Archive for the ‘My Life / Family’ Category
April 28th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
As human beings, we really do like to think we’re in control of everything. Our career paths. Our families. Our finances.
Yes, even our faith.
But we’re not. Not even close.
Only God is sovereign. Only He knows all of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen.
Doesn’t absolve us of responsibility for making good decisions, of being good stewards of everything He’s given us… time, talents, money, decisions, etc. But there will ALWAYS be circumstances and situations utterly outside our control.
We received a big reminder of that today:
Yep, that’s our van. While sitting innocently at a intersection, two vehicles violently collided in front of us. The silver Traverse you see in the photo smashed in our front bumper, and gave all of us a big jolt we weren’t expecting.
It happened in slow motion (don’t all events like this?).
I was sitting in the driver’s seat, stopped at the red light. Nancy and I were having a good chat with the five kids in the back (ours and two friends). Everyone was having a good time, looking forward to a fun lunch together. We’d had a great morning at church… my best in probably four months.
I’m shocked into attention, and spot a silver Mercury flying in front of us left to right. I have no idea where it had come from.
I see the silver Traverse had spun towards us. Collision imminent.
I considered throwing the van into reverse. Nowhere to go… there was someone behind me.
I yelled to Nancy and the kids. “HOLD ON!!!”
I grabbed the steering wheel firmly. Stepped on the brake as hard as I could.
I turned to my family. “Everyone okay?”
I hopped out, knowing our part of the collision was minor. I ran to the door of the Traverse. Checked on the passengers, who were piling out. They seemed shaken, but okay.
I looked over toward the Mercury. It was a mess… a kid practically fell out of the driver’s seat. Blood pouring down his forehead from some good cuts.
Injured, but okay.
People were coming from everywhere to the scene. Police had been called.
I double-checked my family. Still okay. Made a few calls.
Police and ambulance arrived. The scene was replayed in everyone’s mind. Questions swirled. Organized chaos.
As I sit here tonight, I replay the scene in my mind. Nothing could be done differently. We were innocent bystanders, and our whole day changed in an instant.
My safe driving didn’t matter. Our plans for the day… out the window.
Any control I thought I had… gone.
As if it were ever truly there.
I guess that’s the point of all this, if there is one.
We’re NOT in control, no matter how much we like to think so. Life is fleeting, and can be taken from us in an instant… whether we’re ready or not. As Scripture says:
James 4:14, ESV
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but seriously… do you ever realize what little control you really have? How you live by faith moment by moment that nothing outside our miniscule window of control enters the picture and throws our perfectly planned lives into chaos?
And if you live by faith, what are you placing your faith in?
Is your object of faith worthy? Is your object of faith reliable? Is your object of faith in control at all?
Worth thinking about, because you’re not, and neither am I.
Personally, I can be okay with that. Then again, I know where my faith lies, and I know that He IS reliable.
April 22nd, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living, My Life / Family
I’m not sure I know exactly how to put my thoughts into words tonight, but I’ve been thinking. And I’ve got more questions than answers as a result. So, for all three of you that may actually still read this site, bear with me as I pour out my brain and heart here through this poor medium of blogging. This may be tough to follow. But I guess that’s alright.
If you’re a close friend of mine, you’ll know that the last four months have been rough for us. We’ve been dealing with some family troubles centered around the dreaded c-word: cancer. I won’t go into detail more than to say it’s a close family member out of respect for that person’s privacy, but suffice it to say that the news we received was not good. Not just any kind of c-word… terminal c-word.
We’ve been riding a roller-coaster of emotions. We’ve travelled more in the past four months than we perhaps even over the past four years (or maybe it just seems that way). Nancy and I have had to go separate ways far too often, and split the family more weekends than not to try to keep juggling all of the various balls we find ourselves tasked with keeping airborne. Our church attendance has been a joke. Stress levels way too high. And our faith… challenged.
Throughout this same general time period, there have been some horrific news stories. Sandy Hook. The Boston bombings. West, Texas. Tragedies, all.
And there has been societal change, political turmoil.
I’ve watched “the church” respond to all of this in interesting ways. Anger. Outrage. Political maneuvering. Calls for organization. Calls for prayer. Calls for activism. Prayer.
Rarely with peace.
I don’t know that the two are related in any way, to be honest. But there is a common theme running through my head… a difficult thought.
In times of troubles, Christians are faced with tough questions.
Where is God during _______?
Why didn’t He do something?
Why would He allow _______?
Is God hearing my prayers?
Why isn’t He listening?
Are you even real?
Do you even care?
