Saturday, August 27, 2016 we know it.

I'm not sure, really, where to start this. In my mind, this has all the makings of a rant, and that is not the intention that I have. Part of me feels that I should be careful what I type here. That I should be mindful of who can read this and who might be offended by it. Part of me feels like I should just throw caution to the wind and let the full, unadulterated passion of my soul just pour itself out in this post, consequences be damned!

  To err on the side of caution means I cannot be true to my heart, while to err on the side of recklessness means I won't be taken seriously. But is the middle ground any better an option? Is compromise truly the way we are to express ourselves? Always biting our tongues to keep from offending whatever nameless group we're supposed to be cowering down before this week while coddling some inner child with self indulgent lies that we're "secretly" doing God's work? Have we gotten so good at the "secret" fight that it's become secret even to us?

  Even God?

  Have we gotten so drunk off the kool-aid that when we read Revelations 3: 15-17 we miss that the lukewarm mindset He's talking about is the same one we've embraced?

  I know I'm not the first one to point out the fact that Christianity as we know it is on the decline. I'm pretty sure I'm one of the very few believers that is celebrating it, though.

  Let me explain that...

  Christianity as we know it in the U.S.A. is declining. And that's a good thing. Because Christianity as we know it is not compatible to the message that Christ brought us. It is not compatible to the message that Peter and James and Paul and all of the other countless martyrs of the faith died for. Before I completely lose everyone here, let me clarify that I fully believe true Christianity is growing. Not just here, but world wide. I do believe that there are millions of God fearing, Jesus loving believers out there, in the trenches, day in-day out, fighting the good fight and spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to all of the nations. For every mega church pastor and best selling author out there, there are a hundred-thousand laymen preaching the true gospel through thought and act and deed. Known, not by the number of twitter followers or facebook likes or the size and scope of their buildings, but by the Love that Christ said would set them apart from the world. The Church is alive and well and thriving. The Church will prevail against the very gates of Hell!

   It is churches that are in decline.

  Christianity "as we know it" is being exposed for the lie that it is. And that is a very good thing.

  I could fill the rest of this page with countless examples of this, but that would not serve anyone. I have no intention of trying to remove your specks, knowing full well the weight of my plank. Instead, I want to ask you a question. Or, rather, I want you to ask yourself a question:

  Would Jesus approve of this?

  Seriously. Stop whatever you are doing and give that question the attention it deserves. Many of us only ask that question once a week as we look at what we're wearing to the building we've mistaken for The Church. How different would your life look if you asked that question more often? Would you live the way you live? Would you work the way you work? Would you treat others the way you treat them? Pastors, would your church look and act like it does? Parents, would your children behave the way that they do? Husbands, would you treat your wives the way you do? Wives, would you treat your husbands the way you do? Maybe I'm just being way too hard on myself, but when I ask myself the question, I keep coming up with "no" as the answer.

  I see good people compromise their beliefs every day because they have never learned to trust the God of the Bible. I see others who think they are in good shape because they said a magic prayer once that cleansed all of their sins, yet they've never developed the relationship that actually will cleanse them. I see people I love and care for choose money as their master because they just can't understand the life of trust and sacrifice Jesus calls us to. I see so many people nodding their heads in agreement with the multitude of genuine pastors and preachers out there only to return to the same lifestyles of addiction and shame that they just agreed in their hearts was wrong. Is this just me? Is this you?

 In the name of tolerance and political correctness, Christianity as we know it has compromised its position, its purity and its direction. Christianity as we know it is more concerned with pleasing Mammon than God. More concerned with appearances than with substance. Christianity as we know it has turned it's back on the freedom Christ offered and has willingly bent to the yoke of worldly indulgences and sinful lusts. Christianity as we know it is more interested in copyrighting, marketing and gaining exclusive rights to sell what Jesus has offered us for free.

  Christianity as we know it is dying. And that is a good thing.

