Archives For growth

'Oppositions' photo (c) 2009, Iliazd - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/Those of you who have been readers here for awhile know about the appeal for help I put out on Father’s Day. And you folks responded in a beautiful, and powerful, way. At a time when I was doubting the community we’re building here, you showed me. You honored the ways I invest myself here, on this platform, by investing in me.

That investment is about to come to fruition. Soon I will be heading off to the Wild At Heart Bootcamp. I am going for healing, and for hope. For the resolution of issues that have plagued me since childhood.

But just getting there might kill me.

Ransomed Heart, the organization the hosts the bootcamp, sent the following:

“What you are about to take part in may be one of the most spiritually significant experiences of your journey.

Expect opposition.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in
the faith.” 1 Peter 5

Arguments with your wife. Health problems. Being inundated with demands on you at the
office. Assaults against your strength, your character, your work, your reputation. Roadblocks coming up between you and the retreat. Men, please know, these are ALL indications that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. The evil one does not want you to walk forward and take part in what God has for you at this retreat.”

I acknowledged this upon receipt–not really giving it much thought. My bad.

But it has been proven to be entirely prescient, altogether true. All of these things have happened.

And I am kicking against the goads. I have lashed out, tried to defend my honor–instead of letting Jesus do it on my behalf.

Can I get real for a minute?

I have no fight left in me. I’m tired. But I don’t want to give up. I want what the Lord has for both me, and my family. I want it like nothing else. Pray that nothing comes between me and my going up to the mountains.

Will you commit to praying for me, and my family, from now through August twentieth? I covet your prayers. Please pray the Lord covers in all the areas, and indeed mends the wounds I have inflicted. For I am the rough beast that slouches towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born. But I would not be that beast anymore.

Thank-you, and God bless!

How may I pray for you?

How Much More So?

randomlychad  —  July 15, 2012 — 10 Comments

'God is good, all the time' photo (c) 2010, David Woo - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/Things have happened this year for my family and I—wonderful things. God has moved in amazing ways! We’ve seen needs met, and things unlooked for delivered—as the scriptures say—unto our bosoms. We have truly been blessed.

You have been a large part of this.

And yet there is a part of me that wonders when the other shoe will drop. Because of all the great kindnesses received, I’m looking about like a caged animal wondering when my world will fall in upon itself, and how can I get out?

How messed up is that?

It’s not that I’m questioning the goodness of God (although I guess I am), it’s rather more about experience.

It’s a place where faith runs smack dab into the exigencies of living in a fallen world.

For instance:

At thirteen, my dad took my brother and I to see Return of the Jedi, only to tell us afterwards that he was leaving my mom.

My wife and I married with hopes and dreams of family (which have since been fulfilled), only to be told we would never have children.

Those are but two of a lifetime of examples of something good always getting knocked back by a chaser of “bad.” The spoonful of sugar did nothing to abate the cadaverous taste. (A part of me wonders if God allows these things to teach a lesson about not getting too comfortable “down here.” Like maybe there’s a reason all of our joys are shot through with sorrow… Like the “dream home” that turns out to be nothing so much as quite a lot of work?).

The point is, somewhere along the way, I internalized this message: be wary of the good things that come your way, because something will always come along to chase the joy away. That is the voice of experience.

And it often screams louder than the voice of faith.

But God is not that way.

He is not the parent that takes a child to the movies just to soften the blow of bad news. Like the one will counterbalance the other? No, God speaks the truth in love—lovingly telling me who I am, and Who He is. His mercies may at times seem severe, but He is neither capricious, nor malicious: what He does He does for our ultimate good. He is epitome of good—the sum, and source, of it.

It is not for nothing that the Scriptures say:

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11, ESV).

Indeed.

“How much more?”

He is good, desires my good, and yet I hedge, anticipate the bad.

Why don’t I trust Him?

Why am I looking for the other shoe to fall?

Why do I feel guilty being blessed?

Why can’t I rest in the fundamental goodness of a good God?

Why these mistrustful eyes, darting about to and fro?

Why do I look for the cloud in the silver lining?

Why?

How about you?

Since about February of this year, I’ve been on what can be termed a “carbohydrate-restricted” diet. I’m sorry, I mean, don’t call it a “diet”–it’s a lifestyle. This lifestyle has been great for my waistline–I’ve lost close to 40lbs–but hasn’t improved my sleep apnea.

Not one bit. I thought by losing weight, I would improve my nighttime breathing. Well, not so much. In fact, if anything, the apnea has gotten worse.

Not only that, though I’ve lost weight, my total serum cholesterol is 212, and my LDL is 143. Not such good numbers.

This, despite my “lifestyle,” and moderate exercise. Guess it’s all in the genes, or something.

Thanks, mom and dad! Thanks a lot.

Anyway, I thought I could get a handle on this without any additional doctor visits, etc. But it’s not looking that way. (You in the peanut gallery: shut up! I know full well it sucks to be middle aged). So, it looks like another sleep study is in order, and with a recurrent staph infection in my left nostril, a visit to the otolaryngologist (otherwise, like Treebeard, known as an ENT) as well. I hate going to the doctor!

All of this added to what my wife is going through health-wise: diabetes, adhesive capsulitis (“frozen shoulder”–for which she has been enduring painful physical therapy thrice-weekly for sometime now), and various other health issues as well.

Added to which, our son has had some issues with bullies at school.

All of which is to say that this introvert’s heart is on overload. Life is too much right now. So much so, that I presently don’t really care about my healthy regimen. I mean: eat right, exercise daily, die anyway, right? So I may as well eat what I enjoy.

Awesome headspace to be in, right? Can I get an “Amen?”

As you can probably guess–if you read yesterday’s post–I’ve been somewhat surly and withdrawn lately. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife. 😉

I’m sorry if this sounds like a pity party; that’s not why I’m sharing. I’m just trying to be real with you.

Insofar as I know, I ain’t dyin’, but I feel–chronically–only about half alive. I guess what I’m saying is: I could use your prayers.

Thanks, and God bless!

How can I pray for you?

'The Equal Rights Amendment' photo (c) 2008, dbking - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In Western society, we are altogether too familiar with the words of Ephesians 5:22-24 (ESV), and how this passage has been abused, which says:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”

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'depression' photo (c) 2008, Rupert Ganzer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

So. I’ve mentioned that I have a piece in a book called Not Alone: Stories of Living with Depression. Yeah, it surprises me, too. Thing is, if you met me, you’d probably think “he seems like a pretty happy guy.”

The truth is: I get by.

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