giving gifts that matter…

fcabibleLast week, I had the pleasure of visiting two new schools (new to me) that were either wanting to start an FCA Huddle or have been going with no FCA staff presence.  In both of these situations I was blessed to meet teachers that genuinely care for their students and want to see them come to know Christ.  In both situations I was able to leave one of our FCA Coaches Bibles with the teacher and it was great to see how they were so appreciative to not only have a copy of God’s Word, but one specifically designed to help them grow in their walk as coaches/teachers and reach their students.  Coming out of the Christmas season I have given many gifts lately.  However, it was so refreshing and just a blessing to me to see true joy that comes from giving and receiving gifts that will make an impact on eternity for Christ.  I pray that God will give me more and more opportunities to share gifts of the Gospel!

starting off my year right…

I know, I know, I know that New Year’s resolutions are usually those things that we say we are going to to do and then we never keep up with them.  If we are good we keep them for a week and if we are lucky sometimes maybe a month.  And yet we still keep trying to do them.  That’s where I find myself this year, back at trying to keep resolutions.

in_the_store_giftThe first resolution that I wanted to do this year was to find a devotional that I could work through during my quiet time throughout the year.  Thankfully for Christmas I was given a copy of New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp.  It’s a year long devotional that has a new thought for you to read each morning, then expands on that thought, and then sends you to scripture to reflect on what God says.  This devotional has been a huge blessing in my walk with Christ and is something that I honestly can’t wait to jump into each morning.  If you are looking for a good devotional to work through this year I highly recommend this one.

As always, my second resolution is to start taking better care of myself physically.  Erin and I were blessed with a gift at Christmas that allowed us to join our local YMCA.  We have been trying to do things as a family there to be healthy like swimming, but I’m also trying to get up early enough to go workout and get myself to a healthier weight and state of mind.  So far things are going well, and I am committed to really taking the necessary steps.  For some reason going to the gym isn’t as daunting when you don’t work there all the time!

There are many days left in 2017, but I am committed to becoming both spiritually and physically fit in the days, weeks, and months ahead!

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!

change of plans…

caffe_latteThis morning I was supposed to be at a meeting, but it ended up be rescheduled to tomorrow.  With such late notice about this change of plans I wasn’t able to get any meetings at my school or with potential supporters.  However, with this change of plans I was able to schedule one much needed meeting.  After dropping the kids off at school, I swung back around to my house and picked up my wife for a morning coffee date.

As I have mentioned on here, my wife is currently battling breast cancer.  And while the outlook the doctors have given her is really good, we have been so busy making plans related to surgeries and waiting for appointments and dates from doctors that we have been running around like crazy.  Add to that keeping up with all that’s going on with our kiddos it’s been one hectic mess.  So, to have the opportunity to go out this morning with no rush and no plans and just enjoy come good coffee, conversation, and even a little peach and quiet has been great.

I don’t really know what the next few months are going to hold for our family with surgeries, recovery, and still needing to get our support account full funded, but I do know how blessed I am to have my beautiful wife.  Even though she is scared and nervous her faith has been a blessing to me and those around us.  She is still plugging away being an awesome Mom to our kiddos too.  I pray that in the months ahead we will have many more changes of plans where we get to have quiet time together and maybe some good coffee too!

overwhelmed…

This past week has been a whirlwind.  If I wasn’t already balding, I would be by now that’s for sure.  I shared on my ministry update site on Monday, but we found out last Friday that my wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It’s one of those things you never want to hear and I still can’t believe it’s true.

Both Erin and I have had health issues over the years, but normally we go to the doctor find out what’s wrong and it’s something that is easily taken care of.  When my wife went to the doctor at the beginning of last week that’s what we thought we were dealing with.  Even though we knew the hospital was testing for cancer, we just thought it was a precaution and nothing we needed to worry about.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

Even though the news is something you dread, we are thankful though that her doctor seems confident that the cancer has been caught early and that it can be removed.  Right now we are waiting until next week when we will be able to find out for sure what the next steps will be.

I guess since I found out the results, I have been feeling pretty emotionally overwhelmed.  There was the emotion of shock and this can’t be true at first.  From there came all the worry emotions.  Worrying about my wife’s health and future, worrying about our kids, worrying about finances when we are already not at full support, and worrying about how I am just going to keep it all together and be a rock for my wife and kids during this time.  Thankfully, God has been reminding me constantly of all the ways he has and is taking care of us.  Almost everyone I have spoken with has let me know that they are praying for Erin and our family, and several have prayed right then and there with me.

It’s comforting to know between our great God and all our brothers and sisters in Christ that we don’t have to go through this battle alone.  Please continue to pray with me though as I know Satan would like nothing more than to overwhelm and bring discouragement at this time.  Pray that I will always reach out to God and those who have offered help when I need it.  Pray that I can be the husband and father I need to be for my family during this time and lead them to Christ no matter what happens.  It’s going to be a battle for our family health wise, financially, and spiritually over the next few months.  Pray with me that on the other side we will see my wife healthy and Christ glorified.