All posts by Glen Gaugh

Promoting 1st Century Faith in our 21st Century World.

What To Look For- A Thanksgiving Dadstory

I was looking for a box, when what I really needed were bags.

The cardinal rule of the trash can is, “Remove a full bag, replace with an empty one.” There is nothing worse to some people than going to the trash can and finding that there is no liner to catch the discarded waste.

(photo: my 3 biggest reasons to be thankful!)

When I don’t replace the trash can liner, it is usually because the unused bags somehow elude me. Such was the case on this date I’m thinking about right now.

I gave it my cursory glance around in the usual places before disturbing her, but I finally had to ask. “Honey, where are the trash bags?” “In the drawer,” she replied.

Our kitchen isn’t large, but it has its share of drawers. I calmly and methodically checked them all. No trash can liners. I had in mind what I would see when I found them.

Small cardboard box, with “Glad” or some similar brand name on the outside, the trademark smell of Febreeze (her favorite kind comes equipped with deodorizer), and a tightly rolled store of white, plastic bags complete with hard-to-separate layers at the open end.

They weren’t in the last place I looked. They were actually in the first place I looked, but I didn’t see them. Because I was looking for a box, not a bag.

It was pretty significant when the idea struck me.She came from the other room and walked straight to the drawer, where stored against the front panel was a few loose, white, plastic garbage can liners. I actually said, “Oh, I guess I was looking for a box.” How often do we not find what we are looking for because we are expecting something other than what we are trying to find?

You can’t expect to find something you aren’t looking for.

Similarly, you can’t expect to get the answer to a question you don’t ask. But somehow we get upset when we finally get the full picture. I guess we expect others to read our minds. Asking the question that is on your mind may be uncomfortable, but once it is out in the open, there’s bound to be tremendous relief on both sides of the conversation. What’s the worst that could happen?

When you waste your time with assumptions about what to expect from others, or what others expect from you, you can neither solve problems nor recognize blessings. I hope a lot of each of these happen this Thanksgiving.

God Bless!

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The Key to a Better Sunday Afternoon. A DadStory.

I spent the afternoon sitting at home with the family, napping on the couch while something played on Netflix.

Mountain Dew and Doritos gave me the strength to get up and take to the woods for a little while. Night shifts like last night’s require a little extra something to get me going, and after serving at church most of the day, I really needed the boost.

He was waiting when I came back. He wanted to play a big-boy game. Taking down a paper deer with a BB gun was just his game. It was getting dark when we started, and we saw the sun take its resting place before we were finished.

(Above: Almost everything I love in one photo. Juju’s around somewhere…)

Fish (sticks) for supper with ranch and hot sauce. For me, at least. Have ketchup if you like. They did. Options abound after a trip to the grocery store.

“Come sit on my bed with me and we’ll talk about… somethin’.” His tone and cadence are comical, and he knows it. Usually. This time I’m not sure he did know. He’s been craving time that’s been hard to come by; little did he know that he said it so clearly. Anything would do, as long as it’s me and you.

Read to me? Sure you can. Two of us listened to one. We started a little too late; bedtime was on us. Prayers and kisses, but only after commands to brush your teeth about 5 times. I hope that changes soon, but not too soon.

Things would have been a lot different this afternoon, if I was the same person who started this day. But I’m not.

That’s the key to having a better Sunday afternoon. Let Sunday morning change you.

I  got tired of all the things that try to pull me in the wrong direction, and even some things that pull me in the right direction- assuming that I was someone other than who I am. I’ve tried to be that person but I can’t.

So I started by calling some things off, just for today. Oh, and I won’t be at that meeting tomorrow either.

Then I decided to call it quits. Two months ought to be enough time for all of us to make alternate plans to get by. I don’t feel bad saying I’ve had enough of something that now makes me anxious and angry every time I have to do it. I won’t be keeping you awake at night much longer, babe. Maybe we can lay down at the same time.

Can I narrow my focus to the things that give me the greatest return on my time? The greatest freedom to help others and myself? What other choice do I have? God answered Moses, “What’s that in your hand? That and Me is all you need.” I’m paraphrasing, of course.

