The Promises of God

We had a discussion today at church about “unfulfilled” promises of God that brought back a lot of memories.

Five years ago (which seems like an amazingly long and short time ago) my Dad was in the hospital in a drug induced coma. And a friend came by to see him. This friend, a serious man of God, prophesied over my sleeping Dad that he would walk out of the hospital. A little over a day later my Dad passed away.

Was this friend off his rocker? Or did God break his promise? Logically it would have to be one of these questions. But that is looking at the situation only in the physical, a very limited scope when considering a God who is Spirit.

I believe, his prophecy was accurate and God kept his promise. My Dad, walked, ran, sprinted, and danced out of that hospital and into the presence of his King. I know how much he loved God and how much joy he would have finally getting to see his face.

The point here is that God is faithful to his word. But he does not always do things in ways that we expect or can see immediately.


On days like this
It’s good to remember

To remember that
The good outweighed the bad

To remember that
To have known and loved
Is greater than having lost

To remember that
Death is a teacher
And it has taught us what is really important

To remember that
Our victory is found in Christ
And that death is not the end
But the beginning of a greater journey

Chazak, Chazak

Around the corner

I’m here
And around every corner
I expect you to be too

How can you not be here
With the people you loved
Worshipping the God you loved

In every handshake and smile
In every note sung and foot stomped
You are here

Your legacy is alive and well
Love is your legacy
Love for one another and love for God

And what a rich legacy it is
One that I’m proud to pass on
To the next generation

A generation you never met
But a generation your life
Will definitely touch

I missed you today
Missed your love
Missed your joy

In the midst of the pain
I know that God is planting new life
That my heart is fertile soil
And in time He and I will reap 100 fold

Why daughters need daddies

I love this.

From Why A Daughter Needs A Dad: 100 Reasons by Gregory E. Lang

1. to show her that true love is unconditional
2. to teach her that her value as a person is more than the way she looks
3. to teach her that family is more important than work
4. to show her that a man can be trustworthy
5. to be the safe spot she can always turn to
6. to teach her that a man’s strength is not the force of his hands or his voice, but the kindness of his heart
7. to be the standard against which she will judge all men
8. to help her take risks that will build her confidence
9. to hold her when she cries
10. to teach her she is important by stopping what he is doing to watch her

via Resurgence

Dream: A Baby & Ring

we were at this clinc and there were some other people there i didn’t know, you went back for some tests and when the nurse came out with the results she said that there was a 99.9 percent chance the baby wasn’t mine. I was like whatever I’ll love the baby anyway. After that i was back in the back near like a basketball court and you had gone into the bathroom. While you were in there my dad came out, we hugged for a second, but he had to go. As he was leaving i noticed a ring on his finger that had three crowns on it that were attached by little loops on the ring. After he left you came out and we left.
(Ring with three crowns = Father, Son, Holy Spirit.)

My Journey pt 6: A brave new world.

So often we buy into the view that our inner self (thoughts, feelings, and will) is just the mind, but that view of your inner self is so very wrong. And anyone who has experienced loss can tell you that the mind and the heart are not just two different organs, they are almost two different beings, but really they two different ways of interacting with the world. Through that heart we feel for one another, love one another, but the mind is all logical, at times cold and ruthlessly calculating.

But after the loss of a loved one you can feel the three go there seperate directions, the mind is numb, the heart aches, and the soul is almost drunk at the wheel (not literally). This may not be an entirely accurate, but I wanted to capture my state after my dad passed away. I was broken, not physically, but in pretty much every other way. My usual stoic self couldn’t handle my new reality.

I remember driving my mom home from the hospital, we talked a bit, tried to put into words what had just happened, and how we felt about it. But I wasn’t really there. My mind was numb not just then, but for days after. What went on around me seemed like a dream that I was unable to wake from. When I was able to feel again, all I could feel was a dull ache where my heart used to be, and that ache reached into depths of who I was. My mind knew that my Dad was in a better place, that his pain and suffering was all gone, replaced with endless joy. It comforted me knowing and believing that when I see him again, it will be tears of joy, instead of the kind tears shed at the hospital. But my heart didn’t seem to grasp the concept. It ached, it cried, it was broken, it had a giant hole right in the middle and no amount of knowing something was going to fix it. Only time and God’s gentle touch seem to be the cure.

People often wonder how someone makes it through those tough times, and while I could offer you all the Church answers possible, but the simple truth is that the support of friends and family make the going much easier to bear. The out pouring of love on my family was amazing. The next day friends came over and cleaned my Mom’s house from top to bottom. Food overflowed from my mom’s refrigerator, and I don’t think it stopped coming in till weeks after. Friends and family called, flew in, or drove in, some we hadn’t seen in years, to be with us (physically or in spirit) during an extremely rough time. One thing that really blew our minds were the financial gifts, people and congregations we hardly knew were such an amazing blessing to our family by giving money, it was truly awesome to watch God provide for us. When the distraction of friends and family finally ends, and where the rubber meets the road that’s where you will find God most, because that’s when you will need him most. Don’t get me wrong, God is in your friends visiting, bringing you food, or caring for you in other ways. But most of us are to wrapped up in our own things to notice God’s subtle touch. It’s not till all that is gone do we really seek God and our real healing begins.

