I Failed & I’m So Thankful I Did @daytonmomsblog

My wife’s recent post on the Dayton Moms Blog tells about lessons learned through divorce. It’s a well written piece that hits home with many of us. 

I was checking out at a local superstore, and my eye caught People magazine. The July 6, 2009 Issue. I happened to glance and saw the words, “I feel like I failed.” This stirred an emotion in me that I had not felt for many years, and right there, in the check out line, I started to weep.

Read the entire post on Dayton Moms Blog

This Life I Live // Rory Feek

I have to admit that I don’t listen to country music. If I do hear a country song, it is purely by accident. So, there are a lot of country music stars that I simply don’t know. I may recognize a name or two, but couldn’t pick them out of a line up or name any of their popular songs.

And here’s another thing I must admit: until I received a copy of This Life I Live, I didn’t know the names Rory or Joey Feek.  I didn’t know their story or their music or the fact that they have a TV show.

Several weeks ago I happened to be watching the TODAY show and there was an interview with Rory.  Matt Lauer was talking to him, asking him questions and referenced Rory’s story like everyone watching knew it.

I didn’t.

But after reading This Life I Live, I’m glad I do.

The book tells the compelling story of Rory and Joey’s relationship: how they met, the fact that she saw herself marrying another man even while talking with Rory, the courtship and marriage that followed, the birth of Indiana and her battle with the cancer that ultimately took her life.

Rory and Joey’s story is both real and powerful.  Each chapter in the book reads more like a journal entry than a typical biography and Rory writes from his heart.  It was more like having a conversation with him and he was transparent about his successes and his failures.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it is so much more than that.

The first half of the book gives Rory’s back story: about his upbringing, his family’s constant moving and the on and off again relationship with his father.  All of that leads into the man he is as he begins his relationship with Joey.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it really is the story of how God was working in the life of Rory to make him the man he is today.  Through a rough upbringing, many broken relationships, a lot of mistakes, successes and failures, parenting, marriage, having a child and losing his wife to cancer, God used all of that to shape and mold Rory.

A quote that jumped off the page at me is from chapter 52 where Rory writes about his daughter Indiana. She is born with Downs syndrome and this was his conclusion:  I have a feeling – I’ve had it for a while now – that Indiana is here to teach me something.  To teach me everything . . . She will teach all of us.  Just because she’s different. Her extra chromosome will be the thing that changes our DNA. What we’re made of and what’s down deep inside.

Her extra chromosome will be the thing that changes our DNA.

This Life I Live is ultimately about change.  And growth.  And growing up.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it’s really about how God doesn’t give up on His children and will teach us and grow us as long as we allow Him.

You can see more about Rory and Joey on their website which features a blog, videos and information where you can get a copy of the book.

Good Post: The box that made me more well rounded – limitation

I shared a few weeks ago that my daughter started – or actually relaunched – a blog. She’s had some good posts, but this one is pretty insightful.

My blog contains post primarily about church work (primarily student ministry and youth culture), about books I’ve read and my family.  The past few years have contained many posts about basketball and Syd’s journey through high school, AAU and college.

As you will read in her post, injury has altered her intended course in the game of basketball.  But what she has learned – and is learning – is pretty cool to read.

In her post, The Box That Made Me More Well Rounded – Limitation, she begins this way:

The other day, someone asked me about my basketball season that I underwent this past year. Specifically, their question was, “what was it like playing on one leg?” Well, if you don’t know me I have two legs, don’t worry. But, for those who do know me know that I have had 5 different knee surgeries/operations on my left knee. Some were simple ACL replacements and some were much more extensive, involving reconstructions of ligaments, bone resurfacings, and a screw removal… I have some sweet scars. The main problem with my knee is that I don’t have much of a medial meniscus or much healthy cartilage left, both of which function as types of cushions for your bones and joint in the knee.  My knee hurts after most any moderate activity and swells at the sight of any basketball court for longer than 30 minutes.  So when I decided that I wanted to continue to play I knew that I would be “limited.”

Read the rest on Syd’s blog – divinesixght

 

 

1MISSION House Build Trip – 1 Year Ago

One year ago today we were in the midst of Day 1 of our 1MISSION House Build Trip in Mexico. Our group of fourteen from Wilmington, Ohio, flew to Phoenix, Arizona, and then drove to Rocky Point, Mexico, to build a house for Miguel and Deysi. We were excited and also somewhat nervous about this new experience. It turned out to be a great trip and one we still talk about.