When I started the drive, I was anxious. By the time I got home, I knew just what to do with the rest of those campaign funds I won’t be needing next year.

I can’t stand to try living up to everyone’s expectations anymore. So, I won’t. I get to decide whose opinion is important and whose is not. It isn’t that I won’t do some really important things that will require me to seek understanding and patience from the people I love. It’s just that right now, as of today, the list of who I’m listening to got drastically shorter.

What did he say at church today? Your life’s purpose is found where passion and compassion meet. For me, compassion starts at home. Always has. I guess I’ve been keeping that to myself too much lately.

All the defining moments of my life have happened in church. And they all have been overwhelmingly simple. Are you missing defining moments because you’re in the wrong place or the wrong frame of mind?

Attitude is Influence, and You Own It

Attitude will take you places others never thought you could go. Or, it will take you places you never want to go. Like the time I finally got mom to agree to let me rope in the high school rodeo. My bad attitude took me a step too far when I said, “But you know roping will lead to bull riding someday…” That statement tore to shreds my chances of ever rodeoing while I lived under my mom’s roof.

(Photo credit: http://www.wadecounselingoffrisco.com/index.html)

Attitude is especially important when you realize that, even when you are not trying to influence others, your attitude will do the influencing for you. Attitude is an issue of ownership; either you own your attitude, or your attitude owns you.

Either you are intentionally influencing others, or unintentionally influencing others. You never get the results you want by going out there and just wishing for the best. So, to get the best results, you must plan to influence others for the best with a positive attitude.

Your attitude is infectious. Your children will see things as you see them. They’ll see themselves they way you see them. Your view will be their view.

This all sounds well and hokey. But the implications are huge. Ever complained about your job to your spouse? If you ever choose to complain about your job to your spouse, do not count on him or her to try to convince you not to complain about your job. In other words, as you see your job and talk about your job, is the way your spouse will view and talk about your job. If you can’t buoy yourself concerning your job and get through the rough patch you’re facing, then you can’t expect someone else to, even those closest to you.

Your spouse will likely be supportive and encouraging at first, because that person cares about you. But the seeds you sow will determine the harvest you reap in the long run. If you’re an adult then you likely spend a significant time at work. The worst thing for your relationship is for your spouse to always feel like you are under-appreciated and mistreated by those you work with, especially is that is not actually the case.

The way my wife paints what I do to my children is extremely important. I have a career that takes me away from home at odd times for long hours. I have suffered my share of legitimate issues and had gripes that were warranted, many if not all of which I have shared with my wife. I have had times when I was really down on my job and I made it known at home. Following times like that, it takes a long time and a lot of effort to get my family back in a good place with what I do.

When my oldest son was much younger, he could not understand what I did or why I was gone for hours at at time. This was especially true when I was working as a crisis counselor, studying for a msater’s degree, and completing an internship at the same time. But whenever I was gone, and he asked about me, my wife would tell him, “Daddy is gone to help a kid.” So if he had a chance to tell what I did, that’s what he would say. It meant the world to know she was painting me in the best light during the long hours away from my baby boy.

The people who care about you most, your family, feel for you if you’re having a tough time. So make sure that you are presenting everything appropriately, with the right attitude.

If you put down your pastor, don’t expect your kids to respect him.

If you tear down your spouse, don’t expect your kids to respect their mother or father.

Air your struggles and grievances in person or online, and see if the institutions you actually respect and hold dear, in spite of the present circumstances, will be respected or held dear by anyone else.

You own your attitude… or else, your attitude will own you. You’ll be freed by your attitude, or held captive by it. You will liberate others with it, or you’ll tie them down. You’ll get a boost of wind in your sails or you’ll seal your fate, based on your attitude and how it impacts those closest and most important to you.

For sure, each person owns his own attitude. But your spouse or children’s choice of attitude may be forming based on inaccuracies you present in your attitude. In other words, if your life doing the things you do does not truly stink, stop presenting everything as that way.

Decide to be an intentional influencer for the best by the attitude you choose to develop.