  So, examine your heart. Examine your life. Ask yourself if Jesus would approve of it, or would he be flipping over the tables and chasing out the money-changers of your soul? Are you serving God or are you serving Mammon? Are you a follower of Christ or just christianity as we know it?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

5 Reasons I'm going to see Noah.

So there's been a lot of press recently over the new Darren Aronofsky interpretation of Noah. While I don't try to make a habit of fanning the flames on stuff like this, there are several reasons why I feel like I need to sound off this time. So, here are the top 5 reasons why I'm going to see Noah.

1. I like movies.
Movies have been a part of my life since I was a little kid and some of my best memories with my Dad were watching movies together and then talking about them. If you hang out with me for any amount of time at all and are even just a little influenced by movies, you'll catch me quoting movies line for line during otherwise normal conversations. I like movies for as many different reasons as there are genres and sub-genres of movies. I like them for the stories, the laughs, the special effects, the plot holes, the campy acting, the not-so-special effects... movies are an escape for me. And this one looks like it fits several categories of goodness to me.

2. I'm used to being disappointed by "movies based on---"
Usually, this category of disappointment falls under the movies based on a book. I have seen hundreds of movies that were based on or adapted to film from a written source and cannot think of a single one of these that even came close to getting it right. I'm used to it. I usually lower the bar of expectations if I'm seeing live action versions of what my mind has already made up things for. Sometimes, I'm even pleasantly surprised by the results, but not often. Generally, books don't translate well to cinema because books contain insane amounts of internal dialogue from the narrator or significant details that seem campy when pointed out by a speaking character in the movie. The end result is that screenwriters and directors have to decide what to include, what to not include, and what to embellish to make a movie that fits into a 90 minute to 2hr time frame. It's hard to do, and the results are often disastrous. In this case, we're talking about a written story that has several hundred years of history crammed into a few lines of text that has been expanded into a 2 hour movie. That fact alone implies that ANYONE making this movie would have to stray away from the source text. Period.

 I'm used to being disappointed by "movies based on---" pt 2
The other big category is movies based on true events. (For the record, I fully believe Noah is both categories) Generally, the problem with this category is that true stories are boring. Hollywood has a nasty reputation of taking a true story that is slightly interesting and then going completely overboard to make it entertaining. The end result is that people doubt the reality of the actual events it was based on in the first place thus ruining the cinematic experience. Again, we have a different set of circumstances with Noah. Here we have a story based on true events that seems so fantastic and unbelievable that even some believers doubt the reality of the events. From what I've seen of the previews, this movie brings those events to life in a way that seems at least credible, if not completely believable.

3. I don't usually agree with critics.
Usually, I'd be talking about paid movie critics that seem to have absolutely no taste for actual good movies but we somehow are supposed to  listen to them and take their opinions seriously. Movie critics have a worse batting average with me than a weather forecaster in Arkansas, and there have been many movies that I've rushed out to see simply because the critics hated it. Some of those have ended up being personal favorites. In this case though, I'm talking about the critics who are bashing this movie without having seen it and with no intentions of doings so. I simply cannot respect the opinion of a critic who is basing their judgement solely off of hearsay.

4. At least he's been honest...
I'm talking about Aronofsky here. There's been a lot of talk about how he's trying to trick good Christian folk into seeing this "Bible Movie" and then inundate them with blasphemies and social agendas. Firstly, every movie ever made has some sort of agenda and most of them are rife with blasphemies. Some are hidden better than others, but they ALL HAVE THEM! Secondly, every  interview I've seen with Aranofsky he has flat out denied that this is a biblical movie. He is upfront about his beliefs, and he's up front about the fact that he's an entertainer. To him this was just another script, not an attempt at a spiritual revival. What gets me is that many of the same critics (and even friends) that I've seen attack this point are the same ones who sang the praises of the "Bible" mini-series which was done by professing Christians and contained so many biblical errors that it makes me want to scream. The same people that demonize this movie for distorting and corrupting the Word of God (holding out my opinion on this point until I've actually seen it, thank you) will happily turn around and sing the praises of the prosperity gospel and the hick-accent preachers that embrace it. Aranofsky's honesty and bluntness are actually refreshing when compared to the excuses and slippery non-answers these charlatans dance around with.

