Tuesday, December 19, 2017

That's A Wrap

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2 Chronicles 16:7–9 At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you. Were not the Ethiopians and the Libyans a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the Lord, he gave them into your hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.”

That’s a wrap… 2017 is in the books; there’s nothing that we can do to change the events in the year 2017. No doubt as we all look back over the year there are some things that we are proud of; and there are some things that we are ashamed of. There are some areas that we seized the opportunity, and there are others that we squandered the privileges the Lord placed in front of us. There are ways we excelled as a spouse, parent, friend, etc. and there are ways that we failed. My hope for my life is that I am growing; I hope that I was more like Christ in 2017 than I was in 2016, and my hope is that this growth continues into the year 2018. Growth does not come naturally, we do not wake up one morning and realize that we have matured in our Christ-likeness; rather it is a choice and a struggle of daily dying to self.

What’s it going to take to have more victories in 2018 than we had in 2017; I believe one of the first things we are going to have to do is to rely upon God.

You will notice in the text above that Asa the King of Judah relied upon the king of Syria, and not on God (v.7). Therefore, Judah lost the battle with Syria; and because of their lack of faith they will now suffer many hardships through various wars (v.9).

It’s easy in life to become self-reliant. Our money, jobs, bank accounts, positions, education, and relationships can make us disillusioned and give us a false sense of security. Notice verse 9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” God will not accept those who reject his sovereignty and lean on themselves; however God is looking aggressively to support those who are wholeheartedly committed to him.

Let it be true of our lives that God can find our heart’s blameless toward Him. May it be true that no matter how many bank accounts, possessions, or positions we hold; we will always know that we are dependent upon God and that every good and perfect gift is from him. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mason, Maddox, and Kasyn

8 years... It has been 8 years since Brittany and I found out that we were expecting. I can remember the excitement like it was yesterday. We had wanted children and tried for what seemed like forever, and Brittany never could get pregnant. We were sent to a fertility doctor in Shreveport. I remember the first time we went into the fertility clinic to see Dr. London, it all felt so awkward as he began to tell us about different procedures, and the success rate that he has seen. I remember being concerned about how much this is going to cost, is it going to work, how are we going to come to Shreveport several times every week, how is Brittany going to handle the disappointments if it doesn't work? 

Regardless of the questions, we went ahead full blast. We went to Shreveport more times then I can remember over many months. Month after Month, the emotional roller-coaster was exhausting, we would get excited thinking that finally it was going to work, and then we would be let down by the disappointing reality that another month came and went and she wasn't pregnant.  Dr. London came in to meet with us again many months after our initial consultation, he looked at both of us and said we were going to give it one more shot. He didn't see the point in continuing any longer after that. If Brittany did not get pregnant during October of 2009, then we would have to discuss trying IVF. IVF would really be the only option left. Brittany and I had never discussed IVF, all I knew was that it was very expensive, and that it was still about a 50/50 shot. 

Leaving the Dr's office that day we were both quiet, neither one of us knew what to say to try to encourage the other person. We had tried to keep our spirits up, but at this point it just seemed so low and helpless. I hated to see the disappointment, and worry in her face. I felt so helpless as I watched one of her greatest dreams began to fade away; there was nothing that I could do. 

We prayed about it, in fact we prayed a lot about it. I remember the night that everything changed, one night Brittany was reading in her Bible and in the moment her face changed. She said she wanted to share a verse with me, and I looked at her and listened as she read... "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for; the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. She looked up from her Bible and she said "God has given me a peace that this is going to work." I'll be honest with you Brittany has always had a stronger faith then I have. I didn't know what to say, so I just smiled. I prayed with all of my heart that she was right. That month we continued our trips back and forth to Shreveport, and the anticipation grew with every mile we traveled together. 

I'll never forget when Brittany took the pregnancy test, it was November 6, 2009. We thought it was too early to take the test, but we couldn't wait any longer, there was too much riding on it. By this time she had already taken 100's of pregnancy tests it seemed like. She took the test, and then we had to wait the 2 or 3 minutes for it to process. I'll never forget as we looked at that test and it said "pregnant." Our worlds changed in that moment, the excitement, the tears, everything changed in that moment. Something we had hoped for and longed for had become reality. 

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standingIt's still amazing to recall the journey that the Lord took us down. James 1:2 tells us "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." During this journey, I didn't see the 'joy' but as I look back on it all these years later I know that God was at work and that God had a plan. That seems to be the way it works, in the midst of a trial it is so very hard, but looking back adds a little perspective. I know that Brittany and I grew in our faith during this time, and we also grew together as a husband in wife in love. Through all of this we were blessed with two amazing boys who have been such a source of joy in our life. Thank you God for blessing us in so many ways! 
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Now here we go again! It's 8 years later and we are going to start a new chapter in our life as a family of 5. We are so excited to meet our little Kasyn Grace... and maybe a little nervous. Well Brittany says she isn't nervous, but dad is nervous :)