Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Great Night and Networking

This past week has honestly been one of the best and most encouraging weeks of my life. Our ministry and family life have been going wonderfully and things were really looking up.
Our family is getting ready to add little Corban to the mix in a couple of months and everything with him is wonderful. He is growing and active all the time which is wonderful and I can't wait to meet him in a couple of months and have a little boy to be a father to!
The ministry which we are serving in has been wonderful as well. We continue to see more and more students each week, and the great thing about all of this is that they are all willing to grow in their faith. We have seen some huge steps of faith taken in their lives recently and are looking forward to seeing what else is in store. Not only are they continually showing up and desiring to learn more about God they are bringing their friends as well. This past week was absolutely insane as we filled the basement room which we meet in so much that we were pulling in additional chairs! It was wonderful to see that many students all there desiring to have God work in their lives. I was discussing with our pastors about what we are going to do and we have another room that is a little bit bigger but I don't know how many more students we can get in there! This is the greatest problem to have when dealing with a student ministry is running out of room because we have too many students. Also on Wednesday, we had the students do a journaling activity capping off a series that we were just finishing and a number of them thanked us for allowing this opportunity and were looking forward to using the journal in the weeks to come. Overall, it was one of the most encouraging evenings we have had in ministry and we are looking forward to whatever God has in store for us.
As for the networking part, there is something wonderful about being together with likeminded individuals sharing your heart and passions. This past week I was able to connect with another group of youth pastors and share my heart with them. They are a wonderful group of individuals and I am looking forward to meeting with them many more times in the future. I know that our discussion was beneficial and I am anxious to see how these conversations and discussions will bless our ministries in the future.
Overall, it was a wonderful week and it's great to be blessed to be serving in ministry where we are. We are so thankful for God bringing us here and the blessings that are flowing so freely.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Showing the Love of Christ

One thing that has recently been puzzling me is how much do Christians show the love of Christ? How do we show the love of Christ to others and more importantly are we even willing to show the love of Christ? So many times it seems that we hear the stories of Christians who make comments or alienate people because they are not like them or maybe do not believe exactly the same thing that we believe. However, my question is simply this, are those people beyond the love of Christ? Shouldn't we be willing to share that love with them?
This post is stemming from a couple of things. First, our pastor shared an illustration this morning about a group of people who spent an enormous amount of time perfecting their new building and then refusing to let other people use it. This is a story that I have heard and lived through a number of times by hearing the story of someone who creates a space that is so beautiful and sacred that they are afraid of it getting messed up. Jesus worked with a number of people who messed things up and caused problems but it never stopped Him so why does it stop us.
Thankfully we are a part of a wonderful church that exemplifies what it means to share the love of Christ. They are truly willing to be the light of Christ but also to get their hands dirty and be salt to a hurting and broken world. As I look at this it makes me feel excited to be a part of such a wonderful group of people. Two things that have shown me what it means to share the love of Christ have taken place recently within the life of our student ministry. First, I have seen a teenage girl who is pregnant and due next month (March) go through the motions of not understanding what it means to have a baby. Through a phone call a few weeks ago her family informed us that she did not have anything for the baby except a diaper bag and a bottle. We knew that this young lady needed to see the love of Christ in action and so we did. Although we informed her that we didn't agree with the decision that she made and the situation that she was in we knew that she needed help so we offered her a number of gifts for the baby. Will we ever get a thank you or any response? Who know, the important thing however, is that we are sharing the love of Christ.
The second thing that occurred was actually something our students did. A couple of weeks a young man who hadn't been at the church for over a year came back and talked to me before our weekly gathering. He informed me that he had made a wrong choice and not was living with that choice, which was a two week old son. His girlfriend, who is not a Christian, had been invited to the church that night by him and he just wanted to make me aware of the situation. After talking with him for a while I wondered how the students would respond. About half-way through the lesson his girlfriend came in with the baby and sat down. Afterwards he introduced me to her and to his son and it was a wonderful moment because a number of our students came over and offered to help with the baby. They responded very appropriately to the situation with their words and comments and even began talking to the young lady about their own relationships with Christ. After she had walked out of earshot the young man looked at me and said, "Thanks for responding the way that you did." I simply told him that we didn't know how else to respond other than with the love of Christ. These instances have made me think and wonder about the reality of sharing the love of Christ and I hope that we as Christians will see more and more people share the love of Christ, with more and more people every day.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Irresistible Revolution

