I was recently asked by the worship team I am blessed to be a part of what draws me to the show My Little Pony (G4). I have to admit that I didn’t do a very good job explaining myself. I really don’t fit into the intended demographic for the show (I’m 29 and have a pretty full beard currently) so they were genuinely curious. Of course, there are so many fun and enjoyable things about MLP that I was caught like a deer in the headlights when they asked “Do you really like My Little Pony?”. Continue reading
I got a somewhat sobering and unexpected text tonight. It was from my aunt, who wanted to know if and when I might be getting back to my parents house tonight.
My mother has brain cancer. This is the third time that she has started treatments and she had just had a port put in for the chemo drugs today. My aunt wanted me to know that mom was doing okay, and that mom didn’t want to be a burden and was pretty much sending her away.
I eventually made it home from church (band practice) and walked in to moms room where the light was still on to check on her. She normally hears the door open and even if she was already asleep says hello and asks how I am. Tonight she didn’t do that, so I made sure she seemed okay and quietly stepped back out. Before I left however, I noticed something beside her on the bed. It was her Bible.
If anyone has a reason to be angry at God and lose faith in him, surely my mother has reason also. This is the third time cancer has attacked her. She first found out she had cancer the same day we were supposed to have a home inspection as part of the adoption process of a little girl. Mother was adopted and wanted to adopt as well. She wanted a daughter to take care of and rescue. It all went away that day in the hospital.
She had a surgery and radiation to treat the cancer, forcing it in to remission. One of the permanent side effects of the treatment was a serious impairment to the way her brain functioned. She could no longer speak easily, had trouble remembering things, and was restricted from driving for several years. The cancer had gone into remission but she lost her daughter, her freedom and her ability to easily communicate with the outside world.
Surely this was enough to justify anger with God.
After several years, mom tried to return to work at the hospital. She had been an RN before her tumor, with all of the intelligence that implies, but her new reality made it so that she had to walk away from her former career.
10 years later, the cancer returned, resulting in a second round of treatment. A second loss of driving privileges, a deeper imprisonment. Her ability to communicate suffered again as well. The cancer leaving her feeling increasingly isolated and alone as it affected more of her brain.
Her second son left for Iraq just a few months into treatment. No one knew if he would return, and the predictions made by the medical professionals seemed to say that even if he did return alive, mom probably wouldn’t be.
That same son was also recently diagnosed with his own cancer, now has his own battle to fight.
Surely she has reason to be angry at God.
Yet, her Bible sits beside her as she sleeps tonight.
Where her career was taken away, she volunteers at a local hospice. She raises money for Relay for Life, she serves at a local food ministry, and on the board of the youth center where I work. Always ready to give a hand where she can…
Where her communication was taken, she writes notes of encouragement. Notes of care and love for her family and friends. While she struggled to communicate in our own culture, she left her comfortable home and served for 10 days in the sweltering heat of Nicaragua. In a land of poverty and hopelessness, she brought hope to those she touched.
She has not given up on God, but rather clings to him as her only hope. As Job refused to curse God and die, so does she!
And as tonight she sleeps with a hole in her chest and only uncertainty ahead, she clings to the one who is waiting patiently to restore to her new life.
She read his love letter tonight.
I hope that one day my faith will be as hers. Complete.
( My family, immediate, extended, and church family, have all been an incredible part of her life, and have served her sacrificially when she needed it most. Thank you all. Your sacrifices are not forgotten.)
Edit 10-19-14: It has been a year since this past note was written. A year filled with ups and downs. The false hope of a “recovery” in February followed by the onset of stroke like symptoms in July. My mother hasn’t been able to say much since July, and on her birthday (today) we don’t expect to be able to hear her voice at all. We aren’t always sure what she is thinking or feeling, and it is easy to hope for the best, but through it all, she has accepted what is out of her control. On September 29th, the decision was made to begin hospice care. While she hasn’t finished her race yet, we are all aware that she could be crossing the line any day now.
Edit 11-2-14: Mother crossed the finish line this evening at roughly 6:30pm.
She was victorious.
