Sunday, December 30, 2012


I think I did well with my 2012 resolution. Most certainly better than any other resolution of my past. I resolved to learn to forgive. It turns out forgiveness is a continual process that at its core is derived from love. Forgiving is painful and freeing at the same time. Forgiving is letting somebody close enough to you and risking that they will hurt you again. Forgiving is complicated.

I have many to forgive still and many layers of forgiveness that need to be applied to others. Progress was made. Lots of it.

As I will share with friends in 24 hours, I will declare my intentions to spend 2013 finding my identity. I will embrace my being the beloved. I will break free from the chains of codependency. I will no longer listen to the lies of self rejection.

This is no small task, it will take a journey to places deep inside me, places that need to be redeemed by Jesus, but it will be worth it all.

I am so looking forward to 2013!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

i am a child of God

i cannot remember a christmas that i have been more excited about than this christmas.

strike that, i cannot remember ever really being excited about christmas.

dont get me wrong, there were always moments of christmas past that i really enjoyed but there has always been a sense of brokenness that has stolen my excitement.  while i dont remember many things from my childhood, i can remember when this brokenness first showed up and i know it has plagued me since.

even though the voices of the brokenness in my life has increased, there is a voice that is even louder speaking to me.

it is the voice of my creator whispering words of love and affirmation to me, calling to me, filling the empty parts of my heart.

after our forefathers decided to do things their way, God set his plan of redemption in place...and maybe it was already there before we were created.  either way, when we broke ourselves and made it impossible for us to commune with our creator, God provided a way back for us.

the christmas story really starts there, when we first sinned.  the angels proclaimed it to the sheperds, "peace on earth, goodwill toward men"  the holy one came down to reconcile us to him.  he came to redeem.  he came to restore what had been lost.

redemption, restoration, reconciliation

i want these things in all areas of my life, and even though there are some ways that restoration is just not possible, new life CAN come from what has died.

when i started to listen, i began to hear something different than the voices of the world, i began to hear something different that my self rejection screaming at me.  i began to hear the voice of God tell me that i am loved, that he came down next to me to pick me up and restore me.

the voices of self rejection are still strong, but there is a greater voice, it is the voice of redemption, restoration, and reconciliation.  it is the voice of my creator tell me of my worth, telling me that i am a child of God.

christmas is exciting to me this year because we celebrate the beginning of God's biggest act of love, because we celebrate God's plan of redemption for mankind as he reconciles us back to him so that our relationship can be restored.  we celebrate because through God's son Jesus we can once again be told that we are his child, his beloved.

there isnt any bit of brokenness that is bigger than that.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Ghandi and Jesus

I learned very early in life that when talking religion that Jesus is normally the correct answer.

While I learned this in a Baptist church in Grand Haven, it turns out that I would have learned this at most gathering places (even the, gasp, Catholic ones)

The other day I bought this piece of wall art. As soon as I saw it I was drawn to it. Many words, many colors, many fonts, many little quips.

Today is a new day, you can start fresh, wipe the slate clean, begin again
Embrace kindness
Practice compassion
Stand up for justice
Talk to strangers
Ask for help
Listen with your whole heart
Offer hope
Work for the common good
Live well
Be the change you wish to see in the world

It is a powerful piece that I proudly am hanging in my kitchen as a reminder to me and a conversation piece to all who see it, including my 8 year old

I later found out that "be the change you wish to see in the world" is a quote made famous by Ghandi.

With or without Ghandi saying those words, a person should ask themselves, "what change do I wish to see in the world?"

I want to see Gods redemption and restoration that comes through Jesus. More simply I want to see Jesus

Maybe I am over thinking this here, but I think it is pretty cool that Ghandi is encouraging me to be like Jesus.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

The Nike box

The tote said memories. I knew better but I ventured into it anyways.

Some pictures, an a couple shoes boxes.

The Merona box was the 150 or so wedding cards. I glanced through each one to see who they were from. There was only a small percentage that had real notes to us. It was easy enough though.

The next box, it was a Nike box. Inside was something that tore my heart from my chest, slammed it to the ground, and had a dance party on it.

Cards I had sent to Kim, words of love, words of truth, words of promises, words of longing. Each card was filled with an expression of the deep affection we shared.

I was good too. My words were fragrant as a rose, perfectly selected to emphasize my feelings and thoughts toward Kim.

The box was a punch in the gut not because Kim is gone, but because of the reason why she is gone. The box was a punch in the gut because I let life get in the way of me declaring myself in the ways I did when our love was young. I became busy with life, complacent, absentee.

Kim wanted me to see her in the way I had before, to be present with her at all times, just like I had promised. She wanted me to assure her that she was beautiful and valuable.

I have analyzed this before, I already knew this is how I failed her, but this Nike box was a reminder of it.

So today, I am trying to slow down. Today, I am trying to be more available. Today, I am learning ways to be present with others, giving of myself without the expectation of anything in return.

And today, I am praising God that he gives 2nd chances, that he loves to redeem failures like me, that he is a wondrous creator that makes masterpieces.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

certain joy

there are certain joys about being a parent.  tonight after all the fun of halloween was over ryan and i had a few minutes to talk.  i called him to the couch i was sitting on and rested my hand on his knee as he was telling me about school.

it was so fulfilling just listening to this little man.  his long term sub is finishing this friday, she has been with them since the beginning of the year, and today she made a comment about reese's peanut butter cups so ryan wanted to be certain to bring her some.  we talked about homework and his party at school.  ryan is a great kid, and his mind is so wonderful.  we even talked about math.  ryan doesnt like it so much, but i love it.  when he told me he was struggling with crossboxing.  i dont know this term but its something to do with subtraction when you need to borrow from multiple columns.  i got all giddy and went to the table to get some paper and crayons to show him my "easy way" of doing it.  (i always looked for the easiest way to come to the correct solution)

when ryan went to bed he woke sick noah (he missed trick or treating) who came out and sat next to me.  it quickly became him leaning and laying on me.  he is warm and lethargic, but was showing some improvement from 4 hours ago when he could have passed for a zombie.  we snuggled for a while and told noah there is no school for him tomorrow unless he gets a lot better and then he trotted away and back into bed.

caring for these young men is a joy because when i sit down and savor moments like these, i am reminded that i am a son as well.  it is the best image i have for how God loves me.  perhaps the greatest of joy from these moments comes from knowing that as i target knowing God intimately and tangibly that these boys will follow me and begin to target the same.

i think it is fitting that i end with this quote i stumbled upon earlier tonight

don't fear failure, fear spending your life succeeding at things that really do not matter

Sunday, October 14, 2012

nick wagenmaker once said

lately it seems that i have often been asking questions regarding the future.

what is next.  

when is next.

who is next.

where is next.

i am in a bit of a fog and my restless heart doesnt it like it.  deep inside i long for security.  i long for safety.  i long to be known.

so just like the many sunday afternoons of the past 18 months, i find myself at work.  i am filling my time with studying new products, music videos, admiring rembrandt's artwork through a computer, watching sports scores, and tying up loose ends to customers needs.

but in all of this, i am talking with my Creator as well.  asking these same questions and hoping today is the day i am quiet and still enough to hear his answer.

there are certain things i know about my future, but there are just as many things i now about today.

scattered across my desk are little notes, definition to words, and scripture i have posted.  

