The Problem With Pain

k3

About 20 years ago I met the most incredible girl in the world.  I was at my home church and about 4 or 5 pews in front of me was a blond haired beauty with her arms raised lost in a state of worship.  I saw her.  I thought to myself “I have to meet this girl.”  As I mustered up the strength and courage to approach her, I immediately felt a connection (even though I’m sure she didn’t).  She was the girl of my dreams.  The girl that I felt God led me to.

I built a friendship with her and we began a great relationship.  A year or so later, I asked her on a date.  My goal was to build on our friendship into something much more.  She reluctantly accepted my invitation.  After a few dates, she decided that it wasn’t God’s timing and that was it for the “more than friends” situation.  I was bummed out, but I knew I was young and “you win some and you lose some.”  However, my heart felt differently.  I pestered her and continued to pursue her because of the strong feelings I had developed for her.

Fast forward to September 25, 1999.  That was the day the friendship became something greater…something much more.  On that date, we began dating.  I’m not sure exactly what God did in her heart, but at this moment in time, this blonde, beautiful young lady became mine (in a non ownership type way 🙂  We spent every minute we had together.  I saw her everyday.  We had thrown caution to the wind and went all in.  We were in love.  Proverbs 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  I stood on this piece of Scripture.  I prayed it most every night.  And God answered my prayer.  The closer I got to him, the more he granted my desires.

On February 9, 1999, I asked this beautiful girl to be my wife.  She said yes.  I remember buying the ring and carrying it around in my pocket for all of 1 day before jumping at the first chance I had to give it to her.  She was mine.  She was my dream.  She was the one I desired and the one that God ordained to become my wife.

On September 25, 1999, we stood on the altar of our church and said the second most powerful words of our wedding vows…”I do.”  This was an incredible day.  It seemed that all the emotions and desires had finally come to a head.  BOOM!  Fireworks!  The day came and our life together began!

I mentioned that “I do” was the second most powerful words in our vows.  So what was the first?  During those vows, we vowed to love each other and give our lives to each other.  Then the powerful words came, “in sickness and in health.”  Those 5 words are powerful.  They have meaning and they can’t be ignored.

On March 30, 2003, our first little girl was born.  What a joy! What a miracle!  What an amazing day.  We were youth pastors, we had a new baby, a new house and life was awesome!  God was moving in our lives and in our ministry and we were “living the dream.”

After 2 years of living this dream, this blonde haired beauty woke up unable to move.  Thinking it was just aches and pains, we didn’t think much about it.  After a few days of this, it was time to see a doctor.  The results:  Chronic back problems that would result in 3 painful surgeries and permanent disability.  WOW, how in one day things can change.  From top of the world to the bottom.  This threw a kink in things.  We had a 2 year old and had one of the busiest, time constraining jobs on the planet.  How could this happen?

It has been almost 12 years since this morning that changed life as we knew it.  Today, this blonde beauty is a chronic pain patient.  Everyday she hurts.  Everyday she prays for relief. Everyday she is loved more by me.  I’ve watched how she handles herself, despite this ailment, with others.  She loves people and has a heart for people despite what she goes through on a daily basis.

Understanding a chronic pain patient is difficult.  That is one of the main reasons I’m writing this.  Chronic pain is something many of us, myself included, have no idea about.  I find myself often in that state of a lack of understanding.  A place where my “get over it” attitude comes in to play.  It’s not intentional, just there.  It’s frustration about things you can’t change.  We as humans get upset when things are out of our control.  We want so desperately for that person we love so much to be ok.  To not hurt.  To not suffer.  Many times we even desire to take that pain away and bear it ourselves.  So what to do?  How do we cope?  How do we understand?

In the little understanding I have (which is very little), support and them knowing that they are not alone, meaning that you are still with them, that you are not going anywhere and that you will love them through this, helps.  There is nothing much to say that will take their pain away.  There is not much physically you can do to bring them comfort.  But what you can do is make sure they know they are loved.  They aren’t perfect and neither are we.  Love them through it.  Make them feel like they matter because at times they feel like they don’t.  Try to understand and empathize with them the best you can.  Sometimes the words “things are going to be ok” are not the best things to say because you can’t say that with confidence because you don’t know.  Trust in God and continue to pray for them as they deal with this and as you deal with this.

