The above picture is part of the portfolio of one of my dearest friends, Steve Cook, check out his website(click on the picture) and see what this incredible humanitarian is up to.
The are many things in my day that happen but the number one thing is movement. From shifting my weight and getting out of bed to driving the 110 miles per day that I do to chasing our girls down in a game fo tag, I am in perpetual movement. But it seems like the most movement that I have been able to achieve is the movement of getting past myself. I mean the context of moving past the past and embracing a new, improved, ever-changing self. You see, as a moment of confession, I have always had the hardest time of letting go of the past. My stumbles, struggles, mess ups, faux pas, and gigantic failures are , and always have been, my biggest hurdle in life. Whether it was growing up in poverty, living a good but absent from God life, losing my father at a young age, screwing up a first marriage, or nearly destroying a second one, I have a hard time running from the grim reaper of guilt.
But a couple of things help me go on in this world.
#1: Determination. All of the drama, trauma, and mess that was my life taught me to fight and fight hard. To not give up and to develop some strong survival intincts. It also gave me a silver-lining outlook on life. Which my great friend, Daniel McCollum, pointed out, isn’t aways healthy.
#2: A wife who will NEVER give up on me. Ashley is the one person in this world who could never turn her back on me. She is compassionate, kind, and loving, all the while, she never hesitates to put me in my place. She is a person, THE person, who calls me out on things, holds me accountable to loving more and loving better, and helps to set me back on the course.
#3: Community. When I walked through the doors of Actors theater 5 years ago, I thought I had God figured out. I was a former minister who knew how to get to Heaven and how to stay there. 🙂 Little did I know that God would blow the sides off of the box that I tried to put Him in. And He did it throught the people that He brought into my life. From friends who invited me into deep conversation (hear me Billy Strickland?), to friends who would cook meals (Italians 4EVER!), to friends who would pray, and friends who would even invite me into their homes to live with them (Ahh, the Georges); I learned so much. Their unconditional love moved me into a new way of seeing myself that is still being shaped today. They allowed me to see the world as bigger than just my own backyard (thank you Cooks, McCollums, and Georges). They have pushed urged, and even beaten me into becoming a better man, husband, father, and Christ follower.
#4 Jesus: Although I put this last, it was for a reason. I want this to be fresh in your mind. There are many things I have done in my life, Many good, many bad….but the most satisfying was surrendering my life to the call of Jesus and following Him. It is because of this faith in God that I realize that my past is my past, that mistakes were made, and that by God giving Jesus over as a sacrifice for my sins, that I am forgiven and that His Grace is free. This may seem relatively easy for you to comprehend or traigically difficult for you to wrap your mind around, it is what it is! It is the fact that my life changed the day that I made that decision. I did not become perfect but I did learn about a God who takes me, spots and all, and has been shaping me into something better. And will continue to shape me into something better until the day I die. My allegiance is there. Through my tears, tantrums, cries, pleas, and prayers, God has brought me through so much. And to Him I am forever in debt!
So those four movements: my life moving me along, my wife moving along with me, my friends moving me towards better, and my God moving me to better, have shaped me into the “thing” you see today. A “thing” that loves more and loves more often, including myself.
To be continued…………