February 22, 2006

Two Opposites

Tonight I sit in a quiet house. Hannah is just in the other room, asleep in her bed after a long day of putting puzzles together, playing with dolls, and watching her favorite shows like Dora and Rolie Polie Olie. Stephanie just went upstairs to bed. I will soon follow, but I need to empty out my head.

It has been a long day with many perpsectives, thoughts, and feelings. This morning I was greeted by the news that my friend Phil and his wife Tiffany celebrated the birth of their second daughter early today. She came into the world at a mere 10 pounds plus. Though I did not get the chance to visit them in the hospital, I have been celebrating with them all day in my heart and mind, just as we have celebrated the last few months as they came through the home stretch of childbirth again. Tonight I am sure they are filled with the joy and excitement of what is to come--the hope that new life brings.

Shortly there after, I drove to Owosso to attend the funeral of a two month old baby boy nicknamed "buddy". He was the newphew of one of my camp students from Rock Lake and the grandson of one of our members at South. His life was drawn short by a choking accident last week. Needless to say, his family was more than stunned and numb today as they celebrated his short life and grieved. I really did not know what to expect today. I had never attended a baby funeral before. I figured it would be hard for me because I'm an emotional guy, especially when it comes to kids. Plus, I didn't know how the family was handling everything. I assumed they would be bitter and outraged at the tragedy that had happened. Yet, all I saw was peace.

Buddy's mom, Lisa, got up at the beginning of the funeral and thanked everyone for coming. She then proceeded to share about how she has been struggling with her faith over the last year or so. Through her tears and deep breaths to keep what little composure she had, she shared how she felt the tragedy was the result of the evil one, to try and turn her away from what little faith she had. She proclaimed that her son was a gift and that her faith and God was strengthened to have even more faith even in light of what had happened.

During the funeral, Buddy's big sister migrated back and forth between grandma and grandpa. She giggled a little during the powerpoint presentation of some of the pictures of Buddy. In the midst of the sorrow and remembering, his sister could still see joy. I would assume that she had no understanding of what had happened and the sorrow that was present in that room.

As I drove home, I couldn't get the thought of having to deal with something like that out of my head. I cannot begin to fathom how difficult what they had to go through over the last week was. It made me think through the last few years of life with Hannah--the things I've experienced and shared with her, and the things I've not noticed and lost.

Today the world is a little less understandable to me. I'm not looking for the answers, and I don't think I want all the answers. All I need is to trust and know that God is where he should be and to be as faithful as I can be so I'm where I should be in relation to him. That and circle of friends who feel the same and love hard even when understanding is missing. Lisa and her family really didn't have all the answers. They were surrounded by those who loved them, and they were full of trust that God was still where he should be . . . and they were ok. They still had peace and joy even in such tragedy. That is the hope I want to bask in every day when life gets hard.

Hold Me Jesus
Rich Mullins

Well, sometimes my life just don't make sense at all
When the mountains look so big
And my faith just seems so small

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

And I wake up in the night and feel the dark
It's so hot inside my soul
I swear there must be blisters on my heart

So hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

Surrender don't come natural to me
I'd rather fight You for something I don't really want
Than to take what You give that I need
And I've beat my head against so many walls
Now I'm falling down, I'm falling on my knees

And this Salvation Army band is playing this hymn
And Your grace rings out so deep
It makes my resistance seem so thin

I'm singing hold me Jesus, 'cause I'm shaking like a leaf
You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

You have been King of my glory
Won't You be my Prince of Peace

February 18, 2006

Frozen Boogers

I was up early today to head to the office to let a group of Christian bikers into the church. I also needed to work on our church website. We had to move web hosts yesterday because our needs outgrew our free hosting. So, I've spent the last 24 hours trying to get approvals to spend money, find hosting, and actually move. I think we have a temporary fix in place. . . we'll see.

When I left the house this morning, I was greated with cold. Not just normal cold, it was extra cold. I think the high for us today is supposed to be 12. Needless to say, the not so long walk from the farmhouse to the church seemed extra long and painful this morning, especially at 6:30am. I see it as punishment for going into the office on Saturday at such a rediculous time. At least there is sunshine today.

So, in honor of the cold today, I leave you with a little Calvin and Hobbes!

February 16, 2006

Crying Busy

Do you see what happens? I had three posts in a very short period of time and then I checked out. I would like to say that I've been busy. I have been busy. But, I seem to always use that excuse for everything, making it sound like my life is more important and more difficult because of the circumstances of my ministry and what not than it probably really is. I don't know why I do it. Maybe its because I sometimes feel overwhelmed and I'm looking for sympathy. Maybe its a way of me trying to get more acceptance and appreciation for what I do. Maybe I'm looking for more respect. I don't really know why I do it. I hate that I do it. It makes me think of the story of the boy who cried wolf--when he really needed to, no one came to help. So, I'm going to do my best to not to cry busy anymore.

The last month of life has been a challenge. We had some big events at South which took up more of my time than it should have. In turn, that cut some into family time. Normally my family tolerates it as long as it only happens every once in awhile. However, Hannah hit the terrible twos over the last few weeks. With me not being around as much as I like to be, Steph became super mom, which is not fair to her. Needless to say, it has been a long few weeks because of everything.

Out of all of this, I think I have a stronger resolve to use my time better and to make times for the important things, like family time, a priority. I'm sure there will be moments where everything simply won't fit. I'll deal with those as they come. Yet, I'm going to do my best to be ahead of the game and head off those moments before they become ugly.

If you didn't notice, I moved Blue Like Jazz to the books I've read column. I will finish up the last two chapters this evening. It has been a great book in my opinion. It is an easy, conversational read that will challenge your heart and your view of what Christianity is and how we live it. For me, it was a breath of fresh air. Being in ministry sometimes clouds your mind and forces you into an administration mindset because of the business of the church. It is all too easy to shut off the theological parts of your brain--the parts for me that are continually chewing, questioning, and challenging your heart. Blue Like Jazz pushed the clouds away again.