In closing of this rambling, I leave you with this quote that may help understand a little better:

“Being young and sick is sorta like being elderly, except we lack the reflection on all the great times and great things we did long ago.  Instead, we watch our peers make the memories and strides they’ll look back on fondly, bitterly observing and praying for our chance.  Our time.”

God bless you and thanks for reading.  Keep trusting God and keep believing for healing for those loved ones you may have that seem incurable.  God is bigger than pain and bigger than any situation we find ourselves in.  Keep loving and keep supporting and keep encouraging!

Advertisements

Roll Tide my friend, Roll Tide

Today a dear friend was put to rest. It all began about 6 years ago when our conversations were nothing more than Roll Tide and War Eagle over Facebook. Friendly bantering and jabbing at each other when our respective teams played one another…or anyone else for that matter.

I remember all the talks about God, life, ministry and football. All the times advice was given on both ends of the phone line. All the times we would laugh at a dumb play on a college football game.  Well, those days are gone. Those quick “did you see that play” texts. Those “hey man, got a minute, I want to run something by you” conversations. Gone…and they will be missed.

Today, a friend, a father, a son, a brother and a pastor has been laid to rest and no longer has to worry about the battles of this world. Today, as we remember his life, his mind is on the King!  Today, this great guy that we knew in this life is celebrating forever in the presence of God.

When things like this happen;  Tragedies that are out of our control, Things unforeseen, emotions get the best of us. Anger, resentment, sadness, and even hatred and blame. But when someone close to us is gone, sure it’s ok to mourn, but in the midst of the mourning try to remember that at this very moment he is in a place we should all long to be.

If you know Jesus, you will see him again. In the meantime, remember him for the great man he was and ask God to replace that mourning with joy in knowing he is with Jesus!

Rest In Perfect Peace Shane Goodwin. You will be missed. Roll Tide Roll my friend.

13 Years and Counting…

My fears grow each day.  My panic mode goes into effect at least once a week.  Not because I fear she will make the wrong choices, not because I’m afraid she will fail, not because I’m nervous and don’t feel I can handle things.  I panic because each time I look at her, an alarm inside my heart goes off that simply says, “You’ve been entrusted to raise her, to show her the way, to show her God’s way, to prove to her God is real through your faith, to show her how a mom and dad love each other and to display godliness and holiness in your actions, your speech, and your direction.”  These things make me panic.  These things make me feel unworthy while at the same time feeling like I’m privileged for some reason.

My oldest daughter, who is an amazing young lady.  She is a girl with dreams and a girl who is who she is…like it or not.  What you see is what you get with her.  I love that.  I love that 13+ years ago God knit her together in her mother’s womb so that we might have the honor of being presented with her on the day she came into the world.

I often picture God standing there as my girls came into the world.  Kind of like when you buy your kids something great for Christmas and you can’t wait for them to open it because you know the look on their faces will bring you great joy.  God…the creator of all things.  The one who placed the stars in the sky.  The one who created the smallest insect and the largest animal.  That same creator is giving me a gift that is bigger than those things.  How could this be.

One day, she will be all grown up.  She will move out, go to college, get a career, get married and have kids of her own.  When that day comes have I taught her the things of God, have I showed her real faith, have I shown her how she is to be treated and how she is to treat others?  Have I done enough?  Those questions do and will continue to resound through my mind for the rest of my life.

I’m writing all this down because I’ve noticed a change over the past few months.  This little girl, my little girl, who used to run to me and jump in my arms and beg me to throw her in the air, this little girl is growing up.  She’s a teenager now.  She’s no longer that little girl.  She is now a young lady who thinks for herself.  She is young lady who loves to make people happy.  She is a young lady with convictions.  She is an example of purity, an example of love and an example of kindness.

It’s amazing that 13 years ago, when we named our oldest daughter, we jokingly said we named her because we needed mercy because she was a tough little kid to deal with.  She was a difficult baby and wore us out as new parents.  Today, I think back on that name that God led us to and realize that name wasn’t for us…it was who she was.  Her name is Mercy.  The name Mercy means “Compassion.”  When God was standing there (in my mind) giving us this gift, little did we know he was giving us a child who would grow up to show compassion, to show love, to show mercy to others.  She loves to give.  She loves to make people who are hurting feel better.  Her heart breaks when people (or animals) are being mistreated.  She is absolutely one of the greatest blessings in my life.  It is my honor to be called her dad.

