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.

Friday, March 09, 2012

i want blood for this

tonight i listened to a few Mark Driscoll sermons from the Real Marriage series.  #4, the respectful wife, was emotional.  my heart yearns to be treated that way.  it is almost as if God set it up for me to watch that, to let my emotional walls come down and be honest with myself, and then have it followed up with #5, taking out the trash.

taking out the trash is about repentance and forgiveness...about being bitter or being better.

my new years resolution was to fill my 2012 with forgiveness.  forgiveness for myself and for others.  forgiveness from God.  like all good resolution makers though, i have fallen a bit off that wagon.

you would have thought that having conversations this week with close friends would have been enough for me to be willing to let myself go there...but they weren't.

it wasnt until tonight, watching these sermons that i allowed myself to open my heart and touch this sore spot within me.  it wasnt until the testimony at the end of #5 where the man said to mark. "i want blood for this" and mark responded, "you've already got blood for it, its the blood of jesus"

it is my sin that has made me bitter.  it my unforgiveness i need to confess.

while i do that, if you want to watch this great series, you can find it here:

if you dont want to watch that great series, then please consider starting an account at kiva, they are giving you a free trial loan if you have never been there before. 

Monday, March 05, 2012

controlled chaos

i had the honor of throwing ryan a birthday party this past weekend.  it wasnt for just any birthday though...this was his 2nd birthday.  being that ryan is a leap day birthday, his actual birthday only comes every 4 years.  and every 4 years we celebrate.  small parties and gatherings on the in between years, because he is special, but that 4th year, we celebrate.

this year i wasnt going to let being a parent down change the celebration that he has been waiting years for...truth be told, i have been looking forward to this as well because it is a way to celebrate just how special this little man is.

it was time to live a memory.

12 friends for an overnight, lots of pizza, an all you can eat sundae bar with an array of toppings, nerf gun wars that allowed free reign of the house (and to shoot ryan's dad), freeze tag, staying up super late, mounds of pancakes and paper airplanes.

there was a moment when a parent dropped off some overnight stuff and he said it looks a bit chaotic.  i tried to assure him that i was maintaining control, that although it looked like chaos, it was controlled chaos.  it seemed to suffice.

it was a riot.  more than that actually...the reason the boys had a blast is because it was controlled chaos.  i had parameters they needed to follow (which they all did wonderfully) but a lot of freedom within those lines...and my soccer whistle if i needed to regain control...

i just got this email right now "Rob, thanks a lot for hosting the party on Friday.  Looks like you had quite the crew, I bet Ryan had a blast.  I'm also sure you are eligible and entitled to an award.  Nick was talking about it for the balance of the weekend."

the party is over though and it is time to return to life "as normal"

i can't help feeling like my life is in a bit of chaos right now though...breaking a lease on a vehicle, selling the house to avoid foreclosure, a messed up debt to income ratio, a bout of pink eye that took me away from work that i was already behind on, the legal ending of my marriage to kim, etc, etc.  it is enough to make me feel edgy and a little irritable.

instead of jumping off the edge though, i am bringing this to God and trying to leave it there.  i like to be in control, or at least feel like i am, and that is why trying to leave it there is so difficult.  it is my deep desire for comfort that has me continually taking these concerns back.

i felt the Holy Spirit say to me as I returned to the building from lunch, "Rob, this is controlled chaos.  You don't have control, but I do."  that truth is what i need to remember heading into the rest of this week, month, year.

ryan's party is not only a memory that we share, but it will also be a living example for me.  the purpose of that controlled chaos was fun for all (which was had)...the purpose for this life of controlled chaos is to draw me closer to him, to develop my character, to make me more like jesus, to show how God is in control, and ultimately for his glory...he is in control.