Monday, January 02, 2017

Year One

Sitting here just settling my heart.  The flurry of the holidays mixed with 2 kids birthdays is done. Tomorrow I head back to work. 

It's January 2, meaning I am thinking about the past year but also thinking about the future. Not just my future, our future.  

We have made it a year babe. While I knew right away there was something about you, and shortly after that that I knew I wanted to be your husband and have you as my wife, this year, Year One, has solidified us.  A year ago we were two hopeful people. Along the way we have been learning. Year One has brought us together as one.  There are certainly days where our one has been tested. Days where I didn't trust you because other people had been untrustworthy. Year One was a display of your tenderness and grace towards me when you saw my ugliness or brokenness. Year One you showed me what a servant looks like and challenged me, without words, to give more of myself to others.  Year One challenged me to be vulnerable and taught me to be real in new ways.  

I could keep talking about Year One, and how YOU made my life better, but you are sitting here next to me and I am excited to talk about what Year Two or maybe even Year 42 will look like. 

I love you T Lynn. Happy Year One!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

PTSD Letter for Dad

In January of 2014 my dad had an opportunity to enter into some treatment through the VA because of his time in Vietnam. My brothers and sisters were asked to write a letter for him.  Below is mine. 

I have hesitated to write this letter of "recommendation" for several weeks knowing that it will be more a letter of recollection than recommendation.  My own personal experiences with psychotherapy over the past couple years also tells me that you really don't need this letter to diagnose my dad with PTSD or a similar diagnosis, there are tests like the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory that will tell you as much. 

So, I am not going to try to convince you of any of that. 

What I will gladly share with you though is the truth that I miss my dad. 

And it's a bit weird to say that I miss him, because I really didn't know him or have a deep connection with him as a child, but that is where the missing feeling comes from, I know my life was supposed to be different.  I know my dad was suppose to play catch with me, and teach me things like how to fish, shave, drive and the most important thing, how to love a woman. 

But he didn't, not really. 

There are only a few things I recall from way back that I treasure in my heart. 

One is a story of catching a legal size bass the night before bass season opened. I remember my dads surprise at the size of the bass and his excitement.  We didn't keep the fish, but I remember that night at the gravel pits. 

The other story I treasure is even more simple.  When my dad did the bills and reconciled the checkbook, he always wanted to be alone so he could concentrate. Except for one time.  One time, he let me in the office area and explained everything he was doing. 

I treasure these stories because I felt blessed by my father.  In these times, I was good enough. 

I am sure there are other stories like these that are in the black hole of my memory, but it is because of the other stories that many of them don't shine and are blocked to me. 

I have far too many memories of my dad responding to "noise" (us) and being very harsh. Flying off the handle would be an appropriate description. 

As I've pursued my own personal healing, I've looked at the differences of my father.  The stories that I treasure tell me this man was capable of deep love but within the dark memories, well, that man disappeared. 

With a bit of understanding about my own emotions, I see that my dad brought darkness instead of giving blessings because he carries a great wound inside him.  I believe it is a wound so great that he needed to isolate himself from all emotions in order to survive. 

What could cause a wound so great, I believe that answer lies within a topic he avoids more than anything is his life, his time in the Army. 

Here we are 18 months after I wrote this letter.  My dad has begun a journey of healing which in turn has been a journey of healing for our family as well. My stepmom has been awesome through this as well.  God has more healing in store, but that is true for all of us. 

When I wrote this, Deb asked me if I even loved my dad.  I answered yes, but am so thankful that my love for my dad has grown and that it is easier for us to have a relationship than ever before. 

In the works

On the way home tonight I was reminded about a Kutless song I heard a few years back called "Even If".

The night I had first heard this song was Sept 8, 2012 actually. I was down near Paw Paw for the weekend trying to get out of town and the events of that weekend. I went to grab a pizza and through the static I could barely make out this song. 

"Even if the healing never comes, and life falls apart and dreams are still undone.  You are God, you are good, forever faithful one."

I instantly balled at that point because back in Muskegon, the dreams I had for my family were being put to death. The boys mother was being married again and there was no chance of reconciliation or restoration. 

This song came to mind tonight because 4 summers from when the boys mother left, God has brought me somebody who has changed my life forevermore, Tanya. 

This song came to mind tonight because I am in love with Tanya and God wanted me to remember that he has had a plan for me all along, even despite the brokenness I had to experience. 

That brokenness by the way, it was needed. I needed to know God more deeply and in losing what I once held dear I had an opportunity.

In His faithfulness, he has also brought a piece of me alive. I want to help men be men, and to meet them where they are at in their lives. 

There is so very much more that God has brought together in my life, and he is far from over.  There is Tanya, but there is also a men's retreat that we putting together at Calvary. It is going to be epic. 

Yup, there is so much in the works, and it is proof that God is faithful. 

There is so very much...I am beyond blessed today and excited about what God is dreaming for me

Monday, June 22, 2015


I want a love that lasts. 
A love that transcends troublesome times.
A love where the struggles of life bring us closer rather than break us apart. 


This love exists but is rarely found. 
It burns inside of me. 
Beckoning from within my soul since the day I was born. 

This love calls to me.  
It whispers its secret to me. 
In order to find this love, you must be this love. 

A paradox I cannot escape. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

3 questions

I threw down 3 questions to him.  I wanted to say so much more, and to encourage him to press on. I wanted to say there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the fight is worth it. 

Less than a week later he told me he was moving out. 

I was bummed to hear this. I mean, really bummed. This guy is awesome. This gal is a sweetheart. There were times they were really good together. They have a kid together.  But life got in the way and it looks like the final chapter is being penned right now. 

But what if they had these 3 questions before?  What if they were put into practice a year ago?  How will these 3 questions change their future relationships?  How will they change yours?

Question 1:  what are you doing to care for yourself?

Question 2:  what are you doing to care for the other person?

Question 3:  what are you doing to care for the relationship?

I thought I was pretty clever with these 3 questions.  They shoot right to the heart of the matter but an honest evaluation opens the door to so much more.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The question.

The question hit me hard...

"Are your actions because you are trying to get something from them or because you want to help them be all they can be."

Whatever the relationship, this question can be asked. 

I hope that as I evaluate, I find where I have been selfish so I can then take steps to remedy that selfishness.   

Monday, April 20, 2015

Run that race

Sunday I had a friend run a half marathon.  She started training right about the time that we met and it was a topic of conversation many times over the last 6 months. Watching her progress was nothing short of awesome and I am not only really excited for her but I am also greatly inspired.  

See, part of the story that makes this awesome is that her body basically wants to kill her but she pressed on anyways. Her body hates the extreme cold, but she ran outside this past winter because that is what the training called for.  She decided she was not going to give in to the justifications she could make, and she ran. She decided many times over, I am going to finish this race. 

As a matter of fact, she gave me a real living example of Hebrews 12:1. 

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us

As I was getting ready for the day on Sunday and as my friend was running, a lying voice came to me saying, "She is better than you, you don't finish anything.  You can't run a race.  You won't finish your book.  This men's retreat you are planning is going to flop.  You don't even have the lesson finished you are supposed to teach in an hour.  You are not good enough."  I almost gave into it, but I remembered my friend running and Hebrews 12.  

This message was not true to me, nor are the lies in your life true. 

The truth in my life is that there are many "races" I am running well right now, personal growth, personal discipline, emotional healing, financial healing, spiritual disciplines, celibacy, and those are just a few!  

I have a feeling the same is true in your life, that you have many races that you are running well.  I would love to hear about them. 

And let's all be like my friend, giving ourselves grace while cutting out the justifications while being living examples of Hebrews 12 in the races we are running.