Tag Archives: Jesus

yes, you are

Who do you think you are?” Ever heard that? If you are anything like I was as a kid, yep you heard that plenty. It generally followed, “Look what you have done.”
As I write this, I realize I never once answered the question. It was probably a good idea to keep my mouth shut, but that didn’t stop me in other situations. I was asked this question once as an adult. It wasn’t because I did something bad and it wasn’t following, “Look what you did.” (I must have grown a little) I couldn’t answer the question. I spent a long time figuring out why I couldn’t. I started with what people say about me, and the things I do. I even went through the list of labels: I am a doctor, a husband, a father, a brother, a husband, a bald spot with a guy underneath, blah blah blah. The questioner pushed a little and said, “No, I meant who are you underneath all that.” well that was entirely too close for comfort. I teared up and told him, “Now look what you have done, who do you think you are?” Underneath all those labels and masks, and holograms, and defenses, and barbed wire, I am a scared child unsure on how to live into life abundant. I have built up walls to keep people out from knowing me, because if they really knew me they might not like me. I don’t like that kid inside.

The question I asked myself is, “Who does God think you are?” It followed an understanding that it didn’t matter what I’ve done. I had this image of Jesus hanging out in a hammock, sipping lemonade. He was daydreaming about the world and thought of me. He smiled as He thought of who I was and who I was becoming. He embraced the thought of my wanting desperately to love and be loved. He embraced me and drew close and I felt it. I felt the warmth and peace. I felt the comfort. It was then that I turned to Him and asked, “Who do you say I am?” He smiled. I decided I knew what he would say. He would say I am a beloved child of His, a doctor, a father, a brother, a son, a husband. He would say I am the bonehead who did this and that. He would say I am the miracle who spoke the Good News to a list of people. He would count the ways I honored Him and the ways I denied Him (probably more than three, huh, Peter?). I stewed and reveled in my insecurities and faults. I felt the wall going back up.
However, Jesus held back the wall and smiled and said, “You are.”

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in faith, journey


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walk with purpose

Please don’t say another word.

I don’t want to hear it.

I can’t, I won’t, I shant.

Please listen to my heart.

Please see me.

I can’t, He can, I think I will let Him.

Growth. Learning.

Pain. Love. Wrestling with God.

Terror. Bewilderment. Fear. Despair.

Didn’t know how. Didn’t learn fast enough. Hip hurts.

Please let me see me.

Please let me hear my heart.

Learning, Growth. healing.

Trudge on!

Thus begins a long period of reconstruction. Not mine to do, but His. Mine is to take one more step over and over again.

Walk with purpose. The purpose of being the Best Version of Myself and to keep learning, growing to that end, which has no end.

Walk with me, shoulder to shoulder. watch the birds, the sun and moon. Soft kiss, holding hands.

Loving. Growth. healing. Partnering.

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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in journey


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Alpha and omega

Its the beginning and the end. Its the Genesis and Revelation. It is the conclusion and orientation.

This is not what I started to write about. I was going to contrast the two church services I went to this week. my fingers seem to have something to say and so I will just let them go . I hope its good.

I have been hitting the reset button for a few years now. In reality I started about 8 years ago. I put down my beer and picked up a new life. It was painful. It was strange and new. There is a scene in Narnia. One of the boys has developed scales all over his body. He meets with Aslan and wants to be freed from his affliction. He is sent to the lake. I imagine he is hoping the water will free him like a baptism. Aslan takes a claw and swipes at the boy. Some of the scales fall. He is in pain and bleeding and Aslan swipes again. And then again. The scales fall away and the boy is freed. He must heal and be clean. The boy is in pain and has to start again. It is the end of the pain of hiding in the scales, dark and hidden. It is the beginning of something new.

