About Me

What should I say? I hope by reading my blog you come to learn who I am. I always want Christ first in my life. I want to consistently show the fruit of the spirit in my life. I want others to be blessed by what I go through and learn from it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Yet I am Always With You (The Day Before Surgery)

I wrote this the day before my surgery...

Yet I am always with you;
    you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
    but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:23-26)

I’m not sure what to write here. Before I go any further I need to make it clear I expect to make it through surgery tomorrow just fine and recover well. But since there’s always the possibility that something might go wrong, I feel as though I should write this.
I don’t know, maybe I’m worried because my dad went into the hospital for surgery last year and never came out. But here’s the thing…I don’t feel worried. I am confident that my God will take care of me. I am confident that even if the “worst” should happen and I don’t make it through, I will still be taken care of and so will my loved ones.
Notice I put “worst” in quotes…I believe that even death is not the worst thing that could happen. I believe, like the apostle Paul, that: “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” But I am confident that I will continue living and be able to rejoice in being cancer free.
I don’t know if people think I’m naive for feeling like I do, or that I am foolish for trusting God like I do, but I don’t care. God is my savior and in him I will trust.

I made it through fine, as expected. Actually a bit better than expected. I feel better than I thought I would, the incision, though bigger than I thought it was going to be, doesn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. I can't drive as of yet, but I am hopeful that I'll be given the go-ahead to drive at my follow-up appointment on Wednesday. I probably won't post any pictures until the staples come out as it looks kind of Frankenstein-ey.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some big news...

I know it's been a looooong time since I posted anything here, but I have some big news to share. Here is the body of an e-mail I sent to a few friends today...

I want to share some news with you that I’ve recently received and request your prayers. A couple of months ago my doctor found that the lymph nodes on the right side of my neck were swollen. This finding led to a couple visits to the ENT doctor and a CAT scan and a biopsy all to find out that I have thyroid cancer.
That’s the bad news, now to the good news…
The type of thyroid cancer that I have is relatively easily treatable. In a couple weeks I will undergo a thyroidectomy where I will have my thyroid and the affected lymph nodes removed, then the area will  be treated with radioactive iodine to ensure all the cancer is gone, then I will need to take a pill to make up for what my thyroid used to do. The type of cancer that this is (I don’t remember the name, the doctor told me but I forgot) is a very slow moving cancer and she is confident that my upcoming surgery will take care of all of it.
It’s been almost 20 years since I gave my life to Christ and I will honor God and honor that commitment no matter what comes my way. Three years ago I lost my right foot and I took to heart the promise in Romans 8:28; “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I don’t know why God has allowed me to go through this, but I will praise God when things are good and I will praise him even when things are bad.
God is a good God and his nature is unchanging even when troubles arise in our lives and so while I do ask for your prayers in this situation, for my safety as I undergo surgery, for comfort to my family and friends as they go through this with me but mostly that God shows me how I can use this situation to glorify him more and share his love with those around me.  I also ask that you take some time to honor God for the good that he has brought into your life.
Thank you all for your prayers and I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.
I surrender all,
I surrender all;
All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
I surrender all.

Update the first...my surgery has been scheduled, it will be Thursday, November 21 at the Rutland Regional Medical Center in Rutland, VT.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Foot or Crutch?

I'm slightly amazed at how long it's been since I last posted. I'm not terribly surprised that I had slacked off some, but to realize it's been three months (to the day) since I last posted, means I'm slacking off too much.

I've had a busy summer, since I've posted last, I've spoken at camp for two weeks, helped out with two different vacation Bible schools, and moved into my own apartment. It has been busy, but some things have recently gotten me asking if I'm staying comfortable in doing things that come easy to me.

Just this morning I watched the movie "Soul Surfer" and I loved it. This movie was actually so well done, it was hard to watch what with the amputation of my foot being less than a year ago. For those of you who don't know the story, it's about Bethany Hamilton, a young girl from Hawaii who had her left arm bitten off by a shark. This movie was based on a true story, and I don't know how much of the movie was actually true, but that doesn't really take away how inspiring it was and how I felt it pretty accurately, mirrored my own feelings dealing with the amputation of my right foot.

By the end of the movie, Bethany was back up and surfing, and while the movie showed some struggles that she had in getting back up on a surf board, I imagine it was probably a bit harder that the movie portrayed. One of the first questions Bethany asked was when she could get back to surfing, and while her confidence wavered for a bit she did get back up on a surf board and eventually...what, you think I'm going to tell you the ending? Go see the movie yourself!