5. Last but not least...I aint scared. 
 One of the biggest arguments I've heard against seeing this movie is that it could challenge some people's faith. To which I have to ask...What kind of puny god are you worshiping? The God that I worship made Darren Aronofsky and did so full well knowing that he would eventually make this movie. My God is not threatened by this puny speck of a mortal, and my faith is not going to suffer because of a two hour experience in a theater. If your faith is that fragile, you need to have a serious look at the god you are following and the depth of your relationship with him. This man and this movie have only the power or lack thereof that the creator of the universe gives them. No more, no less.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Go Limp

“Go limp!”

  It was one of those orders that brooked no quarter, left no room for debate. That, and the fact that the voice sounded suspiciously and irrationally like my grandfather, compelled me to obey. So I went limp. To this day, I’m not sure if that saved me, or caused more pain, but for the sake of argument, we will go with saved.

   A 1976 Chevrolet Suburban is two and a half tons of steel, aluminum and plastic and when traveling at 35 miles per hour is almost guaranteed to make short work of a scrawny, 130 pound fourteen year old, and it did so to me.To be perfectly honest, I don’t remember the impact. I have no recollection of the fender meeting my shin, or my face kissing the hood. I don’t recall flopping across the front of the giant, rusted-tan beast or skidding under it to be introduced to the black asphalt and tar beneath it. In fact, my memory skips straight from a command that my grandfather couldn’t possibly give to laying on my back and trying to make sense of the nearly white gravel pebbles stuck in the deep treads of the rear wheel of a very large tire mere inches from my nose. 

  It was several more seconds before the pain hit.

  It came in waves, and was made all the more confusing by the fact that my other senses were scrambled. I had a first person perspective of what cartoon characters must see when the stars are floating around their heads. The tire I was looking at was intermittently obscured by rapidly flashing white light. The pungent odor of asphalt, old oil and burned rubber was overpowering, but seemed more like someone else describing the smell than me actually smelling it. I heard sounds, but in the same distant, echoing sense I had experienced when I swam too deep at the pool and my eardrums popped. The only thing I could taste was the salted copper that some distant part of my mind associated with blood. 

  It was another, equally distant part of my brain that was trying desperately to inform the rest of me that I was hurt. Bad. Unfortunately, that distant part was being argued with by the much nearer knowledge that going limp couldn’t possibly cause this much pain and therefor I was fine. So I attempted to sit up. When nothing happened, I realized the right side of my body wasn’t working. So I told the left side to sit up and was able to move my arm enough to leverage my torso into a near vertical position. I regretted that immediately. 

  Needles of pain rocketed up from my wrist to my shoulder. The flashing lights were replaced by a piercing lance of pure white agony that started, somehow, at the back of my skull. I felt bile rise to the back of my throat and something in the base of my nasal cavity erupted into my mouth and out over swollen lips. I tried to breath, and began choking as my lungs rebelled against their only purpose. Each cough was accompanied by the white lance of pained vision, and between those bursts I was able to see what had become of my right leg. 

  From the knee up, everything looked fine. About three inches below the knee, though, the leg took a sudden and unnatural turn left. Through the torn flesh, I could see the splintered white of bone that was my shin. I looked at it with a sort of dazed detachment, as if it was some other unfortunate boy’s leg. Somewhere in my chest, I could feel my heart thudding against my ribs. The blood spurting from the slivers of bone was flowing in the same rhythm, making it clear even to my disoriented consciousness that it was indeed my own leg. That sight faded, and so did the white light. As inky blackness came in from both sides, someone, somewhere, screamed.

  “Do you know your name?”

