”It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
– Frederick Douglass
”It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
– Frederick Douglass
So this past weekend we made a quick 4 day trip up to Northwest Pennsylvania to spend some time with the in-laws. It was a good trip, full of plenty of time to relax, unwind, and give thanks. It wasn’t until I got home, though, that the depth of all I have to be thankful for kicked in.
We came home to a mess. A crappy mess. As in a backed up main sewer line so no one could shower mess. And did I mention a toilet had backed up while we were gone? Yeah. A mess. One doesn’t start shouting “Oh thank God we’re home” in such a situation. I didn’t, either. I think I was actually a little bossy and stressed towards my wife. In the end, though, we got things cleaned out of the bathroom and closet and piled out on the deck. I’ll probably need to replace some flooring, but that’s all doable. So I ventured out with my little snake to see if I could clear the clog, and couldn’t. I got some bloody, dirty knuckes, but no draining sewage.
Put a call into a plumbing company – they might be able to come the next afternoon. Tried another company, and lo and behold, they can be there in 90 minutes and it will only cost an extra $70. That’s money well spent in this house on this particular day. Sunday. Post 4-day weekend. School the next day. Hands covered in you-know-what. So at 10PM, the tech shows up, and the drain is cleared in 15 minutes, and should stay that way for a long time.
Monday was a busy day at the office, and Tuesday was just as crazy planned. The end of the month is looking good, which is never something I take for granted. At lunchtime, I decided to go out for a walk. I haven’t told many people, but my knee has been really messed up lately. Limping one day, no weight for an hour after that, and OK the day after that. Very strange. Made me a bit nervous. Called the doc and scheduled and appointment for a few weeks out. The thing was, I didn’t have much pain while we were up in PA. In fact, I wound up being Mr. Jungle Gym for my kids so many times I thought it would be quite sore, but it wasn’t. So I went for a walk today, which turned into a decision to see if I could jog, which I haven’t done in a month. That turned into “wow – no pain!” and I wound up running 3 miles without stopping, at just about my normal speed.
Upon getting home, I was able to spend most of the afternoon prepping some servers for the new year. I’ve written another post today about all this ministry means to me, so I won’t cover that here. Needless to say, it’s extremely rewarding work for me.
So yeah, all these sweet things after the not-so-great welcome home have given me another new perspective. So it cost me a couple hundred bucks. Stressed our relationship. Might lead to cutting out some subfloor and work I don’t “have time” for. But you know, that’s OK. Because there is all sorts of oter things that show up when you put what’s really not that bad in perspective.
Back in college at Cedarville University I had this vision of my life taking the Bible to places it’s never been in ways it’s never gone before. In that glimpse, I figured it would be with a group like Wycliffe Bible Translators USA or JAARS or something like that. For years that dream lay dormant, even after I started listening and helping out at the Daily Audio Bible.
It wasn’t until last year, when the DAB began broadcasting in Arabic, that I realized I was right smack dab in the middle of all I was meant to be. I thought my dream had gone dormant, had been a tangent, or simply something I might support with my other resources. But there I was, part of an organization that’s taking the spoken word of God, anywhere in the world, to anyone that will listen…. even in ARABIC. That’s fresh ground, and I’m helping till it.
Today, I as reviewed some of the stats with Brian Hardin about how far this podcast has come in terms of terabytes, server counts, and all those other techy things, I’m reminded of how great my God is, how He loves to use my gifts and talents in a way that far surpasses what “I” would choose to do with them, and even how His sense of humor drives me to that place of knowing, without a doubt, that this journey I’m on is not a blind wandering but a trail worth following, a path laid before me, if I will only step up and follow it.
Went for another walk in the dark tonight. These are such good times. So much of life is non-stop. It has been good to start getting out in the dark, quiet, cold air.
Spent the whole day doing on-site service for a long term client; didn’t quite get everything done, but nothing was broken at the end of the day. Several steps closer to completion, which will mean less hassle for us to maintain old equipment and less cost / more uptime for my client and their team.
Took some time to reflect on how much I love to CREATE. All through my life this has been there. Drawing… Wanting to be an architect… Going to school to take God’s Word and Offer to places it’s never been in means it’s never been taken… Writing Software… Designing and creating databases… Helping someone else start a new business… Wanting to help plant a church… Wanting to write a book… Starting my own business.
This also lends me perspective to those places that are tough for me – the long haul, the maintenance, the idea that someone else might not like my great idea as much as me. Just because these don’t invigorate me like creating something new doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge part of my life. But it also doesn’t mean I have to lose what I do love. I need to find ways to keep that alive, because it keeps ME alive.
I have a friend who likens my perspective on software design to that of a music artist. There’s beauty in those lines of code. You might not get it, but I do. In the organization. The orchestration. The flow. The cleanliness yet completeness.
I love it.
Interesting day. Lots of sub-stories these bullet points will trigger as I look back on today.
Can you find the one thing I didn’t really do?