"love wins" 

"die to yourself"

"you are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples" psalm 77:14

"love - unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another"

"cherish - 1a) to hold dear, feel or show affections for 1b) to keep or cultivate with care and affection, to nuture 2) to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely"

"partnerships are formed when both people believe that a greater benefit lies in uniting energies, talents, and resources than in remaining separate."

there is a good many thought provoking notes i have at my desk, positioned with purpose as well.  the note that got me today though was my checklist.  the checklist with 13 words on it, positioned in 5 rows.  the checklist that when i can check all of them off, i will know the next season in life will be here.  these 13 words look like this:

personal healing
personal growth
becoming highly disciplined
learning to submit to God

several months ago, my friend nick wagenmaker spoke to my restless heart.  he didnt know about my list, but he did know i had experienced a great deal of brokenness.  he likened my life to one who had major surgery.  he told me to rest and heal.  slow down.  you dont have a major surgery and get up like nothing ever happened.  "rob, you are in recovery."  his point was taken.  

as i listened this evening, i looked over at my list, and God reminded me to stay in this moment.  He brought the surgery/recovery talk with nick back to mind, and showed me where i am now.  i am out of surgery.  i am out of critical condition, i am almost out of recovery, but i have to pass physical therapy first.  God reminded me to not worry about what is next, but to focus on today.  focus on becoming stronger.  

recovery was a season of healing.  

today is a season of growth.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

my God is moving

i feel like i have to write it is

..... __________________________________________________________________________

in the last month, i have seen this twice.  the first time was in a book called Guard your Heart, the second was a sermon a couple weeks back at Calvary.  the dots represent significant events in our lives.  birth, graduation, marriage, birth of children, and death.  the line is eternity.

"what does it mean?" you ask.

for me, it is a simple yet profound reminder of several things

1 - that God sees so much
2 - that I often focus on the dot in front of me

"why is this important?"

for me, it is important because when i only look at the dot i start to ask, where is God in this.  i so often want to see God working on the dot that I want him to be working on.

Here is the beauty of this reminder.  It tells me, just like the promises in scripture, that God is always working...and because he sees so much more than I do, he has the absolute best in mind.


Yes there is sin, yes it can be ugly and create brokenness...but even there, and perhaps even more, in that brokenness, God is waiting for us...

As we journey into our deepest most vulnerable places, regardless the situations, God will heal us, restore us.

We have to be willing to go there though.  Eden is there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What God said in Gobles

Last weekend I got away from Muskegon. I didn't travel too far, but it was not here.

The intention was to face my life as it is today and to hear from God about what the future holds.

Even then, I had to ease myself into it, it wasn't until Saturday night where I really started to remove the bandages from my wounds and begin to let God heal me.

And as I waited and cried, God spoke to me.

The wounds God spoke to were wounds I have not sincerely acknowledged since a young teenage boy. Felt a couple times but never dealt with. Wounds that shaped a whole bunch of me.

When God spoke to me in Gobles he told me several things:

1- I will give to you so you can give to others.
2- that my prayers for chains to be broken and strongholds to be torn down have been heard and that he is not done working.
3- that my role as a father will shape who these boys are despite my past failures and that my boys will become men.
4- that there is a wholeness and a fullness that only comes through the valley.
5- that God defines a man as, "one who loves me and listens to me."
6- that I am a man and that my heavenly father thinks, "I have what it takes".

Looking back, God was not speaking to me about what events surround my life but he was just loving me and telling me who I really am.

Those things are exactly what I needed to hear.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Psalm 123:3

Be gracious to us, O LORD, be gracious to us,
For we are greatly filled with contempt. (Psalm 123:3 NASB)

The death of self is the most difficult struggle I face. Am I willing to give up my dreams, my hopes, my everyday wants. An I willing to give up security, my kids, my neighbors, the better school for my boys.

There are many that understand this better than I, many that have a greater trust in God's provision and protection than I do but today I am faced with the idea that my plans, hopes and dreams are not just often found to be foolish, but also found to be contemptuous.

Contemptuous is a hard word for me to swallow. It leaves me questioning who I really am at the heart level and what I really am about.

Those questions are not fun questions because the answers are not easy answers, they take real evaluation and if I am to break free from my contemptuous lifestyle they will take me laying down my desires, even my deepest desires.

Tonight I am laying outside starring into the sky, waiting for something. I don't know what I am waiting for specifically. A sign, a miracle, Gods audible voice.

There is so much I can't wrap my head around right now.

God please be gracious to me. Please show me a better way. Please show me your way.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fight to the finish

Noah was teaching Liam how to have light saber battles today. It was a cute thing to watch.

At one point I admonished Liam as he was sitting on the ground, "get up son, the battle isn't finished"

Father God is telling me the same thing.

There is truly a battle in the heavens for the things that are happening here on earth and ultimately for our very souls.

I am picking myself up and fighting on,

God please help me to be fighting for what you desire.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

guard your heart

i am sitting here on a sunday afternoon without an agenda.  there are a good many things that demand my attention at home, work, and in my heart.  i find myself lost in the last one though.

this weekend i started to read a book by gary rosberg entitled "guard your heart".  early in the book it breaks down proverbs 4:23  the lexham english bible says "with all vigilance, keep your heart, for from it comes the source of life."

the breakdown was something like this...

vigilant - alertly watchful, especially to avoid danger
keep - preserve, maintain
heart - your inner true self.  the combination of your emotions, will, conscience, and desires

the other word that was here was in the book was wellspring, meaning source but in the lexham version that was already broken down for us.

so king solomon's charge here is for us to be watchful in order to avoid the coming danger so that we can preserve the condition of our inner true self so that we wont be cut off from the source of life

in this charge i find both sadness and encouragement.

i find sadness because the state of my family is because i did not do this (guard my heart).  sadness because even though i have pleaded with God for redemption, reconciliation, and restoration for my family i still, today even, allow my hurts to dictate conversation and interactions that poison and eat away at core of the very things i pray for.

oddly enough, the encouragement comes out of the sadness (beauty from ashes).  the brokenness that has become a part of me solidifies this truth in my mind because without it i would not desire to protect, understand, or listen to my heart.  i would not have thought i needed to.  the encouragement comes because i understand that i have a core that needs to be protected and i want to seal all the holes.  i dont mean protected from other people either, but from the enemy and is minions.  the encouragement comes because i am responding to the battle cry.  it is not something i am doing myself though, God has shown me where my defense is currently weakest.  they happen to be bitterness, lack of forgiveness, lack of patience, and lack of empathy.

i have found in the last year the more that i come to know myself and they way sin has broken me, the closer that i get to being what God knitted together in my mothers womb, the more that i live out from my beating heart, the easier it is to commune with and trust my Creator.

if it was just me saying it, it would sound a bit hokey, but i believe it is in our hearts, the core of who we are where the spiritual battles happen most often.  it is not just me though...solomon, the wisest man to ever live, thought this too, that is why he charges us to guard our heart.

Monday, August 06, 2012

What my eyes can't see

Tonight I am stressed to a migraine. Emotions are running full as death and loss invade my thoughts. Tears soak my pillow.

Tonight my heart wants to be with God like it was meant in the garden. It is there in that place where I hear "rest in my presence" and "trust in my promises"

But I keep looking at the loss, the brokenness, and the death that is coming. The permanence of it all that is looming just weeks from now.

And I can't see. I can't see to the point that I am asking how do I rest when death is so present, waiting to devour. I am asking how do I trust his promises when their looks to be no way, no hope, no future.