  If it hadn’t been for the seriousness of the man’s tone, I would have thought he was joking. Of course I knew my name. It was Ben. So I told him that. But somewhere between thinking and speaking, everything got weird and even my ears heard the answer as “Vmphn.” I tried again, and felt something in my teeth keeping me from forming the essential sounds of my own name. Whatever it was felt like a cross between over-chewed bubblegum and the stringy tendons you sometimes get in a steak. I felt almost triumphant when I figured out that something was my lower lip, but then the awful implications of that discovery sank in and I gave up on answering the man’s questions. 

  Time went all wonky from that point on. There were more questions, more incoherent answers, and more pain as the paramedics maneuvered me into the ambulance. I remember that same voice speaking to someone else and hearing the phrases like “concussed, internal hemorrhaging, and possible compound fracture.” That last one made me want to slap him. Even I knew that my leg was well beyond “possible compound fracture.” 

  Our arrival at the hospital was accompanied by more voices, more questions, and yes, more pain, as they rushed me from the ambulance and into the sterile halls of Bate’s Memorial. At this point, I became distinctly aware that I was not in me anymore. The pain was fading, and I was looking down at someone that vaguely reminded me of me. I watched, fascinated, as they pried my lower lip away from my teeth and began setting the bones in my right hand and wrist. Then they moved to my leg, and I was me again; just in time to feel bone scraping against bone as they snapped my shin back into a more natural position. I heard that scream again, and it took a couple of seconds to realize it was coming from my own throat. 

  Darkness again. 

  I woke to more questions. But this time, the questions were being asked by familiar voices and the answers came from someone who sounded calm, but in charge. I opened my eyes and saw a stranger with dark hair and small, professor-looking glasses. He was looking over me and speaking to someone behind me. Most of what he said didn’t make sense. Something about craniums, and bruising and vegetables. There were some percentages thrown in there, and something about wheelchairs, tibias, and rest of life. I heard crying, and the realization that this squinty eyed stranger had just informed my mother that I was probably going to be a vegetable, and if not, I would never walk again without aid. I heard the desperation in her cries, and that gave me the strength to recognize the lie being told. So I reached out and grabbed her hand. Her eyes locked onto mine, and I concentrated to make sure the words came out correctly.

  “Mom, I’m gonna be okay.”

And I was right.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why We Spit In Your Food

  One of the great tragedies of our modern culture is the decline of cooking and eating at home. While this decline has had wonderful results for the companies and individuals who operate the multi-billion dollar restaurant industry, the poor grunts who man the front lines are often abused, neglected, or treated like a sub-class of human. This, in turn, has led to a vast and varied amount of rumors and horror stories about the things that take place in the dark reaches of the restaurant that the customer is not allowed to see. Chief among these rumors is that, on occasion, a vengeful cook or server may take it upon themselves to add an ingredient to one’s food that appears nowhere on any menu. Sadly, spitting in food is a true and frequent reality of nearly every restaurant. Luckily, this reality can be avoided entirely simply by not exhibiting a specific set of character flaws. Read on, and take note, because if you have ever exhibited these traits in public, this is why we spit in your food.

 On any given day, you will have about a 50/50 chance at having a bad day. Sometimes, the bad day happens due to circumstances you can control but chose not to. Perhaps you hit snooze one too many times and were late to work. Maybe your water was shut off because you forgot to pay the bill. Often, circumstances beyond your control can cause your day to hit rock bottom. Was it bad traffic? Did a freak storm catch you without an umbrella? Whatever the case may be, if your day has gone so bad that you feel you have the right to take it out on another human being who, by the course of their job has no choice but to take it without retort, you should probably not go out to eat. You see, bad days are contagious. The fact that by the time you make it to your table and order drinks your host and server have probably already been infected does not bode well for you. Unless, of course, you enjoy saliva mixed in with your Caesar dressing.

