Saturday, December 27, 2014


Yesterday I went to the Quick Lane Bowl with my two other brothers. The football game was horrible, a matchup between schools hovering around the .500 mark. Rutgers from the B1G and UNC from the ACC. Dropped passes, missed tackles, interceptions, fumbles, blocked punts, missed field goals. A constant parody of ineptitude. 

But it was one of the best days I have had in a really long time. 

For the first time I can remember, while I was the little brother on this trip, I didn't feel like the little brother. I felt like I was just with my brothers. There wasn't a rank. There wasn't age. There was just brothers. We laughed, sang to the radio, talked sports, joked with each other, drove from the backseat, ate crap food, and got Starbucks way later than is reasonable to have coffee. 

We were just together, and it warmed my heart. 

I have always looked up to my brothers, I am the shortest one after all, so this day where I was included without feeling like I had to fight for attention or garner favor by my actions just felt right. It felt like I belonged. 

I'm still smiling. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday depression

I don't know why I was surprised when earlier today my heart began to sink. This feeling has crept into my life for the past 20 something years around this time. Holiday depression is alive and well in my life. 

And I hate that it is. It is the one tradition that I wish I could be rid of. 

There is a Christmas Day, when I was 15, where I remember just sitting in the corner of the crowded room and just started bawling my eyes out.  So much noise was going on, nobody even noticed. Surrounded by people, but yet all alone. 

And I don't know if I am really all that different now.  

The evidence of brokenness was present then just as the evidence of brokenness is present by my empty house now. 

I have learned something in the past 20 years though. Maybe I should even say experienced something. Psalm 23:4. 

Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure. (Psalm 23:4 MSG)

Death Valley...a place of little life, little growth, animal skulls, and no life giving water. It is the antithesis to the Garden of Eden or the Promise Land (that flowed with milk and honey).  I have also likened it to Mordor in the Lord of the Rings. It is a depressing place. 

Holiday depression, feeling low becuase of the presence of brokenness, is alive, but it won't be forever.  It really points to my personal need for Jesus' birth and my personal need for a Redeemer. It points to the truth that if all was left to my own doing, I would screw it all up, big time. 

This growning in my heart reminds me to make room for Emmanuel, because God really is here with us, just like Psalm 23:4 says. 

I still think holiday depression sucks, but maybe I won't hate it because it has a redemptive purpose. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Target on the wall

3 years back there was a parenting study I went through with some friends. Instantly, it changed the way that I parent, not because of some magical formula, but because Chip talked about targeting. 

Targeting is part goal setting, part leading by example, and part correcting the course complete with confession.   

(I didn't realize it at that point, but I was beginning to be shaped for what some of my business relationships now look like as well)

I get reminders all the time that I have great influence on my boys, influence that includes the words I speak but goes well beyond them.  It is my actions that teach them. 

While this thought is scary at times, it is what drives part of my being as well. I want to be the man I want my boys to become. I want them to be giving to those in need, so I give. I want them to experience the greatness of sex only within their marriage covenant, so I am waitin. I want them to be critically thinking, so I engage their mind and value their opinions. I want them to be thrifty, so I teach them to divide purchase cost by ounces to understand the best value. I want them to celebrate life, so we party when good things happen. I want them to be emotionally strong, so I listen to their hearts cry. I want them to know the face of God, so we pray together. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Just things I don't understand

It is good for me to experience things I would rather not. It keeps me humble by reminding me I don't know everything and that I don't have all the answers. 

I can pursue an inward journey of understanding but until a situation in life where I don't have the answer arrives, I will travel at my own comfortable speed. 

I can attempt to learn and understand a person, even psychoanalyze them as I listen and read their nonverbals, but until they act, I am really only guessing. 

Conflict, loneliness, disappointment, heartache, fatigue, anger, depression, doubt, shame, and fear are all things I would rather not experience. 

But what if all those negative emotions are really good for me? What if without sadness I can't have the happiness I want? What if without loneliness I can't understand togetherness and partnerships?  What if without tears I won't every really be able to smile?  What if without horrific endings I won't be able to recognize the beautiful beginnings?

"What is today, will not always be."  It is a statement I have made so many times as I have looked forward to better days, but it is true in the opposite as well. 