God please be my light in this valley where the shadow of death is so overwhelming.

Friday, August 03, 2012

thoughts about my grandpa passing

My grandpa Harvey passed away yesterday.  While it is true that his destination is an eternity with God, there is pain in the loss.

At some point in time yesterday a facebook message started where my extended family started writing their memories of him.  These special moments carried on throughout the night (thankfully I know how to turn notifications off for the night) and have been touching to read, so many great memories of his wonderful love.

That is where my pain begins though.

My memories of my grandpa are limited because of the brokenness of my past.  I probably have the least memories of my siblings, which probably all pale in comparison to my cousins.  And today, because my grandpa is dead, there is no chance to build any further memories.  There is no chance to redeem the brokenness.

However, because I am learning to let all my feelings have a voice, even the painful ones that reside in the brokenness, I have begun to see that God is still there, ready to speak to me, ready to be faithful to his promises, ready to make his might known, ready to show his glory.

It is in my pain that I am reminded that our creator is a God of redemption and reconciliation.  I am reminded that although there is a pattern of brokenness in the past, chains that have bound my family tree for generations, that there is redemption possible because of the blood of Jesus.  The power that conquered the grave is the same power that God can use to break these chains and create new patterns.

If you stop to think about it, it is the very story of the gospel itself, God’s redemption coming into our lives and touching the brokenness.

I think my grandpa would have smiled at that.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Getting my house in order

This is a post mostly for me and my restless heart, words I need to remind myself of because feelings can deceive and steal a heart away.

5 months ago I realized I wasn't ready to date anybody even though Kim had been gone for a while and I really wanted to have somebody. To people close to me I called myself an ineligible bachelor. I listed 5 things that put me on that ineligible list. They were the things I needed to work on to "get my house (myself) in order".

1) my finances.
2) personal healing.
3) personal growth.
4) becoming highly disciplined.
5) continual submission to God

5 months and little has changed. I only say little because although there has been much progress there was a great need. Such a great need.

This means 2 things. For starters, it means that I am not available ladies so you should stop wondering or telling your friends about me ;) but at the same time the man of greatness that is forming inside me will be worth the wait. (not joking with that one)

More importantly, it means the journey inside me through questions I have long ignored still needs to be made. It is part dying to myself and part trusting my Creator. There are books to read. Thoughts to ponder. Scripture to memorize and meditate on. Solitude.

Maybe 5 months from now some of these will be checked off or I will become much closer to a satisfaction point. I guess I will let you know at Christmas time

Sunday, July 22, 2012

two parks for the price of one

Kim asked the other day to take the boys to Michigan's Adventure this coming Tuesday.

Sounds fun, right? Not to thoughts quickly went to it being my day and I wasn't happy she was trying to screw with the schedule. That was all the surface emotion though. Here is the deeper thoughts and reasons as I later confessed to a friend.

"Sounding like fun is part of the reason I want to say no to her. I know it is a lie that leads me to think this but I already struggle with her being the fun parent. Pure selfishness wants me to tell her to take them on her own day."

Did you see it in there? I am afraid the boys will love her more than me. I am afraid they will choose her or defer to her when given the chance. I am afraid of not having enough influence in their lives because they have a choice.

My friend's reply could have been more empathetic, but the sharp bluntness is what I needed. "Trust God and put your children first."

I was willing to let my fears lead to actions that would have kept the boys from a special day with their mother. A special day that in all reality they need to have with her. Keeping them away certainly would not have been putting they boys first.

As for the fears themselves, yes those things are all real possibilities. That is where the exhortation to trust God is so important. God works in ways I do not understand. The mystery of his plans is part of what should lead us to worship Him. God often interrupts our plans and takes us down a path so much different that what we had hoped for. I remember saying last fall that the God's glory would most greatly be shown if Kim and I were reconciled. I was looking at an act though and not a lifestyle. The hunger I have to know God and the sensitivity I am gaining to the prompting of the Holy Spirit are creating a lifestyle that will be much further reaching that just one piece of a story.

Looking back, I should have no reason to doubt or to live crippled by my fears. I have not gone without food or lodging, have experienced great personal growth and healing (though there is more to come), have been surrounded by great friends and renewed relationships with my family. I even believe there is a beautiful woman that God has for me to partner with and that we will propel each other into greater holiness. Looking back, I have many reasons to trust, many reasons to lay down my fears. Many

My friend's words also reminded me of Proverbs 3...let me know what you think of it.

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:1-12 ESV)

Monday, July 16, 2012


The past four days are like a whirlwind to me. My life has been filled with friends and family that I have been blessed with. There have been happy moments and sad moments.

I have seen the pain on friends faces as they told me of how they are hurting in their marriage. A realization of how he failed his wife and hurt her. Words from another that he is tired of trying and not getting any results. Another yet as they shared the hottest topic in their marriage.

These conversations heavy my heart. These conversations echo inside of me the brokenness of world, the brokenness that touched me as a 12 year old child and again as a 32 year old man. These conversations echo inside of me the need for God's redemption in our lives.

I enjoyed the privilege of attending Nick and Abbey Wagenmaker's wedding this weekend.  As I prepared myself for this wedding, as I listened to the wedding, and as I talked with my friends in attendance, there was something else that echoed in my heart...the truth that we were created to know and be known intimately.

This truth is perhaps one of the most difficult things to honor about ourselves though because we get hurt along the way (either by things that shouldn't have happened to us or by the absence of things that should have) and we want to protect ourselves from that same hurt.

Today, my journey is about overcoming my defenses and learning to relate in a deeper way. That is really just a fancy way of me saying I am learning to trust God and people with the parts of me that can be hurt the most. Progress has been made, but there is much more to be done.

Let me finish with this thought:

The world and the evil one are continually trying to pull every marriage apart. They are trying to take the one you have committed to before and with God and separate it into two. They use busyness of life, our past hurts, and current stresses to isolate us from the intimate we were created for.

Please live with that knowledge and please plan accordingly with your life, whatever and however that means for you. For me, as a divorced man who hopes to remarry, it means to continue dealing with my issues so that whenever it may be the right time to be in a committed relationship that I can offer myself as completely as possible to her.

Monday, July 09, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about my heart lately. Not physical health wise like my cholesterol or anything and not just feelings and emotions, but my heart that encompasses all I do and think and am.

Is my heart alive or is it dead? What are the signs of a living heart? Have I given my Creator all my heart? What does a person who has given all their heart to God look like? Do I know any of these people and if so how many? What was so special about King David that he was called a man after Gods own heart. Do I do these things? Can the same be said about me?

None of these questions are easy questions and some of these answers are not what I would hope.

This is where I believe that looking at Jesus' life here on earth is important and necessary. If I want to know what God desires from me as a human looking at his life as a human is probably the best way to get answers.

So, I am starting at this point, by asking what were the most important things in Jesus life. Here is my simplified list:

1 - to spend time alone with God to realign his thoughts and purpose with Gods
2 - to use the gifts he had been given by God through the Holy Spirit to do Gods work here on earth so that God's name gets would be praised.

Now the work that Jesus did was very specific, and his gifts were his gifts. Scripture tells me my work is specific as well and that I have certain gifts. I just always do what I should.

The other thing of note is that Jesus is often filled with compassion, mercy, grace, kindness. I make mention of this because I believe it is because of his time realigning himself and his vision to Gods.