January 8, 2008
I have been working my way through a few books recently but one has captured my attention and I love reading it. This book is entitled, “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. It’s a book basically about his life, his experiences, and the lessons that God has taught him through it all. At first, I have to admit that I assumed that it would be like any other autobiography and that there may not be much flare to it however I was extremely encouraged as the words seem to flow so beautifully and the book has quickly become one of my favorites. Through reading this book there have been a number of things that strike me as interesting and make me think, however last night was different.
By reading this book I have been challenged but something that I read last evening struck me more so than anything else. Shane writes, “One thing I’ve learned from believers and from activists alike is that community can be built around a common self-righteousness or around a common brokenness. Both are magnetic.”
After reading this statement I have to admit that I put the book down and started contemplating what this actually meant. You see, our student ministry is alive, active, going, doing, and our students are hungry. However, I was wondering about the type of environment that we are setting up for the students. You see we strive to create a safe, loving, and sensitive to their needs environment however I wondered if we creating one of self-righteousness or one of brokenness. You see I agreed whole-hearted with Shane’s statement about how a community can be built but I really started thinking about this.
The church for so many years has seemed to push people away because they are not like us, there are songs about the hurtful glances that we cast as people enter our doors, and also the lack of love and support that the church gives or doesn’t give to others. You see I believe for so many years that we (the church) have been guilty of creating a community of self-righteous people. We have totally missed the point of striving to be the church like I believe Jesus wanted us to be and focused on glorifying ourselves and becoming increasingly prideful. How do we change this though? How do we strive to be different and create a community of brokenness? Is it something that can just happen or does it really take planning? The more I thought about all of this the more I came to the realization that I don’t believe we can really create a community of brokenness but rather it’s just something that happens. You can’t create it, plan it, or even orchestrate it, it just happens. A broken community takes place when people view others as equals and as family. A broken community happens when people begin to be genuine and honest with each other. A broken community occurs when people bear the burdens of others not for any glory for themselves but rather for the fact that they desire to love as God loves them. A broken community in my eyes in honestly a family, who like any other family, takes the good with the bad. A family celebrates the accomplishments of the other members and shares in the suffering. A family is the ultimate example of a broken community, in my eyes.
So how do we create that in the church? I don’t know if you can, as I mentioned earlier, other than by simply loving on the members of your congregation, developing a sense of trust among them, and sharing your heart with them through relationships. The relationship aspect is one that has been harped on for a number of years and has become the focus of so much energy in the church and rightfully so. In relationships trust occurs. In relationships grief is shared. In relationships people allow their guard to come down and the real desires of their hearts to be shared. In relationships and ultimately the treating of others like family a broken community can occur. However, this is not something that can be forced or planned but rather something that just falls into place and what a glorious day it will be when this happens, if it happens in churches everywhere. A day where the love of Christ runs rampant through the aisles of our sanctuaries, the foyer is filled with caring and compassionate people and the burdens of others are taken and love runs everywhere. The love of Christ is a powerful thing and when it is alive and moving we can see broken communities and the lives of those around us impacted and changed greatly.