There will be bad days. There will be hard days. There will be painful days. There will be days I would rather forget. There will be people leaving my life even though I think they are valuable. And there will be death. 

There will be things I don't want at all, and sometimes for reasons I don't deserve or understand at all. 

But, there will be good!  There is beauty. There is laughter. There is music and dancing. There is love. There is delighting in the presence of another person.  There is simply being. 

There will be the things I long for, and sometimes for reasons I don't deserve or understand at all. 

But there it is, life, good and bad. Life is calling. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Swirl wind

I've been here before.  I'm sure of it.  But where is here?

The place my heart is torn in so many directions. The place where I want to pull back into everything that is safe. The place I want to be like a turtle at the sign of danger. Thwump, into my shell. 

Today, my soul is like a swirling late fall wind. Deep hurts spinning around with deep needs. I want to stand strong in the midst of it yet I want to fall. 

I need to honor my true self, which means I should let myself fall. Fall and then get right back up. 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

When I'm sick

It's been a good chunk of time since I've been sick. I am beyond thankful for that truth. 

Tonight though, I was reminded that when I am sick, I am a really big baby. 

Planning to stretch out from 1.5 to 2 miles tonight I started down the road as sundown approached. Clouds in the sky meant it got dark very quickly. Cars were racing down the road like madmen so I had to stay out of their way. 

Just a bit before the mile marker, another car was coming, but as I tried to move to the side, I misstepped somehow, badly rolled my ankle and tumbled onto the ground. 

And then I layed there helpless. I couldn't get up, the immediate pain was excruciating. I literally laid on the ground and screamed like a baby waiting to nurse. 

I run a loop and was on the back half. I was three houses down from my house and was just staring at my light, wondering how do I get up. How do I get across the road. Who can I call to help me. 

My frustration mounted and reached the same level of my pain. I screamed again, hoping the scream would somehow give way to a levelheaded demeanor and that I would find an answer. 

It didn't.

And so I just laid there on the ground with nobody to call for help. 

A random car stopped and checked on me, helped me off the ground and back home. 

So there I was hobbling aroud, getting ice and pillow and aspirin. Finally it was resting, icing, compressing, and elevating.  

Instead of feeling accomplished, I felt alone. I was hurting and I wanted somebody to come sooth my booboo. Really, I used the word booboo as I was talking to myself. 

Sure, I was being a big baby at the moment, whimpering at the still excruciating pain. My ankle was throbbing and had swollen to the size of a grapefruit. 

As I started to settle in, my LifeGroup was starting to arrive. And I was reminded of an important truth. 

While I may be a big baby, I was made for relationships. I was made to care for another and to be cared for by another. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually.  Mentally. Intellectually. Sexually. Wholistically.  My LifeGroup was there to care for me Spiritually. 

I was reminded that while I feel alone today, there will be a woman who comes along and will care for me in all the ways I was created for, as I will be able to care for her. That, and I was reminded I can be a REALLY BIG BABY.  

Monday, December 01, 2014

Corporate worship

I love corporate worship. There is just something about being with others who want to see Jesus work in their lives. 

It is something I could get lost in. 

Part of the reason for this is because I meet God in a fresh way, in a way I cannot do by myself.  I am being ushered into the presence of God by another person. 

I have an active involvement in this still.  If I don't quiet my heart, if I don't invite God in as he knocks on the door of my heart, I will miss him. So many times I have missed him. 

I have begun a habit of inviting God in though, slowing myself while in the car to church, listening to a worship song on the way, and most importantly verbalizing an invitation while the music starts. 

Sometimes this invitation is as simple as "God be here with us, move in us, move in me. Don't let us leave the same."  Other times it is a pouring out of all the thoughts and worries in my mind with the prayer "let me see you, let me hear your voice, let me know your close" added to the end.

The words I say really don't matter all that much, but God does show up.  

Yesterday my prayer was a longer prayer with "let me hear your voice" at the end . God was faithful to answer with a few lines from Hosanna that pierced the dark cloud that was blocking my clarity. 

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours 
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

The bolded words knocked me on my butt. Literally. I sat down and pondered those words. I need those words to be true in my life.  Those words are words to help center the craziness of my life.  