These thoughts are raw and incomplete at this moment as far as my specific life application, but perhaps that is because this should be a constant question on my heart...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My kind of town?

I am in Chicago attending a 2-day training seminar on hydronic controls. I am really excited about some of the things I am learning and look forward to taking them back to West Michigan.

I am here with my GR counterpart, Tom Leyder and have been enjoying getting to know him more as we travel.

I also was able to get to Wrigley for the tigers v cubs with some friends from my fantasy baseball league. We hung around Wrigleyville for a while and caught up. Pretty awesome to catch a night game at Wrigley.

I have always said I have loved Chicago. I really do enjoy all the options a big city brings for entertainment and the ability to get away from normal life, but I realized this trip, it is not Chicago that I love specifically. It is the time spent with people I care about and that care about me that make trips here special.

But it is not even trips here, I am slowly becoming aware. It is relationships, sharing life and thoughts and feelings and dreams and hurts and stresses...real relationships with others that I really love.

I wish I would have learned these things as a child, I wish I would not have had to pay the price of failed friendships and a failed marriage...

I am a new creation. I am being sanctified. With the lessons I learning, the sins of my past will have no place in my future. There are chains being broken...chains that have bound me for so long. The truth that is Jesus atoning sacrifice is setting me free piece by piece.

Looking forward to the day when death dies and all things are made new.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

God is God

I was late to work this morning because I was trying to look just right today.  I did my hair a couple times, put on a few different shirts, found the best socks and debated over my shoes much longer than I normally do.

I was trying to install confidence in myself and in my appearance hoping that it will sway the judge’s decision today in my favor.

I even stood in front of the mirror to give myself approval, or at least hoped I could…but the more I tried to look within myself for the answer to my anxiousness and to calm my fears of what could happen or go wrong, the more anxious I became, and now I was 30 minutes late.

All this was in my subconscious at this point, I never said to myself, I need this because I want to feel confident going into today.  I never said, what I can do is good enough to get the outcome I want.  That is what I was thinking though.

I didn’t realize until I was in my car, still restless and anxious about today even though I had asked God for peace about it, what I was really doing.

I expected peace to come over me quickly, but the truth is, I wanted peace by knowing that the outcome will be what I want.  That peace wasn’t coming, and God’s presence wasn’t being felt.  I knew I had to change my prayer.  I had to ask where my sin was that was keeping his presence away from me.

It was then, when the Holy Spirit showed me, that I saw my sin was that I trusting in myself and not trusting in my Creator.

A quick confession and then the peace came.  God is in control.  Despite what may happen in court today, God is in control, and he has plans for me.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


I don't know who this man is, but I learned something from him this morning. His registration number for the run 4 wings 5k was 756.

It may not actually be that I learned something from him, but rather through him.

He was standing at the about the 2.8 mile mark cheering everybody on as they pressed on towards the finish line. He wasn't the only one along the way, but he was the first one.

This man, #756, brought Hebrews 12:1 to life for me. It was the instant I saw him that the Holy Spirit opened my heart to this.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1 NASB)

I finished the race well today...the app I use tells me I hit 9.92mph. It took me 33:32 to finish the 5k, but I finished without stopping, which was my goal.

I hope the same will be said when this race that has been set before me is finished.

Friday, June 01, 2012

T minus 12 hours

It is almost race time. As I start writing it is 12 hours and 15 minutes

This 5k will be a milestone. It will be the first item in my list that I will get to check off. This list is a list of things I want to, for various reasons, do in my life. The list started very small but it has grown. I should probably revisit it and add some more things I am serious about but it is sometimes difficult to decipher between a desire and a dream.

In spending some time alone tonight I have been looking back over the last few months and I feel like I have come a long way. I feel more consistent, more disciplined. I think that I have matured and gained wisdom. I know these things have happened actually.

And tonight, while I sit here alone, I am smiling, I am dreaming, and I am believing that I am loved.

Milestones are all around, and even though I may not have added some of these experiences to my list of things to do, I enjoy looking back to see how many milestones have added up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

more of the same

May 25th
                7a           Saw ring on kim’s finger
                9a           sheriff sale of house
                10a         coworker confirmed ring was engagement ring

May 26th
                All day   noah’s first birthday without us as a family
    5p          got packet from lawyer with kim’s latest motions which include allegations that the house             has not sold because I have kept it a complete disaster as well as allegations that I have not paid certain bills that are my responsibility and as a result destroying her credit.

May 28th
     All day   memorial day, one of the days we always spent with kim’s family.  Also the 1 year date of when kim wrote ira many things, including that she never really loved me.  Supposedly, this was the start of their relationship, but I no longer buy this.

It was a hard weekend to make it through, but I did, mostly. 

It is easy to just force a smile and push through, but that gets tiring.

There are more hard days to come in the next few months, days that will be made through just as these were.

There are many more good days to come though as well.  There will be days of renewal, joy, fullness, and celebration.  I look forward to those days.  I will welcome them will arms wide open.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

If I sit still long enough there is a nagging voice that creeps into my thoughts. "he is better than you" is the message the voice broadcasts. This message is brought through words like "I hate the way you fold my clothes", "you never keep the house clean enough", "this doesn't change anything" "Ira is such a great father", and the point blank "Ira is everything to me that you are not".

It is Kim's voice that speaks to me in this way. It is those words, and the ones similar to them, that have scarred me.

It has been 1 year since Kim wrote him questioning if she ever loved me and saying that I was just the one she expected to rescue her from her parents house.

I sometimes hate that I can remember facts and pieces like this because I would rather forget these things and not have them bite at me anymore.


The time I mentioned the other day as a gift, it is also a gift because I get to heal. As a person who is highly dependent on the approval of others who was abandoned by the person I allowed more closely than anyone ever, you can be certain that I need to heal...

If you knew me years ago and had a conversation with me today, you would see that I am different, that I act differently, that I talk differently, that I believe differently about myself.

That, I believe is the key to who I am today, believing differently about myself. I have allowed my past and other people to form my identity. On this journey, I have begun to see myself differently. I have begun to see myself through the eyes of Christ.


Kim may have left me for another man, but my Creator pursues me today...and that is a thought worth remembering

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rejoice and be glad

May 25th was a day.

Not just any day, and it was a day I knew was coming.

May 25th was the day the sheriff sale of my house took place, starting the 6 month countdown of the days the boys and i have left here. I am being told there still is a chance at a short sale during this redemption period I have, so I am working towards that and hoping for the best.

At the same time, it is good to know where I am at and more so how to plan.

The other big event of May 25 is that when I picked Liam up to bring him to daycare, I saw the band on Kim's finger. A few hours later a coworker confirmed my finding by mentioning her relationship update on facebook to "engaged".

I was a little foggy anyways because I stayed out too late Thursday night celebrating a friends birthday, but on a day where I really needed to perform, I was finding myself easily distracted. When I was ready to talk, God brought the right person to me for this conversation

Although I want a deeply connected relationship with a woman, I have been becoming increasingly aware how exactly this time without anybody is a gift to me. It is a gift because it allows me to address the baggage I carry around. It is a gift because I more easily have time to meet with my Creator. It is a gift because it allows me time to mature into somebody that can lead, and lead well.

My friend Jeff reinforced many of these thoughts to me and as we talked hope for a future was bubbling inside me.

There are many destinations on my journey through this life, and the one that I am most excited about is not the day where I get to hold somebody and call her mine and for her to call me hers, but for a time much sooner than that, a time where I have put down my defenses and let myself be known deeply and a time where words, thoughts and actions flow freely from my heart.

