Laying it all on the line

I’ve come to realize that I don’t like asking for help. I don’t like asking for things in general.

I’m independent like that.

So this Kickstarter Fundraiser has been a huge thing for me.

I guess I should give a little background for you.

If you’ve followed my blog  for a while, you’ll know that 3 of my best friends took a 3 month journey across the country, calling it “Further Along The Road“. When they traveled, they took an iPhone 4S and a GoPro and filmed their journey. Well, then they came back, and we began watching clips. It’s taken a long time, but we’ve finally finished watching clips. And then we ran into a problem. Continue reading

Celebrations (5 of 5)

I love having guest posts, so for the last post from my review of this past year, I wanted to put up the post written by my now roommate Chris Hall…. If you want to guest post, please feel free to shoot me an email via the contact page, or if you have my email, email me directly… Continue reading

Celebrations (2 of 5)

Continuing my walk down the past year, and the posts that indicated a time of change in my life, this one was a no brainer for me. This one was from one the biggest shifts in my personal life, and was the beginning of a crazy time of change and a fair bit of turmoil.. Continue reading

The River of Tears That Flows From My Eyes

I never thought this day would come. I had thought about it, prayed about, felt uncertain about it. But I never thought it would actually happen.

But now it has.

I’ve been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles they’ve gone white
From fighting for who I want to be
I’m just trying to find security

But you say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go

I have made the decision to step down from Youth Ministry. For how long, I don’t know. Maybe just for a season. Maybe for forever. This has been the hardest decision I’ve ever come to. I know it’s right. I know it’s best. But it’s not easy. It’s not what I want to do. But it’s what I need to do.

After praying about for a few months now (if you remember, I posted about this back in March when it first started to be laid on my heart) and after talking to a few people, I made my decision. This was my choice, but it has been the hardest choice I’ve ever had to make. Upon making my decision on Wednesday, I bawled my eyes out. And again the day after. And the day after that. And every day since.

God, why does this have to be so hard? Why does it hurt so much? I’ve always said that if you call me to something, I would do it, without question. But why did you have to actually test me on that?

I know this will be good. I know it is the best thing for me to do. For myself. For everyone. But those thoughts are only small comforts when I feel like this. Now I begin to wonder “where do I go?” “what do I do now?” How do I leave without leaving a huge void behind?

What now will be the thing that makes my heart leap? What now will be the thing that gives me joy? Where does my dream go from here? This was MY God-sized dream. Now I don’t have that. So what do I do now?

I don’t have answers. I don’t have a nice, neat little bow to put on this to make it a nice little package of thoughts and emotions that has a happy ending. I just have the pain, the heartache, and the river of tears that flows from my eyes.

Throwback: Broken Dreams

This is a post from a long time ago, but I was fresh out of idea’s for my post this morning, and as I was looking through my old posts, found this one, and I really liked it, so I’m posting it here again… Without saying anything more, here ya go:

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“I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Blvd. of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadows the only one that walks beside me
My shallow hearts the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ahhh
Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ahhh

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and everything’s all right
Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive
And I walk alone

I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk alone
I walk a…

My shadows the only one that walks beside me
My shallow hearts the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ahhh
Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ah-Ah Ahhh

I walk this empty street
On the Blvd. of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one and I walk a..

My shadows the only one that walks beside me
My shallow hearts the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk away!”
~ “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” by Green Day

I want to apologize first off to those of you who might be offended that I’m talking about a song with the F-word in it, but I have been listening to this song, and it has been stuck in my head for a little bit now, and this revelation about the meaning of this song, and the lessons in it came to me, and I had to share it. I have no claim to really understand what the writer was thinking, but this is what I think it all means. So here we go…

The general concept of this song is about a battle in the mind (“I’m walking down the line/That divides me somewhere in my mind/On the border line of the edge/And where I walk alone”) Because is struggle and fight is in his mind, no other person here can join him, to him, it is a battle that he has to fight on his own. But he doesn’t want to fight it on his own, he wants help from God/some higher power (“Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me”), but for whatever reason, he feels like God isn’t there to help him, he can’t feel God, so he has to do it on his own, or so he thinks (“Till then I walk alone”). He feels dead, like this fight that he is fighting alone is killing him (“Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive”). This song is like his desperate cry for help in this battle that he is losing in his mind, it is a cry for someone to come up and help him.

How often have we been in that same place? We are fighting our battles, and we feel so alone. Yes, God is always there but sometimes, we don’t feel it. Sometimes we each fell like we are walking down a boulevard of broken dreams, and the whole world has left us alone to do it by ourselves, when really, we aren’t, but we cry out anyway for someone to find us, and rescue us from this nightmare we find ourselves in.

Thoughts?

Writers Block

Ever have a topic to write about, but sometimes, you just can’t write it? My mind is swirling with so many thoughts today that while I know what I want to write on, I just can’t seem to get them to assemble. I get one thought together, and before I can put that thought to paper (or, computer… whatever), it’s gone, replaced by the thoughts about the stuff spinning my head so fast that I’m pretty sure it breaks all the laws of physics… So many things in my life are changing. Some are good, some are better. Some will take work, and some will be fairly easy to deal with.

What I don’t know how to deal with it. I have all this stuff ravaging my mind, and then people I love need some help. So now, I have thoughts in my mind, and I ‘m supposed to begin to help someone else process what is going on in their life. How do I do that? How do I help someone sort through their crap when I have all my own to sort through first?

Questions Of Faith

We always have so many questions. Have you ever noticed that? No matter what, we are never rid of our questions. Every answer either doesn’t satisfy you, or it leads to more questions.

So how do we deal with these questions?

For example, I have these questions about who God is. Some of the same questions many people who don’t believe in God would have. Things like “If he’s so powerful and loving, why does he let people go through bad things?” I question these things too..

So what makes me different? What drives me to God and not away from Him when I ask these questions while so many push away from Him?

To be honest, I don’t really know… I believe that in the end, things will always work out for the good. I once heard it said “It’s always OK in the end. If it’s not OK, then it’s not the end.” So while things may suck, and bad things happen, I believe that it will always work out for the good.

How do I know this? I don’t. But I look at my past. At all the crap I’ve been through. And I can see how it always ended up good. How do I know that the next time I’m going through hard times it will all work out? I look at my history. I have no proof. I just know that God will make it all better in time.

But I guess that’s why they call it faith…

The Fight | Guest Post by Chris Hall

Today I have the privilege, no, the honor of introducing you to a good friend of mine, Chris Hall. I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but he was one of my inspirations for writing more, and it was that inspiration that eventually got me into blogging. I first met Chris when I came out to Gap with University Master’s Commission. I worked very closely with his dad, and made quick friends with his youngest brother. Since then, we have gotten to know each other better, had good talks, and been a proverbial shoulder to cry on when life sucks, and help each other fight through things. This guy has my utmost respect, and I am honored to have him here today. So, without any further adieu, I give you, Chris Hall:

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It seems that despite my efforts to do otherwise I know quite a few people. And despite my endeavors to ignore them I have come to know the pain that so many of them weather.

What a fragile race we are. I suspect there were times I shut people out because I knew that to really, truly know them would be to know their pain.

I think some hearts are broken because they’re meant to be that way. I don’t mean broken in a romantic sense. I’m not talking heartbreak after a break-up. I mean heartbroken in the sense that your heart, the core of who you are, becomes broken because the weight of the agony in the world around you is too much to shut out.

For the most part I was able to grow up in a relatively sheltered world and I liked it that way. That’s not to say that I didn’t experience my share of grief and pain. I have a father I saw only a handful of times and haven’t had contact with since I was 15, but I was fortunate enough to have another man step into my life and adopt me as his own son and there are days I still don’t understand how he did that.

As I passed through adolescence into adulthood the terrible, shattering agonies that so many of you know slowly began to hit closer to home until I eventually endured my own. My heart broke. The core of who I was cracked, irreparably, and I knew that I could never go back. There was a day I was standing in my parents’ kitchen, the burden seeming too much to bear, and my dad said something to me that I’ve repeated to myself so many times through so many situations since then. He said, “Are you going to stay in this place or are you going to fight?”

Questions like that are one of the reasons I love my dad so much.

And I fought. I fought through the doubts that plagued me in the still of the night. I fought through the careless words of well intentioned people and I fought through the idea that I was alone through it all.

Shit happens, as the saying goes, and I believe that so often that’s where God meets us. Through my own trials I’ve come to know a God who is more faithful than I ever dreamed. I don’t believe He causes the storms that leave us battered and bruised, but I know He is present in them.

A friend told me recently that he feels like a coward. He said he knew he was allowing fear to rule his life and that made him a coward. To this friend there was nothing worse that he could be.

And it broke my heart.

His burden became my own and to leave him with it was unthinkable.  I told him getting knocked down by fear didn’t make him a coward but staying down would. I said I’d seen him take blow after blow only to try again, only to keep fighting. He’s not a coward. If anything he’s a warrior.

I see that in so many people. I see the thought of giving up pass behind their eyes as it crosses their mind and it breaks my heart. We are a fragile race, but when we fight we do not fight alone.