A Big Undertaking

January 8, 2008
This past year, as I mentioned in one entry earlier, was an extremely difficult one. Not only were we faced with a number of personal issues and the loss of loved ones but then there was the challenge of dealing with my call to ministry. In the midst of wrestling with this call Pastor Rick, our senior pastor, presented me with an opportunity which I willingly said yes to.
He approached me about running the services on Sunday, December 30th. This was a huge undertaking because not only would it mean preaching in three services but also doing the planning of all of them as well, knowing that my senior pastor and associate pastor would both be there. Although this was an undertaking I felt confident that I could handle it and I have to admit it wasn’t too bad. The sermon that I was preparing feel into place better than any other sermon that I have ever done. The illustrations, the points, the questions, and the revelation from Scripture all came so easily the difficult part however, was going to be getting through the sermon. You see I chose to preach on the topic of “Tragedy to Triumph.” I included some illustrations about a homeless man that we had worked with on a mission’s trip and who had accepted the Lord, the story of Mindy and my daughter, Callie Grace, and my call to ministry. I have to admit that for the first time ever, and even in all three services I didn’t use my notes at all. This happened without me even being aware of what I was doing. For the majority of you, who preach, teach, or whatever you understand how challenging it is to do this for the first time but after a while it becomes more natural. The sermon was very personal for me and for my wife and there were a number of times that I found myself getting extremely choked up and shedding a few tears. I looked around a number of people in the congregation were in tears as well, as various points of the sermon impacted them in a similar way, which answered my prayers that their lives would be impacted. After the service I felt alive and invigorated as never before. I was so excited and thrilled and then the reality hit me that I felt so comfortable in the pulpit that morning and with the various aspects of leading the church in worship that morning and I must say that it was nice. I don’t want to seem like I’m taking all the credit because there were a number of people assisting me through this process such as our staff, the students who read various things in all of the services and also the band comprised of our students leading worship in the third service. Overall, it was a wonderful day and I am left still wondering about my calling and searching for answers. However, in the midst of searching I have been reminded by God, Himself to wait and to patiently do so and His will shall be revealed.

Christianity is all about Relationships

December 18, 2007
Relationship, the mere word sometimes strikes fear into our hearts because of past relationships that have failed or faltered. We sometimes have a negative view of this word because if we are engaged in a true relationship that means that we let our guard down and become truly vulnerable to someone else. However, a relationship is what our God calls us to. A deeply committed, passionate, loving relationship with Him. However, many people miss this aspect totally and trust in being a good person, or simply just coming to church, however God desires more. He desires our hearts to be totally devoted to Him. Our will to be surrendered to following whatever calling He gives us. However, many people miss this all together.
A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with some of our senior high students and this issue hit me like a MAC truck. When they were asked the question of why they were Christians their response was because they had always come to church, their parents told them to do it, or it seemed better than the alternative. This troubled me but I didn’t act on it until last week.
We are currently engaged in a series entitled, “Welcome to Temptation Island” where the students are confronted about some of the more serious temptations in their lives. Last week we dove into the issue of substance abuse and suicide, which stirred up a lot of emotions from various students. We finished the lesson early and to my surprise the students we still sitting there attentively waiting on more. After a brief prayer, the thought of Jeremy entered into my mind, and I realized that there was another opportunity in front of me. Another opportunity to be obedient to God’s calling and open up the floodgates into the lives of our students. I very simply expressed the reality of being a Christian is not being a good person or even just coming to church, although those things should flow out of a Christian’s life, but rather devoting your life to Christ and engaging in a relationship with a God who cares about us so much. I offered the students three choices, to make a first time commitment to Christ, to experience the relationship side and not just the superficial stuff of Christianity, or to be placed in a situation to share their faith. After opening up this invitation, I realized that we had five new students who admitted later they had never heard the Gospel, and a number of students who shared that they had never understood that God wanted a relationship with them, who wanted that to change. After praying briefly, God showed up, again, which shouldn’t come as a surprise but usually does, and almost every hand in the room went up, which was a huge answer to prayer considering that the room was packed, so much so that one of the students commented earlier in the evening, “There are so many people here, do you think maybe some of them are lost?” I do genuinely believe that some of those people may have been lost, either spiritually or literally, but what they heard and agreed to was something that will forever change their lives. It always amazes me the ways that God shows up to bless His work and the many changed lives that flow so freely from it.