I am certainly heading there...

And that is why I can sing "this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it"

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

a ministry of brokenness

i have a pretty high iq.  no, really, i do, this isnt just me tooting my horn.  my iq, at last test, is 143.  really, the way i understand it, this just means that i have the ability to process information.  i can take information of some kind and figure out a way that it makes sense in my mind so that i can turn it into something useful.

sometimes this is really bad because it allows me to think too much or worse yet, more easily justify making a decision that i really should not make...especially with how i spend money.  the numbers spin so fast in my head as they compute that you would think you were watching a slot machine go round and round.

however, this also allows me to find better ways at doing things when i evaluate them.  they are not better because i say they are, but because my mind allows me to piece together option after option until the "perfect" combination comes out...sometimes they need a little tweaking still, but it sure gets close to operating better.

this ability truly is a gift from God, one that i am not thankful enough for because it is something that i have grown accustomed to over my life.  this is how i was made.

in my conversation with al last week, i shared with him that i believe i am being given a ministry of brokenness.  a ministry of brokenness?  rob, you are making that up...and maybe i am, but that is not the point.  to me, a ministry of brokenness has allowed me to see people as people and as a result allowed me to relate on a different level.  

i may have a high iq, but i have many things to learn.  this divorce has taught me a few things...some of which relate specifically to this ministry of brokenness.

take what i have learned with my finances for example...things i needed to learn, things that i would not have known with out this time in life, things that i can pass on to others.

other examples include what i have learned about parenting, cooking, maintaining a house...not that i have learned all these things, but i have learned and will continue to learn.

i have also learned, that as a rule, the church, organization or body, does not really know how to help somebody as they go through a loss like this.

i really dont know what all this means, or where i am going with this post exactly, but i do know this...these lesson i have learned are not lessons i want to waste.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

thoughts from last night

it is the times like right now that i struggle most with loneliness.  the kids are in bed, the day is pretty much done, and it is time to decompress.  i get lonely because these moments, just like my guinness, should be shared with somebody close to my heart.  these moments were made for conversation, for openness, for reflection, for evaluation, for vulnerability.

a little over a week ago, al asked me a question, well he really made a comment but knew that i was going to change it into a question..."i don't think you have ever had a real relationship"  it is a stinging comment, stinging because what he was really saying is "you dont let people close enough to know the real you"

what if i dont even know the real me.  what if the reason that i dont let people know the real me because there is a place i dont want to go.  i dont know that place.  i dont know if it even exists, i am just asking the question.  that is probably me just deflecting...there is a place, and it is a place of pain.  i feel it is a place of selfishness though.

it is a place of pain because i am in need.  i am in need of attention, i am in need of hugs, i am in need of affirmation and encouragement.  it is a painful place because i have to stare the fact that i am broken directly in the face.  once i go there, i cannot leave that place the same.  the other thing lurking in the shadow of that place are the faces of the ones that have failed me.  i had expectations on these people and they did not give me what i needed.  there was no attention, or hugs, or affirmation or encouragement.  when i go to that painful place, i will leave there forgiving and letting go of bitterness.

i think we all have a place like this, if we were honest.  we all wear masks or have a protective false self because we dont want to be hurt in that way again.  isnt it ironic though that this place of pain is also a place of healing.

these last 11 months have been a journey like no other in my entire life.  i am on a journey into brokenness, into that place of pain.  i am good with this, because i know on this journey that i will learn to lose my life in favor of what my Creator has for me instead.

these times of loneliness can be thought of two ways...either i can drink from a cup of bitterness and resentment which will only breed discontentment or i can see these times of aloneness as a way to continue on my journey into brokenness through solitude.  spending time alone with my Creator is the more worthy of the two, and I hope to pursue that more and more.

these moments are gifted to me to allow me to struggle to and through this place of pain...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


It was a simple word that triggered my unforgiving sadistic side to show.


Kim is going to the Yankees/orioles game tonight at Camden and after she was done talking with the boys she wanted to ask me a question

She asked "who do we like New York or Baltimore". We? Did she really just ask we? "you can like whoever you want" was not the answer she wanted. While she was trying to be peaceable with me (although it was to gain information from me that would help her look less foolish) my wound was cut open by her use of we.

She retorted with "I thought we hated the Yankees" (then why did you ask). "Kim you can like whoever you like, but there is no more we, you ended the we"

Perhaps one of these days I will lay down all this hurt and be able to let this burden go. Perhaps one of these days I will actually be a conduit of Gods love in spite of myself

Baby steps Rob, baby steps

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Of all the words said in his office today, the ones that are stuck in my head went like this

"I don't think you have ever had a real relationship"

I want to struggle with the meaning of this. I want to be redeemed from the truth of this.

Please pray to that extent

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Like father like son

I am like my father, who is like his father, who was like his father...this pattern goes back to the first father...yup, all the way to Adam.

For me, being like my first father is often not appreciating the gifts that God has given me...more specifically the people that God has placed in my life as gifts. Adam didn't appreciate Eve the way he should have, especially after he sinned..."the woman you gave me" was the way he pushed blame off. At this same moment though he devalued Eve.

Think about it, isn't it true that every time we don't thank God for somebody He has placed in our lives that we really don't have the right view of them. And if we don't have the right view of them, aren't we devaluing them?

I have begun to believe that we can't truly appreciate something until we understand that we are in need and that this person or thing fills the need we have.

Take my sister Trisha for example...for years I have kept her an arms length away but because of the brokenness I have experienced through this divorce I have realized I am need of my family. I posted something yesterday about a meeting I was concerned about on Facebook. Yesterday she said she would pray. Just now she asked how the meeting went.  She loves me.  She is a gift.  After all these years, I have begun to be truly thankful for my sister...but it began with me realizing my need.

It is the same way with friends...I appreciate them (you), am grateful for them (you), because they (you) care and fill a need I have. I hope I give you something in return.

It is the same with my worship of God as well. Before I did not understand as I do now my need for a Saviour. Today I see differently. I have begun to see the many ways (major understatement) that I have been trying to earn grace instead of simply receiving it. I see that I can simply receive grace because of what Jesus did on Calvary. My brokenness pointed me to my need for my Creator and Jesus blood was the path to get me to him. My Creator is slowly making me whole. I worship Him because of who He is and what He can do.

So, I may be like my father, but I am trying to change that. I am trying to appreciate.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Scared and alone

I was singing along with the radio (third day's king of glory) as I turned the corner onto mills coming home from Meijer. The Remax sign was still there and I thought about mowing the lawn or not mowing the lawn. This lawn that has been mine for almost 9 years will soon, one way or another, no longer be mine. My realtor says that now is the time to get aggressive with the price, maybe dropping as much as $20,000 off the price. When she told me that at soccer team pictures tonight I think my face went pale. I had it in my mind that I had another 7 months here...Licia is right though, it is better for me to have a short sale happen than a complete foreclosure.

That wasn't my thought as I pulled into into my driveway though. I got scared. I thought about all the good times here and my dreams to add on and tweak the house to my attached garage with a master suite above it, a real dining room, an island in the kitchen, laundry on the main level. And oh the heating/cooling system I would have splits, radiant heating, modulating boiler and solar panels (yes I am still a hvac nerd in my dreams).