These questions have become very real to me through our times of trouble. I’ve read of Job in the Old Testament, and how God allowed his faith to be tested… how He gave Job over to Satan to do anything except take his life. I’ve wondered if God does the same nowadays… “Have you considered my servant _______?”
Has my name, Nancy’s, or others we love deeply been in that place?
When trouble seems rampant, and God seems distant? As if He’s not listening?
Why? Did we do something? Do we deserve this somehow?
I think Christians as a whole react the same way during times of trouble; even societal troubles.
We wonder if God cares. “Can’t you see what’s happening God?” “When will you do something?”
We look at ourselves, collectively. Where have we failed? What didn’t we do to prevent this? What if we only _______? Would God listen then? Could we change things?
I know this is disjointed. The point I’m trying to get to is that I see a parallel. What I see in our lives during our time of trial is not that terribly different from what I see in “the church” when everything seems to be going wrong with the world.
A test of faith. A lack of peace. Perhaps, a lack of trust.
Maybe it’s best summarized by questions (after all, that’s mostly what I seem to have right now).
Is Jesus really enough?
What if turning to Jesus for answers is the only answer?
What if letting our questions go is His only response… just to trust Him?
Will we really be satisfied with Jesus alone?
Or must we have Jesus + _______?
Sure, we all know the good “Christian” answer. But do we truly believe what we profess? What we sing about on Sundays? What we tell others? What we preach to our kids? What we read in our Christian books, or hear about on our Christian radio stations?
Is Jesus REALLY enough?
Perhaps that’s the question God has been trying to get us to consider all along.
March 19th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family
Back in November, I shared a post on this site entitled, “The Winds of Change”. Election night had just passed, and we had just re-elected a president whose social views are radically different from years past, one who ran on a platform of “hope” and “change” in his first term, one who presided over some of the most difficult economic changes of our times. Re-election in such circumstances was unprecedented. Quite honestly, I was somewhat in shock.
But not by his re-election.
I found myself somewhat shocked at the realization of just how quickly the winds of change were blowing in this nation, in our culture, in our world. I reflected upon what this meant for the follower of Christ. How should we respond?
This morning during my commute, I heard the song I quoted in that article once again: “The Winds of Change”, by Scorpions.
Take me to the magic of the moment
On a glory night
Where the children of tomorrow dream away
In the wind of change.
The song, quite simply, is beautiful. It reflects the optimism of the time, and certainly brings many fond memories of the hope I saw for the future.
It’s that point that I began to reflect upon.
When I was 13 years old and that song came out, I recall a time where optimism about the future seemed the norm. Where anything was possible. A world awaited where my generation was free to pursue all of their dreams.
I have to wonder, where is that optimism today?
Is it still there? Is hope still rampant? Or are the changes we continue to see in the world killing our outlook toward the future?
When we look at social change and shake our heads?
When we watch our politicians, amazed at the division and apparent lack of focus on what’s good for our nation?
When we are bombarded by a steady stream of bad news from our 24/7 media?
When the social media we surround ourselves with encourages constant disappointment when we compare our everyday to everyone else’s highlight reels?
When we look at world events, and even our own nation to see economic calamity, and question the security of our future?
When hurt and pain seems to be invading everyone’s lives, and there simply are no easy answers?
I don’t know. With all of the things in this world that seem so negative, I can’t help but wonder…
Are the winds of change now blowing destructively against the outlook of optimism, or have the sands of time simply changed my view?
December 24th, 2012 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
Last year, we put together our first family Christmas photo card. We got a later start this year, but we’re continuing the tradition nonetheless!
Christmas truly is good news of great joy; we have hope of salvation because Jesus came into our world!
Wishing all of you the best as you celebrate the birth of our Savior this Christmas!
December 17th, 2012 | 2 Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family
Yeah, I know the post title is stupid… “Bionic Hearing”. Blah.
It’s better than “Miracle Ear”.
Whatever the case, I’m marvelling right now at the difference a hearing aid makes.
Today, I had my first post-surgical follow up for the cholesteatoma surgery I had last Monday. The right ear is healing nicely, but we won’t know whether I’ll get full hearing back in that ear for another two or three months. A bit of a waiting game, and I’m fine with that. The good news of the day with the right ear is that it should be a one and done surgery!
As for the left, where I’d had some minor “touch-up” work done?
Apparently my hearing has actually improved. It’s good news, but it’s still not back to normal levels.
Enter the miracle of technology.
Boom. I’m hearing sounds now that I had almost forgotten about.
So yeah. My hearing may not be 100% natural anymore, but I’m definitely okay with bionic hearing.
Now if I can just get an Iron Man suit to go with it.