But this got me thinking...am I using my prosthetic foot as a crutch? Has it become, in a way, convenient to have this foot? Does it give me the easy way out of doing things I don't want to do?

Another thing that happened to me happened about a month ago, I was speaking at camp on the book "Do Hard Things" by Brett and Alex Harris, a great book that I recommend. While I was there, I was sharing...let's face it, i was complaining to a friend about how it was hard to lose weight because I couldn't move around much. That's not true, I can move around just fine, I just need to remember to keep my stump in mind so I don't overdo it too much, and I need to wear my boot if I move too much.

I'm not missing the irony there...

As I'm speaking to a group of about thirty teenagers about doing hard things, I'm complaining about something that's hard. This friend challenged me to keep at it, that is is possible, and she then challenged me to then lose ten pounds in about a month, and I have, at last weigh in, I was at 9.8 pounds down from where I was at that time, and since my next weigh in day is this Saturday, I expect to have passed that ten pounds by then.

So here's my challenge to myself, and I'm putting it out there in cyberspace for all to see...I will lose 36 more pounds by Christmas. Christmas is just over four months away, and I hope to have lost more, but with just over 18 weeks to go, and with Weight Watchers telling me that .5-2 pounds is a good weight loss goal I'm going with the 2 pounds a week for 18 weeks = 36 pounds.

Will you help keep me focused? I know I'll have to be really good with Thanksgiving in there, but I hope to celebrate my birthday (Dec. 26) with some new, smaller clothes.

I'd love it if people joined me in this, not necessarily with losing 36 pounds, but pick a weight loss goal for Christmas and meet it.

God bless you

Monday, May 16, 2011

It Really Does Get Better

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.   Luke 11:9, 10

I’ve been noticing a new commercial recently; it’s about the “It Gets Better” project. It’s a whole movement aimed at eliminating the bullying of an entire group of people; specifically it’s for the people who are being bullied for being gay, and is in response to the rash of suicides by homosexual young people because they were bullied. I applaud the thought behind this, bullying is awful and should be eliminated.

Before I go any further let me say, this entry is not about my stance on homosexuality. Those of you who know me, know where I stand, those of you who don’t, well I hope this makes it clear where I stand on any topic where it comes to people being bullied. My goal is to show God’s love to all…period.

I know what it feels like to be looked down upon, what it feels like to be the outcast, what it feels like to be an outcast simply because of something about you. I have been overweight as long as I can remember. I remember being picked on at school, out on the street, at the mall, and even at summer camp. Even now, I have to deal with the looks from people, the comments and questions from young kids who don’t know better, and often sitting alone in a public place because no one will sit next to you, it’s almost as though they think being overweight is something you can catch, like a cold. I have to see the stuff that Hollywood puts out, where it’s still ok to make fun of fat people. I’m pretty sure I’m the one demographic that Hollywood has no problem knocking down; an overweight, Christian man.

I don’t share this with you because I’m looking for pity, I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. I used to want people to pity me, because I was that desperate for positive reinforcement. I say this so you know that I know what it feels like to be put down, to be ridiculed, to be ostracized, to be marginalized, and ignored, to be bullied.

I want to share with you my answer; it wasn’t to simply gut it out and wait for an indefinite period of time.

We all have to find our identity in something, and I think we have already lost when we find our identity in the very characteristic that other people choose to harp on, either by being simply inconsiderate or downright mean and hurtful. I’ve already lost if I choose to identify myself simply as one who is overweight, or one who is attracted to women, an amputee or any human characteristic or trait. I choose to find my identity in Christ.

My life is far from perfect, my last year has been, at times, pretty terrible, but I don’t find my identity in any of that. I choose instead to find my identity in the One who died on the cross for me. Like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”

I have a positive outlook on life, I choose to live a joyful life. And it isn’t because I just waited to get out of high school or because I just waited for a period in my life to end, it’s because I gave my life to Christ and I understand what my identity is in Him, not what the world thinks about me. And I better understand how Paul can say things like; “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4) while he was being persecuted and in prison and constantly under the threat of death.

Look to Christ for your identity, I’d be happy to help you out with that journey. I’m sure there are any number of churches around where you are who would also love to help you out. I’m not saying it’ll all go away, people will still be stupid, uncaring and mean, but you won’t be looking to them to find your place in life, you’ll be looking to the only One who knows you inside and out and still loves and accepts you, unconditionally.