I became scared of where I am going to live and how I am going to afford a place good enough for the boys. It didn't matter in that moment that less than 2 hours before I set up an interview for a part time job at Meijer.

My fears gave way to sadness, mourning a little bit the pending loss of this part of my life. I've known for a while this was coming, but part of the reality needed to be dealt with today.

And thoughts of being alone snuck in there too...mostly because it would be great to have a partner who was in this with me, to be able to share whatever concern I was feeling and have her just speak to my fearful heart and encourage me. Maybe some people would say in the fact that I think I need someone in that way that I am not healthy enough to be with somebody right now. I don't know, maybe they are right. I would like to think differently though. I would like to think that even God said after shortly creating man that it was not good for him to be alone and then went off to find a partner for him (and then made woman).

So since I cannot dream about my house tonight, because it will soon be somebody else's...I will dream about my partner that God has for me and look forward to that day where I will be encouraged by her when I struggle through life like tonight's thoughts and feelings

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

What else is anger

Just a simple question today...a quote from a nouwen book called the way of the heart

"what else is anger than the impulsive response to the experience of being deprived?"

This question found me after a weekend of asking god to draw me close and show me himself, to help me glorify him. In that weekend I was told to submit to others, to obey God in my actions (to be really concerned with his glory first, not my own), and reminded that the place this battle of self will vs what I was created for is called solitude.

Where does this question find will you answer the deeper question that lies within it?

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Webster defines failure as:

1a - omission of occurrence or performance
1b - a state of inability to perform a normal function or an abrupt cessation of normal functioning
1c - a fracturing or giving way under stress
2a - a lack of success
2b - a failing in business : bankruptcy
3a - a falling short : deficiency
3b - deterioration, decay
4 - one that has failed

When I talk about my fear of failure it is the 3a definition that drives my cerebral processing...emotionally though, it is my fear of being alone, uncared for, unloved, or abandoned because I am not good enough that too often drives my actions...I am only writing this factually, it is important for the rest.

The rest is that I am learning, which means I failed at knowing everything :) ...I am learning about grace, about kindness, about love, about brokenness, about the needs of people, about the person of God that exists outside the box I had put Him in...I am learning a great many things. These lessons come in many different ways and from many different people, often from unexpected people. One common truth though is these things need to be thought about and reflected on, pondered if you will. I am finding questioning what I thought to know for certain, looking at things from a different angle, is often when I learn the most

It was a Facebook post by Whitney Fowler, a friend from Mission Year, that has my mind racing right now, a post that has me questioning my definition of failure (3a).

"remember that defeats are only temporary, it's the giving up that makes them permanent"

My response was something like, "ahh, wait, I am really only failing if I give up."

For some of you, that is a no-brainer and you have lived a life full of confidence and grace but there are those of us who condemn ourselves more greatly than anybody else ever could.

Today, I will enjoy thinking, living with the truth than even if I stumble in this race of life that it does not mean I am DQed from the race my Creator intended me to be on from the beginning of time. No, stumbling means I need to get back up and press forward towards the originally purposed finish line.

If it is the giving up that makes the defeats permanent, let's all dust ourselves off and press forward towards that finish line.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Tim McGraw

This trip to Vegas has been enjoyable so far. I have experienced a few firsts, including my favorite part...a few hours at a spa. An 80 minute massage (did you know you were supposed to get naked for those?), saunas, jacuzzi the craziness of a city that doesn't sleep (and doesn't want you to either) it was extremely relaxing

I miss home, the boys, church, routine, even work...really, even work, and friends.

Tony Marshall is graduating today, the Corbin's at Converge, the Wagenmakers, Thornton's, DeBones and many others at J-Road for the start of Love Mission...and there was even a special speaker at Olivet Church I thought about seeing which would have brought a completely different group of people, much older friends that go back to me at 15 (the math on that is 17 years)

Missing home and friends doesn't mean all my thoughts are on that though...

I will try to sum it up with this...Tim McGraw's song "My Best Friend" was playing on the radio this morning while getting ready...I heard this song often because of Phil Morse and his country fetish and I grew to like it a lot. It really is a good, no great song. Started to sing along a little bit before I had to turn my head from the guys with me because the emptiness hit me. This moment reminded me that not all is as it was. I was reminded that she really is gone from my life in "that" capacity (as her absence here also reminds I was leaving to Detroit she was coming home from Chicago). While this tearing of the flesh still hurts in some ways and will for a while (didn't Shrek say something about being like an onion and having layers)
I have become more certain than ever that healing is happening. I know this because during this same song hope came over me. Hope for this friendship...hope for a future

Without knowing this brokenness so much would not be...and I am more thankful for that everyday

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


after inviting myself to a friends house to dinner tonight, (where are my manners, right?) i am left pondering some of the points of our conversation.  conversation that wasnt planned or scripted or for a specific purpose other than catching up.  i hope i brought something to them.  i know they brought something to me.

there are parts of our conversation still resonating in my mind.  statements, questions, encouragement that has sparked a wildfire of thoughts within me.

in a part of our conversation i was telling how i am learning that my personality can be one that needs people but also, at the same exact time will push people away.  i told them how in part i am anxious and fearful of what could happen, even to the point that i become like a coward, and do nothing at all.  yes, while it is true that somebody that has had a spouse become indifferent to them (for whatever reason they have) and leaves will find it difficult to trust people in certain ways...but my need for safety runs deeper than that and stems from other experiences in my life.

a major thought that keeps coming to mind, is what is my purpose?  why have these things really happened, and not just this divorce, but all of my life.  what is coming next.  will i be brave enough and committed enough to follow God in this.

perhaps it is not time for me to know.  perhaps i am still like a person recovering from a major surgery and need to heal.  i am asking the questions though...perhaps soon i will understand the answer...

Monday, April 16, 2012

blank screen

i have been sitting, staring at this blank screen, wondering what to write.  there are so many things i feel, but only so many of them stem from conversation that is safe.  it has never been my intention to bash or belittle kim, or to have my words impact the way people may treat her.  i care deeply for her still today.  i hurt for her.

it is the logical, analyzing part of me that believes statistics...but that is only part of the reason that i hurt for her.

here it is...i have her bible from high school.  i have read letters she wrote to herself.  i have read the journals she kept.  i spent more than half my life with her.  i like to think i know her...

i dont know what happened though...i know who she could be...i know what she aspired to be...and i know she is never going to get there the way she is going...

so i sit here in the quiet of the night and hurt for her.


and i feel helpless as i watch her waste her potential and throw away the things she once held dear.

i dont know when i am supposed to stop caring, or if that means i have not emotionally divorced myself from her or if this is all part of the grieving/mourning process associated with divorce.

i do know that i wish somebody would get her attention and speak deep into her soul...

it is odd to think that when i remarry, the woman God has for me will understand these feelings from a past life, and that she will know how to love me despite the wounds that are ever apparent right now as well as the deeper wounds associated with this divorce, marriage, and my childhood.

it is odd to think that God has allowed these events, all events in my life to shape me into who i am today.

it is odd to think that God has adopted me into his family, that he considers me a son worthy of a full inheritance.

it is odd to think that God considers me, as fallen as I am, to be his masterpiece and that he has prepared works for me to do.

it is odd to think that God knew everything about me, in completeness, while i was still in my mothers womb.

these things are odd think because i used to think i understood God and the ways that he works...but I have learned that I do not understand much at all.

