encouragement from my daughter…

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My sweet Maeven on our “Date!”

If you have been following this blog or just know me in general you know that this has been a crazy year for me and my family.  After much prayer we felt God leading us from a ministry where we had spent the past 11 years into full time ministry with FCA.  That led to not only changing ministries, but selling our house, buying a new house and moving, having to go back out on deputation to raise quite a bit more financial support and countless other changes to our family life.  Then once things were finally starting to feel a bit more settled, my wife Erin was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have a double mastectomy.

Through all these changes and events I have had to do more thinking and praying than I ever thought possible.  I have truly seen where I really have no control over anything and God has control over everything.  I have seen things that look like huge mistakes turn out to be God’s way of providing for future needs.  It’s been a true time of faith development in my life.

Even though I have seen my faith grow and my dependence on God grow over these past few months there have been times I have definitely struggled with depression and even wondering if have made the right choices.  As the uncertainty of financial support has weighed on me and just the stress of learning a new ministry and making new contacts there have been those times where I have questioned whether or not I should have done the easy thing and stay where I knew what I had to do and knew the finances would be enough.  These particular doubts changed for me last Thursday as I took a cute little 6 year old out on a date.

Last Thursday my son Judah had to go to the eye doctor and so my wife asked me to take our daughter Maeven out on a little date.  It was funny, because Maeven was so excited she got all dressed up for me and even put on a little “makeup” (chapstick lip balm) for the date.  So while Mommy and Judah were at the eye doctor, Maeven and I went to Dunkin Donuts for our breakfast date of frozen hot chocolate and peppermint donuts.  Maeven made sure we got the big comfy leather seats where we could talk comfortably as we munched on our goodies.

I started out asking her how her school year was going and about her new friends that she had made, and of course about what she wanted for Christmas.  Maeven then surprised me and asked me why we had moved to Richmond this year.   I told her that Mom and Dad knew God wanted us to work with FCA and Richmond was where He wanted us to do that.  I then asked her if she was happy with our move or not?

One thing you need to know about my daughter is that when asked a question, she is very high truth and tells you exactly what she is thinking.  With no thought at all, Maeven said, “Yes!”  I then asked her why she was so happy with our move.  Once again without having time to think Maeven said to me, “because you are home more Daddy and I get to spend lots of time with you!”

Right away I told her that I loved that too and did my best to fight back the urge to tear up hearing those words from my sweet girl.  All those worries about whether or not I had made the right decision to transition ministries and move my family really melted away.  While I am so thankful for all the years of ministry I had previously had there was so much time that I was away from my family.  And I always justified it by saying that the ministry was important and that my kids were too little to notice.  However, as Maeven’s moment of truth had shown me, they had noticed.  They knew there dad wasn’t around as much as they would like me to be and I knew that I had missed a lot.

Within my new ministry role, I know there will be lots of ups and downs, lots of stresses and pressures, and lots of time that I am out from my family.  At the same time it does afford me much more time to spend with my family and be there when they need me to be.  Whether that be taking care of my wife as she recovers from here battle with breast cancer or just having that needed quality time with my kids I am truly thankful for all that God has brought us through this year and all that is to come.  I am so thankful that He can use a sweet 6 year old girl to bring encouragement and joy too!

freedom from anxiety…

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My sweet girl!

As you know one of my favorite topics to blog about has always been my family.  God has blessed me with a beautiful wife and two wonderful kiddos.  And like any good father, when a member of my family hurts, so do I.  Lately the person in my family who has been hurting is my 5 year old daughter Maeven.  My beautiful little Maeven has been struggling with anxiety and worry for the past few months.  It started out as chewing on the sleeves and collars of her clothes, which we were able to get her to finally stop doing.  However, the problem is when she stopped doing that she needed some other way to channel her energy and that has led to her picking at scratches and scabs on her skin.  Erin and I have talked to her and tried to find out what is going on, but she has said she doesn’t know why she picks at herself and the more she pick the more she scabs and makes little scars.  Our family is getting ready to go through some transition (which I will share more about in the upcoming weeks, but don’t worry it’s good news!) and we don’t think she fully understands what’s going on and that might be causing this anxiety.  As parents it’s painful to see our sweet girl struggling and not really be able to help her stop.  What we would like to ask of you though is to pray that God will give Maeven victory over anxiety and she will have peace from God.  We know that Maeven has put her faith in Christ and we know that He wants to do great things with her.  Please pray that even at this young age that she will turn to Him in times of fear and pray for us that God will give us wisdom as we try to comfort and calm her anxiety.

a weekly date…

AFVEven though my children are still very young, my daughter is 5 and my son is 3, I am realizing more and more about how quickly time passes.  When we went to Disney a month or so ago, I stood back and watched my kids walking and realized I don’t have toddlers anymore, but little kids.  So, I have been trying to be more proactive in making time with each of my children so that I can treasure the time and they know how much I love them.

One of the things my daughter has loved is our weekly “Daddy/Daughter Date” where on Sunday nights before bed time we cuddle up on the couch and watch America’s Funniest Home Videos.  Getting Maeven to sit still and stay by me for a long period of time is tough with all that little kid energy. Yet each Sunday she starts right after the morning church service asking when “Funny Bideos” comes on.  Throughout the day I answer that question with a countdown of how much longer we have.  When it’s finally time for us to watch the show she will quit whatever she is doing, run to the couch and snuggle up with me to watch the show.  Maeven talks through the entire show asking me with all sincerity why people did something so crazy or asking me to explain a video she doesn’t understand.  When our show is finally over, Maeven looks up at me and says, “I love you Daddy, do you have another ‘Funny Bideos’ we can watch???”

While I know my sweet little girl will not always want Daddy to watch videos with her, I am going to treasure every Sunday night I have with her.  I am truly blessed with the sweet little girl that God has given me!

a pink weapon…

Maeven showing off her new weapon!

Maeven showing off her new weapon!

Well, last week it finally happened, even though I had made it 34 years of my life without it happening to me.  One of my kids got their first broken bone.  On Thursday, last week, my sweet little girl Maeven took a dive off some monkey bars and broke her wrist.  It took us till Friday afternoon and several hours in doctors offices and x-ray rooms to get her all set straight with her cast.  Thankfully she has been great and really likes showing everyone her neon pink weapon.  Why do I call it a weapon?  Well, before she left the doctors office, the doctor pulled Maeven aside, and let her know she wasn’t to hit her brother or anyone else with it.  So far she has been great about keeping this pink weapon from hitting anyone purposefully.  Although, as a good Daddy, I have learned that hugs can be painful when that hard cast makes contact with my head!  All, this to say, I am glad the fracture wasn’t more severe and that my little girl is recovering from what looks to be the first of many bone injuries for a very outgoing child!