It is amazing that I can be in a crowd of people, worshiping together with them, but yet have God come so close to me. It is part of the reason I love corporate worship. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Scared of what?

What are you scared of, what fear are you letting stop you?

It was the question Rich threw at me.

And it hit home.  

Our conversation was filled with talk of our most vulnerable selves, our subconscious, and the wall of fear. 

But Rich didn't let it end there. 


He challenged me to ponder what it would look like on the other side of the wall of fear at work, at home, and in my personal relationships. He challenged me to take steps toward the other side of the wall instead of waiting until I felt it was the perfect time.

Rich's challenge was really a challenge to step out of my comfort zone. 

So onward I will go, taking steps, and beginning to change my internal conversations. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014


I just found a notebook that had been lost over 6 months ago. 

First page in I wrote DREAMS

Check these out:

Write books - husband and wife relationship, becoming a man

Speaking engagements 

Marriage Ministry - healing broken marriages and those in crisis

Mens healing ministry - understanding our wounds and growing 

The target building

A wife who loves God and wants to help fulfill these dreams. A partner in crime 

For Ryan to keep his sensitive heart and be the leader 

For Noah to believe in himself and chase the adventure 

For Liam to usher many to tr precense of God with his worship 

Calvary men's ministry 


Deep friendship 

I love being able to look back and see progress made in these dreams.  In my heart, the progress is confirmation 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

That old message is still there

There is a message that I just can't shake from my head.  The past few months have been so full of successes, movement, and growth that it is absurd this message still lingers in my mind. 

It is the message that I am not good enough. Dress it up however you want, but the message is still the same. 

Your house isn't clean enough. 
You don't work enough. 
You need to return voicemails faster. 
You can't lead anybody. 
You are a lousy soccer coach. 
You are single. 
You can't meet deadlines
You don't follow through enough. 
You don't pay close enough attention to the small things. 
You are too fat. 
You aren't fashionable.
You don't love well. 
You are selfish.  
You don't do enough for your boys. 

I have been so firm and filled with confidence for a while, I don't know where this snuck up from. But I am in a funk right now. Today. Tonight. 

I'm hoping this is just a lack of sleep and that tomorrow I can start with a fresh outlook. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wow was I lost

In the last 24 hours I have read most of what I have on this blog, including the many unpublished posts. 

Was I ever broken!

I have gobs of journals lying around my house of the deeper struggle and inner turmoil I had experienced as well. 

But looking back from this part of the journey, I know I am a better man because of it. 

In many ways, I have become a man. I don't mean the "I've got a big boy job and responsibility" but rather that I am able to make decisions about my life, set goals and chase after them.  I am able to take rejection and learn from it.  I am comfortable in my own skin. I can laugh and enjoy life. I can admit I don't have all the answers. 

I've grown from a boy into a man, because of the brokenness that I talk about here. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

My heart could be broken again

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

These words from C.S. Lewis have meant so much to me in the last 3 years. I memorized them and quoted them, to myself, friends, even strangers. 

I had a paraphrased version that helped people see the truth that is here.  

Previously these words helped me pursue Kim when she left. On days when I was too wounded and had no natural desire to press on, these words were a challenge and an encouragement to me.  I remember telling myself that if I really loved her I had to be willing to go where nobody else would go and that I had to do what nobody else would do. I told myself that I needed to remain vulnerable to her so that she could see my heart. 

Today though, a few years since these words first hit me, the truth is ringing home again.

I have begun to date. If texting with people and flipping through online profiles is really what dating is these days. I've messaged with lots of women and only 1 has made it to a first real date.  And then a 2nd date. And hopefully a 3rd date soon. I like her and I find myself looking forward to talking with her more and more. 

But there is this hesitation inside of me. 

What if you like her more than she likes you?  What if you begin to care deeply for her and then it's over. What if you love her and she has an affair and leaves you for somebody else. 

All fears, which mean this is the enemy speaking to my wound, like he is an expert at doing. 

Here is what I know: I am not dating the woman that left me. I am not the same man that was left.  I want to be known in the depth of my soul. In order to be known in the depth of my soul, I have to share my fears and my dreams. Ultimately, I have to be willing to experience hurt if I am going to fully experience the joy and oneness I really long for. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Please don't date daddy

Ryan overheard me making plans with a friend to watch Fury next weekend. I said I'm open unless I have a date. 

