Friday, 17 November 2017

Learning, and being Real

I’ve learned so much in the past year. We never anticipate how much we’ll grow or how much change will happen, but it’s inevitable.

Slowing down, taking the time for reflection. Making time to sit and think. Taking time to plan. All great leaders plan, because part of being intentional is planning.

Reflecting, taking time to sit and write, thinking about what is happening. Being analytical is not natural, it’s something I’ve worked hard to get better at. Putting words to feelings—and being okay with emotions both bad and good. Really seeking to process what’s going on around.

Making alone time a priority. It’s so easy to get caught up in everything and not take the time to be alone and undistracted. For personal and God time. I had to learn that, I’m still having to learn that. When we’re empty we have nothing to offer. Take time to soak it in, read, write, think and have time to be alone so that when we’re with others we can bring something of ourselves into the conversation.

Talk big. Learning to ask real questions and really listening. 

Relationships—realizing that everything comes down to this in almost everything we do, God, family business, friends, it’s all about the relationship. How we’re connecting with people, being in a relationship with those around us. Without relationships our lives are very meaningless. We need God we need those around us to connect with and unite us. In a world of social media it’s hard to be intentional with that, which makes it all the more important.

Hard work is good, but not letting that be an idol or rule us is something I’ve had to learn. Learning again and again to place my identity in Christ rather than man or the things around me.

Finding value, in people around me, books, music, culture and entertainment, not to make them an idol, but to find the beauty, the art, that God put in them. God made things of value. Not just floating through life but being intentional and making choices.

Being more empathetic. The injury to my hand has changed the way I see the world in so many ways. I’m learning more to enter into other’s pain, to empathize and to better love them. There’s something about experiencing or watching a loved one go through something like this, suddenly it connects you with all the other people who’ve gone through similar things. 

No, I’m not sure I would go back in time and erase this event, this injury to my hand. I will never think the same way, or feel the same way again. I may not be able to have full mobility of my fingers, aside from a miracle from God. But I’m not sure I’d change it. Frodo experienced so much pain, growing in the hardship and being a part of something much bigger than himself. He didn’t want to go back and redo the past. He endured to the end because he was living for something larger than him self. He had wounds that never fully went away, the memory only moments away. I still think back to that day, that hour. Sometimes I’m filled with feat and sorrow, sometimes I laugh and talk about the adventures the things we do. As Hiccup put it “It’s an occupational hazard.” And so it is, so it is.

No, I have to believe that his happened for a reason. God had something different, and much better for me than I could have ever imagined, and it involved pain, and crying and depression, and tears and blood. And yet I have to believe, I truly believe this is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Through it all, God’s been faithful, through it all he’s always been right there, and He’s always way more interested in the journey than the destination.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Truly the seeming discord, the tension, the perception of bad and good is a complex thing, maybe too big for our human minds to see. I truly believed for a miracle, and Ive see God do them, but He chose not to do one for me, but rather walk the long hard road through the wilderness with me.

How can it be that so much good comes from so much pain? Joy from sorrow? This world is upside down.

We’re all looking for answers, trying to find meaning, and waiting for those moments of revelation—and it’s hard in the moment. It’s so hard to see beyond our present circumstances, but that’s what He’d have us do. To look beyond ourselves, and see the bigger picture. 
We’re waiting for those moments of clarity and answers and I’m here to say it will come. Thank you Father for circumstances you allowed to happen. The hard things that you’ve seen fit to befall me, for I wouldn’t be who I am today without a=walking through them. There’s no looking back in this life, it’s all pressing forward. It’s continuing to move on and adapt and become who we’re meant to be. The person God has for each of us to become. 

Maybe it’s prophetic, maybe it’s just foresight, and maybe those are the same thing. But I’ve known I would write this for a long time now, so here it is, at last.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Journey

It’s really annoying being handicapped. I’ll be honest with you. It’s not a conscious thing it’s more subtle than that. It’s waking up everyday and realize that in someway you’re probably failing some body, or at least inconveniencing them. I’m not trying to be the victim, just getting my thoughts out.

I know that somewhere along the way I’ve not done a good enough job. I probably left that door open, I know I left that thing on your counter, and not being able to clean or organize after myself is frustrating. It’s not just the fact that I don’t have a right hand to help out with; but the fact that I need to be spending 10-20 minutes every stinking hour doing hand therapy. So yes, I will fail you, I will be a burden to you, I won’t be able to do a good enough job. I’m sorry. I didn't choose my circumstances. I didn't choose to fall down, I don't choose to be a burden, but unfortunately, thats just how it will be. It’s what we do with our circumstances that matters.

If I don't put in the time thatI need to right now in my hand therapy I’ll go the rest of my life with a bad hand. I have to look long term here. All those times I didn't do it right, made you wait for me, it will be the reason I can use my hand later on.

You see, normal people don't realize what’s like to be handicapped. Sure when it’s happening and right after surgery they are sympathetic, but it’s the long lonely journey, when you look just fine. No visible pain, you can make do with what you have. In their minds you are back to normal, you should keep up with the bills, with normal life, with what everyone else is doing. Its a lonely road, this path of recovery. No one to tell you what to do, no one to be there every time you don’t feel like doing your hand exercises but nudging you on, or telling you it’s worth it.

