Monday, May 25, 2009

Random Thoughts on This Memorial Day

My emotional worlds are colliding this Memorial Day.

Connor (that's him in the brown stripes just days before the accident that took his life) has been gone for two years and the grief still sneaks up on us. I lost it last week during a Law & Order re-run of all things. I tear up when I hear about a kid getting their drivers permit because Connor should be taking drivers ed. this year and picking out an old truck to drive. We traveled to Midland on Friday and drove past the final resting place of his body as tears ran down my cheeks. I know it's not his final resting place, but it hurts just the same.

And yet...

We were in Midland for his brother Hutton's graduation. He's the one in the gown posing with just a few of his adoring cousins. Tears of great joy fill my eyes now and pride wells up in my heart as I consider the man Hutton has become. What a blessing to be able to truly celebrate his accomplishments, but more than that, to thank God for the obvious things He's doing in Hutton's life. He has felt pain more deeply and dealt with tragedy more personally than most, but he has learned to lean on God and modeled faith in ways to which I can only aspire.


Stephanie and I are celebrating 13 years of marriage today! Lucky 13 had its ups and downs but we held on to each other and realize how blessed we are even when difficult times come along. Steph's love, loyalty and tenacity for doing the right thing even when it's the most difficult thing are the reasons I love her. The girls and I couldn't be more richly blessed!


I'm also mindful of those to whom this day is really dedicated; people who are remembering loved ones lost in long ago battles and in the wars that continue to rage on today. I pray for peace and that the devastation's wrought by war will only be known by my children's children from what they read in history books.
Grace and Peace to you today.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Power of the Blessing

I recently left a ministry position after 5 years at a church. My wife and I felt for many reasons that it was time to begin a new season of life. We felt good about how God had used us and I had been led to believe by the leadership and congregation that I had done a good job. So I felt confident about both the timing of our departure and that we had served well. We also did our best to leave in a manner that would cause as little disruption as possible and believe we were able to accomplish that too.

All that, coupled with the fact that I consider myself to be a fairly well adjusted and self-confident person, should have added up to a peaceful exit. But it didn't. The week after my last Sunday I was filled with self doubt and a spirit of heaviness. Transitions are always uncomfortable but I wanted the peace that I thought would come with finishing well and following what I believed was God's will. I was really struggling.

Then last week we got a call from some good friends inviting us out to dinner. They said they just wanted to tell us how much they appreciated what God did through us at the church. After dinner they invited us to their home for dessert. When we arrived at their house we were SURPRISED by about 30 others from church who were there with gifts, cards and best of all, a time of rich blessing for us!

I honestly do not have the words to express the power of those blessings. It was as if God spoke directly to us through those beautiful friends and we left that night feeling as though a weight had been lifted! It was one of the sweetest times I've ever experienced. I admit that after the initial surprise (and we were honestly surprised) I felt a little embarrassed at the attention and the fact that I'd been feeling sorry for myself for the last week. But the Spirit quickly said, "Receive this!" And we did. We listened carefully and drank in those prayers and blessings.

What an important lesson this was for me! Being on the receiving end of those powerful blessings reminded me how important it is to bless others; to mark time and acknowledge good works by celebrating on a regular basis. Because the simple truth is blessings are how God releases people into His next plans for them. You can make that step without receiving a blessing, but it's exponentially more difficult.

Thank you to all those who blessed us that night and to others who couldn't be there but sent cards. We felt your blessings too. Now go and speak the blessings of the Lord over others with words and deeds and when someone blesses you with a simple thank you or a favor or a gift, "Receive it!"

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Back Roads Band

I'm singing with a new band these days called the Back Roads Band. The band has been around for awhile, I'm just the new guy. We play everything from Eagles to James Taylor to Beatles, Vince Gill, Rolling Stones and .38 Special. We are available for private parties and weddings, but we are actually playing a public gig this Saturday night at Reposados in Colleyville -

We are supposed to start around 8:00, so if you're in the D/FW area come check us out. I promise we'll have a lot of fun.