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To the women in the Facebook “Moms Alumni” group of a now-defunct ministry focused on teens, thank you.

Thank you for not understanding.

Thank you for the tears my wife cried today because she no longer fit into your group.  Thank you for so kindly telling her that because she’s never been pregnant or even had a miscarriage, that she’s not a mom.  That she doesn’t belong in your Facebook group.

Thank you for clarifying exactly what infertility does to someone…. makes them feel alone.

And thank you for doing it just ONE DAY AFTER Mothers day.

 

To my wife, who called me today in tears, who skipped church yesterday because Mothers Day for a woman dealing with infertility is hard enough without seeing baby dedications and a celebration of something she longs for; to my wife I say

Thank you.

Thank you for responding with so much love to the words you received today.  Thank you for the grace you showed.  Thank you for calming me down and for helping me see things from their perspective and for gently reminding me

“Honey, it’s a group for Mom’s.  And I’m not a mom.”

Thank you for your strength through all of this.

Because I know this is not easy.

and finally

 

To our future little person, regardless of how long it takes for you to get here, you’re going to have a great life because you’ve got a hell of a mom.  She’s strong, passionate, Christ like, stubborn, beautiful, tall and iron-willed.  You’re will be fought for, protected, love and raised by the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.

And when you’re older, we’ll tell you the story of how long your mother and I waited for you.  How you’re a gift to us.  And how awesome you are.

 

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I never seem to know exactly what words will flow when I put finger to keyboard.  So, rarely do my posts begin by immediately typing the title.

Today is different.

While scrolling through my Facebook feed this afternoon, two words caught me.

Uncommon Courage.

And I realized that I think it is a myth.  I do not believe uncommon courage exists today.

Not anymore.

Because I think any courage today, is uncommon courage.

Today it is common to shout until you are heard or at least shout loud enough so no one else can hear the other guy.  Uncommon courage is to disagree with someone and allow them to speak.

It is common to disrupt and protest using violence.  It is uncommon courage to demonstrate peacefully.

It is common to become offended, declare loudly that someone is intolerant and while being just as intolerant, attempt to silence those who hold opposing views.  It is uncommon courage to be so certain of your beliefs that when someone disagrees, you are not insulted or offended.

It is uncommon courage to admit you were wrong, admit you need help, admit you are imperfect or flawed.

It is uncommon courage to admit you need a savior, that you struggle with fear or lust or worry or insecurity.  It is uncommon courage to stay faithful to your spouse, to provide for your family, to be a good parent.  It is uncommon courage to stand up for what is right simply because it is right.

Our world does not suffer from a lack of uncommon courage, it suffers from a lack of courage.quotescover-JPG-85

We traded a deep knowing of who we are for the shallow security of what other people think.  And in doing so, we gave away our courage.

We are no longer certain of our beliefs, so we defend when someone disagrees.  We are no longer certain of ourselves or that we are good, so we flee when things get difficult.  We are no longer certain we are loved, so we chose physical intimacy to numb the ache.  And we are terrified to be alone so we jump from relationship to relationship to fill the void.

We wandered away from knowing who HE is.  And we lost who we are.

The solution, as most are, is simple but not easy.

Vulnerability.  Being real with ourselves first and our friends and family second.  Being honest about our shortcomings, and our need of  a savior.  And being humble enough to allow Him to come in and change our hearts.

I am not there yet.  I am still flawed.  I still care about what others think about me, I am insecure, I struggle with fear and lust and pride and worry and… the list goes on.

No, I am not as courageous as I want to be.  But I am more courageous than I was last year, and I will be more courageous next year.

I will be a good husband.  I will love and provide for my wife.  I will follow the Heart of the One who courageously created beings with free will.  I will do the right thing just because it’s right.

And I will be courageous.

 

My wife and I went through a big disappointment recently.

I don’t get disappointed.

I don’t – because I don’t allow myself to hope, at least not too much.

Sure, I hope it’ll be sunny tomorrow, and I hope that package I’m expecting comes soon.  And I hope traffic isn’t bad tomorrow and that lunch is tasty.  But I don’t hope for the big things.

I don’t hope for friends.

For more.

I don’t hope for the relationship David shared with Jonathan.

I don’t hope for things to be really, really amazing.

Do I want those things?  Yes!  But do I allow my heart to get involved?  No.

 

But this disappointment, I thought this was a sure thing.  I didn’t think there was any way it wouldn’t happen.  I hoped.  And when it failed, I was heartbroken.  I got physically sick, twice.  I hurt.

I had opened my heart.

And it broke.  Again.

So, I don’t hope.  If I don’t hope, I don’t have to worry about heartache.  Because, quite simply, my heart isn’t in it.

 

My wife says I’m a hard-sell, difficult to impress or sway.  She says I’m suspicious of things that seem to be too good to be true. Suspicious And she’s right.  I am.  Cynical.  Closed off to keep the pain of the world out.  And to protect the pieces of my heart.