  Of all the inventions thrust upon the mainstream of mankind, none have had such a drastic and detrimental effect on basic decency as the cellular phone. For some reason, having one of these devices next to one’s ear seems to inhibit a large percentage of the population from being able to recall the basic rules of etiquette and social interaction. I’m sure the conversation you are having is one that will result in curing cancer or solving the economic issues of several countries, but you could still have the common decency to pause for just a moment and use something other than your fingers to indicate how many people are in your party. Also, it wouldn’t kill you to, instead of gesturing vaguely at a menu with 40+ items, place your hand over the mouthpiece of the phone and speak to the actual human trying to take your order. Most of the people I have discussed this with would gladly support mandatory scrambling devices that cause a freakishly loud noise to emit from the headset of all active phones upon entering a restaurant thus rendering the rude bastard attached to it deaf for the better part of a week. Since this is still a long way off, victims of this behavior will instead resort to a well placed glob of phlegm beneath the Swiss cheese of your French Onion soup.
  While we’re on the subject of rudeness, if ever in your entire life you have answered the question “How are you doing today?” with “Diet Coke,” you can rest assured that you have ingested copious amounts of premeditated drool. Honestly, where else but a restaurant can this happen? If you see an acquaintance on the street and they ask how you are, answering in the form of a beverage will, at best, award you with a strange look. In some cities, this behavior can result in bodily harm and a trip to the dentist. Frankly speaking, whether you were hospitalized for doing this or merely the unassuming victim of saliva poisoning, you had it coming.

 When I was a child, my parents hammered into my still developing mind a simple and basic rule of dining: If it’s on your plate, be thankful and eat it. Maybe I was the only child in the history of the world who was taught this. Maybe you were also taught this, and in some depraved quest for rebellion or anarchy you decided to not only break this rule, but to order the one thing on the menu that is made mostly of things you don’t like to eat. You then proceed to modify the order so much that it no longer comes close to resembling anything on the menu and the cook has to spend fifteen minutes deciphering instructions so exact that he has flashbacks to his last job doing bomb disposal. On the other hand, you could wait until the item is brought to you and then decide to inform your server that you forgot to mention your severe allergies to swine when ordering the bacon and ham stuffed pork chop. Make no mistake, in both cases you will be served up a side of tonsil lube.

 By this point, you might be thinking that this whole thing is pretty one sided. Your mind is probably thinking back to those times when you didn’t break any of these rules and yet, as so often happens, your dining experience was hampered by the ineptitude of an employee. Your food was prepared wrong, your steak was overcooked, you didn’t get your appetizer and the soup was cold. Should you fear the retaliation of the people involved with this mishap by voicing your complaint? Absolutely not. As long as you remain civil and rational, the servers and cooks will do their best to remedy the situation. However, should you lash out at the young lady who brought you your overcooked steak and make comments about her upbringing, social standing, education level or possible alternative occupations with words that would make a sailor blush; you should be aware that she didn’t cook your steak. Her boyfriend did, though, and as soon as he sees her tear streaked face while she tries to write the re-cook ticket for the steak he’s about to throw on the grill… Well, I think you see where this is going.