Three Things Church Leaders Must Do Daily

Self-care is not a touchy-freely topic. It is an essential part of effective work and a fulfilling life. When we don’t care for ourselves, everything and everyone around us suffers.

Self-care suffers when we move automatically from one project to the next. Meetings consume all of our free time and energy. One sermon is preached, and the next is delved into immediately. One holiday season ends and we have to prepare for the next one. As we go from one thing to the next, our spouses can easily become unsatisfied, our children miserable, and our churches underserved. Self-care is essential to shepherding.

The upsides are tremendous; the downsides can be devastating. As I have been training our staff at Beech Bluff Pentecostal on how to recognize sexual exploitation, the point I make is that our best defense and our only real tool for detecting such behavior is an informed and attentive leader group and congregation.

Three things suffer when we don’t take care of ourselves. Conversely, these three things add tremendously to our lives and ministries, if we will do them daily.

Pray– Prayer focuses us on the One about whom all of this is. We need the recharge that a vibrant prayer life provides. None of our spiritual endeavors can succeed without prayer. If what we do is really all about loving God and our neighbors, then we must make time for prayer. Anyone who has allowed prayer to suffer as he or she continued to spin wheels for the kingdom can attest to the freedom and power that is discovered in taking time to pray.

Protect– Packing our days with activity, even important activity, does not leave time to stop and pay attention to who is around us and what is going on around us. Ask a parent who suddenly finds his daughter is on drugs, a CEO who sacrifices his marriage, or a pastor who loses out with God. Distractions and dangers creep in slowly, and their impact is felt suddenly. The areas of our home and property that are unattended invite vandals and thieves; the areas of our lives that are unattended invite the one who kills, steals, and destroys.

Appreciate– I taught our church staff one time what a PET project is- one that is planned, executed, and after which, thanks is offered. A project doesn’t wrap until all those who contribute get their due appreciation. Too often we plan, execute… then plan again, execute again, without thanking God or man. Appreciation greases often-used wheels that are in danger of being worn out. Even if you would rather wear out than rust out, there is no reason to wear out too quickly. Appreciate your fellow-laborers, your family, and the satisfaction of a job well-done.

The casualties that will result from neglecting these three daily, essential practices could be catastrophic. Unethical and dangerous behaviors result when you’re tired and you start cutting corners. If pride takes the place of purpose, you may say or do things that you can never take back. Jesus said it best when he said, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

For your sake, and the sake of so many who depend on you, take care of yourself. Here’s three things to start with everyday.

The Value of Walls

(Photo credit http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/)

When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

“Then I came to the governors beyond the river, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me. When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel.
Nehemiah‬ ‭2:9-10‬‬‬‬‬‬

Nehemiah surveyed the wall and determined the damage.

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work. But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:17-19‬ ‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls work. If you want to create a defensible position, pick a position that puts a barrier, preferably an impenetrable barrier, between you and your enemy.

If you have a property that needs to be defended, and no barrier exists, you build a barrier. You build a wall.

Jerusalem is a prime example. Named Jebus while a capital of the Jebusites, David conquered it and made it the capital of his kingdom in Israel. The original Walls of Jerusalem were completed by Solomon and stood for about 200 years without being breached. The first breach in the wall was made by the Israelite king Joash when he prevailed over Amaziah, king of Judah.

Uzziah (Azariah) repaired the walls, added catapults and towers, and prepared towers in the desert to extend the defensive capabilities in the kingdom, after his father Amaziah was killed. Joash added some towers and castles in the wilderness. It was a time of renewal for the defenses of Jerusalem

Following after, wicked king Ahaz paid no attention to the status of Zion’s defenses. He was happy to let in anything that seemed right to him. He was content to go outside of the walls and away from the Temple to worship false gods in groves set on high places. The walls were weak and started to decay. The gates were open when they should have been closed.

This was the state of things when Hezekiah rose to power as king of Judah. 2 Chronicles 29 tells us he brought back the priests and Levites to be consecrated. He instructed them to purify the Temple. This took so long they had to delay the Passover celebration. But when they had the feast, Hezekiah called everyone to Jerusalem- come inside the walls- and celebrate God’s salvation together. 2 Chron. 30:26 tells us there had not been such a celebration since the time of Solomon.