8 years ago, Aslan took his swipe. The scales of the bottle fell to the side. I was bloodied and in pain. I wasn’t done. I began to heal. I thought I was clean. 2 years ago, the darkness crept into my life again. I had hidden it behind the healed wounds. I didn’t see it, but I had not let Aslan finish the job with the first swipe. The recognition of my wounds, my scales hurt again. This time I knew I wasn’t done. I had the pain again when friends and family turned away from my bloodied and cold , naked body. I was not done and Aslan swiped again, stripping the trappings of life, my false idols. I was freed from me. Many had left, I had surrendered my career, my business, my life and stood ready to grow and be. I prayed the only honest prayer I know, “Help me.” He did.

I paused frequently. I let myself be lead into strange and unusual situations and careers. I felt the calmness and warmth of the lake. I knew Aslan was with me. When I surrendered for the third time and decided to finally let my career choice go by the wayside, He gave it back. It is a new beginning. It is the end and the beginning.

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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in faith, journey


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Talk to me, God

“Will you write me a letter, God?” I need to feel Grace.

“Of course I will, my child. I was just thinking of you. I am here, holding your hand, whispering in your ear. I thought of your birth. The hope and love that filled the room, and your cries that rang out. I kissed your cheek as they swaddled you and you cooed and were placed into your mothers arms. I knew so much of your life and some of the dreams and hopes and the tragedies and mistakes. I loved you. I thought of you as a child. I smiled at your radiance. I laughed with your joy. I giggled at your antics. Still, you didn’t know me or about me. It didn’t matter, I still loved you. I knew you. You were mine. I watched you struggle as a teenager. I saw you feel as if you didn’t fit in. I saw you try and try to be like everyone else. I saw the sarcasm develop, and the coating that would keep you from crying. I saw you think you were protecting yourself and trying to get closer to people as you pulled away. I grieved with you. I was there. I loved you then, too.

I saw the college years and medical school years. I saw you turn to alcohol for “liquid courage.” I saw the dating as conquest era. I saw the pain, isolation, and regret. I saw the desperation in trying to connect and heard your heart cry. I saw you get accomplished at turning tears into anger. I saw you protect yourself with sarcasm and cynicism. I saw you hide. I loved you then, too.

I saw you get baptized. I saw you date your wife. I saw you try and understand religion. I understood that you didn’t really understand a relationship with Me. I knew it was superficial, but I celebrated that you were just that much closer. I saw the doubt in your soul about your marriage. I felt the pain of isolation and rejection that you felt. I saw you pretend it wasn’t there and put up a brave façade. I saw you try, fail, and then drink to escape. I saw you crumble into yourself. I wept. I loved you then, too.

I rejoiced when you asked me for help. When the pain and desperation was met with no other plan or scheme. I wept with you about your sister and had with your mother as well. I held you that day and many others before and after. I whispered in your ear, maybe even a bot too loud. I led you to AA and to your sponsor. I knew it would change your life path, but you needed a new path. I giggled at your antics in AA. I giggled as you faked that originally, and memorized eloquent words of other scholars. I knew it would come. It did. You let down some of the walls and I rushed in. You sought the relationship I had always been there for. I infused, I breathed, I rejoiced. You wanted to be Home. I loved you then, too.

I grieved with the continued pain of insecurity and lack of intimacy. I cheered you on as you came back to life and asked for your needs to be met. I grimaced as you tried to find it in other ways. I wept as you texted and left to meet her at Starbucks. I cried when the police were there and the life you had crumbled. I mourned the loss of family and friends with you. I comforted you with other friends, your sponsor, your group. I walked with you, sat with you, grieved with you. I loved you then, too.

I was proud of you as you confronted yourself. I placed my hand on your shoulders and stood by you as you navigated the journey through the labyrinth of your mind and soul. I helped clean the garden in your heart. I felt your pain. I felt your sorrow. I felt your tears and insecurity. I loved you then, too.

I have such wonderful things for you. They look nothing like you think they will. I have such dreams for your heart to soar, your soul to expand, and for us to frolick. I dream of how I am going to fill your life and who I am going to have your life touch. I love you now and later, too.”

