Saturday, November 30, 2013

I meant what I said....

Often in counseling when my wife and I were trying to put our marriage back together a question was asked by our counselor. "Did you hand out a consequence?" These are the thoughts that popped into my mind.. "Are you kidding me? We are adults here... can you hand a consequence to an adult?" Well the answer to that questions is yes. Consequences are not welcomed with open arms when pride is standing in the way. 

I recently made a decision to hand a consequence down to another adult. While this was met with the "are you kidding me" response, I truly meant what I said. My intentions are to hold to it. There comes a time as a father and husband, that I must build a wall of protection around myself as well as my immediate family. This situation caused me to have a very stressful week and I lost sleep over a situation that I can do nothing about. I can only leave it in God's hands and file the drama associated with it in the "no drama" filter that my wife and I have installed in our family.

We all know the phrase pride cometh before the fall. The fall for me happened in a jail cell and I came to realize how I had hurt, deceived, and alienated a lot of people around me. But I also came to realize how much God loved me and only wanted the best for me. My motivation? Anger... it doesn't matter what mask anger wears, it is always the same animal standing behind it. I often felt I was justified in my anger and any and every decision I made was motivated by it. It didn't matter who I hurt or lost in my life, just as long as my pride got fed. It was the constant feeling of having to be right and justified in my thinking that fed the pride I was feeling. The anger was destructive and it left a path of destruction every where I went. I was so blinded by pride and anger, I couldn't see what I was doing to those around me. To this day, I don't remember half of the things I did or said to hurt those around me. All I could I do after I let God have control was to ask those I had hurt to forgive me.

Listen, I am not perfect and no one is. I have found it very hard to extend grace in this situation. There are shots of hurt constantly fired my way. I have been wounded hurt and knocked down by it. My question is this... how can a person who says they love me and has always wanted the best for me, hurt me and my family like they have? Well? I have no answer only to say that anger is at the wheel of this persons life and there is nothing we can do but ask God to intervene. I simply have to realize that in my weakness and helplessness that God is at his strongest. In the mean time, I have to step away at a safe distance to make sure that I protect myself as well as the rest of my family.

So my statement to you, the person who has hurt us. We love you and maybe you can't see that right now. Take my word from a man, a father, and a husband. I am doing this because I love you. I am doing this because maybe since you can't really see us, you will see the fog of satan that is all around you. Your confusion will devour you, chew you up, and spit you back out. Pride will be a thing of the past and much like I realized, you will find for a bit that all you have left is a loving God who just wants what is best for you. You see, that is how a father loves his child. Sometimes after trying repeatedly to get your attention, your father in heaven will give you the desire of your heart. That desire is a burning passion of selfishness and pride. It will fool you into a false state of contentment, but soon that too will run out. For you see, you can't be content in any thing other than Christ. Trust me when I say that this false feeling of contentment, your pride and selfishness will all but destroy you. Until you are willing to trust in God and let him have control, the pain you feel, the emptiness you experience and swallow each day will never leave. My friend, God can make you whole again. God can take what is broken and make it brand new. Take it from a recent new creation in Christ. I have left a path for you to follow, it is well marked out and will show you each step of the way. The path was the same one that God laid out for me to follow. God took my pride and selfishness and molded me how I was meant me to be. I became his clay and he became the potter. God refined me in the fire and made me strong in him. Don't let others full you into thinking there is another way.

My friend, I leave you with this. I you man walked the earth seeking the wisest people of all the earth. His only quest was to find contentment in life. Although he knew the person that could provide him with contentment, he didn't know how to find it. Finally on the last day this person met a very wise man. This man led him out to the water. Once their he asked the question one more time. "My friend, what is it that you are looking for?" The younger man answered with a sense of frustration. "I'm looking for contentment and I hear only God can give it. I have been all over the world and not one person has been able to give me a clear answer of where God is at." At this time the old man who was wise held this young man under water. The young man fought to get back above the water to breath. But the old man held him under even longer. Finally after what seemed like a long time the old man let the young man back above the water. After catching his breath, the young man asked "why would you try to kill me like that? You almost drowned me and I couldn't breath." The old man shook his head, looked at him and said, "My son, if you would seek God and the contentment he can give, like you struggled to get back above water and breath, you will find what you are looking for."

