Archives For struggles

I’m Here For You

randomlychad  —  March 10, 2014 — 4 Comments

Hi. How’s your day today? If your night was anything like mine you went to bed far too late and were awakened far too early.


Becoming a parent

Entering my forties

Being diagnosed with sleep apnea

I have more nights/days like that. Rest is a fleeting commodity. Add to that work pressures, comitments, obligations, family issues, and sometimes I want to pull the escape hatch.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same, right?

Sometimes life is too much.

But I’m a guy. I’m supposed to be tough, stong…

I’m suposed to be able to handle it. Thing is, I don’t always. I don’t handle it at all well. Sometimes, my coping strategies involve just about exactly the wrong thing.

I have struggles I don’t want to have.

My prayer of late, after trying to lay ahold of kingdom promises, has simply been:

“I’m not strong, I don’t have it altogether. God, be merciful to me, a sinner.”

How about you?

If you’re a guy, and you’re going through something you’d rather not be, I want you to know:


I’m here for you. This blog is a safe place. It exists for our mutual comfort and encouragement.

I’m here for you.

Can I count on you when life is hard?

I want to tell you about my friend.

My lunatic friend.

You wouldn’t know it by looking at him. No, from the outside looking in he appears to be as normal as anyone else. He’s calm, cool, collected. Has his stuff together.

Or at least appears to.

But in his chest beats the heart of a beast.

Yes, despite all appearances to the contrary, he doesn’t have it all together. He knows it, and it drives him up a wall!

He is a mass of conflicting desires, thoughts, emotions, pent up frustrations. He wants life to get easier.

But it never does.

It never does.

You see, my lunatic friend can fake it with the best of them. He can pose.

But in his heart he knows:

He’s not strong

He hasn’t got it all together

And prays everyday, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.”

You might know my lunatic friend. He’s me, you see. He’s me–and you, and everyone who’s ever lived.

“For the flesh lusts against the spirit,and the spirit against the flesh. The two are contrary to one another.” And no matter how long we walk with Christ the flesh never gets better. We can get better at resisting its allure.

But it is never sanctified. Our souls are. But not our bodies. “Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

We, as long as we are here on this earth, shall never be sinless. But let us pray fervently to sin less and less. And let us remember to be as forgiving towards the lunatic friends of others as we are of our own. That to my mind is what it means to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Are you brave enough to admit you have a luntic friend? Are you ready to do something about that? Put it down in words below.

God bless you!

A Soft Place to Fall

randomlychad  —  November 11, 2013 — 4 Comments

Widely regarded as the best film in the franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark is replete with iconic lines. Lines such as:

“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage,” and

“I’m making this up as I go.”

This is true of me, too: my life has (if not similar adventures, or dangers) been a process of making it up as I go. Not having examples, or mentors, I’ve had to figure out how to be a husband and dad. And I thought coming to Christ would fill my life with meaning and purpose; in a sense, it has.

However, at forty-four, I’m still not sure what I’m supposed to do, or who I’m supposed to be. I have a great job, which had become a career, that I fell into. (Looking back, I believe it was God guiding me). The job provides for my family and I, but it’s not fulfilling in the deepest sense. In fact, I can’t point to any one thing which has fulfilled me.

That, I think, is my problem–the crux of the matter. I’m still, at forty-four, looking to things outside of myself to define me. It’s a never-ending quest, a fruitless pursuit. The Constitution guarantees me the right to pursue happiness, but never defines just what that happiness is.

Don’t get me wrong: I have a wonderful wife, two great kids who adore me, and more blessings than I know what to do with. Everything I’ve looked to give me purpose and meaning has turned to dust and ashes. Victories which tasted sweet in my mouth turned sour in my belly.

Even this blog. I came to blogging in earnest when some real life friendships came to their different ends. The hard truth here is that friends are not friends forever (no matter what Michael W. Smith sings). The things I previously discussed with friends needed an outlet.

So I came here.

And mostly you (collectively) have been most kind, welcoming me with open arms. For this I’m very thankful.

But I would like to also apologize for placing upon you a burden you were never meant to carry; namely, I’m sorry for trying to elicit from you tacit statements that I matter. (“Please love me”).

My heart is a needy beast.

Everything I’ve done, if it’s been about anything, it’s about that: wanting to know that I matter. Because I grew up in a story where I didn’t. My dad was too lost in his own woundedness to pay any attention. And my mom was too busy trying to bridge gap.

Listen: I know I matter to my Heavenly Father. I know what’s true. But knowing and feeling are often two very different things. And it’s all too easy to lose sight of what one knows in the trenches of life. The voices tell me I don’t matter, but what’s true is that I’m loved by my Heavenly Father, that I’m a husband of almost twenty-three years, and a dad to two wonderful, precocious, sometimes frustrating, but always awesome kids.

No matter what else I do in life–if I never publish a book, or never do anything other than resolve technical issues
–no one can take that away from me.

I only hope that my kids aren’t as hobbled coming out of the gate. That they know their parents love them. That they know Jesus loves them.

That no matter what life throws at them they know that they are loved, and have a soft place to fall.

How about you? Who was your soft place growing up? Who’s your soft place now? Are you a soft place for someone?

It’s late, and I’m rambling. Please don’t forget about the Church Hopper giveaway here: Church Hoppers to the Rescue Click through to enter. Thanks!

In Romans seven, the Apostle Paul writes much of the opposing laws which are at work in his members (his body and spirit). That in his mind he wishes to obey the law of God, but finds a different law at work in his body: that of sin and death. What he would, he does not; what he would not, that he does.

He ends the chapter with a lament:

“Who shall deliver me from this body of death?”

From history, we’re told that this metaphor had its basis in fact: one of the crueller forms of execution was to lash a corpse to the condemned, exile them, and allow them to be slowly killed by the putrefaction of the corpse.

Give me a quick, clean death, folks.

Yet for most of us, it doesn’t happen this way: we are born dead, and continue to slowly die by degrees. Until our flesh dies indeed. Thence to stand before God, making an account of our deeds.

Those of us who, like Paul before us, are believers, are in a sense bipolar: we are alive in spirit, but still carrying around our dead flesh. We are a people of dualing natures. Like Paul, we want to obey God; like him, we do the things we would not. Having walked with God for twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years, or more, our flesh is no more sanctified than a mere babe in Christ’s.

But really the battle is not in the flesh, rather in the mind. The mind is the battleground, where the unholy three wage tireless war against us:

The world, the flesh, and the devil.

Assaults on our bodies drag our minds down, making us more likely to succumb to temptation. Likewise, pleasure sings its siren song–promising succor, rest, but delivering instead death. And old slewfoot (the devil) whispers in ways th only he can, telling us we deserve, or need, want, or are owed…

But it’s a lie.

What we deserve is death. Christ for our sins was crucified, the righteous for the unrighteous, paying a debt he did not owe. One which we could not pay. In his mercy, God provided the way of atonement.

It is a narrow path, fraught with both victories, and setbacks. Still his love covers a multitude of sins, and his grace is sufficient. When we are weak, we are strong: for his strength is made perfect in our weakness.

For myself, if I’ve learned anything from my wife’s illness it’s how very weak, and frail, I am. How in my impotency and powerlessness I’m so quick to seek succor in escape (reading, television, liquor) rather than at the feet of my Lord.

“Who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God! Through Jesus Christ our Lord!”