True Servanthood

December 17, 2007
As Thanksgiving has come and gone, Christmas is nearly here my mind has been thinking a lot about giving, receiving, and all the blessings that we have. This whole thought process was stirred on by a number of things not just the holidays.
First, I started wondering about all of this around Thanksgiving because this was the first time in three years that we were able to celebrate with both families. I started wondering about those people who didn’t have the luxury of celebrating with one family let alone two. I began to wonder about how many times I had taken the blessing of my family (my wonderful wife), my parents, or even her parents for granted. I started thinking about all of the blessings that I had with this and wondering what else was in store.
A couple of days after Thanksgiving I was thinking about all of the shopping that we had done, the gifts we had purchased, and the looks that would be on the faces of those who received the gifts. I started wondering about those people who wouldn’t be receiving any gifts at all this Christmas. I thought about Leonard, the child in Zambia that our student ministry is sponsoring and wondered if he would receive anything for Christmas. I thought about the gifts that we had sent him and wondered if that would be the only Christmas that he received. I realized that as I went over the limit on gifts for my lovely wife, the thought of should I really be doing this or not? The more I thought about it the more I realized that maybe I should be doing more or giving more.
Part of this could be blamed on the holidays and it always seems that more and more people begin serving (for however short of time) during this time of year. We become consumed with the thought of giving our time, efforts, and energy to those who are less fortunate during this time of year. We hear their stories and moved by the giving sense that accompanies this time of year we give. However, many of us (myself included, many times) fail to realize that this suffering is not just something that occurs around the holidays. We fail to realize that these stories occur year round and we should respond not just simply because it’s the holidays but because we are the body of Christ.
I view part of my responsibilities at the church as the director of student ministries to be that I reach out in love and show compassion to those who are hurting all year round, not just at the holidays. I have really been thinking about how we as the body of Christ should be the same way year round and not just do the special things around the holidays. We should share the love of Christ with everyone we meet, allow them to share their stories and to share ours with them as well. I guess all of this is just simply to say that we need to be more focused on the needs of others, more often, and not just at the holidays.

