Friday, August 26, 2011


I can tell when it's starting to happen. When the anger starts building up inside of me. When my blood starts to boil. Once again, I witness someone's negativity and self-centered ways spill over onto others. I get rattled to the point that I find myself imagining conversations, explaining with confident clarity that I don't want, we don't want, no one wants to be covered with the filth left in their wake. How does hate consume someone so completely, leaving not blindness, but actually drive? A sick feeling lingers as I eventually and consistently return to prayer for them.

For them.

And I hide my sins from others. Exposing the safe ones, the familiar, the common, but certainly not everything. No, everything would be too much for people, for friends, for family, for Him. If I try hard enough, and pretend long enough, I can trick anyone into believing that it's the muck and the mire that others are in and need to be saved from. They flaunt it with disregard, and I acknowledge it with pride. Finally it clicks, though, as I eventually and consistently return to prayer for me.

For me.

We all have darkness inside of us, but we all have light as well. Tears start to well up in my eyes thinking about what He did for people, what He did for you, what He did for me. What starts with sadness turns to joy. And a smile forms as I eventually and consistently return to prayer for Him.

For Him.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I like to play this game with my family and friends where I challenge us to consider how much money it would take to do something beyond our comfort level. Typically, it's about eating something that may disgust us, eating more than we could handle, or placing ourselves in a situation that would be extremely frightening to us. While I could spend a lot of time dissecting the fact that I use money as the item of enticement, or that I use food and fear as the challenge, the point here of mentioning my silly little game is something else entirely. Well, I think so.

My oldest daughter recently turned 12. It's the end of her tween years. Being a teenager is just around the corner. She's starting 7th grade. Her life is a whirlwind of change. For that matter, so is mine. So, I took her out to lunch for a father-daughter talk over sushi. She was thrilled, and I was perfectly centered. Yes, I lie.

I want my children to live a life that honors God, others, and themselves. Smoking and drinking and taking drugs, sexual encounters, inappropriate clothing and language and music and television and movies - all of it and more scare me when it comes to my children. We expect so little of our youth, and they are capable of so much more. Our sinful nature and God's perfect grace need not and should not be our excuse for throwing caution to the wind.

My daughter listened to what I had to say. I invited her to read a book I loaned her, Do Hard Things. We chatted about some difficult topics. And, we challenged one another to eat some fish eggs. Then, I asked her how much it would take for her to eat 2 or 3 or 10 or 20 more rolls. Amidst the laughter I stated explicitly what she already knew. The hard things I was asking her to do didn't have to do with fish eggs or sushi rolls. Rather, they had to do with things that wouldn't always be popular, but they certainly would always be right.

She'll continue to make mistakes, just like I do. And, she'll continue to do easy things, just like I do. But, I also have faith that she'll keep learning and growing, striving to love others above herself, and - above all else - trying to love God and accept His love and perfect grace ... just like I do.

Monday, August 15, 2011


When I'm struggling with someone or something, I just have to figure it out.

When I'm wanting whatever I'm wanting at any given moment of any given day, I just have to find a way to get it.

When I'm feeling like I'm better than the next person, I just have to judge them and maybe even try to fix them.

And, yet ...

When I'm looking for someone to blame for whatever my woes may be, I blame Him.

When I'm lacking whatever I think I'm lacking, I blame Him.

When I feel like people don't love me for who I am, I blame Him.

Maybe ...

I should turn to Him for help.

I should seek His will for my life.

I should let God sort things out with others, focus on my own repentance and acceptance of grace, and strive to live as an example of His love.

I wonder ...

Can there be any better way of reaching out to others and sharing truth then by turning to Him, trusting Him, and allowing Him?