I have to remember all the time that doing hand therapy over that other important thing is worth it. That not getting back to that person, making them wait is okay. It’s a journey for sure, and most of the time not enjoyable, and lonely. God’s been teaching me things through it but I feel like hand therapy even takes away from time with Him. I’m struggling to stay focussed on Him, feeling like I’m failing Him in some way.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

My hand

It began like any other morning, a little wet from a recent rain, the sun shining bright and early. Morning chores began around 6am, feeding and giving water to the chickens, and than onto moving pigs to a new plot of land. Machete in hand a new area was cleared and fenced lined up, and suddenly I can hear a buzzing and feel a stinging sensation, its bees. I hurriedly shout some warning to Jether and quickly turn myself to run to safety. With one thought in mind and machete in hand I run, make a leap in muddy boots and clear the fence, but after a few steps on uneven ground find myself quickly crumpling, I’ve tripped and fall forward. Somehow in the fall my hand had slipped down from handle onto blade and I know I’ve had cut my fingers. 

At this point my body is in shock, I find I cannot close my fingers by myself. It feels like a dream, a very bad dream. Can I just go back to sleep and wake up again? I don’t like the way this one is going. Still in shock I walk back to the truck, my first thought is to stop the blood, I go to my glove compartment and find my cayenne pepper, for just such a time as this. I throw it on and close my fist with my left hand.

We realize this is an emergency room situation, and after grabbing my wallet and phone get in my cousins car and take off 30min to the ER. Still in shock about everything, praying over my hand, expecting God to regrow my fingers in front of my eyes. I call several people, my cousin Casey who was on a job, my Uncle Tim, and then my Dad. The conversation with my Dad went something like “Hey Dad, I’ve got some serious news, I’m still a christian, and I’m still alive, but I’ve cut my hand very seriously with a machete.” He said they would be praying. I can only imagine how he relayed it to my family. 

The ER was scary, full of the unknown, I wanted a doctor to look at my hand and tell me everything was going to be alright. I was at peace, or else I was still in shock, probably both. I trusted my God through everything. My identity is not in my job or career, so if I fail at such, that’s okay, I’m a child of God. 

I’m not sure I could have handled the ER without my cousin Jether, my childhood best friend. He held my hand through stitches and pricks from needles. He was the solid rock that helped me through that day. 

I must’ve come out of shock a little after we got back from the ER, because the pain was overwhelming for almost 30-40 minutes. I hadn't felt the pain from the accident until then.

I went into surgery to repair tendons and came out of it quite groggy. I was fairly out of it / in a lot of pain for a day after surgery. My family was around and extended their visit by an extra couple days. I mentioned on Facebook I had no insurance or coverage and very little money, but I trusted God. I was blessed by multiple people who sent money.

I went for my checkup on Wednesday a week after surgery and found out that my pinky tendon had broken and they hadn't repaired it in surgery. I was shocked, some what disappointed with some frustration. I was given the options and the obvious answer was surgery as soon as possible for my pinky.

The second round of surgery was easier and went quicker. 

I don’t know if I’ll get 100% function back in my three fingers, I hope I do, I’m praying for complete recovery. I think I have more to do with my hands, my right hand. 
At this point I’ve hardly had any physical therapy. I also know its painful. It’s a stiff unused muscle kind of pain. I need to be strong mentally, physically, spiritually. Regaining strength is a slow process, but also a timely one. It takes diligence and discipline.

Until full recovery comes, I am getting good and being a lefty. I can type at a reasonable pace one handed, I can eat just fine, I’m learning to write and sign my name. If I come out of this with a perfect right hand than I’ll be ambidextrous. 

Monday, 3 April 2017


Limitations, they hold us back, they keep us from achieving what we want to achieve, they show us where we are helpless.

I hate being limited. I’ve always hated it, it’s something I’ve fought against most of my life. For someone my age I feel pretty competent. I can teach myself a lot of things and a lot of things come fairly naturally. That’s probably why I hate being limited.

I hate waking up in the morning, knowing that a job or chore is going to take half of the day, or all of the day. If I come to the end of a day and I haven’t exhausted myself I feel I haven’t been a good steward of the day. There is so much to be done, I often find myself shaming myself for not working harder, not working longer, not spending myself thinner.

There is a part of that which is healthy, the striving for excellence in ones’ work. It’s admirable, and I think biblical to seek to attain greatness in one’s area of work or giftedness. There is a large part that is not healthy. God doesn’t ask us to spend our selves thin just working working working. He asks us to come to Him, seek Him and love those around us. There is a time to work and a time to rest. I think I can often beat myself up for not working harder when I’m missing the point. Live every day as a new day, don’t seek to cross off a list of a dozen projects, but seek to love God and man through the work. Yes work hard, and yes work long when it is needed, but don’t beat your self up because you didn’t put in 12 hours today. Did you love God, did you see others the way He sees them? It’s so much more about quality of work and quality of life than quantity. Live a full life, weather it’s short or long. Live well. Most of us don’t get to the end of our lives and wish we’d spent more time working. We wish we’d spent more time with family, more time pursuing God, pursuing life with others. 

So here is to learning to love myself the way God loves me. To see me the way He sees me. I want to do what He wants me to do. Sometimes that means working 12 hours and getting the job done, sometimes it means putting off on that project and taking in the beauty of the day, taking in the preciousness of the moment. 

Take a moment, look around you, love those you interact with, teach others what it means to truly live!