December 17, 2007
Continuing from my last entry I was thinking more about the concept of giving, caring, and being a true loving Christian. This is not to say that I am above anyone else or that I have a “holier than thou” complex because I have learned to many times that when that type of mentality creeps in that we are “graciously” knocked off of our high horse and back to reality by the God we serve.
As I was pondering this whole idea and concept before I was wondering why many of us are content with simply functioning in our world and dealing with our own problems. I mean our world has enough problems and enough dirt in it so why should I venture into someone else’s? Why should I care that someone else is struggling? Why should I care that someone else doesn’t have anything to be thankful for? Why should I even try to help someone else, when my whole world seems to be crashing in around me? We wrestle with these questions far too often and that led me to reach a conclusion. I may not be able to change the world, start a revolution, or anything of that nature but what I can do is invest in the lives of those closest to me. I can share their burdens, help them through their pain, and provide a listening ear. You see God blesses us with hurting people who cross our paths every day and the choice is ours whether or not we accept and embrace it or run from it.
One such instance in my life was a man named Jeremy. You see we try to advocate service into the lives of our students with a number of events. We strive to put them in situations where they are stretched out of their comfort zones and placed in environments where they will be tested. One of those instances was a trip that we took to the Appalachian Mountains with some friends of ours from a church in Ohio. We went to West Virginia to help a new church get its feet off the ground and its name out in the community; however what we received was so much more. We went anticipating some hard work, visiting with people, and helping those in need. During our time there we met a number of individuals who were down on their luck, having difficulties in their lives, or who were homeless. We had a number of conversations that changed our outlook towards their situations greatly. One evening we were in a homeless shelter distributing some items that were needed and a young man caught my eye. His name was Jeremy and he was sitting on a bed with only the clothes on his back, a coat, and an old baseball cap. For some reason I began to feel like I should go and talk to him and when I did my world was changed.
I asked Jeremy very politely if I could sit down and talk to him to which he obliged. I sat down asking him the general questions of his name (Jeremy), his age (29) and where he was from. He began to tell me his story and my heart broke. He told me that he had just been released from a mental health institute for threatening to kill a fellow patient the day before. He had nowhere to turn so he returned to this shelter to find refuge. He told me that he struggled with alcohol and drugs for a while but he has been clean for over a year now. He told me about the fact that he was bi-polar, had a history of self-mutilating (cutting), and a number of other problems. When I asked him about his family he told me that he had four children, who were 16, 6, 5, and 5 months and they were the only thing keeping him alive. When I asked him more about his children he told me that he didn’t even know where the oldest lived and the other three were in Mississippi and he hadn’t seen them in quite a while. After talking with Jeremy a while longer, which led to me learning that he had served in the Army, I felt like he wanted more. The thought ran through my mind that he was ready to accept Christ even though up to this point of the conversation I hadn’t even shared that I worked at a church or even that I was a Christian. I very calmly looked into his eyes and asked a man who said the only emotion he knew how to express was anger, if he would mind if we prayed with him. He said that was fine, and I went and got two other members of our team to come and pray with us. One of the individuals, Bob, shared his testimony with Jeremy and without even having a Bible on us, God showed up in a marvelous way by having Jeremy accept him into his heart. After a short conversation and a little prayer a man who only expressed anger, began crying huge tears and admitting that he was changed because of his choice to follow Christ. We offered to bring him a Bible and to come and help us the next day distributing clothes to the less fortunate. He agreed to help us, so the following morning we picked him up, took him to the church, and Jeremy did a wonderful job. I watched a man be transformed by the love of Christ, through his actions, his words, and his eyes. He had an encounter with our God and my heart honestly just jumping for joy. After listening to more of his story, seeing him laugh and watching him interact with people I could just tell that the love of Christ was with him. Jeremy was a man who transformed by the love and power of my God and Savior and my prayer is that he utilizes that power wherever he goes and to tackle whatever difficulties may come his way in the future.
This story is one about a gracious, loving, merciful, and powerful God who showed up in a wonderful way and allowed his children to be a part of a life-changing story that will forever be etched on our hearts. I even told one of the students who were with us when he said that he wished he was as courageous as me that it’s not about courage but rather about obedience. When we are obedient to God, especially through our troubles and pain, He will reward us. Whenever we are faced with a difficult situation, he will give us the words to say. Whenever we see those people who are hurting and broken God will provide a way for us to minister to them if we are simply obedient to Him and the calling He gives to us.