He made a comment on the way home about it and during snuggle time, it all came out. 

I am broken by his fear. 

"Daddy, please don't get married really fast like momma."

After a lot of conversation about why I want to date and have a wife, and what God created us for (Noah was here too, so I left out the sex part) the rest of the story came out and the wound of both the boys was exposed. 

They are afraid that our safe place, our team, is going to be broken up and they will be left all alone without somebody to love them. 

I am broken by this. After assuring them I will not leave them and the woman I find will also want to love them and care for them I tucked them into bed. I couldn't hold it in anymore and I just cried for a few minutes. 

I once read that people will see God similarly to the way they see their father.  I hope it is true. I hope these boys will know that just as I am on their side, and they experience me not leaving them alone in this life, that they will know God in the same way. 

God please strengthen them through this.

Monday, October 27, 2014


The frogturduck is my unique hybrid that I made with a red eyed tree frog, a painted turtle and a duck.  Frogturducks are good at surviving because they are good fliers, swimmers and climbers.
            Frogturducks are omnivores which mean that they eat both plants and animals.  They can live in a lot of different places because they have an aquatic diet and a land diet.  They can stick their head underwater (like a duck) and eat algae, small fish and mollusks.  If they get tired of sticking their head underwater and swimming, then there are always bugs!  Frogturducks also like to eat insects like moths, flies and crickets.

            Food is not the only thing that frogturducks need to survive because they are not on the top of the food chain.  They have many predators.  If they are flying then they could be taken down an eagle or a hawk.  If they are swimming they could be eaten by a big fish like a northern pike.  If they are taking a little nap then a snake could eat one up.  They usually rely on camouflage because they have brown feathers blend in with tree bark and dead leaves.  If a frogturduck does get caught off guard then there is a slim chance that it will be protected by its hard, but light shell.  If they see a snake coming then it will fly away or climb a tree using its sticky foot pads.  

by Ryan Peoples

Saturday, August 09, 2014

on giving up

i have to admit, giving up when the road is difficult seems like a pleasant idea.  there is another path right there, and down that path is what you really want.  take the path.

that internal conversation is a constant one it seems like.

but you would think that i have learned by now that just because i am feeling empty and lost and not gaining any ground towards my desired destination...when it feels like it is going backwards and a bit out of control that i would stop those conversations with the reminder that every time i have gone down that road, it only takes me further away from my destination.  

i find it best to have a conversation instead  that ends with "trust God, he is for you.

i used to think that Jeremiah 29:11, a verse that is often thrown around about Gods provision.  I used to think that is what it is about at least...with the "plans to prosper you and not to harm you" part and all.

but today, i find that verse different.

written in the context to a people far from home, a people broken and with shattered dreams, this verse is a very intimate conversation that we can identify with.  

i would paraphrase it something like this, "your dreams are not dead because i am the dream giver.  i breathe life into all things.  so hope beyond hope, and hold fast to your dreams of home.  wait in anticipation.  i will deliver."

its my paraphrase, but that, that is what ends the conversation about giving up.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Perhaps my favorite words I've ever written.


I am excited to give you this Bible because it is a trail marker on your journey to becoming a man and a warrior for the kingdom. I pray the love that God has for you motivates you to change the world one moment at a time. I am honored to call you my son. 

Love always. 


Sunday, June 29, 2014

my month without facebook

thanks in part to the book 7 by jen hatmaker, part ryan calling me an addict, and part holy spirit prompting, i deleted several social media apps off my phone for the month of june (and maybe longer).  you know, the device that i have within my reach 24/7 like 91% of adults that grants me access to games, people, the world wide web, wikipedia, and other major distractions from the things that i should be focusing on.

here is the big thing i learned by cutting out most of the distractions:

i have been living a life of fake relationships.

yup, fake relationships.  and the worst part of it is, i have a rule that i have to know the people that i friend on facebook.  so it is fake relationships with people i know.

here is how it goes.  you post something cheery, or something about where you are at, or some pictures.  i think it is pretty cool and like it, or maybe in the rare case i comment on it and it goes back and forth once or twice.  the end.

and we associate without ever really associating.  we know facts without really knowing people.

in my month without facebook, if i wanted to know how somebody was doing, i had to call or text them.  i even used that same phone that i would have checked on facebook with.  pretty miraculous.  but those phone calls allowed for real conversation, and i could tell my the inflection of that persons voice if they were as good as their facebook posts made it seem.

i have to figure out what is next for me in regards to all these apps and social media, but for today at least, i am keeping them off my phone...cause technically its still june :-)

Larry Salisbury

I love it when Larry Salisbury visits our church. 