The revival that Hezekiah called for led the people to go out of the city, break down the idols, saw down the pagan groves, and restore the land to Jehovah.

There remained something to be done however, and it went unnoticed until a threat rose up. The wall was broken down. It became a source of grave concern when the Assyrians rose up to attack Judah. The walled cities of the kingdom were attacked first. The defenses that were placed “out there” were captured first. People fled from their own cities to Jerusalem. The 10 tribes of Israel outside of Judah were carried away into captivity at this time.
Hezekiah knew that an enemy had arisen to threaten them.

When everyone around you finds their lives in shambles, even people you never thought would give in, and especially those in the world who are looking for a hope in someone, they are going to flee to the great, walled city. And what will you offer them? What will the church offer them? Will they find safety and security?

Hezekiah thought he could get away with paying his way out of danger. 2 Kings 18:14-15 tells us that the king sent to Sennnacherib asking for a price- what will it take for you to leave us alone? The price was so high that Hezekiah emptied the treasury of silver, and cut the gold off of the doors of the Temple, to satisfy the ransom.

No doubt, Hezekiah’s intentions were good. But there is no alternative to dealing with evil other than to destroy it. There are no substitutes for walls

Hezekiah broadened the defenses by adding an outer wall to the city. He repaired the breaches that had developed over years of neglect. He prepared shields and darts and set captains over the army. He stored up water to prepare for a siege, while cutting off the water supply to Sennacherib’s armies (2 Ch. 32:3-6). He told the people:

“Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles. And the people rested themselves upon the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭32:7-8‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

‬Sennacherib sent his captains to taunt and to overthrow the people’s confidence. Why do you listen to Hezekiah? What makes you believe your God will deliver you, when so many nations have fallen before our king? The people listened from their safe perch atop their wall.

It’s time to tell the devil, “Put up, or shut up. Talk is cheap. You’re standing at the base of this wall I’ve put up. It looks to me like I’m the one with the advantage here. I’m the one on the high ground.”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be.

Eventually the entire wall was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar when he carried the inhabitants away to Babylon.

This was the state of the city walls when Nehemiah came to Jerusalem with the blessing of King Xerxes. Heaps of ruins lay where the wall had stood, and much of the material was compromised by fire.

Nehemiah’s sorrow when he heard the state of Jerusalem was apparent to the king, and his passion to do something about it prompted him to request leave to go to his city to rebuild it.

Isaiah had warned:

“And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate. And he discovered the covering of Judah, and thou didst look in that day to the armour of the house of the forest. Ye have seen also the breaches of the city of David, that they are many: and ye gathered together the waters of the lower pool. And ye have numbered the houses of Jerusalem, and the houses have ye broken down to fortify the wall. Ye made also a ditch between the two walls for the water of the old pool: but ye have not looked unto the maker thereof, neither had respect unto him that fashioned it long ago.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭22:7-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

It seems Hezekiah heeded the warning, but the generations that followed did not. Judah had its reckoning.

I wish we would be in such sorrow as Nehemiah was in, and have such passion, to rebuild the breaches that have been made in our lives, our homes, our church, and our society. The lack of conscious attention to the walls of protection is what landed the kingdom in this place to begin with.

What do you have that’s so important, so valuable, that you need to build walls around it to protect it?

The Gospel- [Phl 1:7 KJV] Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
[1Pe 3:15 KJV] But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

The Faith- [Jde 1:3 KJV] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Integrity- [Pro 11:3 KJV] 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
[Pro 19:1 KJV] 1 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his integrity, than [he that is] perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
[Pro 20:7 KJV] 7 The just [man] walketh in his integrity: his children [are] blessed after him.

The soul- [Pro 22:5 KJV] 5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

A person with well-built walls is a person of conviction. Deciding what is right based on applying God’s word and a desire to please God no matter the cost- that is wall building. You never have to repent over keeping strong boundaries.