Exploring the Call

November 9, 2007
These past few months have honestly been some of the most searching times of my life. I have been struggling with all kinds of things during these past few months. I have wrestled with my calling, where I should be in ministry, and even if I should be in youth ministry.
You see this all started a few months ago when Pastor Rick and Pastor Marilyn had a discussion with me. We were discussing the idea of me becoming a local pastor or being ordained in the Methodist Church. I honestly struggled with the idea at first because I have always despised the thought of youth pastors who use student ministry as a stepping stone or those who just simply are told to do this before becoming a real pastor. I always promised myself that I would not be like those people and that I would serve God in youth ministry because that was the calling He placed on my heart. Until God, Himself changed that calling I wouldn’t change. I didn’t know though that it would be this challenging though. You see I always said that I would never make it a difficult decision because I knew what God called me to but the thought of it was making it slightly more challenging than I anticipated. If I were to take on a different role that could mean that the church would provide insurance, a house, and some other nice things that would be a plus in my book. However, I still couldn’t imagine leaving my students; I mean these students are some of the best in the world and some that I love dearly.
This would mean that I would have to go back to school as well, which honestly wouldn’t be that bad of a deal because I have always had a desire to get my Master’s degree and continue my education. I love to be in classes and discussing some tough topics with other people and hearing different viewpoints. The thought of going back to school would be a wonderful thing in my mind. It was the fact that I could become ordained and all that jazz that scared me a little bit.
So with all that it left me wondering what the next step was. Where would I end up and what would I be doing. I was struggling more now and wrestling with this fact so much that it was making me sick, almost. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn, in fact I had even begun to ask other people, our pastors and friends, to pray for me as I struggled with this idea. I began to seek out their guidance, direction, and wisdom on the issue and it helped a little bit. I was still feeling a little uneasiness in my stomach about the whole thing and what it all meant. I continued to pray and seek God’s direction but I was left a little unsure.
However, after a couple months of prayer and seeking guidance on the whole issue I came to the realization of an answer, well sort of. I could go back to school and receive my Master’s of Divinity which really excites me because the church is in support of doing this because I would be furthering my education and would become more of an asset to them, which is great. Rick and Marilyn were in full support of the whole thing which is great because I have never totally had the support of our staff let alone the pastors. All in all it sounds like a great thing, but then there is the small thing of what would happen with the students who I love so dearly? I was left wondering about this for some time and struggling with the whole concept. I mean I love these students and they mean the world to me so I couldn’t just walk away from them. This was the difficult part, because I love our students and they genuinely love us to which would make it extremely hard to leave. But then I began to discuss the possibility of not leaving but just modifying my role, here at the church. After another lengthy discussion and much prayer it was decided by the church that I could maintain my role here and also go back to school. Well, this made things so much easier, but it wasn’t totally resolved in my mind.
That was until I went to the NYWC in St. Louis sponsored by Youth Specialties. At the end of the convention, they gave us some time to think and reflect about what we had learned and what that meant for us and our ministries. I began to pray again about this whole calling and what it meant for me and my life. I was honestly praying about for the first time, because I wasn’t letting my thoughts or preconceived notions get in my way and was just listening for God. After just a short time, the faces of my students began to flood my mind and I remembered their stories. I remembered their lives that I had poured into and that they had poured into mine. I remembered thinking about how much I love them and how wonderful they are to me. As this was going on I felt tears begin to stream down my face and I looked up to see Mindy looking back at me, telling me that we were right where we needed to be, with her eyes. After months of wrestling and waiting I somewhat have an answer but now the question is how do I handle all of this? How do I attend school and manage a ministry? How, if I can do all this and still be a wonderful, loving husband? And also, how can be a loving father with so much going on? All of these thoughts are still racing through my mind and I don’t have any answers for them yet. But I know in my heart that if I’m patient and wait God will answer my prayers and help me through this challenging and thought-provoking time.