For me personally, I turned to my angel, Arielle, for comfort and support. At first we didn’t talk much about feelings or try to work through the issues I was dealing, we more chit chatted about what was going, the real and tangible things that are easy to talk about (weather, funerals, you know). Eventually Arielle asked more detailed questions and as I struggled to answer them, I would work out how I felt. Arielle was amazingly patient and would listen to me ramble on and on about some weird storied I had to tell or just stay by the phone and listen when i didn’t have anything to say at all. In many ways I think having Arielle there to support me really made those early months much more easy to bear. 

Things get easier as time moves on, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about my dad, in fact I don’t think there’s a day that goes by where I don’t think about him. Penn State scores just about move me to tears (I’m not sure if a win or a lose is worse). And ask Arielle how many times I’ve told her, my dad used to do this, or my dad used to love that. I’m sure she’ll never get sick of hearing about him, but I’m sure my kids will. I used to think it weird when my dad would drive us to see where he played football as a kid, but I think I’m starting to understand, why we were out there and what he was trying to tell us. It’s just to late for us to enjoy the understanding together.

As my head and heart started to get back in sync, I realized a few things. First that my time on this world is short, so I better start living my life, here in the real world. From Jan 2008 to now I’ve been free of the chains called World of Warcraft and Pornography. Second I realized I better get right with God (Thanks to Arielle’s encouraging). I had lived with this idea of me coming back to the Lord when I was good and ready for too long (I was really pushing my luck). I started reading several books Desire by John Eldredge, Driven by Eternity (Thanks to Arielle), and a technical book. All three books were instrumental in preparing me for the months ahead. There are no coincides with God. The book Desire, was God’s first steps towards a true healing of my still aching heart. In it John describes what he went through after the death of his best friend, of course his situation didn’t match mine exactly, but the main point God was trying to get a acoss to me were still valid. The book Driven By Eternity was God’s next step, God used it to paint a very vivid picture in my mind of where my dad was at and how happy he is and forever will be. The peace that came to my heart after reading those books is really undescribable.

It was during this period of time that my 25th birthday fell. And on a whim (so I thought), I decided to take the day off from work and drive a lot of miles, to be exact, to see Arielle and to hang out with the girl of my dreams. I had had a crush on her for a very long time. At the time though I just needed to get away from where I was at, away the pain that still lingered, away from the big empty hole at the family birthday party, and away from the rut that had become my life. And while my stay here in FL that time was temporary, it was the foundation for something God had been planning for my life, for a very long time.

My Journey pt 5: A Virtual World vs A Real World

Of all the posts I’ve put on this blog, this one has been the hardest to write. But I have to finish the story, because the ending is full of grace, and even though this part is dark the next part is full of light and God’s glory. But most of all I have to be obedient.

A few months before I moved out of my parents house and became Brad’s roommate, I bought a new laptop with my hard earned money. It is a good Dell, that I’d recommend to anyone looking to buy one. Along with the laptop I bought a game, that I had been dying to get, World of Warcarft. WoW had been a huge hit with the gaming nerds like myself and I was dying to get it. Prior to this I had heard a lot about MMPORG’s, but I had never played one. I had played a few RPG’s (KOTOR, FableJade Empire, and Mass Effect) and really liked the genre, so I couldn’t wait to play with millions of others. But the cost of the game + the monthly fee + the cost of Internet + a crummy computer + poor college student with fraternity dues meant that I would have to wait. So when I got out into the real world with a real job and money to burn (not literally) and quite a bit of free time on my hands there was no stopping me. My first few weeks and months playing the game, were spent learning about the world, learning the terminology, learning how to play, and making friends that, while I would never meet most of them, I spent more time talking to them then I did some of my real world friends and sadly to say some of my family. While my guild was never the most successful one in all of the gaming world, we did pretty well, and I’m proud of all that we accomplished in that virtual world. And yes there was pinch of sarcasm included in that last sentence. I invested two years of my life into this game, and it wasn’t cause the game was all that. It was cause I had friends there, I was accepted. In that virtual world I could be a leader, when in the real world I was lost, and I could be the hero, when in the real world I felt like a zero. For a year I was also involved in a long distance relationship with a girl that played the game too. Every night I would be on-line raiding, farming, pvping, questing, leveling, or just hanging out. Most weekends I’d be on-line 10-12 hours straight doing the same thing. I’m sorry if you feel like all of this is too much information, but I’m trying to get convey how wrapped up in this game I had become. And how likely it would be that I’d still be wrapped up in this game, if my world had not been turned upside down by God.