For more readings on my battle with cholesteatoma, check out these posts:
December 10th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
But I can’t help but look in the mirror right now and be humored by the fact I look like I’ve been in a street brawl, a war, battling zombies, maybe fighting the Predator, or something along those lines. And then that oh so famous line from “Gone in 60 Seconds” hits me… “I am a BAD man…”
So I thought I’d share to bring a little humor to your day at my expense.
Anyway, this is what I look like post-surgery. Today, I had my 3rd round of surgery in this ongoing battle with cholesteatoma. After two surgeries on the left ear, I somehow managed to grow another one of these crazy tumors in my right ear.
The good news? Pretty much everything this time. Dr. Thedinger indicated to my wife following surgery (while I was completely zonked out; let me tell you, there is NO sleep like surgical sleep!) that the growth in my right ear was not very extensive. It has not degraded any of my bone structure yet, so that means that once everything heals up, my right ear should be pretty close to 100% of my “normal” hearing capability. So yes… good news for sure.
The bad news? Simply that I’m going to have to rely on my “bad” ear for all hearing while the “good” one heals. Dr. Thedinger performed some sort of laser heat-treatment today on the eardrum of my left ear to try to improve what hearing capability I have, but I don’t know that I can really expect too much help there. Thanks to my previous cholesteatoma, I have no normal bone structure in there, so I’ve got a really whacked out frequency response. The good news is that this issue can be corrected with a hearing aid (hopefully only temporary until my “good” ear heals). I’ll take that trial run… if it improves my quality of life in terms of hearing, I’m all for it.
Anyway, all said, today was a good day in my battle with cholesteatoma. And the plus?
A little over a week of “unplanned” vacation in which I plan to get FULLY rested. Yeah, I’ll work from home to keep up (thanks to a very understanding boss!), but I’ll take that any day.
For those of you dealing with cholesteatoma, remember… this condition isn’t the end of the world by any means. Be thankful that your condition has been identified, and that it can be treated.
Sure, it would be better NOT to have it at all. I think about that at times. But if you’re a person of faith, you’ve gotta believe there’s a higher purpose for your suffering. Maybe that’s only to make you appreciate what’s yet to come beyond this life. Maybe it’s to give you a story to share about how Christ sees you through. Maybe it’s something altogether different.
I can tell you this.
You can’t change the reality of what you’re dealing with.
You CAN, however, change your ATTITUDE about your circumstance.
Sometimes, that makes all the difference in the world.
For more readings on my battle with cholesteatoma, check out these posts:
November 26th, 2012 | Comments Off | Posted in » Christian Living, My Life / Family
So… two weeks ago I was pretty bummed out following what I thought would be a routine follow-up visit about my troubled ears. Unpleasant possibilities loomed, and since then, I’ve pretty much been mentally preparing for the worst… cholesteatoma’s return.
Today? It’s official. I’m no longer just a survivor of cholesteatoma. I’m a patient that’s got it again… in my “good” ear. Surgery is coming up in two weeks.
Having been through this before, I know it’s certainly not the end of the world. For those of you reading this who are going through the same (yes, I know Google brings you here), let this be an encouragement… the surgery can be done on an outpatient basis (no unpleasant hospital stays), the recovery is relatively quick (less than a week in most cases), and the outcome generally is very positive (especially if caught soon). Odds are you WILL hear again, though you may need hearing aids for things to be “normal” again.
Is that really such a big deal in the grand scheme of things?
Truly, it’s not. But the emotions that run with this can be VERY hard. And that’s okay.
Now, I’m not here to present some sort of grand 12-step program to coping with cholesteatoma. I don’t have a magic wand to wave and make it all go away. And I don’t have some trick you can play on yourself to make coping easy.
But I can tell you what helps me… my relationship with the Savior, Jesus.
In Him, I know that a power far greater than me is in control.
In Him, I know that there is purpose for my troubles.
In Him, I know there’s a far better future ahead.
In Him, I know that I’m not alone.
If you’re struggling just to cope (with ANYTHING, not just cholesteatoma), I pray you’d consider Christ. He’s there, willing and able to restore you to a right relationship with God the Father… willing and able to wipe away every tear, fear, and uncertainty… willing and able to provide hope and a future.
Maybe He’s calling to you in your time of trouble?
You see, as much as I’d like to, I can’t give you hope in your struggles. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have and maybe put to rest some doubts and fears. But no number of eloquent words I can come up with will truly bring you comfort or help you cope. That’s an issue FAR above my pay grade, and all I can do is point you in the right direction.
For more readings on my battle with cholesteatoma, check out these posts: