Archive for August, 2009

Finding Home

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

The book Finding Home: An Imperfect Path to Faith and Family is primarily about Jim Daly’s young life. It’s not until pg. 173 he even turns thirteen years old. However, he sure went through the ringer as a kid!

The part of his story which was most winsome to me was the day his mother died:

    “To say I had been unprepared for the events of that day would be a gross understatement. It’s as if the instant I got up that morning, I’d been swept away by a whirlwind of chaos. Seeing my dead mother’s body. Watching my siblings cry. Standing by the grave… Coming home to an empty house. Discovering that Hank had sold everything – and left us with nothing. Mike preparing to leave. Getting the news that Aunt Penny’s husband was dying… I hit rock bottom. I couldn’t handle another thing. I was officially an orphan without a place to live or food to eat.” (pg 85)

Later that night Jim’s brother Mike left to go back to the Navy: “After Mike left for his ship, Dave, Dee Dee, Kim, and I made the best of our circumstances and settled in for the night. We huddled together on the carpeted floor in the living room. We had no pillows or blankets to pull over us…” (pg 90)

Reading through that account left an ache in my heart. I tried imagining what it would be like to, on the same day my mother died, also have my crazy step-father abandon me. No role model or authority figure left to hug me and say, “Don’t worry, everything will be allright.” Then also on the same day, my idolized brother leaves: back to war, to Vietnam. Lastly, imagining the curtain of a day like that closing, finality setting in, and in place of comfort instead being left in an empty house to sleep on a hard floor. Makes me hurt for the poor guy!

Besides the drama of the story, here are a few things I took from the book:

First, once again, a reminder of the dead end road alcohol leads. For Jim’s dad, the “bottle” took him down a long path of pain, separation from his wife and family, guilt and regret beyond description, and eventually an ignominious death in an abandoned laundromat. Incredibly sad.

Another thing that struck me from the book was the deep seated need Jim had for positive role models: particularly male. As a youngster Jim grasped at every potential straw. Because they cared, some of his teachers – especially his karate instructor and football coach – were influential. This was encouraging to me as I’ll be working closely with a number of young people this semester. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to invest in someone going through a rotten situation like Jim’s. Only God can change lives, but isn’t it exciting to know we can be a vehicle for showing God’s love to others?

While reading the book I sometimes wished he would have shared more what he was “thinking” in the midst of all his crazy experiences. I’ll give it to him though that as a kid he was most likely more concerned with “reacting and surviving” than “thinking.”

Towards the end, Jim did give some reflections. I suppose that sometimes it can be too difficult to relate what we are feeling and thinking and maybe it is… just enough that we learn something. I think Jim learned some things:

    “…I can say with certainty, God is near to those who hurt… Being broken is very real to me. I think it’s a good state for the human heart to be in – at least for a season. I’ve found that when I am broken, I can finally understand how totally dependent I am on God.”

    “…If I were to take what they did to me and drag it around like a ball and chain of resentment, guess who would still be in jail? Me. But, as I forgive them and when I don’t attempt to ‘own’ any of the destructive decisions or actions they made toward me, then I’m free. I don’t have to live my life peering into the rearview mirror. In fact, I feel stronger when I release what was done to me. How? The space in my heart that had been preoccupied with anger or hurt can be set aside to make room for a joy and a peace that makes no sense whatsoever -because God promises that gift to the brokenhearted.”

Did you notice Jim’s story was the story of a victim treated badly? As a victim, God has given Jim the ability to forgive and move on. In fact, God has become a Father to Jim in the place of his own. However, I noticed there wasn’t a whole lot in the book about Jim as the sinner, needing salvation from himself.

It’s always much worse to be a perpetrator than a victim. Nick the victim turns to God asking for deliverance. Nick the perpetrator turns to God in shame and asks for forgiveness. Nick the “one man army” always falls flat on his face! When I’m treated badly, it hurts… but when I’m humbled due to my own selfish decisions, it hurts even worse. Every day I’m convinced once again I need God to save me from myself.

Putting My Boat Up For Sale

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Books, I’ve got tons of them. Clothes, I have too many. Doo-dads, knick-knacks, STUFF, STUFF, STUFF!

I… Must…. Simplify…


Speaking of which… I have a 22′ foot sailboat which I feel is a chain around my neck.

It always needs a little work but since it’s stored 30 minutes away from my apartment at the lake, that’s sometimes hard to do.

I have had a lot of fun with the boat, primarily the camping aspect. I haven’t found it to be as exciting to sail though as a smaller, more lively boat.

There are fees associated with owning a boat. For the first two years I kept it at a sailing marina which cost me $1,000/year. That’s $83/month. Just for storage.

This past year I have kept it in dry storage at a less expensive boat marina for only $30/month. Still, there’s also insurance ($131/year), taxes, maintenance, etc.

To make a long story short: it was fun, but it’s gotta go!

(update: the boat sold, the ad is here.)

In other news, I have sold a few other things recently:

  • I listed 8 books for sale on Amazon, two have already sold and I’ve shipped them
  • I listed a rifle scope on Amazon and it has already sold and shipped
  • I listed my Dave Ramsey Financial Peace CD Collection on eBay, it’s already up to $22
  • I listed my BlueTooth headset on eBay, no bids yet
  • I was going to list computer memory and tennis rackets but they weren’t worth anything so I threw them away
  • I culled my clothes and gave two full trash bags worth away
  • Guy Girl Relationship Advice, Best of Boundless

    Saturday, August 15th, 2009

    If you’re a single and not familiar with Focus on the Family’s Boundless Webzine, you might find it interesting. Unfortunately, the quality seems to have gone down a bit over the years, but the subject matter is interesting, mostly focusing on relational issues.

    Having said that, the Boundless team recently compiled together (from their library of articles) the best of their guy/girl information and wisdom. It is in the form of two free e-books.

    I recommend them:

    A Guy’s Guide to Marrying Well
    A Girl’s Guide to Marrying Well

    Fellowship of the Unashamed

    Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

    charging lego pep talk jousting
    I just ran across this “pep talk”. It is really inspirational. It is attributed to Bob Moorehead, former pastor of Overlake Christian Church in Seattle. Ironically and unfortunately, Moorehead stepped down in 1998 due to the surfacing allegations of improper sexual conduct. Who knows if the allegations were true or not.

    Regardless, this should get you razzed up!

    I am a part of the fellowship of the Unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

    I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

    I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tame visions, mundane talking, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

    I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

    My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide is reliable, my mission is clear.

    I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

    I won’t give up, back up, let up, or shut up until I’ve preached up, prayed up, paid up, stored up, and stayed up for the cause of Christ. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. I must go until He returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

    And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me. My colors will be clear for, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..” (Romans 1:16)

    Photo Credit: It is not this day!

    Yohannan

    Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

    Children


    I have just stumbled upon a Follower of Jesus: K.P. Yohannan. I just listened to a message he gave titled To Live is Christ (located here). It was convicting.

    “When was the last time you made a pact to say: We will live as strangers and pilgrims on this earth, with sacrifice, and commitment, and tears, and fasting…? and TOUCH the lost world with our lifestyle and commitment?” (K.P. Yohannan – Founder of Gospel for Asia)

    Incidentally, Gospel for Asia’s website has lots of great free resources (online books, messages, videos, etc). Check it out. Watch the video under “sponser a child”.

    Right now they are offering the book “Revolution” for free here.

    Photo Credit: Triangle of Children