Father’s Day is this weekend.  I challenge all dad’s to reflect on your kids.  To look at them and think about the gift they truly are to you.  You should feel honored this weekend not because you may get a cake or a card or a gift, but because you were chosen, by the ultimate Father in heaven, to be that example every kid needs in their lives.  Happy Father’s Day to all who are worthy to be called daddy.KM

 

Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce

It was April 12, 2016.  I was at our District Council ministers meeting when I got the call. Lindy’s water had broke and she was headed to the ER.  I was in a panic.  Many gathered around and prayed for Lindy and myself as this journey we were on was about to take an unforeseen turn.

Our little girl had a due date of June 14, which as you see, was two whole months away.  It was just another day of meetings and ministry related stuff that would turn into a wirl wind of emotions and a mandatory digging up of faith.  I did not foresee what was happening at all.  Lindy was sitting at our oldest daughter’s soccer game when it happened.  When I received word, I rushed to the field first to check on things then accompanied Lindy and Mercy ( my oldest) to the hospital.  After being there for a few hours, it was evident that Lindy wasn’t going anywhere until she gave birth.  The IV’s began, the emotions continued and the prayers went up.  2 months early?  What were we about to experience?  Was my little girl going to be ok?  Was my wife going to be ok?  Was I going to be ok?  So many questions, so many thoughts, so little answers.

Lindy got orders from the doctor that she was moving in.  She was not leaving the hospital for what was planned to be at least a month.  This would be our home away from home.  After 2 days of doing nothing.  Watching netflix that I hooked up on the hospital room t.v., it happened.  The moment the doctors were attempting to keep from happening….labor.  Contractions began and there was nothing going to stop our little girl from arriving.

The contractions got closer and closer and harder and harder.  At this point, there was still no medication going into Lindy’s body to help with the pain.  They continued, seeming to get worse as the minutes (yes, minutes) went by.  She went from very few contractions to full labor in only a short amount of time.  As I’m watching this, all I could hope for is that small amount of faith that I seemed to muster up would touch the heart of God and he would intervene…and he did.

The labor continued and within 2 hours, our little warrior princess entered the world.  It was quick, it was intense, it was frightening, it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed.  A little 3.7 lb miracle broke into the world perfectly healthy.  It was only a matter of seconds before I heard that faint cry.  My wife,  whom I will affectionately refer to as She-Ra, delivered this baby….no medication, no time to prepare for what was coming and no concern for herself.  The first thing she said after the little one arrived was “Is she ok?”  At that moment I saw the strongest, most powerful thing I’ve ever seen…a mom who, in the midst of pain and discomfort, concerned only for her little girl.

Back to the story.  After the arrival, the NICU team was there in full force.  They hurried her off into the NICU unit and did their thing.  Moving at the speed of light to get my little girl taken care of.  Lindy and I both kinda looked at each other as if we were shocked at what just happened.  Was she born?  Is she really here?  Is this a dream?

This small but fierce princess warrior that had arrived came with vengeance.  She was known as the feisty one in the NICU.  She was the one with an attitude.  She was the strong willed warrior we had been expecting.  She was perfect.

For the next 6 weeks, our new home would be the NICU at the local hospital.  Lindy and I went everyday to visit our little miracle.  We watched as she grew…as she learned to breathe on her on.  We watched as her little personality was developing and still is today.  We watched as God showed off and proved to us His existence and His hand upon us.  We watched as this tiny human fought for survival and won.

On May 21, 2016, we brought our little girl home. Her name is Eve.  We named her Eve because the name Eve means “life.”  From day one, we have prayed life over her and that one day she would speak life to others.  She is our little warrior, our little princess and our little miracle. Even in all the emotional exhaustion Lindy and I have endured.  Even through the heartache of waiting day after day to see if we could bring her home.  Even after the countless times the enemy has tried to confuse, discourage and lie to us, even in all this, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

I have found that my love for life and for others has actually grown through this journey.  So it is safe to say that in a way, she has actually spoken life to me.  I love you Eve.  Welcome to our family!

-DaddyIMG_7392.jpg