While some of our group had done some traveling and others had participated in mission trips, none of us had traveled to Mexico to build a house. I remember looking through the house plans 1MISSION sent in advance of our trip and wondering if our group of inexperienced house builders could do the job. The group was fantastic, working hard every day, doing whatever needing done and trusting our crew leaders so we did things the right way. We wanted that house standing after we left!

Looking back at pictures I was reminded of so many things:

– new friendships with Miguel & Deysi, Ricky and others from 1MISSION

– getting a small taste of what life is like in that area of Mexico

– the great work that 1MISSION is doing

– the privilege of playing a small part in that work

– seeing our Ohio friends interact with Miguel & Deysi and others in Mexico despite a language barrier

– being grateful for what we have and how big God’s kingdom is

I know many in our group would love to go back in the future. While it’s hard to believe that the trip was a year ago, it was a great opportunity and one for which I am.

I posted this video when we returned from the trip and it offers a visual recap of some of our experiences.

Why Should We Be Kind?

We know we are supposed to be kind, right?

It seems like the good thing to do.  The nice thing to do.  Even the neighborly thing to do.  We should be kind.

But why?  Why should we strive to be kind?  Because someone has been kind to us? What if they are unkind?  Does that mean we are released from the responsibility of being kind?

As my wife and I are raising our now three-year old, it’s something we have had to think through again.  As good parents, we want him to be kind.  But if you have ever had the experience of convincing a toddler that he or she should be kind (or share or say “thank you” or “I’m sorry”), you know that it can be somewhat challenging.

I was reminded of an important truth we all need to hold to as I had a conversation with him one evening.  I asked him, “Why should you be kind to other people?”  His answer fell into the space of “because mommy and daddy said so.”

That’s not a bad answer, but then I remembered that there is a deeper reason for him, or any of us, to be kind.

So I told him, “We should be kind because God has been kind to us.”

Because God is love, we should love others.

Because God is truth, we should speak truthfully.

Because God forgives us, we should forgive others.

Because God is compassionate, we should show compassion.

That conversation is one I know we will have many times with our son, but it’s also a great reminder to us, especially to those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus.

God has been kind to us through His Son Jesus and we should be grateful for His kindness.  Then, we should strive to be kind to others because of God’s kindness to us.

Paul says it this way in Ephesians 4 & 5:  “…be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.”

So, as you go through your week, be kind.  Because God is kind and He has been kind to us.

I feel ya – the empathetic heart of Christ 

I shared last week that my daughter started a blog, Divinesixght.

Her latest post is about the empathetic heart of Christ.

One of the greatest things about life is that you get to do it with other people. I love people and I love reading about how much Jesus loved people. When it comes to loving on anyone and everyone, Jesus lead the way. Lately, I have felt God putting the word empathy on my heart.

Read the entire post here: I feel ya – the empathetic heart of Christ 

Share Your Faith Story With Your Kids

As Easter approaches, many churches and families look for ways to prepare for and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.  Some people give up something as a way to focus on the significance on the season. One person I follow on social media is fasting from his personal social media feeds “to focus more on my faith, family and friends.”

Others choose to add something to their schedule like devotional readings, times of prayer or specific periods of reflection.

Here’s a great idea for parents to use this Easter season:  share your faith story with your kids.

Do your children know how you came into your relationship with Jesus?

As I was reading The Jesus Gap the author gave several suggestions to youth workers and parents to help point our students to a Biblical picture of Jesus.  One was a pretty simple idea – to have families share their faith stories.

In the book the author referred to research done by the College Transition Project.  The author wrote this:  “Don’t assume family members already know each other’s faith stories.  Most don’t, even though the College Transition Project showed us that parents sharing about their own faith is vital to the process of a child growing into his or her own.”

If your family has been going to church your whole life, do your children know why?

Do they know the when/why/how that lead you to become a follower of Jesus?

Our “conversion stories” don’t have to be dramatic or even long-winded.  Taking some time to share the people and events that lead you as a mom or dad into a relationship with Jesus  can be a great story for your children to hear.

Without being too morbid, isn’t amazing what we learn about people after they are gone?  Over the years I have been involved in a number of funeral services, both as a minister and having lost family members. During the visitation hours and the meal times, you get to hear stories about the life of your friend or loved one.  Many times you learn something about that person because someone shares an experience that is new to you.  It gives you a different perspective on that person’s life.

As Easter approaches, why not take a few minutes, maybe at the dinner to table, to share your faith story?  Perhaps your children have heard it before.  But, maybe they haven’t.  Perhaps we assume our children already know it.  It could be they don’t.  Take some time to share how you came to follow Jesus and even why you still follow Him today.  It could lead to some great conversations.