Tag Archives: Father

Down The Rabbit Hole – Three Years Later

While yesterday was a day of wonderful memories, today marks three years from the day we received Kristi’s breast cancer diagnosis. I remember the phone call vividly. The solemn monotone of the doctor, the look in Kristi’s eyes, the immediate tightness in my gut. Here’s the post about that day. My first post.

I’m encouraged as I read that post that even on day one I was looking to work with my Father above to bring about good in the situation. Boy has that turned out differently than I thought, planned or desired.

I didn’t realize it then, but grief arrived that very day. I didn’t know it was grief, but it was. We were planning to go out on an anniversary dinner, eighteen years plus one day late. Since we already had the children looked after we went to dinner anyway, just so we could process the news. It was a miserable affair. Without knowing anything about how serious her fight would become, that phone call ripped joy and peace right out from under us. We sat and stared at each other, pushing our food around our plates, appetites gone. We mumbled to each other, our breath too weak to form words properly. We stared blankly at the waitress, her cheery words falling on wan smiles.

It fundamentally altered our marriage. She became the patient and I became the caregiver. All those changes brought grief. Grief of days wasted, time lost, changed roles, new responsibilities and so many more changes, little and big that are in the rabbit hole of fighting cancer.

I was determined that it wouldn’t define our relationship. We would beat it and move on. Living and loving each other more deeply for the scare she’d had. Nope. Didn’t work out that way either. And yet, by giving vent and voice to the grief over the years I’ve been able to let it flow on by. Feel it, own it, experience it and let it go. It will come again. That’s cool. I’ll dance with it again and then send it on down the line once more.

And in the letting go of grief, love remains. Life remains. Cancer hasn’t defined our relationship. We fought to make our marriage great for 19 years and three months and we succeeded. Cancer didn’t change that.

But the premature end of Kristi’s life has put a spotlight on how precious each day is that remains. My goal is still the same as it was on 18+1, three years ago today. Labor in love with my Heavenly Father to bring about all manner of good in this life.

Don’t avoid your grief. That will derail you. Meet it head-on. Let it come. Experience it. Soul-shaking sobs. Heart-rending cries. Whatever it takes. So you can let it go. So Love can remain.

“Now these three remain, Faith, Hope and Love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13




I carried death yesterday. I was a pall bearer for my grandmother. Bearing the pall. Such a graphic image. The finality was palpable. As we eased her casket onto the rollers over the grave, I was glad to be relieved of my burden.

Death isn’t something we enjoy handling up close. But many of us who’ve been touched by it, refuse to let it go. We carry its pall around with us, letting it color everything we encounter. Of course that’s a choice. There is another alternative.

Create. Creation is the very essence of humanity. We learn in the opening pages of the Bible that God created humankind in his image. The ability to create is at the core of that likeness.

Create what?

Life. Goodness. Wholeness. Just to pick three.

I don’t think its accidental that the first image the Bible paints of Father God is the creator, the author, the originator of good life. He created only good. In fact when God answers Job, his answer is a recounting of all the natural wonders he created. And what he created was good. God isn’t the author of death.  He didn’t create it. He made life.

Jesus demonstrated this same penchant for creating good through the way he lived his life. To make sure no one got confused, he blatantly said: “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” In other words, the work I’m doing, this is the essence of my Dad’s heart.

And then he invited anyone who wanted to follow his example. To be a partner in bringing life, freedom and goodness. Then he enabled us to do that very thing through his death and resurrection.

So where does that leave you? You have a choice. Try to hang on, survive, avoid pain and just get by. Or go and create.

Bring life. Build up. Give.

Don’t think you’re equipped to do that? Are you using oxygen? You’ve got what it takes. You won’t be prepared, you won’t feel ready. Just start. It may not work out the first time. That’s ok. Keep after it.

Consistent effort will soon produce a habit of looking for ways to create goodness. Here’s a post I did last year about changing habitual actions in 30 days time.

The choice: carry around death (death is static, unchanging and unable to adapt) or create life, goodness, wholeness, etc?