A Calming Reminder From Two Great Bands

October 29, 2007
These past few months have been a roller coaster ride that no one could have predicted. During this time I feel as though I have been stretched and that I have grown in my faith. I think about Mike Yaconelli’s last words of when I look back on my life, I want to be able to say “What a ride!” My prayer is that I will be able to say that same thing and if the remainder of my life has is at all similar to these past few months than it will be a ride. I have no idea what is in store for Mindy and I in the days, weeks, and months to come but I do know that I will continue to serve my God and learn more about the truths He desires to teach me. I have never been one who is big on journaling before. Normally I start and a few days in, it gets disregarded, however this time something is different. You see this stems from a couple things first is that while we were going through all of this stuff I had some conversations with our pastor and our associate. We were discussing the issues and the lessons to be learned from them. After a number of lengthy discussions I decided that I should write down our experiences and feeling so that the lessons learned would forever be remembered. The final thing that made me decide to start journaling regularly was a special weekend that Mindy and I shared in August. We went away for our anniversary and part of our trip included seeing a concert at the Indiana State Fair. We reserved tickets to see Casting Crowns and Jeremy Camp in concert which excited me because I love both bands. The concert was incredible but a couple of things during the concert had an extremely profound effect on me. First, was while Casting Crowns were performing their lead singer, Mark Hall, shared his passion for youth. As a fellow youth worker I understand his passion but he began to comment about something that made me think. He talked about his dorkiness and how he embraced it. As I began to think about my life I thought of the number of times that I had tried to hide my weaknesses or my dorky qualities rather than work on them. I realized this was something to be worked on through future encounters. The second thing also occurred while Casting Crowns shared their background for the song “Praise You in the Storm.” There was a young girl who was about eleven or twelve who was terminally ill with cancer. Despite here circumstances she continued to praise God knowing full well the storm of life that surrounded her. I thought about the number of times I listened to that song between my calls to ministry and how the worlds always spoke to my heart. Despite our circumstances and storms we must never lose focus of the great and glorious God we serve.
The last major insight that came was when Indiana native Jeremy Camp was on the stage. I know that most artists share their testimonies or what is on their heart which is great but many times I don’t get much from it. However, this time just like with Casting Crowns things clicked. Jeremy shared the story about his first wife who at a very young age (late 20’s I think) was taken home to be with the Lord because of cancer. He shared about how she would sit in her wheelchair and sing praises to God all day long. As he was sharing I started to think about Callie and I immediately teared up. I remembered holding our angel in my arms and looking at her beautiful face with her bright red lips open like she was singing. Everyone who saw her said she was already singing in heaven. As her father I know I’m biased but I’m sure that she has the most beautiful voice in heaven and I can’t wait to hear it someday as Callie and I perform a duet in heaven. Although these past few months have been crazy I look back in the lesson I have been taught, the increase in my faith and the closeness of Mindy and I and I must say that although it’s hurt and been painful, “What a ride!” I am looking forward to whatever God has in store for me in the future because I know that by clinging to Him I will get through as these last few months are evidence of God’s grace and His ultimate healing power as He has worked on my heart.

Another Loved One Gone

October 27, 2007
After the roller coaster we were on this summer we thought that the fall would be smooth sailing. However, a couple of week into the fall we received another phone call that my grandpa Davis was not doing very well. We decided to go and see him while he would still remember us and I’m glad we did. As we walked in to see him he was asleep in his chair and we woke him up to talk to him. Mindy asked if we could take a picture and grandpa said it wasn’t often that two good looking men were in the same picture frame together. We shared some laughs and a lot of love that day. We talked with grandpa about Callie and the fact that she was in heaven. He told us she was beautiful and that he was ready to see her. After about an hour I asked to have a couple of minutes with grandpa. After we were alone I began to pray for him, not that he would be healed but rather that his suffering would end. I knew in my heart that he was ready for heaven and my heart was ready for him to go. Although it hurt, I loved my grandfather enough to say it. Right after the amen I looked up and saw a slight smile on his face through my tears. This was the same smile that could always light up a room and the same smile that always said I love you. By seeing that small faint smile I knew that everything would be alright an it was because a few weeks later he would be joining his eternal family in heaven and I would see him again one day.

October 28, 2007
As I mentioned last time my grandpa David did pass away which meant that our family had endured its fourth death this year. It has honestly been an extremely trying year with all the day and also the grief but somehow we are plugging along and trying to move forward. During my grandpa’s viewing things were alright and I thought I was fine. However the following day at the funeral I was extremely moved and upset by his passing. Actually, in hindsight, I think it was more anger and frustration then grief. You see ever since we lost Callie I have had a longing in my heart to be reunited with her and the thought that my grandfather got that before me honestly upset me. I know this sounds crazy but it’s true because part of me was honestly frustrated with all of this. I had to pull myself to the back of the church, pray, and think these things through. Although it was a challenging day and a day of grief, I listened as his children shared their memories of my grandfather. The two that came across the board were his love for other people and his smile. As I sat there I started to think of myself and I realized that those were two things often said about me. The more I thought about I realized that I have more of my grandfather in me than I thought. Also, after praying about the Callie situation, I am grateful that another member of her earthy family joined her in heaven. Although I still long to see her, I can rest assured that one day I will and her family that is already there will celebrate with me when that day comes.