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Posted by on September 10, 2014 in faith, journey


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hold my hand

Pastor: This is a place you are safe.
Sinner: No, it isn’t.

Pastor: This is a place to come to feel comforted.
Sinner: No it isn’t.

Pastor: We forgive as we are forgiven.
Sinner: No you don’t.

Pastor: We welcome you as you are.
Sinner: No, you don’t.

Pastor: We will accept you.
Sinner: I want to believe it. I haven’t seen it.

Pastor: You are cleansed. (sprinkling water on kneeling sinner)
Sinner: Yes, I am

Sinner: Are you my family, my friends?
Pastor: Sometimes

AA member: We are.
Buddhist: We are.
Gang member: We can be.
Porn star: for a price
Alcohol: for your liver
Money: for your heart
Drugs: for your brain
Satan: for your soul

A hand reaches over the crowd. A tear stained face whispers above the din of noise and grasps mine. “I will.”
I see in his face the love of a murderer, a sinner, an adulterer, a thief, a beggar, a stutterer. I felt at home. I held the hand.

“Im not a superhero, I will let you down. I cant seem to run fast. I feel weak and unable. I am not worthy.”

I held the hand and we walked. I felt blood from his wrist run down my arm. I smelled the vinegar.

“You are my superhero.” I believed him.
“I will welcome you.” “I know”
“I am your family and friends.” “I know”
“I will accept you as you are.” “I know”

I saw the faces of his loved ones: the list of people who fell short. I knew that if I wanted to be them I would instantly be among them. I also looked back at the others and knew as soon as I longed to not be them, I would be them. I held the hand.

“I don’t ever want to let go.” I thought
“I don’t either, I never have and never will.” Jesus said

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Posted by on July 20, 2014 in faith, journey, life


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the other christmas story

I am Scrooge. I really don’t like the holidays. They make no sense to me. Lets start with Thanksgiving. Now I realize that this started with the Pilgrims and Indians, but do you think that those Native Americans would have invited some people to a 3 day gnosh if they would have had foresight to see what was going to happen? Then to rub it in, Abe Lincoln makes it a national holiday. Every year we gather and kill some bird and gobble millions of sweet potatoes and unbutton our pants in a football and tyrosine induced slumber. We even tease Turkeys with the holiday. Our President pardons some unknowing bird. We stick extra legs on it and display it at football games. Then we gather and argue about the stuffing. We save up all year to vent hostility when the gravy is a bit runny. Its beautiful.

Then, let’s go to Christmas, which starts immediately after Halloween, as far as I can tell. The expectations and performance starts about then as well. How do we squeeze in all of our traditions, parties, and cookie baking? Then we add the necessary components, Black Friday, Internet Monday, ugly sweater contests, one more party, one more concert, one more last minute gift or card. Then we pretend that sugar plums dance in our head, and we know what they are. It is too bad we stack the deck against ourselves like that. We live in a world of dreams and possibilities and instead of running on those clouds, we trudge through the mud of expectations and duties.

So, it was with that bias that I decided to ignore the holidays this year. I had made up my mind not to watch my favorite videos. I wasn’t going to hang lights. I wasn’t going to send or receive any cards. Nothing. My kids have refused to see me this year. I felt defeated. The parental alienation seems to be winning. I have prayed and begged and dreamed of a Christmas miracle. I have asked for help. I have read books. I have persevered. I have sent out the message in a bottle and found millions of bottles washed upon my shore. Alas, Christmas is not for me this year, I figured.