Another day gone by. Got a lot done today, it feels like. The day wasn’t rushed, but it also was full. I didn’t make a couple appointments I would have liked to have made, but every day has its decisions that must be made.
Brian talked a bit about discipline on the DAB today. I had been thinking about how sobering the Old Testament feels, about how some of the stories just give me that vibe, even though I’m not in exactly the same boat as the Israelites. I can relate. Discipline is hard. It means having something taken away, or a sort of pain inflicted with a lesson to be learned. We can’t always see that lesson, especially in the midst of the drama.
I also got a lot from Hebrews today. Here’s chapter 12, verse 1:
So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, 2 and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
Baggage. It’s everywhere. So much of it needs to simply be DROPPED. And yet there is also so much responsibility God has for us that He’d love for us to pick up, to carry with him, to even ENJOY. But the thing is, we just can’t when we’re carrying so much of our own junk.
I still have a lot to let go of. It’s not easy. Some of it is a form of discipline because I’m eating the fruit of a former life.
A bullet point of a day. Not bad, just out of time to put complete thoughts together.
My list of dreams of my life includes daily journalling about my life, whether it’s big things or small things, exciting days or boring days. I still think that’d be a great way of life, but it may not happen anytime soon, but then again, it all starts with today, right? So here’s today.
Today starts with a little boost of confidence from yesterday. I finall butchered my first two chickens. The first one was quite awkward. No gagging, but it did take me three tries to find the jugular (or was it the coradid?). Once I made it over that hump, though, things were rocking and rolling. Erin helped me gut the first one with her slightly smaller and nimbler hands, but when she had to head inside to be a mother, I stayed out and did another one, all on my own. Still made a few mistakes (like dropping the edible organs into the bile I had spilled onto the table and thus ruining them), but it was soo much better. And in the end, I walked away with a renewed confidence – I CAN DO THIS. I DID do this. There were several people that believed in me long before I did, but I’m finding that sticking with those things you know are true even though they don’t feel true often proves truth to be just that – true.
So anyways, that was a highlight of my weekend, and bled into today. Had a meeting with a new potential client in New Jersey that is a project I’ve been longing to do for years. I’ve written about it on my website, talked to some others about doing it for them, but haven’t found the right match yet. This situation is promising. The company is looking for exactly what I’ve dreamed of providing, and their budget – time, dollars, and commitment – appears to be there. More to come after I research a bit this week, but this may quickly turn into an opportunity to sit down together and truly discover needs and map some broad solution strokes. Exciting stuff.
Following that, I had another meeting with a client I’ve done work with for about a year now. We’ve built a very unique e-commerce system for them, and it’s coming to the point of being more ‘upkeep’ and ‘new features’ rather than big projects and chunks of code… which has meant the working relationship we’ve had until this point is starting to get a little awkward. I wasn’t entirely sure where this meeting would go, but once again, I found that facing it head on, confidently listening with the intent to first understand instead of trying to come up with my response first, works. Left with my client having the “to-do” list of “writing the proposal” themselves and then putting some flesh on it with them. Worked out great.
Had another meeting down the street with another client I really enjoy working with. Good people, good relationship with their other consultant, and a bright future ahead.
On the way home I spoke with another client about a roadblock we’d hit that cost us about 20 hours in time that he has to pay for and pushed back a project 2 weeks. Not exciting news to share (although we’re moving around the roadblock now), but this relationship has been founded on openness and honesty from the get-go, so it really wasn’t a hassle at all.
Came home to a family waiting for my return – what a blessing. Erin fried up our chickens that we butchered last night, and boy were they juicy! My wife is such an awesome cook. She treats us so wonderfully.
Snuggled up with my kids in the recliner while colton did homework and played a game, and Mak watched sleeping beauty. Washed a boat load of dishes, put the kids to bed, and then went for a 2 mile walk.
The walk did me good. My knee has been giving me problems since I played b-ball 2 weeks ago, and it was good to get a walk in without a bunch of pain.
Listened to my DAB and actually got to LISTEN today. Read Hebrews 11 – examples of faith – men and women living in light of a life that’s eternal, not limited by their day to day circumstances.
That’s where I want to be. All of these things – meetings, growth opportunities, family, it’s all something part of a life that goes on forever.
This prayer comes from a book I’m reading right now – . This is the prayer following a chapter about dealing with those painful emotions – grief, anger, loss, and pain. It’s been quite timely for me. I have work to do in these areas.
Lord Jesus, when I think about my losses,it can feel like I have no skin to protect me. I feel raw, scraped to the bone. I don’t know why you have allowed such pain. Looking at Job helps, but I must admit I struggle to see “something new birthed out of the old.” Lord, grant me the courage to feel, to pay attention, and then to wait on you. You know that everything in me resists limits, humility, and the cross. So I invite you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to make your home in me as you describe in John 14:23, to freely roam and fill every crevice i my life. And may the prayer of Job, finally, be mine: “My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.