I have begun to gain an appreciation of his ways...especially as I consider all the graceful gifts he has given that I do not deserve...that appreciation leads me to worship.

oh, and i want to go on the record as hating the term breast feeding...

The message I hear, the conflict I have

The message I hear is that she wants me to be ok with her taking advantage of me. The message I hear is that I should not trust her. The message I hear is that she has killed her conscience, that she has no compassion or consideration left for me. The message I hear is that she chooses to only care about herself.

The conflict I have is that it hurts to be taken advantage of. The conflict I have is to respond with jabs of my own. The conflict that I have is to protect myself. The conflict I have is to not forgive. The conflict I have is to not extend grace. The conflict I have is to hate rather than to love, to push away rather than to foster.

I hear her attempt to justify her actions and I think, say, bullshit. I hear her put all the blame on me and I wonder aloud, "how the hell did we get here?"

I am human and I lose some of these conflicts. I lose them often. My conflicts are what I need to worry about though, and not the messages, because the messages come from more places than just Kim.

I feel like I say this all the time, that I have gained little ground.

Father God, you know my heart. You see what nobody else does. Please renew me, please restore me, please draw me close again. Thank you for adopting me into your family.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

there is always a friday...

i feel protected today, this weekend, this holiday.

after being broken, feeling destitute and out of luck i came to a place where i finally gave up...and in that place i began to experience the grace and mercy of God in new ways.

today is a holiday that is better than every other holiday...this sunday is a holiday that screams hope and power.

there is hope in my life, despite what things appear to be...

time after time, there is hope that appears in scripture despite what the circumstances look like, especially as we get to look back into these accounts given.  how many times did Jesus heal the lame or the blind.  how many lepers did He make clean.  how many people held captive to a demon or possibly worse yet, their self image, did Jesus set free?

this weekend though as i looked back on the crucifixion and the events surrounding that time i was forced to think about the disciples.

the disciples didn't have the luxury of looking back like i do.  the disciples saw Jesus arrested and became fearful.  some lied while others fled.  some went back to their hometowns and places of work.  in one of his better sermons tony campolo described this as a friday.  we call it good friday.  we all have fridays don't we?

i have had a pretty long friday.  some of you have had pretty long fridays.  there are more fridays to come...there is always a friday.

but here is where the hope comes in...because we get to see backwards, we get to see that no matter how bad friday looks...even if we see all our dreams buried in a tomb...sunday is coming.

and on sunday, there is power!  on sunday there is a resurrection.  on sunday there is new life.  on sunday there is healing.  on sunday there is our Creator, waiting like a father with open arms to welcome us back home.

check this out from ephesians 1

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come

there are so many levels this applies, from our lives today to all eternity, and while it may be a friday...sunday is here!  and this truth leads me to want to worship my creator for all He does on friday when i cant see it and for every bit of sunday i get look back on.

Jesus paid it all video -

Tony Campolo -

Sunday, April 01, 2012

overwhelmed and frustrated...

i had this post mostly written out and ready to publish...and then i realized it was a bunch of whining...words saying how much things are not what i want in life and from life...but what good will that do.

so, here is my second attempt tonight...

friends, i am overwhelmed and frustrated.  i am in need.  it is hard to write that, and it will be even harder to click on the publish button.

i am not kidding either.  just to write those words, i am in need, is hard for me to do...because it opens up the chance that you wont care...or worse yet, that you will not think as highly of me as i want you to.

i am in need is me saying that i feel too weak to face these struggles alone.  i often feel alone.

i can admit this need tonight because i feel overwhelmed by the task and frustrated with this place in my life.

i am not asking for you to do things for me, for you to make my burden lighter, but i am asking these few things:

please encourage me
please pray for me
please talk with me
please include me in life
please listen to me

i know that this is just a season in my life, and that God is indeed using this time to draw me closer to him, but i know you were also placed in my life for this season as well.  thank you for being here.  thank you for helping me in my time of need.
(there are many of you that are wise and can have very good input into my life, but please resist telling me what to do, and what i should consider most import, but please feel free to question me as you listen so that we can struggle together.  please know that your questions will sometimes need time to be struggled with)

Monday, March 26, 2012

todays thoughts

There are some days I horribly miss Kim.
Somehow, I believe there should be shame in this.  Not shame in her being gone and my role in that…that regret and remorse is healthy…but shame in missing her, in having those emotions.

Why shouldn’t I miss her? 

Yes, there have been many painful happenings over the last 9 months specifically, but if I love her as I have always said, those events should not create an environment where I stop missing her.  Those happenings should hurt.  They do hurt.  Anybody sitting with me or working alongside me can see the toll these last 9 months have taken on me.  It is ok for me to miss her.

I have heard that grieving is a process…a process that can take different amounts of time.  With every unresolved phone conversation I am starting to see why “God hates divorce.”  I am also starting to think that perhaps it may be easier to have a spouse pass away than to have this constant contention.  I am also reminded that I have lost so much.

Perhaps the scariest part of these phone calls to me though is that I often realize (albeit sometimes after the conversation is long over and I have to apologize) just how wounded I am.  Wounded isn’t even a good enough word…I am brokenhearted.

Maybe the day will come sooner, maybe it will come much later…but there will be a day when I won’t be brokenhearted…I think it is possible that even on that day, there will be a part of me that will still miss her.

I miss her today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Be thou my vision

There is an old hymn that has been popping up in my life for the past few months...or maybe I am just more conscious about when hymns pop up because of some conversations with friends about hymns having meat to them, especially when compared to some common day worship songs. Getting off topic, but ill go there real quick...the words to these popular song are often more about what I can do then who God is. It is almost like we are singing praises about ourselves instead of praising God for who He is. Don't get me wrong, I like me some Matt Redman, Jesus Culture, and such...but now I am way off subject...

So this hymn that keeps finding its way in my mind, my heart and my prayers is be though my vision.

"be though my vision, o lord of my heart, naught be all else to me, save that though art"

This first line has been my prayer often as of late actually. It is often accompanied by other words like "God I don't understand why ____________". I understand that God is in control of the craziness of my life but I also know that my Creator is just that, a creator...a creator that is so crazily creative that I cannot come up with a good word to describe it. Clever, imaginative, ingenious, originative...none of these words do it.

There is a reason I have to ask for Him to be my vision besides His creativity...I think this paragraph by M Craig Barnes explains it well...

"Because we have grown more accustomed to asking than to receiving, God's intervention would terrify us. We have adjusted to the harshness of life. We have learned that as long as life isn't tragic, we can tolerate the fact that it will be vaguely dissatisfying. But nowhere in Scripture does hope appear for those who have learned to cope by settling for a little glory. When Jesus was born, who were such people? Herod, Caesar, the innkeeper-they received no angels announcing good news of great joy. God wants to give us a vision of glory, not a little happiness. In order to receive that vision, we must abandon the deals we have cut with the world-deals that leave us with little happiness. Actually, that is probably asking too much. It is hard to abandon even hurtful relationships or unfulfilling jobs or dissatisfying lifestyles, now that we have developed such good mechanisms for getting through each day. That is why God sometimes interrupts our prayers to help us cope by presenting us with a terrifying opportunity to receive a truly glorious mission."

God is always "up to something". He is always working...but sometimes that something is so terrifyingly uncomfortable and flies directly against everything we want...Barnes later in the chapter writes this...