It is not a sad thing, it just is what it is.  I learned when I was very young that I was responsible for my happiness, so I found joy and peace in things I could control.  And many years later I learned that relationships were just another package that disappointment came in.  So I gave up on them.

I hit pause.  Found my happiness in what I could control, and survived.

 

My wife is a queen.

Because she was there when we ran into these walls I created.  She peeked over the top, and she didn’t run screaming after.  She was patient as I began to pick them apart. She is supportive, understanding, and she has shown me the me she sees.  And because of that, I like me more.  And I love her more.

 

We all run from things.  Sometimes those things chase us.  And sometimes our running is the decision to stand still and let things pass us by.

I don’t want to run any more.  No, I’m not suddenly an extrovert just dying to spend hours and hours in a large group of people.  But, I’m also no longer alone inside my walls.  And my wife did that.

She loved me through my walls

She was Jesus when I wouldn’t let Jesus in.

I have hope.  And I will never be the same.

 

Martin Smith – Angel: 

 

It seems each year it I find it just a bit harder to slow down and really experience this thing we call “Christmas Spirit”.

Black Friday starting on Thursday, Local Saturday and Cyber Monday have overtaken giving thanks, celebrating a meal with family and friends and enjoying each others company while making memories.

Now, we’re all buried in our digital devices looking for sales, deals and the next thing to buy.

And in the midst of doing, we lose something.

I had a few moments this evening to slow down and it hit me that Christmas is only a week away.  My wife and I have talked several times this year about how fast this season is passing by and about how hard it’s been to get into the spirit.

And in the silence of the moment, something whispered to me about the first Christmas.

Maybe Christ chose a manger, shepherds and barnyard animals to tell us something.  Maybe, in the midst of a census decreed by the king that required everyone to journey to their hometown, maybe Christ was telling us that Christmas would be chaotic.

Maybe in the stress of tens of thousands of people travelling all at the same time, in the craziness of sold out hotels and no room left in the inn, we’re supposed to see something.

Maybe we’re supposed to notice the simplicity and the beautiful restraint we see when we look at the arrival of the King of Kings not heralded by men, not surrounded by the best doctors money can buy and crowds of newscasters outside, but instead encompassed by the love of a mother and father, watched over by angels and announced to simple shepherds.

Maybe we’re supposed to realize that in the chaos of the season, we need to make time for those moments of silence.  We’re supposed to actually remember the birth of the One we sing about.  And maybe we’re supposed to remember that the birth of this little baby is simple.

We needed a savior.

Our loving God sent one.

And the earth stood still.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
Isaiah 9:6-7

future-of-forestry-christmas-ep-vol-2

Future of Forestry – The Earth Stood Still

 

Before the great journey began, before the stories that would be regaled around campfires and dinners and celebrations could be told, before the younger generations would listen in awe; one humble, unassuming home is invaded by unwelcome guests.  One life is turned upside down.  And one invitation is offered.

Uninvited, unexpected and unquestionably dangerous, an invitation is made.  And in that moment, the seed is planted.  A calling is given.  A destiny once veiled, slowly comes into focus.

And inside the heart of the called, something reverberates.  Something deeper than he’s known before and more real than his fear awakens inside him.

As they sang, the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves.  Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.map_of_bilbos_journey_1

And the journey begins.  Our fearful little hero obeys the calling, leaves the paths of safety he’s always trod and steps quietly into the unknown.  Trusting his future to his fellowship, and to the one who called him.

On this journey he would face the unimaginable, be captured, lost in endless, dark tunnels and face death on more occasions that he would have ever wanted to.

On this journey he would also find his calling affirmed and himself equipped to be just what he was called to be.

“That’s right,” said Gandalf.  “Let’s have no more argument.  I have chosen Mr. Baggins and that ought to be enough for all of you.  If I say he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is, or will be when the time comes.  There is a lot more in him than you guess, and a deal more than he has any idea of himself.”

So Bilbo leaves all he’s ever known and begins an adventure that changes his life and the world, forever.

Maybe I don’t want to carry a sword (although that would be cool) and maybe my calling isn’t to be a burglar.  Maybe I won’t be accused of being a thief and find that accusation oddly fulfilling.  But there are things I haven’t done yet, places I’ve not seen, mountaintops not yet scaled, and waterfalls not yet swam in.  And there are things I want to be called.  Other words that don’t yet describe who I am.

Words like Daddy, Father, or Pappa.

Words that will undoubtedly force me into the unknown.

Yes, I may face the unimaginable.  And I know I’ll need to trust the future to my fellowship and the One who has called me.  But I step out knowing this;  I’m not alone, my calling will be affirmed, and I will be equipped to be just what I am called to be.

And even if this means leaving my quiet little life behind, I will see mountaintops.

Here’s my Heart – David Crowder 

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