Something inside of me moved. I got a little fired up about letting my Christmas be stolen from me. The ex already violently stole my kids from me, undermined my efforts to find a job, embezzled money, cashed in my credit card points, segregated me from friends, family and my church. I couldn’t let her also take my Christmas. I figured I would put up my Christmas tree. It is maybe 3 feet tall and really campy. I have hung a red ball on the top and bent it over slightly to remind me of the Peanuts Christmas special. I figured it was a minimalist approach. Well, I couldn’t do that without my colored chili lights, now could I? The Christmas village had to be displayed, well most of it. I did not put out the church, still kinda angry, I guess. I also had to put out some lights on the front porch of my new house. I went colors instead of the warm white I had done for years. OK, now I have to watch, “The Year Without a Santa Claus.” I told myself, “Its ok, just don’t giggle or sing along.” I did both. I did both and then sent out some Christmas cards. I ordered some presents online. I prayed again. This time I prayed for healing of my ex, my daughters, and for me. I prayed for healing for my lost friends. I prayed for forgiveness where I hurt those around me by being a victim. I prayed that I live into the moment, letting the past go and the future yet to be. I prayed for those who spoke ill of me or treated me badly. I prayed for the pastor who turned his back on our friendship and my heart. I prayed.

I still don’t like Christmas. The truth is that I don’t like what I made Christmas to be. I don’t like the pomp and circumstance. I don’t like the regalia. I don’t like the expectations. But, I like MY Christmas. The joy of growth!

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Posted by on December 19, 2013 in divorce, journey


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My muscles ache.
My heart beats too hard, too fast.
My eyes are strained.
My head spins.
I hurt.

I am a child and I am growing. As I grow, my bones cry out, my muscles scream. I try to drink more water, eat better.  I try tylenol or ibuprofen. I take hot baths. Still my bones moan, my muscles strain. I dream and long to be ‘Big’, but the growth hurts. It is agonizing waiting, and it is agonizing not waiting. I am searching for who I am and how I fit in. There really isn’t a concrete answer, but it is all I will settle for. My head screams, my heart moans.
My muscles ache.
My heart beats too hard, too fast.
My eyes are strained.
My head spins.
I hurt.

I am a beloved child of Christ and I am growing. As I grow my soul cries, and my heart screams. I try and drink in Salvation, eat up Grace. Still, my soul bellows, and my heart thunders. I am searching for me and how I fit into God’s plan. There isn’t just one concrete answer, but I won’t settle for less than that. My heart moans, and my head screams. I want to draw closer and I am afraid to do so. I want to be used in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, but I fear I am sitting in a whale. It is agonizing.

My tears fall and I am held.
My heart nutured.
My thoughts quieted.
I hold onto the God around me ferociously.
My heart slows, my eyes relax.
The scales fall from my eyes as I murmur, “Help me.”

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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in faith, journey


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He does

“Sure, I believe.” I answered. I had been asked if I thought God could restore me to sanity. I was being asked if I was willing to say and live out the Truth that God is everything. It seemed like an easy answer. I don’t see science/reason as the opposite of Faith. I see them as complimentary. I see them as both necessary parts of a mysterious whole. It was easy for me to say the words. I truly thought I had Faith down to a science. I was certain that God had saved me from myself. I figured God blessed me with my family, my career, my business, my friends, my life in general. I really had it all, but I was dying on the inside.

I really wanted to be a guy that lived a life of “God is Everything.” As things flittered away, I responded with Faith. As I suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, I accepted my mistakes. I prayed. I saw little evidences of God in voices of others. I kept getting back up when I was knocked down. I felt guilty when I doubted. I doubted often.

I asked God for help often. I asked Him to show himself. I prayed like “Bruce Almighty.” “Show me a sign.”

I drive a school bus. I had 63 High Schoolers on the bus. I was not a nice guy that day. I was restless, irritable, and discontent. I yelled and barked at everyone. After dropping them off, I headed to the Elementary school. They were in for a tongue lashing. Someone had done the unforgiveable sin the day before and left a juice box on the bus. I fumed. However, I prayed. “God, show up, now!”

A third grade girl got on the bus first. She tromped up the stairs and put her hands on her hips. She appraised me and said, “Hey, where is your smile?”