"Many portraits of Mary show her with a quiet, serene smile. But that is not the picture we have of her in Luke, at least not yet. At this point she has just realized that her life is out of control. How can this be? A life so well constructed has to be abandoned. A job is lost. A move has to be made. Another move. A loved one dies way to soon. These interruptions proclaim that life is not what we had hopes for. It isn't even what we had settled for. God has interrupted our ordinary expectations, as cherished as they were, to conceive something. We can't manage it. We can't even understand it. All we can do is receive it. Because if God conceived this thing, then it is holy, and it will save our lives."

The reason "be thou my vision" has become a prayer for me is because I simply can't see what God sees. The relationships I want, the financial security I think I need, the job title I long for, the mission trip I want to go on, etc, etc all cloud the way I see the world and my future. My sight is so limited. God's is not.

The hymn ends "heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, o ruler of all"

Still be my vision, o ruler of all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

a couple of dates

i am home alone tonight, wondering what i should be doing...i mean there is stuff to do, but i dont feel like doing any of them.  i could also call somebody and just say hey, i am pretty down, can we hang...i could even call somebody just to talk.

i think there is part of me that wants to be alone though.  i really need to be alone.  there is some thinking and processing and praying that i should be doing right now.

i should be doing...i have been doing that tonight...i may have even cried a little bit.

there are so many sobering tasks to do in this house still.  as i face these tasks and work through them i put a little bit of the past to rest.

tasks are not the only thing though that is is looking at my calendar.

days that used to bring happiness will be filled with emptiness this year...and maybe for years to come...maybe forever.

i already know that i would like to fill may 5 and july 19 with mind numbing activities, like watching a tigers game.  (may 5 vs cws 305p and july 19 vs laa 105p)

june 13 fits in there as well.  that was the day i found a letter...
june 14 was always special, the day i first asked kim to be my girlfriend in 1995
july 13 is the day she decided, or at least announced to me, that we were done.

and i think i would like to skip the month of august this year...

i feel raw tonight, beat down even...maybe my bed is calling...

the long story of esther

i read through the book of esther today.  it was a shorter book, only 10 chapters, and a continuous story, so the reading was easy.

in chapter 4 mordecai had found out about a plan to kill all the jews within a certain part of the world and implored esther, a woman whom he adopted as his own daughter who had now become a queen, to speak out for the jews..."for if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish.  and who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

mordecai was asking, is it possible this is the reason God allowed you to become the queen?  could this be the purpose of your life?  is this just a coincidence or was this all God's providential plan?

looking back at the story we can clearly see that esther being there was part of God's providential plan...chapter 2 talks about why esther and mordecai were in susa to begin with.  they were in this city of the persian and medes because they were some of the jews that were carried away when nebuchadnezzar conquered jerusalem.  the book of daniel tells us how darius the mede conquered nebuchadnezzar's descendant and the city of babylon.  it all adds up, this is how they got there...they were captives to circumstances beyond their control...captives turned royalty.  God had a plan, so creative that we can only see as we look back.

but it doesnt stop there...there is more to the story...there is more that God did to get esther and mordecai into susa.  there is more to the words that mordecai spoke to esther.

mordecai was from the tribe of benjamin.  do you know why that matters?  check out judges 19-21.  the men from a city called gibeah did some bad stuff, the rest of israel confronted the tribe of benjamin about these things but they wouldnt do anything about the city.  then came war.  lots of people died.  the other tribes were so offended by what their benjaminite brothers did that they even made a pact with each other to not let their daughters marry any from the tribe of benjamin.  they were going to blot out this tribe.  compassion came though (from the hand of God) and they made plans for this tribe to not become extinct.  God stepped in and provided a way for the remaining people of benjamin to have wives.

so, check this out, God put esther in place as queen for a specific reason, but it didnt happen overnight.  it started many years before then.  it started with God giving compassion to the tribe of benjamin after nearly being blot out, and carried into the captivity of jerusalem, then the take down of the most powerful empire at that time by the medes and persians, to the disobedience of a queen that all lead to esther becoming queen and living her life for what she was made for.

i find hope in seeing this path.  there were tears, distress, agony, even bloodshed...but all the way God was in control and allowing things to happen and take shape for a purpose.

it is the same way for me.  every piece of my life has been orchestrated, the good and the painful, to make me, to shape me, for a moment, for this moment.

the words of mordecai have been echoing in my mind before i read them today...i have asked many times why God has let my life unfold the way that it has.  why does it have to be this way.  why do i have to suffer through this.  why cant i have that, or her.  why do my dreams have to die.

God's answer is similar to mordecai's words...and who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

i am here for such a time as this...i am here to touch lives...i am here because i was meant to be here.  i am here to live in a way to brings glory to God.

there will be a day when we can look back at my life, and the life of my boys, and say with great confidence and joy, that just like God directed esther's path that my path was also being directed.  i look forward to that day, and for all the days in between.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

run home

i have been running.  i am preparing for my first 5k.  it is not until june 2nd, but once i feel ready, i may try to find one before then...but the run for wings on june 2 is on the calendar and most of my calvary life group is in on it as well.  i like to run outside much, much more than a treadmill, and even if i have to go at 11p or later i try to get out.  i have added some hills because NM is pretty flat...i even hit some trails at the state park last week (that was much tougher than i thought it would be).

i am doing this 5k to show myself i can be disciplined enough to do this, that i have always had the ability inside me.  these times when i am out have been great emotional releases.  perhaps more importantly though, they have also been times when i have met with God.  sometimes it has been a prayer (both quiet and loud) other times through me being silent and listen, but it is often through the music in my ears.

a few weeks ago, i stumbled across a steven curtis chapman song called run home.  this song was only available as a bonus track when you prebought the this moment album.  lyrics are not found anywhere, no youtube copies, it is not even listed on as his song.

now i am not saying God had this song made just for me, but i do believe he orchestrated this song getting into my hands at first as a prebuy bonus on 1-1-08 and again as i was on a run a few weeks back.

so much of this will be lost by just writing the words here, because the complete song is pretty great, but i want to share them.

So long you journeyed
Hiding your face from the wind
Wondering if your broken heart
Will ever hope again
I know it seems like all your dreams
Have been buried somewhere on the way
I can hear a new beginning calling your name
 Run wild, run free
Like a river on its way to the sea
Show your heart, show your face
Let the fire inside you blaze
Run brave, run strong
Throw your head back and sing out your song
Run wild, run free, run home
 The waiting is over
Your moment has arrived
The wind is calling out to you
You were born to live this life
So gather up the memories of all the hope you’ve lost on the way
And lift your eyes, the sun is rising
On a new day
 Run wild, run free
Like a river on its way to the sea
Show your heart, show your face
Let the fire inside you blaze
Run brave, run strong
Throw your head back and sing out your song
Run wild, run free, run home Run home
 Go on and join the dance
And take the chance and let your heart dare to believe again
 Run wild, run free
Like a river on its way to the sea
Show your heart, show your face
Let the fire inside you blaze
Run brave, run strong
Throw your head back and sing out your song
Run wild, run free, run home Run home
 Run wild, run free, run home

 for me, today, this song is an invitation from my Creator.  i sometimes picture him calling these words out to me.  rob, come home, come quickly, run home rob.  i have created you for a purpose, for this moment, with an imaginative mind and endless possibilities.  be who i created you to be. run with perseverance.  run home

i am finding that having a target, a finish line, makes the running easier.  i dont know where this path will lead me through, but i know the destination is home.

i have been running...running home.