God bless you my friend.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

God Glorified

"If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord." Romans 14:8

I know I've said it before, but I love my devotional. It's my Christian history devotional and it's awesome. Today I was reading about James Montgomery Boice, the former pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Back on Good Friday, in the year 2000, Boice found out he had cancer, a very aggressive form of the disease, and that his prognosis wasn't good at all. I want to share with you a portion of his final sermon, preached on May 7, 2000...

"Should you pray for a miracle? Well, you're free to do that, of course. My general impression is that the God who is able to perform miracles - and He certainly can - is also able to keep you from getting that problem in the first place...Above all, I would say pray for the glory of God."

Long before reading this entry, or really reading about Boice at all, that was my attitude about what was going on with my right foot. I know people were praying for healing, heck, I was one of them. but I also knew people were convinced that healing was going to happen, that I wouldn't lose my foot, that I wouldn't pray. More than healing, I wanted God to be glorified in my life, I hope I've made that clear as you've read this blog. More than any of my wants, I want God to be honored in my life. And when I fall short of that, I'm ok with wanting to want that God will be honored in my life, because God is great and He can work that into honoring Him.

I want to share with you the very last little bit of that sermon section...'If you think of god glorifying Himself in history and you say, "Where in all of history had God most glorified Himself?' the answer is that He did it at the cross of Jesus Christ, and it wasn't be delivering Jesus from the cross, though He could have...And yet that's where God is most glorified."

I love that message. At any point, Jesus could have come off that cross, but He didn't. He didn't because of His love for me and His love for you. I hope that you know that love. I hope that you know the sacrifice Jesus made for you and that you have made Him Lord of your life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

More Than Enough

"And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.” Exodus 36:3b-5

More than enough, what a thought...I know the Israelites are often criticized for their wayward wanderings in the desert, and I am fully aware that this passage is just slightly after they had also melted a bunch of gold down to make a calf to worship, but what a thought.

How does the church today stack up? How do I stack up? Do I bring more than enough or just enough? I'm not just talking about money here, I've just recently brought my giving up to where I think is appropriate (Note: this is not a discussion on tithing, I may talk about that at some other point) but I know, as far as my life is concerned, I don't give more than enough. I struggle to set aside an hour a day to focus on prayer. And it's not because I'm super busy, it's because I get sucked into other things, like TV or Wii.

That's why this month, I decided to set aside an hour every day to make sure I'm focused on God, an hour to pray, read the Bible, maybe read something else that can help my focus to get where it should be. Does that mean that I get to forget about God the rest of the day? Absolutely not! But I want to make sure that I set aside a portion of my day to pray, that God gets my firstfruits, not the leftover dregs.

Join with me, let's make May a month to focus on prayer, to set our focus on where it should be. I don't know, call it "May Pray" or something like that. But whatever you want to call it, let's refocus on Him.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where Have I Been?

"And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19

Hello all you out there in cyberspace,

It's been quite a while since I've put anything up here, and I'd like to say it's because I was so busy that I didn't have time...but that's not the case. I wish I could keep remembering the verse I put up there, but I forget. I wish I would allow God to fulfill all my needs, but I don't, I look elsewhere. I'm trying to figure out how to say what I want to say...

Originally, I was going to write about how awesome it was that when the call went out to gather materials for the Israelites to build the tabernacle they had more than they needed and had to turn people away, but that's not what's really on my heart.

Years ago, when it came to dating, I started praying differently. Instead of praying that God would send "her" my way, I started praying for contentment. I started praying that I would be content whatever the situation, and that's what I want.

It's funny, I can see that pattern that every time I forget that God can supply all my needs, some dating website gets thirty bucks from me. That verse up there is in response to the gifts the Philippians sent to Paul, but I think it can apply to far more than just physical needs, far more than just financial needs, but how often do we forget that.

I've been able to see God meeting my financial needs, that's a great benefit of being a missionary, you get to see how God comes in to save the day. I've been able to see how God's healed my physically, if you don't know what I'm talking about, check out almost all of my other blog entries. But I keep forgetting that God's got my companionship needs taken care of as well.

It's kinda tough being 35 and single, with my last relationship being over a decade ago. Do I want "that special someone" to come into my life? Sure I do, but more than that, I want what God wants for me. I want to be content in God, and when that doesn't work, I'm OK with just wanting to want to be content in God.

I think that applies to far more than just relationships, but that's where it's hitting my life right now.

Lord, let me be content in you, and just you if that's what you call me to.