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!

fix your eyes on Jesus…

BiblestudyboyHebrews 12:2a, “keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith..” (HSCB)

This morning and on Tuesday morning I had the pleasure of sharing the verse above with our Middle and High School FCA Students.  Each year at this time I try to do devotions with them that will encourage them to finish their school year well.  Last week, I actually talked about finishing well, but this week I wanted to go deeper with them.  So, we talked about how when we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, that is truly the only way we can finish well and make it through anything life throws at us.

At the end of the school year our students are facing the crunch of homework, papers, tests, and all kinds of various activities going on.  The stress level of friendships, relationships, and parental interaction is elevated during this time.  Often in the stress of this season of life the student’s relationship with Christ is what gets put on the back burner.  We are encouraging our students to not let this be so in their lives.  Instead of setting Jesus aside, turn to Him, and be even more focused on their prayer times, Bible study, and worship with fellow believers at Church.  While Christ doesn’t promise our students everything will be perfect, He does promise to be with them and help them through the storms of life.

Please join me in praying for our students.  Pray that as they are facing the storms of this time in the school year that they will stay focused on Christ.  Pray that they will feel His presence and guidance and that even when this season passes that they will still keep focused on, “the source and perfecter” of their faith!

scrambling to get everything done…

Golf Scramble PosterToday is my last day of prep before our big Golf Scramble fundraiser tomorrow.  It’s a busy day of making sponsor signs, sign in sheets, organizing food and drinks, making sure some out of town guests have a place to stay and much much more.   Days like today make me glad I am already bald, or their might very well be a trail of hair following my path everywhere I go.   That being said, I am really looking forward to tomorrow’s event and can’t wait to see how things go.   Please keep praying with me that the rain will dry up by tee time or totally miss us all together.   Also, please pray that we will have the golfers and golf carts we need to make this even a success.  And lastly pray that I will get everything I need to have done accomplished by Saturday, that I won’t forget anything, and that stress will be low and that I can truly enjoy this event.  Thanks so much and hope to see you there!

stressed out by a little light…

the dash of this van contains the stressing little light!

the dash of this van contains the stressing little light!

For the past month or so I have been stressed out by a little light on our family’s Nissan Quest mini-van. It’s the “Service Engine Soon” light. The two big stresses this light has provided for me was first of all the safety of my family. My wife primarily drives the van and more than likely has both of our kids in with her if she is going anywhere. So, I want them to be safe. Secondly, as with most families in America the last thing that you want is another bill. So family safety and finances have been weighing heavily on me.

I took the van in to the shop about a month ago, and wouldn’t you know it, on the day I drive to the mechanic the little light disappears. This is actually not a good thing. For the mechanic’s computer to read what is wrong with my van they have to have that light on. So, no dice as to what the issue was. About three days after that trip to the shop, the little stressor came back on!

Today, I finally took the van back to the mechanic’s and thankfully this time the light cooperated and stayed on. I left our van there for most of the day so that it could be tested and hopefully diagnosed. Thankfully the answer was not painful. There is a sensor that says my gas cap is not on tight enough and is making the light come on. The cap is on perfectly tight and normal, but that sensor is reading otherwise. The bad news is that light will probably come back on, the good news I can ignore it for now. Sometimes the melding of technology and mechanics for the purpose of making life easier is not such a good thing!