Setting boundaries (“building walls”) will come with its share of difficulties. Dr. Henry Cloud states in a recent post,

“The angry person has a character problem. If you reinforce this character problem, it will return tomorrow and the next day in other situations. It is not the situation that’s making the person angry, but the feeling that they are entitled to things from others. They want to control others and, as a result, they have no control over themselves. So, when they lose their wished-for control over someone, they “lose it.” They get angry.”

The scripture from Nehemiah 2:10 said they were grieved exceedingly that there was a man who cared about the welfare of Israel. You’re going to tick off a lot of people when you decide that it’s time to make a change. Others around you will be grieved, even angry, defensive, and on the attack.

What happened to you? “You’re tearing down the gods you worshipped,” Sennacherib’s messengers said. You’re a drunk, a fornicator, a liar, a thief, a cheat, negligent, a deadbeat dad. “Believe the lies we tell about you.”

Like Sanballot and his ilk, they’ll say, “What are you doing? Is this some sort of rebellion? You can’t do that, you’re under our authority. You’re mine! You can’t build those walls! Look how weak you are, how flimsy your defenses! A fox will breathe on you and you’ll crumble!”

The world will accuse you. You aren’t supposed to defend yourself. You aren’t supposed to go against the grain. You’re supposed to go with the path of least resistance. That’s the way of the world; it always has been, and always will be. “Rebellion and anarchy,” if you upset their fun or make them feel convicted over how their living.

These are the people who claim your successes, but skip out when you lose your kids, your family, your home, your place in the church, your standing in the community.

Answer them like Nehemiah- “The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.”
‭‭Nehemiah‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Walls will protect you. A strong boundary and selective criteria for what you allow in are necessary. See the value of walls- rise up and build.

A Start-Again DadStory

Photo: Getting ready to break’em in at the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride in Alamo, TN.

It was quite a morning. Crisp fall weather made the horses lively to begin with. While my dad’s mount has been on rides in the past, my little steed had not been off the farm since arriving on the premises since he was 2 years ago- maybe 10 or 12 years ago. Horses seem to arrive on the old homestead but never leave. It was time to turn this pasture rat into a lean, mean, trail-eating machine.

We were saddling up for the Buck Creek St. Jude Trail Ride, West Tennessee’s largest trail ride and a huge moneymaker for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We had never attended in the past. Along with the fun day of horseback riding and helping a great cause, my dad and I needed the chance to get a couple of horses ready for a 3-day trail ride later this month.

Every sight, sound, and moving tree branch got ol’ Sonny’s attention. There were horses as far as the eye could see, and he was on sensory overload. Dead-broke, but green and unpredictable in the new environment, this promised to be interesting.

 

A little about me and my cowboy cred- I’ve ridden all my life. Trail rides, chasing calves, riding buckers bareback in the pasture, 4-H horse shows, raising and training foals, and rehabilitating former race horses into moldable hunter-jumpers or fox hunting mounts are all a part of my resume. Riding was a huge part of my life until I went off to college.

Then, like so many things in life, horse-related activity came to a stand still. I left some things undone, like the colt I raised but never quite got trained. I left some things neglected- my old saddle I bought when I was 12 with money I earned working construction with my dad.

I came back home, and as I started building a life with a family of my own, riding and working the farm didn’t materialize as priorities. Time remained stopped on these old childhood dreams for a while yet. I married, worked, started and finished 2 college degrees, had children, and started a career.

The story has been told time and again- you never know what you’ve got until you try to live without it. The refrain over and over is that children grow up and leave the farm for better things, only to return to their roots in agriculture and rural living. Prodigals returning. I guess that’s me.

Change, even desired change, is very difficult. Change is especially difficult when you look back and realize the distance and the effort it will take to get to where you want to be. I’ve experienced it all. Physical health, higher education, relationships, and especially ministry and Christian living. In each of these areas, I have looked back and wondered, “How did I get so far from where I should be? And can I ever get back on track?”