  I hope this has helped to shed some light on how your behavior as a human being can determine how well you eat when dining out. If some of this is a little convicting, you should consider going to every restaurant you frequent and humbly apologizing to the staff. You might even apologize to your friends who dine with you as they may have been victims themselves simply for being with you. One last thing: If you are in the habit of using one of those automatic tip calculators, you should know that someone, somewhere, will be spitting in your food.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Calming the Storm has been a long time since I posted anything here. Life has been pretty hectic for a while now, but that is hardly an excuse. I think my absence from this blog has been largely due to the fact that I have been in a maelstrom the past year and have hardly been able to gather my thoughts, much less write them out. On the other hand, the winds and waves that life has sent my way have given me a new and profound perspective on how God has been at work in my life.
From an outsider's view, I have pretty much hit the bottom. I have been unemployed for the better part of 16 months, my job searches have proven fruitless, and every venture I set myself to seems to yield nothing but wasted time and effort. From a worldly perspective, I am a failure.
While my friends and family are supportive and loving, there seems to be an undercurrent of pity, and in some cases, down right scorn. I understand these sentiments, because in the past I have felt the same way about others. Self-righteousness and pride have often blinded me to the truth of this world, the fight we are in, and my own role in that battle. I have come to the conclusion that these are the very things that God has been exposing in me, and through that exposure, cleansing me of.
As I said, I have been in a storm of epic proportions. Simple things, like paying bills and providing food and shelter for my family, have taken on a level of difficulty that I would never have believed possible a few years ago. There have been many times over the past year and a half that I have wondered how I would make it, and if I even really cared if I did. The storm has been dark, and it has stripped me of everything that I used to depend on or stake my identity on.
That, I think, is exactly what God had in mind.
In Matthew chapter 8, there is a short snippet of a story in which Jesus and the disciples have taken to the open sea only to encounter a tremendous storm. While the passage doesn't include a whole lot of details, by looking at the characters involved you can flesh out quite a bit of the story. Many of the disciples were fishermen. They had grown up on the sea and in boats, and surely had faced a few storms. I imagine that they reacted as fishermen would, to this storm, bailing water, fastening lines and sails,basically doing everything in their power to survive. When all hope is lost, they turn in panic to Jesus.
I can relate to this story. I have been working since I was 13 years old, always depending on my own abilities and intelligence to make it. Jobs seemed to come easy, and through hard work and determination, I excelled at whatever I did. God rarely, if ever, entered the picture. Until I got fired. Then, the next job I took ended suddenly when the owners closed the doors to their restaurant.
I felt my world crumbling around me. My confidence was shattered. The abilities and experience that I had relied on for so long were now empty and useless. Opportunity after opportunity slipped through my fingers and I began to feel isolated. Alone. Hopeless.
Like the disciples, it wasn't until all hope seemed lost that I turned to Jesus for help. As in their story, Jesus proved that no storm is beyond His control. As in their story, He also made it clear to me that he was with me in the boat the entire time. As He rebuked my storm, He showed me all the ways that he had sheltered me from it. The provision that He had given. The grace that He had shown. Like the disciples, I felt foolish for my doubts.
He also reminded me of another story. In this story, the disciples are once again on the open sea and facing the wind and waves. This time, Jesus had sent them ahead, and in obedience, they were facing danger. In my story, my desire to walk in obedience has me, once again, facing a storm. In their story, Jesus comes to them; walking on water, rebuking their fear. My story is much the same. I see Christ is present in the storm. Like Peter, I am attempting to defy all logic and reason and walk on water toward my Savior. Thanks to the telling of this story, I understand That as long as I keep my eyes on Him and ignore the storm raging around me, I will be fine. I have assurance that he can, and will, calm this storm as well...
...and something great is going to happen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