I never wanted to break. I never wanted endure the pain that so many do but now that I have there is no going back and I know I’m better for it.

As you read these final words I’m sure that you know what heartache feels like. I’m sure you know what those places of desperation look like and so I leave you with my dad’s challenge:

Are you going to stay in this place or are you going to fight?

Sighs and Tears

It began about 3 days ago as a small thought. From there it slowly began to grow. This thought of doubt. Not in God, but in where He is on my priority list. I was reading 83 Lost Sheep and in chapter 4 the author talks about the time he gave up his Harley to God. He sold it and put the money from the sale into missions. He talks about how it was like his fatted calf. In the bible days, a fatted calf was one of the most valuable things a person owned, and it was good to own one. You only slaughtered the fatted calf for the most important of things. And sometimes it was hard to do. Gerry’s fatted calf was his bike.

It got me thinking. What’s my fatted calf? And I honestly couldn’t tell you. That started Sun. Monday a barely gave it any thought. Tuesday I was teaching that chapter to our student leaders. And I started thinking about it again. But again, I wasn’t sure what my fatted calf was. It bothered me because it wasn’t a “I don’t have anything that I hold higher to god that I might need to give up for him”, but a “I can’t figure out what that thing is. I know it’s there, but I just don’t know.”

I held it together and faked it for a while that afternoon/night (though not that well apparently, my best friend looked at me after wings and said that he could tell I wasn’t feeling myself.)

To help me sort out my thoughts and feelings, I went for a drive. It was on that drive that this thought popped into my mind, “what if my fatted calf was my work with the youth group?”. Would I be able to give that up? And the scariest part of that thought was that my answer wasn’t a resounding “YES!”. In other words, if God called me to step down from youth ministry right now, could I do it? And my answer was “I don’t know”. I don’t know what this means for me and for my work with the youth group. It might be a thought that God is placing in my head to get my attention and to refocus me on Him, or maybe He is asking me to give it up. I just don’t know.

Am I Not Merciful?

It’s 11:30 pm on Monday night and I realized I forgot a post for that day. I know I won’t get one written now, especially not on my iPhone. So I figured I’d get started on Wednesday (today’s) post…

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As I lay here in the dark, I find myself thinking of all my mistakes in my past and got me thinking of what my mistakes said to others. Did I come across as a hypocrite because I had demanded so much of everyone else and shown so little grace? Or did I show that it’s ok to not be perfect? That we all screw up and that is ok?

Am I as gracious to others as I expect everyone to be to be to me? It’s funny how we tend to be so ungracious to others when they make mistakes, or do thing we don’t like, but when we do thing they don’t like, or we make mistakes, we expect them to show us infinite amounts of grace.

I love the song “Grace” by Jason Gray

Sweet Grace amazes me
The way that she can see
Beyond the man I am
To the man that I could be
She’s bringing out my best
While she covers all the rest
Some say her love is blind
But I say her love forgets

She don’t like it when I try so hard to impress her
`Cause when I do that, it’s a lie that makes her love look the lesser
The truth is I know

I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough
I’ll never deserve her love
I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough for Grace
That’s okay, `Cause she takes me anyway

I am the cheatin’ kind
But she’s changing my mind
The way she takes me back
Though I fail her every time
She’s got friends who tell her that she
Is much too good for me
Well, I’ve told her that myself
But she refuses to leave

I’d like to think my strength won her affection
But the truth is it was my weakness that first caught her attention
I’m grateful to know

I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough
I’ll never deserve her love
I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough for Grace
That’s okay, `Cause she takes me anyway

When my tears fall down like rain
She wipes them from my face
She tells me that I’m lovely
And if I am, it’s all because of Grace
This love turns my inside out
And my world upside down
Grace is changing me…

I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough
I’ll never deserve her love
I’ll never be, I’ll never be good enough for Grace
That’s okay, `Cause she takes me anyway

I love these lyrics. Your first thought is that he is talking about a woman, but as you listen, you begin to realize that he’s talking about the Grace of God. No matter what we do, what we say, how hard we try, we will never earn grace, but grace is given through love.

I began to think. I think part of the reason we aren’t gracious to people is because we don’t love them. Think about it. Those you love you show more grace to, but those you don’t love as much you show less grace to, and you find it harder to show grace to them.

So maybe what we need to do is not ask God to help us show more grace, but what we need to do is ask God to help us see people the way He sees them, and then to love them the way He loves them.

This is my daily prayer now, “God, allow me to see people the way that You see them, and in turn, allow me to love them the way You love them.”