Thursday, January 18, 2018

Does God Really Care About Me?

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me.  Psalm 139: 17,18 (NLT)
When mental illness hits you or your family you may wonder if God is really there. Does he care? Well, my prayer is that this story will encourage you that he is there and really does care.
Several years back when David was fleeing the country and hoping all of his problems and mental health concerns would be left behind God showed me in a very tangible way that he knew exactly where David was. David had planned on never returning and I only knew generally where he was. He showed me David’s picture online as if to say, “Here he is, I am with him, and I’ve got this covered. Keep praying, but no need to worry, he will come back.”
I knew immediately that only God could orchestrate something like this against all odds. What were the odds out of the entire planet of 7 plus billion people that GoogleTM Maps would be shooting street view pictures in the exact city at the exact time when David was arriving at his destination complete with his garbage bags of belongings and all?  You can imagine how special I must have felt. This was a very tangible picture of the verse above not only for me, but a snapshot showing me that God was with him too. 
Why does it surprise me that a God that came and died for me, parted the Red Sea, fed the Israelites Angel’s food, fed thousands, and so much more wouldn’t do this thing for me or my son?  It shouldn’t take something like this for me to know I am loved by my God dearly. It showed me that even when everything surrounding David’s circumstances and choices was as the world saw it, falling apart, God was still there.  I knew right at that moment what that verse and several others really meant. 
Now it is years later and I sometimes find myself going back to that moment to remind me of just how much God cares for me.  Even if you haven’t had one of those once-in-a-lifetime-against-all-odds things happen to show you that God is with you, it doesn’t mean that He isn’t. Sometimes it’s hard to see His plan for our lives amidst so much that seems to be going wrong. Even when we can’t see him, He’s There And He Cares!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Finishing The Journey Takes...

Walking a marriage path together takes two willing hearts, but trekking to the end takes one more companion.

At the five-year mark, our adventures seemed endless, and the sun shined bright on our small family.  At the fifteen-year mark, our calendars were crazy full, and heartache frequently knocked on our large family’s door.  At the twenty-five-year mark, each day brought more questions than answers, and the unthinkable seemed both certain and imminent.

Now past the thirty-five-year mark, we’re still together.  By all accounts, we shouldn’t be, but we are.  And we will be ‘til the end.  A part of our Twenty-fifth Anniversary Renewal Vows tells why…

    “Twenty-five years ago, I committed myself to you in Holy Matrimony before God and his witnesses.  On that day, I promised to love you and to honor you.  I promised to stay with you in good times and in bad.  I promised to be yours until death separated us.
    “Now twenty-five years later, even though I still have no idea what the future will bring, I stand here because God is good, because ‘we’ is more important than ‘me’, and because a promise is a promise.”

“A promise is a promise.”  That sounds cliché, but it’s been the glue that’s held us together despite all the things that burden most couples, plus a few that wear only on couples with special needs kids.

Most people know that the stresses, distractions, and failures facing a ‘special needs’ couple are greater than those facing the average couple—that’s why the divorce rate among them is higher than the national average.  And that’s why it takes a commitment to something greater than our desires, our strength, and even our faith to make it to the end.

For me and Ann, long stretches of detachment plagued us.  Years of grinding through chaos and confusion and conflict created calloused hearts that didn’t beat anymore.  Cold, disconnected tones and words and stares and touches piled high.  We know what the brink of divorce feels like.  But while we never said, “It’s over!”, our hearts and minds have been there as surely as any other couple who’s reached the end of their road.

Thankfully, we haven’t been alone on our journey.  On our path, that promise has been our constant companion.  It’s carried us so many times beyond our selfish selves to a place where we could see each other from God’s vantage point.  It’s even given us glimpses of our family far down the road, showing that while choosing ‘me’ over ‘we’ might eliminate today’s problems, future generations might experience heartache as a side effect.

Just as important, the promise continues to remind us as Christians that our marriage reflects Jesus’ commitment to his bride, the Church—“I will never leave you!”  And since we’re his representatives to a world that often needs to ‘see’ before it ‘believes’, the promise kept speaks volumes far beyond the walls of our home.  It says: “There’s more than just ‘me’ and more than just ‘now’—and there IS a kind of love that transcends both.  Come see!”

The Bible says: “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”  Whether that third strand is Jesus or just the promise, it’s difficult to make it to the finish line without it, especially when the road is full of disappointments and distractions, temptations and turmoil.

No one ever planned for divorce at the altar—they began their journey with ‘finishing’ in mind.  So, learn what it takes to finish.  Make the promise your companion, and lean on it.


Hourly if necessary.