This morning I woke refreshed and well rested to the sounds of my children getting the presents and cards they picked out for me ready. The cards were sweet, the presents wonderful, but they can't yet understand that the best Father's Day present of all is simply their presence here. The sounds of their laughter, the smiles on their faces, and the simple yet profound completeness I feel when I hug each of them and tell them I love them.
I'm relatively new at this Father thing, having only been doing it for five years, and every day holds a new lesson and new blessings. I marvel at how fast they are growing, how quickly they learn and adapt. How much of their mother and me they are and how completely unique each of them are at the same time. It blows my mind.
Shelley is sixteen and blossoming into a beautiful young woman. Although I've only been a part of her life for a short time, it brings me great joy to watch her growth. She has such a warm, generous spirit and a heart overflowing with compassion and caring. She is quick to laugh and has a smile that can light up a room. I call her daughter and mean it from my heart, and still consider the birthday she started calling me "Dad" one of the greatest of my life.
Alaia, our little miracle, is now four. Her name means "joy" and she has certainly lived up to that title. I will never forget the joy I felt when Melissa told me she was pregnant, the devastation I felt when the ER doctor told us she had miscarried, and the elation when two weeks later we found out he had been wrong. Nor will I forget the moment when our doctor placed her in my arms for the first time and I understood humility. I suddenly and fully understood what it meant to be a father, and how undeniably unqualified I was to fill that roll. My heart cried out to God, and He answered. He agreed with me, but promised to help and has been faithful to that promise ever since. Alaia has grown so much since that day, and we have learned together how to make it work. She looks up to me, requires tickles and cuddles, and delights in making me laugh.
Natica followed shortly after Alaia, and has been trying to get ahead of her ever since. She has the most amazing intelligence and wit for a three year old I've ever seen. Her sense of humor is deep and thoughtful, she is already a gifted artist and showing an aptitude for acrobatics and dance. She can sing with the volume and control of someone much older and has the most contagious laughter of all my children.
Jonah is all boy. When he was only a few weeks out of the womb our pediatrician diagnosed him with "failure to thrive." I think he heard that, understood it, and with typical Shannon family stubbornness has fought to prove her wrong ever since. Despite having three sisters, or perhaps because of it, he has naturally gravitated to toys of a masculine nature. The first toy he ever picked out for himself was a foam katana. Later that night, I found him in his room slaying his stuffed dragon. So proud:) He loves music, loves to be the center of attention, and loves the Lord. He holds all of us accountable for saying prayers before meals and bedtime, and gives an exuberant shout and claps when the prayer is complete.
I cannot truly express how blessed I feel, or how thankful I am to have the rare opportunity to know these wonderful souls as intimately as I do. I cannot fully express the daunting challenge and pressure I feel to protect and nurture this gift that God has given me. I don't know if I'll ever live up to the lessons and legacy that my own father left in me, or ever come to grips with how much I miss him. What I do know is how thankful I am that I did have a good example of what a father is supposed to be like, and that I will, with God's help, pass that example on to my children as well.
Happy Father's Day to all you other dad's out there, and God bless you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Earlier this month, I began a journey that has forced me to consider just how much faith I actually have and where it is placed. This journey was jump-started with the abrupt and unexpected loss of my job. Since then, I've been on a roller-coaster of stress, anger, fear and other emotions I'm not familiar enough with to give a name to. I've also been witness to some of the most amazing outpouring of care and love that I've ever seen outside of my own family. Friends and family alike have rallied around us to give advice, support, encouragement and even some unexpected Christmas gifts for our kids. We had a wonderful, quiet, white Christmas with the kids, and have not yet felt the true sting of the major loss of income we're facing. But as the New Year approaches, the bank account dwindles, and no real prospects have panned out, the old creeping fear starts dancing through my thoughts and keeping me awake at night.
Its during these sleepless hours that I struggle with my faith and I've prayed with all my might to be able to overcome my weakness. In my heart, I know that God is in complete control of our situation, that He loves us and will not let us down. But my mind races down avenues of possibilities and worst case scenarios that are all too close to simply ignore.
Then, a couple of nights ago, my son taught me an important lesson about faith. Shortly after learning to walk, he learned to climb. It has been a constant battle since then to keep him off the higher furniture and counters in the house and prevent a major accident occurring. As my wife and I were preparing dinner, I heard the tell-tell sound of his grunts as he scaled some piece of our kitchen landscape. I turned to see him just cresting the top of the dinner table. I scolded him, and told him to get down. He smiled at me (ladies, beware this smile) and took two steps forward--
right off the edge of the table. His smile never wavered for an instant, and he even laughed out loud as I caught him a few inches from impact. Heart hammering in my chest, I was on the verge of reprimanding him until it hit me...
My son had just demonstrated the true and perfect faith that we should have in our Heavenly Father.
Later that night, I wept as I prayed. Not the tears of frustration or fear that had been pressing on the backs of my eyes for weeks, but tears of joy, faith even. I felt truly at peace with the knowledge that even though I feel like I'm hurtling over the edge of a cliff, God is waiting with open arms to catch me and put me back on solid ground.
Regards, Chimneyphish