The answer to the first question doesn’t matter so much, at least not at first. What is important is understanding that getting where you want to be in any area of life begins with deciding on a first step and taking it. Then, it’s a series of steps over time that gets you to the outcome you want. Guilt will try to overtake you because of the things you neglected or the time you wasted. There’s nothing to be done about that now. Guilt is counterproductive; it will stop you from acting. And action is paramount to achieving.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NLT

‬‬God gives grace. First Corinthians 13:13 speaks of faith, hope, and love. Hope is best defined as having determination and direction- a will and a way. In this scriptural context, faith provides the will, and love is the way. Hope falls in the overlap of faith and love, so if you have no faith, you have no hope. If you have no love, you have no hope. You may be driven and you may have a plan to achieve what you want in life, but without the faith in God and the love of Jesus Christ, you’ll never overcome the times of crushing doubt about the future, or guilt about the past.

It is amazing the difference 20 miles under saddle will make in a horse. Sonny has a long way to go, but he got a good start today. It wasn’t perfect, but it was an achievement. I have a long way to go, too. My steps so far have been slow and sometimes faltering. But I want to see my boys have the benefit of knowing Jesus, family, and a few good horses in their lifetime. I want to build something that’s ours under God. Something meaningful. And there is no way to do that, other than to start.

You want to start something today? Let me know; I’d love to hear about it.

 

A DadStory About Contentment

Photo: 5 years ago as of the day of this posting. There’s something great about this time of year!

It was a beautiful day. All 208.8 miles of it.

The first thing I noticed- the sun was bright and the breeze was cool. It was some of the most autumn of all the autumn weather we’ve had so far in West Tennessee. A lot of asphalt was being laid on the highways. It’s finally cool enough I guess, and the extra tax money we’re contributing must have kicked in.

I saw the fullest, whitest cotton fields I’ve seen all season driving through Crockett County. They were even picking some when I came through Dyer County. Dust clouds arose from the bean and corn fields- It is that strange and wonderful time when everything is ready all at once.

Trees are still green, though. Which is fine. There’s no reason to rush the fall foliage. No sooner than it gets here, it’ll be gone. Like the way the weeks and months of 2017 have ticked down so quickly, I wonder where the year has gone, and I’m a little bit sad.

I wonder if I’m the only one who noticed all this today. Because today I have travelled for work, and the people I have met are so focused on the immediate problems in their lives that a lot of the blessings can end up going by unnoticed.

I witnessed tears today. One family experienced the wonder of new birth; another, the gut punch of miscarriage. The scars of cuts made in desperation were there. The inside scars of physical abuse, they were there today, too. Frightful parents, at the end of their rope; I saw them as well.

I spoke my recommendations. I ascertained safety. I assessed. I even spoke my piece- I told her being treated like trash doesn’t make you trash. Believe the people who care about you. If God didn’t take you, it isn’t because he hates you. He loves you and he has something left for you to do.

Somewhere, there are two kids I know are safe and sound, treated with the utmost care. I’m missing them. The highlight of my day is when I had to ask their mama to meet me halfway through Gibson County because I left something at home I needed. Circumstances put them close enough to bring me what I needed. I saw those two boys for the only few waking minutes they and I would have today. In a few minutes, when I’m done writing this, I’ll go look at them and kiss them while they sleep.

I travelled from near the Mississippi River in Northwest Tennessee to nearly the Tennessee River in the Southwest, on rural state highways; through 7 counties including my own. God sped me along safely, and I was blessed. I prayed. I looked around. I knew the day would end and the labors would end, and I felt hope.

I hope I’m not the only one who found some contentment, in the midst of the busyness, and even the tragedy, of today. In a discontented state, it’s easy to become a victim. It’s easy to blame others, even those closest to us, for our dis-ease and discomfort. We have a society of such people these days. It’s the worst when adults blame their children for the problems they experience as a family. It seems that children are either being accused or ignored these days. And in that environment, it is a learned behavior to blame others, blame circumstances, avoid responsibility. And so the world turns…

I have a better hope than that. I look forward to better things. And I can see God in everything. In the sky and the fields. In the opportunity to help another person. In the faces of my loving family. In the Word of God. If it wasn’t for the Lord, where would I be?

Just thoughts on a page. But this is my DadStory today. Do you have one? Let me know.