My friend, don't drown in the sea of pride that you are in. Seek God much like the young man above fought to get a gasp of air. I promise if you diligently seek God and allow him to completely control your life as you know it, all that surrounds you will be a place of joy, peace, and contentment.

I pray that this entry finds its way to you. I have no way now to communicate how I would like all of this to you. I know in the past, this blog changed my life and changed how my life would go. I pray and hope it will do the same for you. Don't think that no one knows how you feel because Christ died for you, he suffered on the cross for you, he resisted temptation for you, he experienced every pain and loss that you could possibly feel in your life. Christ loves you and wants so desperately bad for you to have him in your life. It is up to you now, friend don't let time pass and it be too late. As long as you have breath, Christ will be waiting with open arms....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make the best of your time...

I was my parents fourth attempt at having a second child. I don't think I would have been the last, had cancer not claimed my mothers ability to have children. Had I known that I would only get 29 years with my mom, I would have made the most of that time. My mom died when I was just 29 years old. Mom missed the first grand child that my wife and I could have given her by 37 days. There is never a day that I wake up and I don't think of her. Mom is always in my thoughts and my vision as I can't help but to see some type of resemblance to her when looking in the mirror staring back at me. In fact, I would say her memory is all around me in one way or the other. In two days mom will enjoy her tenth year in heaven, but to mom the day in heaven is just getting started.

I was raised in a simpler time where family time was more of a priority and easier to come by as compared to what seems like these days is a scheduled time in the weekly agenda. Electronics were not a priority as the average house hold in those days, had a phone, television, and if you were lucky some new newfangled game console called Atari. At the most there were maybe two TV's and that was considered some type of status back in the early 80's.

As a kid my imagination had to take hold and allow me to do things that today is possible with a trip to the store or some type of app download on our smart phones and/or tablets. Riding bikes, a pick up game of a sport, or using your imagination with you friends and playing a simple game of hide and go seek, cops and robbers, was a way to pass the time during the summer or on the weekends when school was not in session. My all time favorite was sending Hot Wheels down a long winding track against your opponent. Going to church was something you did three times a week. Twice on Sunday and once on a Wednesday night.

Holidays were spent with family with plenty of food and presents if it were Christmas or a birthday. Birthday parties then might be considered boring as compared to the parties for kids that happen these days. For me it was having the friends and family over and getting to spend time with them. Another activity that I loved with my family was camping. Our family went on trips at very least three times a year. We fished, went to the beach and bike rides were always plentiful. We always ended the night with a campfire enjoying each others company. I could go on and on, but oh how I long to have those days back. It seems as I have gotten older, those priorities are a thing of the past. I would do anything to have that time back and relive it over and over again.

At 23 I married my wife and for seven years we were two crazy kids living our lives at will. Then we started our family through the miracle of adoption and birth. All three of our kids have three great stories and you can see how God was in the mix of them all. Frequently my wife and I talk about how busy life has become and that we really don't recall life being this busy when we were kids. Time seems to fly and we are amazed at how grown our kids have become. We still hold onto those values and we do things to make sure that family time is not a "scheduled" weekly time in our house. We do our best to make sure it is daily. Granted there are busy weeks which we will refer to as seasons. But we are determined not to move from one busy season to the next one. Down time is a must to be able to focus on being a family and giving our kids the memories we had when we were growing up.

I say all of that to say this. While some families may have it right, I don't believe we all do. I encourage you to make family a priority if it is not. I miss those days. I miss the big family gatherings that my family used to have. So many other things these days have taken the attention off of family and focused it on being busy. I would do anything to relive those 29 years with my mom. But I have lots of memories of her in my heart that will live on through my family. My kids never knew her, but they know her through me. My prayer is one day that our kids will share the childhood stories with their kids and that they will take the time much like we do now, to be a family. I can proudly say that our kids ask for family time whether it is a meal around the table or doing an activity together of some sort. Time flies and I don't want it to slip away without using it wisely. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Can you hear me now?

