This is Me

I took this selfie about a minute ago.

Just woke up after a week of nights at work. I’m still a little groggy, and I have more bags than a Samsonite store. That’s ok.

I’m a few short days away from 50 and I’m not at my best. Certainly not the person I could or should be. That’s ok, too.

Want to know why?

Because the maker of heaven and earth loves me that way, wrinkles, bags, imperfections, doubts, fears and all.

He loves me as I am, and not as I should be.

It’s the same for you, or it can be.

He doesn’t say come to me with your act together. He doesn’t say come to me without wrinkles and bags.

He doesn’t say come healthy, without addiction and free of sin.

He just says come to me.

It sounds pretty specific to me. Won’t you just drop every heavy thing and come?

Advertisements

Fortunate Son

As my birthday nears for the 50th time, I think more and more that I’ve been very lucky and very blessed over the course of my life.

Of course, there have been times that were difficult and a scattered handful of regrets, but time has also brought me the realization that changing even a single part of it would likely mean I wouldn’t be here this morning.

I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair and watching my dogs run around in the backyard of my own home. My lovely wife wouldn’t be sleeping in my bedroom, and my two boys wouldn’t even be a thought.

So even though I haven’t seen my parents in more than 30 years, I’m grateful for the little parts of them that live on in me. It’s true that life chews up the years–or at least has in my life.

It’s worth it, though.

One of my favorite bible verses of all time is a relatively obscure sentence from Joel, chapter 2.

“I will repay the years the locust has eaten.” (Joel 2:25)

Every hard second of my life has been worth it.

They collectively brought me to a patio in Arizona, a few short days from 50.

I love my life, and once again the thought crosses my mind that God is good. If you never read another word I write or have written in the past read that one:

God is good.

And he will repay the years the locust has eaten.

Foxes at the Tower

Today, I’ve been spending a fair amount of time thinking about Romans 8:28. You know the verse. You’ve probably heard it quite a bit from your pastor. I know I have.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I’ve been thinking about it because I never would have thought God would use what amounted to a nervous breakdown and a large cut in pay for good. Not that he couldn’t do it, I just didn’t think it would shake out like that.

It’s true my previous job function was very stressful, and that stress manifested itself very strongly through a series of very intense expressions of emotional…uh, energy. More like reactions, I guess–that resulted in a long medical vacation while I got my wits about me once more.

I’ve been fortunate at the opportunity to transfer laterally within the company (which is a very good one) into another position that I am perhaps more suited for, to a section with much less stress. I’m no longer in an isolated position and little opportunity for social interaction, either, but am working closely with a friend, and for another couple of friends, one of whom is the worship leader at my church.

My breakdown was ugly, and lots of people were around to witness it on a couple of occasions–one of which was at church. Yet God was faithful, and saw my hurt–even more importantly, my need.

So while I wouldn’t have chosen what happened, I see that God used it for my good.

I believe God used my brokenness to reveal something else within me, and to bring new healing to my life. I won’t complain about that at all.

For now, at least, I look out a dirty window every morning while the sun comes up instead of at a wall. I do my daily reading literally watching the sun rise over the desert. And this morning, there were a couple of tiny kit foxes watching me do it through the open door of my little shack.

That’s worth a pay cut in my book.

It’s Different Now

Sitting at McDonald’s and watching my son play with a bunch of kids. I remember those days, although when I was a kid, they didn’t have these giant play areas. We just brought in rocks from outside to play with. Or maybe dead rodents if we were one of the lucky ones.

And we liked it.

On a side note, I think Dante wrote “The Inferno” in a McDonald’s play area.

Don’t Worry

I don’t know if it’s the meds or the presence of the master within, but I’m not too worried about this shutdown business. It may sound a little cliche for people who don’t know what it feels like, but I know the work situation is in bigger and better hands than the government of the US or anywhere else.

Scripture tells me not to worry, so I won’t right now. Nobody wants this, but it’s here. Let’s use it for the best, and do something good.

But maybe not expensive, because it’s still going to eat up my vacation time.

Morning Gratitude #29

The reason I do this in the morning is that it’s the time of day I feel the least grateful for anything. Consequently I sometimes have to really dig deep to come up with things I’m thankful for.

I know that sounds bad, because there are honestly tons of things I should be grateful for, but I think it’s human nature to complain sometimes. It’s certainly my nature.

But I’m not going to indulge that nature this morning.

I’m grateful to have stopped getting involved in political discussions on social media; I’m not going to change anyone’s mind about anything and I’m sure lots of people already think I’m a jerk. No need to prove it again.

I’m grateful for YouTube, because I love live music and you can always find a concert.

I’m grateful for alone time with my wife when I can get it because she’s my best friend and we both have careers and very active Boyz (you have to spell it like that) who need involved parents.

I’m grateful my church has a home now, and grateful to have a pastor who is a really good man with a really great Mrs. The Mondragon family are terrific people and you should stop by TRC and meet them sometime.