…a sobering note…

On the third weekend of October 2009 my wife told me that we were pregnant.  All the signs pointed toward YES.  She had taken some tests and didn’t pass them, she had the feeling like she might have been, and we had been trying to have a baby for about 2 weeks (we work fast!).

Riley laughing at her funny mommy

Fast forward to July 14, 2010 and you have the day that my little girl, Riley Grace, was born.  Tiffany woke up about 1:00 AM that morning having what she thought might be contractions, kept a record of them for awhile, and then woke me up at 4:00 telling me that we needed to go to the hospital!  So we got there about 5:00 AM, and at 2:09 PM our little girl came into the world!  It was a glorious and sacred moment.

And although now I’m so excited for my little girl to grow up and experience life I am also scared out of my wits about it.  One of the reasons is because every time I walk into the room and she sees me she gets so exited, smiles, and looks away with this shy look on her face.  It melts my heart when she does she.  My wife told me that she was boy-crazy for her dad.

But as I thought, I wondered what might happen if she really did grow up to be boy-crazy.  I don’t mind her being crazy about me and my attention, but I don’t want her to be crazy for every other man’s attention.

The reason I say all this is because of a note I saw posted on a cross at a Boiler Room that we had here in Tulsa for a week.  The note read like this: “I let boys treat me like an object.  I’m not, I’m YOURS.”  It hit me and impacted me quite a bit.  First I was so glad that this girl had found her way into this Boiler Room and had the courage to write this down this bold thought, and then sacrifice it on this cross.

But it made me wonder about how things will be like for Riley when she grows up.  And what if Riley gets a sister in a year or two?  What if she gets 2 sisters and all I end up having is girls!? :)  I think that might have me on my knees more than anything else in my life probably would.

Anyone else have these thoughts?  What do you all do with them?

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…life in a small town…

This past week I spent my time in Grinnell and Newton, IA with my family for Thanksgiving – two little towns in central Iowa. It felt somewhat like home since I grew up in small town northeast Iowa called Hudson, which is right outside of Waterloo.  But I digress…

I realized this week that there are a lot of things about a small town that I really have taken for granted.  As I spent my time in a context that I haven’t found myself for a few years now I was blown away by a few things.

First off, I couldn’t believe how people behaved at a restaurant called Pizza Ranch, which for some reason has the very, very, very best chicken I have ever eaten in my whole life!  No kidding.  It is a buffet style restaurant with salad bar, pizza, fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy.  A few times when I went up for food I turned the corner of a line and was met with someone else trying to do the same thing from the other direction.  This happened to me a few times and the strangest thing happened.  The person that I met smiled at me, looked me in the eye and said “Excuse me.” or “Sorry.”  That totally caught me off guard.  I don’t know if after living in Kansas City and Tulsa for over 6 years I have gotten used to the way big cities operate at buffets, or if I just don’t run into the apologizers, or if these people in small town Iowa just have good manners.  It made me stop and think to myself “Why in the world don’t I apologize when I almost run someone over?”

Secondly, when I went to church on Sunday the pastor, the worship leader, and a former youth worker all told me that they have been praying for me and will continue to pray for me.  I have been going through a rather rough spot here at my church with some drama that has happened over the last 6 months.  And I have talked to my sister about it, who must have passed it on, and these 3 men who I don’t really know that well have all been praying for me, and will continue to do so.  Amazing.  Stopped me in my tracks.  Totally humbled by that.

And lastly, the thing that caught me off guard about people from small towns/Iowa.  They drive super fast on Interstate 80.  Not kidding.  I’m a guy who like to go 78 in a 75, 72 in a 70, and 67 in a 65; so not terribly fast – but come on we are already going 75 miles an hour, why go any faster?  But these guys were doing what seemed like 80 in a 65.  I can’t tell you how many times I got passed while on I-80.  They might smile and pray, but they drive like its Black Friday all the time.

So…what are you?  Are you a pray-er?  Are you an apologizer?  Are you a speeder?

…surprised…

Have you ever been surprised?  I know you have.  You’re already thinking about how back in high school you came home from a party, walked into your house, and your younger sibling jumped out at you from behind the reclining chair almost making you poo your pants.  Or the time in elementary when you saw your first scary movie with the lights out.  Yeah, you know you were scared.  I won’t even begin to talk about college and all the surprises that probably took place there.

There have been times in my life where when I take a look at the situation that I am currently in and pray but don’t necessarily believe God will answer.  I mean, I know I’m supposed to pray and ask God to come through.  I know that He wants me to call on Him and ask Him to do what only He can do.  And you remember verses like Philippians 4:19 that talk about how God will provide what I need.  So, I say those prayers and wonder to myself how in the world I am going to have to end up taking care of this.

Then something crazy happens.  I get surprised.  God answers the prayer.  He actually shows up.  He does what you’ve called on Him to do.  He ends up doing what He has said He will do, and we kind of walk away surprised that He kept His promise.

How soon do we forget that this is how He operates until the next time our back is up against the wall and we’re in need of Him.  There are a few things that I really need from Him right now.  I’m praying and asking for Him to show up.  I’m having trouble believing that He will though.  I’m wondering if the enemy will win this time.

I’m praying my fears will be put to rest by God showing up and winning the day.