You.Create (hint: its a command)


A Gentle Nudge

My eye’s flicked open and I was awake. I shouldn’t have been though. Just three short hours earlier I had finally wrapped up the final must-do item on my trip prep list and flopped down on my bed. In the moments before I drifted off to sleep I wondered if my phone’s alarm would ring out loud even with its “Do Not Disturb” mode engaged. So I whispered a simple prayer: “Father, wake me gently right before my alarm.”

I thought planning this trip would be the biggest challenge before we left. I discovered, that hands down, shutting ones life down for six weeks trumped the scheduling. Every time I crossed one item off the list, two more would take its place. It wasn’t until the last night that items finally seemed willing to give up their place in the queue to empty space. When the last buckle snapped shut on my backpack I knew I had beaten the list but at the cost of sleep.

So when I finally hit the sack early Saturday morning I knew I’d be in deep slumber when 5:15 rolled around. But after my prayer, I didn’t worry about waking up. And sure enough Father gave me a gentle nudge. As I lay there in the pre-dawn darkness I wondered how close it was to wake-up time. The thought had barely formed when, sure enough, I confirmed that “Do Not Disturb” doesn’t silence the alarm.

I swung my legs over the side of the bed; it was time to travel. As I stood up, my swirling head confirmed the lack of sleep, but I smiled and relaxed. Father is present and he cares enough to wake me on time so this adventure gets rolling on schedule. The children have been at a fever pitch of excitement for several weeks building to a crescendo in the days leading up to blast-off. I didn’t want to screw up the first day. No worries! That waking nudge was the best gift I could have received here at the beginning.

It was Father’s confirmation that even here, at 36,000 feet over the western Pacific, His Spirit is with us as we cover the final three and half hours into Sydney. And that is my goal for this trip…that each of the children experience His presence, knowing that this is indeed our Father’s world. So my prayer is the same as two nights ago: “Gently wake us up Father to the reality of your presence. Let us respond to your nudge and let your Spirit guide us along the way.”

And now, eleven hours and 6000 miles from LAX the children are doing great at adapting to international long haul travel. Matthew’s biggest thrill has been receiving the free sleep mask. He’s sacked out next to me with his neck pillow and mask in place. He wakes periodically, shaking me from my reverie and asks again, “Do I get to keep this mask?” He responds to my yes with a grin, a fist pump and then he snaps it down in place and flops to one side. He hasn’t been pestering at all, just cute as a button in his Star Wars PJ’s as he takes in the wide-body jet with wide eyes.

The flights from Austin to LA were smooth and on time and we arrived at my sister Amy’s house excited to see her family. The cousins spent the entire 36 hours in constant motion and play of one sort or another. I thankfully got a full night’s sleep and Sunday’s dawn promised a perfect SoCal day. It didn’t disappoint. Our time together closed with an early Thanksgiving meal whipped up by Amy. Thanksgiving of course isn’t celebrated in Australia so stuffing ourselves with stuffing was nourishing to body and soul.

Our checkin for the fifteen hour flight to Sydney couldn’t have been smoother. No lines and twice more I was reminded of Father’s presence before we even cleared security. During checkin, the lady working the desk said, “Only four?” as she cast a glance at the children. Yes, only four. “I come from a family of eight siblings” she noted positively. How nice… “only four” is typically a comment reserved for home-school conventions. Usually people are gasping at four. This was just a little reassurance that Father’s favor doesn’t worry about family size.

Then just a few short minutes later one of the TSA officers took a shine to my little flock as we loaded our bins to go through xray. “Dad, are these your fine boys? And those lovely ladies too? Beautiful family sir. What a blessing! Step right this way”…and he whisked us through the simple metal detector instead of the full-body scanner. Nice!

As we settled on the plane I realized Matt and I sat in the wrong row. We had to move forward…to a bulkhead row. Three feet of leg room. No one reclining in my face. No extra cost! Yes! And the checkin lady had blocked out the seat next to us so the five of us have six seats between us in which to spread out. Yep, the nudging continues.

Sunset was in North America. Sunrise will occur on Australia. Yet we’ve never left His hand.

B-Gone, B-9, B-Healed…Its a way of life.