Once people who know me well do see those things, the truly good friends began to call those things out of me. Anthony deMello said, "A friend calls forth, creates, a quality that he sees in me."
It has been since June that I resigned just after starting this journal. Journals have legs to walk with you through various journeys and seasons. Journals have backs and hearts to carry a great deal of things so you do not have to. This journal is a gift from a friend I have not seen or spoken with in many years. It was a random gift which arrived just before an enormous life change I did not foresee at the time. This journal came to me from a friend who has always been a strong encouragement to "Keep writing. Always keep writing." This journal came from this friend just before a season where it would have been easy to cease writing.
This journal has carried a lot of the things I never wanted to carry. If I could only displace those thoughts and processes on the back and heart of this journal, I could get through days, which would have been otherwise very discouraging and debilitating.
This journal contains the weak prayers of limping through the process of learning to ask God 'what' instead of 'why'. I rarely get answers to 'why' questions, but I have learned to look at any and all circumstances asking, "God, what are you doing in me through this?"
This journal contains notes for interviews come and gone for positions I thought were great, if not perfect, but clearly not where God was guiding and calling me.
This journal contains notes for sermons along the way for beloved groups who, unaware to them, gave shock paddles to my heart by giving me opportunities to do what I love in a season when my heart was weak and confused for the future.
This journal has been able to carry the promise of prayer my heart made for the new year. It proves that the challenge remains. It is written in ink after all.
This journal, #38, passes a baton to #39 with promise and hope attached. It uses the discouragement and healing as a springboard to speak to my heart, "You are a better leader, husband, and father than you were before we began walking together, but more importantly, you are closer to the heart of Jesus than you were before we met."
God, I have so many things I am thankful for, but I realize I rarely intentionally and actively thank you for those blessings in my life. Psalm 92 opens with the reminder that "it is good to be thankful to the LORD". Good for what? Good for who? I am convinced that it is good for me to be thankful. It is good for me to be thankful, and I am not so sure it is only good in the sense that a good person is a thankful one. I believe being thankful does me good.
So here is my heart and mind prepared to thank you for so many things.
Thank you for protecting my heart through my leaving the pastorship of SOLAS.
Thank you for Eric Waterbury, Jesse Peterson, Glenda Harr, Justin Wallace, Gary Tangeman, Ryan Masters, Grant Cox, Brandon Farmer, Nicole Farmer, Mark Shetler, Anh Powers, Dan Demuri, Tim Layfield, Jeff Koons, Steve Rodriguez who likely all are unawarely said just the right thing at the right moment when my heart and mind needed it most. This is YOUR doing.
Thank you for Tonya who has been a cheerleader who has been frustrated by frustrating things and also encouraging when it is most needed.
Thank you for the smiles and hugs of my daughters where I find beauty that points my heart and mind to you.
Thank you for statements and notes and "drop bys" from friends just to make sure things are good and okay.
God You are good. You are all together good. Surely goodness is to follow all the days of my life.
We are made in the imago dei. Every human being is made in the image of God. This means a great many things. Specifically, it does mean we are all connected. As God is 3 in 1, we are all connected in a great way. There is a solidarity to the image of God we are all connected within.
Think of this!
This means every interaction, no matter how passing or intentional, has an impact. Every smile, hug, and conversation has an impact. Every relationship, no matter how intimate or shallow, has an impact. You may never see a person again, but in that second your smile could impact the rest of their hour or day. It means even your small acquaintance has an impact.
Think of how crazy it is that you, a human being, have the capacity to impact another human being.
What impact will you have?
I haven't been to this coffee shop in maybe months. It started as a need to return to another coffee shop for a while, and then we had our first child a few weeks ago; keeping me from ANY of the coffee shops I frequent. A matter of moments after sitting down with my glass of Pranqster Belgian Ale (another reason I returned to this coffee shop), the chef came out from the back to say hello and to give me a hug.
THAT is why I come in here.
What friendships are you building around you?
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