When I read the Bible and try to understand what it is saying about worship, I don’t often come away with a great sense that singing together is an essential part of the practice of our faith. There are verses that tell us to sing to the Lord a new song, and verses that talk about singing hymns and spiritual songs together. However, God has plenty of angels to sing to him if that is what he is really after. The Bible also makes it very clear that singing isn’t the only way to worship. This post won’t really focus on what God gets out of our singing, because I have no idea, but I hope it helps explain what we might be getting from it as His people.
So why have we as Christ’s people continued to sing in our times of meeting together? What is the point of singing in a community? Music style often divides us, so why continue at all? Continue reading
1. I am an expert ninja…just without any ninja related skills.
2. I have walked in on(and stopped) 2 different attempts to steal things where I work.
3. I used to ride my bike 5 miles to bible study, because I had no other way to get there. Its incredible what you will do if you’re lonely and don’t have many friends.
4. I have a bad habit of sitting on top of large speakers. Of course it is important to note that we are talking about musical speakers…not public speakers. I have never sat on top of a public speaker, that would be ackward.
5. I am a 47 year old trapped in a 24 year old body.
6. Just like Dwight (from “The Office”) I carry pepper spray at work. I hope I never have to use it.
7. I have many various random skills…During my second (and last) visit to a local youth center, a staff member locked themself out of their office. The ONLY key was inside. Apparently they needed into the office pretty badly, I jokingly offered to break in, and they said go ahead. 20 minutes later they were inside the office. I was also capable of opening most of the locked doors in the old high school. Never fear…I only use my powers for good, not evil.
8. You know how they tell you not to actually go meet people that you only know from the internet? Well…I think thats probably a good idea. I met a girl from Butler once who I had only talked to on the internet, we played Clue. Unfortunately I was pretty nervous and not really paying attention to the game. It ended up looking like I had cheated. I have never been able to play Clue since.
9. I used to own a truck that did not have a working fuel gauge. I ran out of gas often. As a result I would often end up walking to various places. I have walked over 7 miles to get home, and I have also walked 5 miles barefoot on dirt roads.
10. Some friends of mine stole my truck once. They proceeded to get it stuck in the middle of nowhere. It was the night before Christmas eve. On the night before my truck got stolen and stuck…I was up all night with 2 other friends who decided that survival camping was a good idea. I felt like I needed to keep them from dying, so I went along. I had to work the next morning. Needless to say…those 2 days were pretty fun.
11. I work at a bowling alley…but do not bowl.
12. I have never been to Boston in the fall.
13. I have walked around town after midnight with a friend who did not know where she was or what she was doing…all she wanted was a cigarrette. Several hours later I finally convinced her to go home. To this day…she doesn’t remember any of it.
14. I love PIXAR. They make great movies, which in turn usually make great bible studies. 😉
15. I would rather watch a cartoon then a live action drama. The drama is too dramatic. I get enough “drama” at work.
16. I do not like mashed potatoes. I do not like them on a bus. I do not like them without fuss. I do not like them on a plane, I do not like them with anything!
17. The fanciest restaurant I can remember being in was Biaggi’s. That was today.
18. I own a suit. I have worn it once. I have no plans to wear it again.
19. I kinda really like music alot. No one is ever interested in performing with me though. Perhaps they are afraid I would steal the spotlight. 😉
20. I am 24 years old and can honestly say that I have never smoked, drank, or even kissed a girl. Why hurry? I have, however, been to a bar 3 times. Flyleaf was the best concert of my life!
21. I am a Star Wars geek…not so much the new movies…but the expanded universe is pretty great. I particularly like Micheal Stackpole’s tilt on Star Wars.
22. Many people think of me as patient. Others think of me as lazy or unmotivated. I am still trying to decide which is true.
23. I like running professional sound (like at concerts). I hope one day to do so full time.
24. I find it hard to talk about anything serious or that I am passionate about when more then one person is around.
25. I really like to read…in fact…I am going to go home and read as soon as I am done with this. “The Shepherd of the Hills” is a my favorite book, with “The Harvester” coming in as a close second. Sadly they remind me too much of my life, and I currently can not bring myself to read them.
26. I can’t count very well.