He did.

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Posted by on November 23, 2013 in faith, life


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I have a fog. It moves in and clouds my vision, strangles my heart, and shadows my brain. I imagine it like the old movies of back streets in London. You can almost eat the fog with a spoon, like puffy ice cream. It hovers nearby at all times, but if I am moving I can keep ahead of it. I can run into the light and the fog dissipates. The light clears my vision, releases my heart, and warms my brain.

There are times I feel the fog lurking and moving in. I begin to feel panicky. I look for a way to keep running. I seek the light. I try and make plans to escape the fog. I start to identify and categorize the triggers that make me feel the lurking. They are situations, people, and reactions I have had. I feel that way when I am uncomfortable with an interaction. I feel this way when I feel the need to prove myself or show I am worthy. I feel this way when I am faking who I am. It hurts. The fog creeps slowly in. My reaction has always been to fake it harder and better. I avoid situations and people. I hide and hope the fog will creep past me. It never does. It actually makes it worse when I do that. The fog is thicker and denser. The light becomes remote and hidden.

I have been consumed by the fog. It grabbed on and wouldn’t let go. I panicked and sought a way to escape. There was no way to avoid it. I hid, I cried, I screamed, all to no avail. I ran. It felt like I was running on ice. I slipped, scurried, floundered. I expended great amounts of energy, but made it no where.

I rested. I looked at the fog. I understood it was what it was. I cant see in it or out of it. However, I know that God holds my hand here. The light is there in the darkness, more than out of it. I cant avoid the fog. I cant hide from it. I cant outrun it.

The fog slows me down to be still. The fog allows me to accept that I am not in control. The fog tells me that the most important moment is this one. The fog comforts me in the present. The fog lets me understand that my vision is clouded even in the light. It isn’t my job to judge. The fog releases my brain from plotting and planning. The fog protects my heart.

I feel the warmth.

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Posted by on October 18, 2013 in journey


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Hey God, use your big boy voice.

I have had a rough time for the last several months….ok… many months. I had a really good weekend this weekend. I got a chance to escape and divest myself from it all for awhile. It is a weird thing. You know how when you are distracted and having a great time, sometimes the issues sneak in? It happened to me today. It might have been that I was thinking about having to leave and return back home. It may have been the realization that home doesn’t feel like home sometimes. It may have been that I feel like I am running on ice in my life right now.

I went home. As I drove, my book on tape ended. The song came on talking about the Voice of Truth. You know the song? Talks about how all the things lie to him and tell the guy he isn’t worthy or able or whatever. Then he lovingly declares the Voice of Truth tells him a different story. I used to really like that song. I liked the idea of God telling you that you were ok when you don’t feel ok. I don’t like that song anymore. Why does God talk in soft sweet voice? Why does he whisper? I want God to use his big boy voice. No, I want God to do something. I need help. I have been praying. I have been meditating. I have been trying. I have been clinging to my Faith. I have been searching for a new church. I have been trying so hard. Maybe God is whispering. It might be the only reason I can get back up after the last knockdown. It might be the reason I lean on friends, ask for help, apply for jobs, re-educate. But, my Faith wanes. I feel lost. I hear the voice telling me that I will fail again. I feel it deep inside like standing too close to the speakers at an acid rock concert in a bar.

I want God to speak up. I need to hear it. I need to see it. I need divine intervention. I need God to take some action. Nothing super big. I don’t need purple skies, or yellow water. I really don’t need sticks that think they are snakes, or water from a rock. I will listen to what Jesus says, and I won’t tell anyone. I am not even talking about the lottery or a Ferrari. I am just talking about directions. I will take a fax, an email, heck even a post it note. I just want to know what I can do that wont feel like running on a frozen lake. I don’t even need to plan out the whole ending. I just want to know the next step.

Please God, speak up!

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Posted by on September 22, 2013 in faith, journey, life


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