches, mainly pastors, to get a copy of a regular CSB reference Bible. However, there was a link to contact Lifeway if I had any questions. I figured what could it hurt to send a note to Lifeway so I clicked the message link. There I informed Lifeway that I am in Full Time ministry with FCA and was wondering if I could get a free promotional copy of the CSB Study Bible. I figured the worst they could tell me is no, so what did I have to lose? Lifeway responded pretty quickly and informed me that they didn’t normally give away promotional copies of the Study Bible, but would be happy to send me one!
Within a week I had my free hardback copy of the the CSB Study Bible! And I have to tell you that I love it. The pages are thick, glossy, and high quality. The amount of work and detail in the notes is awesome and I know that this is going to aid me both in personal study and preparation for Bible studies and speaking opportunities that I may have in the future. The only negative with this Bible that I may have is just that it is large and heavy. So while great for personal home and office study, I wouldn’t want to pack it to church and other places very often. Hopefully they will come out with a more personal size version in the future. That being said, I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a great study Bible. And a big thanks to Lifeway for the gift of this amazing study tool for sharing God’s Word!
The past week and a half has definitely not gone the way that I had envisioned it would. I hoped that I would be in the middle of a whirlwind of ministry, traveling to various schools training students and coaches to do FCA, and leading Bible studies. However, that has not been the case and I have pretty much been confined to my house, the doctors office of the hospital.
For about two weeks I have been having a lot of pain that gradually got worse and worse. Pain when I sat and pain when I moved. Friday night a week ago I was in bad enough pain that went to urgent care. Unfortunately they misdiagnosed and the meds they gave me did nothing to help me. By Sunday, a week ago today, I was in such bad pain that I had my wife take me to the emergency room where I spent most of the day. While the ER was not able to totally fix me up they were able to give me pain meds and make it a lot easier for me to deal. Finally, on Tuesday I met with a surgeon who diagnosed my issue and set up surgery on Wednesday. It turns out I had a problem called a fistula. I’ll let you google that and find out what all that means, but I warn you not to look at the pictures. So Wednesday, I had outpatient surgery which went well, but now I have to go back and meet with the surgeon again, set up a time for a colonoscopy, and make a plan for what comes next.
Since Wednesday evening, I have been at home on bedrest. The good news is that I am slowly starting to feel a little better and move around some. While there is still pain, I am in nowhere near the amount of pain that I was in before the surgery. And hopefully this week I will be able to get out among the living and while not at 100% at least be able to do some things.
The good thing to come out of this is first of all that I have been forced to get some rest. When you are stuck in bed and on pain meds that make you sleepy, you sleep. So for the first time in awhile I feel refreshed as far as sleep goes. The second good thing that has actually been the best thing is once again being forced to rely more on God. This first came into play with just being in pain and having to pray and pray and pray to be delivered from the pain I was in. Then more prayer for doctors, surgery, healing and everything going on in my body that I don’t fully understand right now.
I have also been forced to depend on God through all the worry, discouragement, and depression that Satan has been throwing at me. Worries such as worry about how I am going to pay for all these medical bills and what am I going to do about our family’s financial support for ministry which is not at 100%. Worries about important meetings and Bible studies that I am missing while being stuck at home. In times when I should be encouraged by the awesome friends that God has given me me that have called and texted to check on me, I’ve found Satan trying to discourage me with the fact that I am stuck inside and had no friends visit. Depressed that I just haven’t been able to be up interacting and enjoying my family. I don’t list these things to be whiney or to elicit sympathy, but to be honest about lots of the things going on in my mind right now. And then to also let you know that my God is bigger than all these issues. He will meet all my medical and financial needs. He has given me great friends and will give me more. God will take care of all my meetings and Bible studies. Whether that being letting them go on without me or rescheduling them. He will allow me to be a good Dad and Husband to my family. Instead of letting the stillness and forced time of rest drive me nuts with discouragement from Satan, I have to remind myself that God says I need to be still and know He is is God. Nothing is to big or small for Him. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
So please pray for me that I will seek God deeper each day, even when this health issue is over. Pray that I will get healthy soon and get back to just being able to do and enjoy life without pain. Pray for the issues that Satan has thrown at me to worry about, that God would meet those needs and I would continue to trust He will do so. And lastly that even though it’s hard I would enjoy being able to rest!