We have all seen it, church pillars that have gone to your church for years, have their spot where they have always sat. Some might even act put out if you dare sit in their row or exact spot in that row where they sit. It is as if God can only broadcast his message of hope or inspiration to that one spot just for them. If they sit any where else, they might as well forget about it. My wife and I (see still has something to do with marriage) decided along with our new start that we would sit some where different in our church. You see our broadcast signal of the Holy Ghost was fading in our "old spot" so we decided to move so we could get better signal. Of course I am kidding and you might even sense some sarcasm in that statement. We really don't have a spot, we just like to sit on a particular side because it is different, it is where I usually exit the stage if playing in praise band or singing on worship team. This spot is quick and convenient and I won't miss the beginning of the message. Our pastor usually will start with some type of dry humor to get you immediately sucked into his message. I love our pastor and his messages are on spot every Sunday. After church I came to find out that a lady in our church questioned or made an observation to my wife that we used to sit on the other side of the church. After some questioning the lady summed it up to be interesting.

Here is my take on this, you know if the God is going to get you, he is going to get you. If God wants to use you or get your attention, it doesn't matter where you sit in church. For reference look at Paul's conversion. I question are we so comfortable or stuck in our ways to be fooled by the fact that we couldn't worship in any other spot or place? Is the church the only place where we feel comfortable enough to worship? Let me push it a bit further. We shouldn't be worshiping and praising just on Sunday. It should be every day. There is a song we sing during worhsip sometimes called Every day is a day of thanksgiving. Every day is a day of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving, at least it should be. It doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter the place or spot you sit in. God simply doesn't care. God wants your attention at all times, he loves your praise, he loves your prayers, and loves the thanks we give for his blessings in our lives.

One of the things that my wife and I have slacked on lately was starting our day off in prayer. We end it in prayer with our kids, but have slacked a bit when starting. It seems like when our days are not protected by prayer filled with thanks, praise, and worship; things can get out of sorts. I mentioned this before, but when life starts to go south, we have to stop and look at what has changed. For us lately it has been neglecting to start our day with God. We have corrected that and will continue to work hard to make sure that it remains the start to our day that God wants us to have.

I am not sure why there are those who come to church focused on where people sit in church. Last I checked there was no seating chart. Honestly I can sit any where and hear what God has to say to me. But I my heart has to be open to what God has for me. But in all seriousness, I should be listening all through the week. If we are coming to church focused on what is happening all around us rather than what God wants right in front of us, we are in trouble. I don't understand this ladies point, I never will because we didn't let it distract us from worshiping and hearing God's message. My wife and I come to church for one reason only, that is one of the places we can worship as one and be thankful for all the God has done for us. But in all reality, we should be listening through the week as well.

We all remember the cell phone commercial where the slogan was "can you hear me now?". I believe the point was that you could take your cell phone any where and still be able to get a signal because the coverage was that great. I think sometimes in our churches and spiritual walk we get so fixated on a certain spot that we don't believe the slogan is true. How many times has God asked us that question? Rather than standing still, we move around trying to fix the problem ourselves. I am not just talking about in church, but in our lives as well. Are you too focused on the things around you rather than Christ in front of you? In other words God is saying focus on me my signal is every where!!  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

What does "IT" mean?

My oldest son frequently leaves out the noun of which he is talking about in starting a conversation with me. For example, "Dad did you get a chance to look at it?" My response is usually "Son.. which "it" are you referring to?" Sometimes I really don't understand what he is referring too, but in the mind of a an almost ten year old kid, his Dad should know every thought in his head. Well I don't and can't read every thought in his head or any of our other kids for that matter.