As a young boy, Larry lived a few blocks from my house in Grand Haven. He went to my church as well. Larry worked at the school I went to that was ran by my church. My dad was a deacon at the church. 

To the best I remember, all those things added up to Larry having meals at our house.  I remember a few other stories as well, like gummy rats in a paper bag.  Not the full story, but part of it at least. 

I remember spying on the adults long after I was supposed to be in bed, spying and listening.  Sleep simply was not as fascinating as the things the adults were talking about. 

Here is why I love when Larry Salisbury comes to visit my church.  I see a man who, from my childhood memories, was an average man, an average man who made a life altering decision to say yes to God.  

When Larry comes to visit, his stories are far from average.  He has gone much further than West Michigan, he has traveled the world and seen Gods beautiful creation.  Larry has seen God work mightily.  

Let me say that again, Larry has seen God work mightily.  

I am encouraged to see God use an "average man" in a mighty way.  I am encouraged to see God be faithful to this man.  

In a way, Larry is a promise to me. His life is Good News to me as well. God is alive, God is moving mightily, God uses average people. God wants to, and WILL, use me if I say yes like Larry did. 

I love it when Larry Salisbury visits our church. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tears fall

Tonight as snuggle time became prayer time tears fell. 

They fell as each boy uniquely gave thanks for the important things to them. 

They fell as Liam wanted more turns as he listened and agreed with his brothers. 

They fell as I thanked God for each individual personality gifted to me through these little men and the remembrance they are to me of who God is. 

They fell as I was urged to pray for healing for their mothers leg and freedom from the constant pain she endures. 

And they fall now as I humbly realize I am teaching them about the God who redeems, restores, and reconciles and that they are getting it, that they see the truths that God is for us and He wants to make all things new. 

And while tears may fall, my heart is overflowing. 

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Scary good

God has answered several prayers of mine recently. 

I mean I get impressions of God speaking info to me often, and God is always faithful to answer the prayer to make my heart soft again and to draw me near to him, but these prayers were different.  At least they seem that way. 

Prayer 1 was when I needed confirmation that an impression was true. It was Easter Sunday, and I was a bit hard hearted. I asked for a sign of confirmation.  The last sermon note that was like God was asking me do you want the fleece on the ground wet and the surrounding ground dry, or the ground wet and the fleece dry.  He had me. Confirmation was given. Prayer answered. 

Also on Easter Sunday, a few rows up, was this guy sitting with his wife. Normally, like every other Sunday, it was always here alone. I though nice, he came for Easter, maybe I missed him at Christmas. But the next week, he was there again, and again today, without his wife who had to take a kid to a soccer match. Today, I was excited. I've been praying since September for this guy to come back to God and to the church.  Prayer answered. 

The other thing that was very clear, this past Friday, after having a really encouraging conversation with my brother Chris I got an impression to call a guy. I texted with him a week ago and knew his family life was crazy busy and it wasn't letting up until June. Simple prayer, God if we are supposed to talk tonight, have him call me. 20 minutes later, I just pulled into my driveway and I get a phone call from, you guessed it, the guy that came to mind. Prayer answered. 

All this is pretty cool things that God is up to, but it has me scared. 

Scared, I tell ya. Uneasy, worried, nervous. 

Why?  Because God has started to burden me with other stuff. Big stuff. A building acquisition, the complete healing of my ex wife's body, a revival of manhood as defined by God in this area. Hope for the journey, a book to be written, and other dreams. 

Bold prayers. 

I am scared because what if I don't have enough faith. 

Here is the beauty I am hanging onto today in the midst if my fear, it is not about me, and it is not done by me. It is God alone.

It is God alone, and that is the way it should be. 

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


i love.

and it will cost me everything of who i am.

i love.

and the stress of life will show the cracks in who i am.

i love.

and i will continue to for all time.