In summer of that year, my dad stepped down from ministry to deal with some issues that he had been struggling with and was unable to get victory in without devoting his full attention to them. By stepping down he was able to admit before the entire congregation his problem and finally be free to get some help. I can still remember talking to him before that meeting, he asked me to read the letter he had written and offer any advice I could give. I wish at that time I could have comforted him, but I wasn’t able to come up with anything profound to say. Thankfully where I lacked, God provided. You see he was worried about the congregation’s reaction, to what many would call a minor sin. He was worried they would think less of him, but when the time came and he stood up before them in true humility. They rewarded his 20+ years of service and hard work by standing with him in his time of need. Their response was a witness to work my dad had done, the character of every single person there, and the grace of God. So for a season my Dad stepped down from the bee-ma, he started getting the counseling he needed and started working for Terminex. And for a brief moment it seemed that this season of my dad’s life would be just that something temporary, something that we would eventually look back on as a living lesson, but that season didn’t go the way any of us thought it would go.

It was during this time period that I turned twenty-four years old (my birthday is in January btw). I don’t remember what we did for my twenty-fourth birthday, but what I do remember is noticing that my Dad was wheezing with every breath. At that time they weren’t sure why he was wheezing, but doctors thought he might have pneumonia. Just to be on the safe side the doctors were going to run a few tests. One of the first tests my dad took was a chest x-ray, and the results showed a mass on his lung. The first time the doctors went in to take a biopsy they found the mass to be tightly wrapped around a major blood vessel, so after a second try the test results showed the growth to be cancerous. When I first heard the news I was in shock, and a feeling that would be come all too familiar swept over me. For the longest time it felt like I was living in a dream world. Sure I had heard of friend’s relatives dying of cancer, and even my own Grandmother had passed way due to lung cancer. But cancer was something older people got, not someone as young and alive as my dad. It wasn’t long till he started chemo, you could see him growing weaker, as the poison designed to kill the cancerous cells, killed the healthy cells as well. I cut back my WoW playing making sure that I visited my mom and dad as many weekends as possible, but looking back now I wish I would have stopped playing altogether. At first it seemed as though the chemo was doing its job, and there was talk about my dad being reinstated as the Rabbi of Brit Hadasha. Almost a year to the day, my dad having been faithful, even while doing chemo, to complete his counseling sessions he was brought back to his rightful place of leadership. It was a happy time. However it didn’t stay that way, my dad continued to get sicker, the doctors tried new chemo combinations but they didn’t seem to work. (I’m sorry, I know I’m leaving stuff out, and maybe getting events out of order.) Towards the end of October, I was flying out to see the girl I met while WoW, whom I wasn’t “seeing” anymore, for her birthday. Since I lived a good hour from the airport and had a very early flight my mom offered to let me sleep at home and take me to the airport in the morning. What I hadn’t realized up to that point was how rough of a time my dad was having at night. I won’t go into it here, but even now the memory brings tears. How my family got through those months was a miracle in itself. My return flight on Monday got me in sometime in the early afternoon, so I stopped by to see how my dad was doing before I returned home. We had a great talk, probably one of our best since the trip to Virginia Beach. I still feel bad that I didn’t take more time to talk with him, but I “had” to get back so that I could wash my clothes and do all the other things that seemed so important at the time. Looking back though those things couldn’t have been more trivial. On Thursday while I was at work, I got a call from my mom that my dad was in the hospital, and I should come down asap. 

When I got to the hospital, he was already on quite a few drugs, and they had to incubate him. So he couldn’t talk. The doctors explained that the cancer had in my understanding eaten a hole into his tracea causing blood to fill the lower part of his lungs. For the time being the patch the doctor had put down there, plus the tube was keeping more blood from coming in but any sudden movement or violent cough could rupture it. In order prevent that from happening they gave him some milky white looking drug, that caused him to sleep. The doctors wanted to give his tracea a chance to heal and for a scab to form. So many people showed up, pretty much all of Brit and quite a few people that we hadn’t seen in years. Through 20 years of ministry my dad touched so many lives. On Saturday the doctors decided to try and take out the ventilator tube and allow him to breathe on his own. They slowly weened him off the milky drug that was keeping him unconscience and eventuallly they turned off the ventilator. My brothers Sam and Matt were out in the waiting room as my mom and I watched my dad slowly wake up. … He was only awake for a few seconds before the doctors realized there was a problem. Thankfully my mom was smart enough to get us both out of the room while the nurses started to work on him. It was then that we had to make a really difficult decision, Do we tell the doctor to patch the hole again and re-ventilate him? Or should the doctor just make him as comfortable as he can? It was a decision that neither of us wanted to make, but in the end we decided that putting him back through that torture would just be too much. My dad passed away early the next morning, with his wife, sons, and brit family by his side.