I feel like I have written what I feel like is just about every topic on a marriage that was on the brink of ending. Yes my wife and I for the last two years have been recovering from what seem would be the end of our marriage. I believe that through this blog, I have been more than transparent with my experiences. I have admitted my wrongs, and I have testified on many occasions what God has done for me, my wife, and our marriage. I am positive that there are other couples out there who can relate and could expand on these experiences and most likely talk about different ones. In a perfect world I would love for them to share through this blog what God did for them and their marriages. I can only ask that they would, if they decide not to, that is fine as well.

When I started this blog it's main purpose was so that my wife could see where my heart was when I was not allowed near her or my kids. I prayed that she would get the address. That prayer was answered and you can read about it from the beginning. As I moved on with my wife, I wrote about my experiences during the recovering process and restoring our marriage. Entries became less frequent and since then I have tried to write an entry at least twice a month. As we distanced ourselves from the past and moved toward the future, the experiences have been less and less.

 Looking back over the last few blogs, I found myself writing about a central theme and that was what God can do with all struggles of marriage and life. So, I find myself at a crossroads as where I should move with this blog. Pardon me while I step away from this present thought for a moment... I like to go to movies. I am not the owner of very many movies and here is a reason for that. When I go see a movie, I like to remember it for what it was. I savor that in my mind as being a good movie or a bad movie. Very rarely do I find myself going out and buying/downloading that movie (yes I said downloading, we live in a new age don't we?). If I do buy a movie it is only because it has made an extra deep impression on me. The purchased movie I would have to  enjoy watching again from the comfort of my couch next to my gorgeous wife. There are also movies out there that play frequently on TV and I know that I can catch most of the movie or parts of it as well. I say all that to say this. What do I do from here? Several thoughts enter my mind. I could switch topics and write more generally on family, the spiritual walk with God creating a whole new blog address. I could just stop writing this blog and let it be that movie if you will that you may catch on TV, own, or see just once.

As I am sitting here, I think about my life, expanded family, my marriage, and being a father. Life is never the same and it offers new experiences, challenges, goods, and bads as frequently as I change my socks. Through it all, I depend on God to see me through whatever comes my way. I know that I can go to my Father in Heaven and say.. "God "it" is not happening yet" or "I need help with it". Unlike not knowing what my son is thinking, God knows exactly what IT means when I am talking to him. Not only did I mention my marriage when I said the word IT, the word IT has been used numerous times in talking to God. There have been many "it's" There will be many more to come. I could perhaps write about the past "it's". I could write about a current "it" that satan in all his glory is trying to destroy.
I love my wife more than I ever have. I continue to love her more each day. Our marriage has it's challenges. But these challenges are ones that are more normal than what they once were. We no longer stand out as the couple who had their marriage effected by outside forces, infidelity, or domestic/physical/verbal abuse. Thank you God that we now stand out as the couple who's marriage is a new creation. We stand out as a couple who stuck with it, figured it out and got it right. We stand out as the couple like any other couple who works hard at making our marriage work. We stand out like most others now, because God is the center.

In conclusion... I have loved writing this blog, I have prayed that this blog would be used to touch others. I have shared my heart, I have shared prayer request and those who read this blog have prayed with us on those request. The blog address includes "messeduphubby. This hubby is just the normal "messed up" like most other husbands because THIS HUBBY let God have control. I honestly don't think I have come to a real conclusion as to if I should stop writing all together, or just go in a different direction or continue the course. God has moved us forward towards the future. There are different struggles now outside of our marriage. It very well could be that you will see the next entry about those struggles. It very well could be that this may be the last entry for messeduphubby. I will say this, I am interested in your feed back and I covet your prayers for God's will. I am open for others to share through this blog about their own marriage experiences of how God worked. I know of other couples who have had similar things happen and how God has restored them. I even open to interview and sharing a personal story of redemption, healing, etc of a persons life. I want to be used by God and I want to use whatever means he has for me to do so. Pray with me as I consider what God has next.... Until then may God bless you and keep you!!