Archive for September, 2009
My pen somewhat betrays me tonight. My heart overflows with words, but none seem to express the gravity with which my heart is burdened. I have wrestled with searching for perfect eloquence in my words here, but I am afraid I’ll fail miserably. I know you don’t care though about eloquence…Thanks for always loving me through my strengths and my weaknesses. So after hours of a blank page…I’m going to just write.
In fact, “Thanks” is basically what I need to say here. Let’s start with thanks for being my best friend for 13 years. You walked with me through everything and you never once turned your back on me. The dedication with which you loved me and eventually Olivia was absolutely astonishing. Thanks for putting up with me and even loving me when I put other things (like ministry) in front of our relationship. You were so gracious.
Thanks for sharing everything with me, keeping our relationship so open and healthy. For making me talk about issues even when my weakness had me wanting to simply fall asleep and deal with it another day. You taught me what healthy communication is. I’m still getting better at this and I remember your example often.
Thanks for being strong enough and wise enough to speak into my life and to sharpen me through the years. I loved how you were so discerning and full of wisdom. I have few people in my life who are always honest with me and challenge me. You were always that.
Thanks for holding onto your faith until the end. I still talk of how you looked at the face of death and barely blinked. Your turned your eyes to Jesus and focused on him through absolutely devastating circumstances. Just this week I was telling the story of how I approached you with news from the doctor that he thought you only had 2 weeks to live. I can see it like it was yesterday. You cried one tear and looked up staring me in the eye. “You’re just trusting God?” I timidly asked…and you nodded in affirmation. Your strength and faith in God was astounding.
I wish you could read the emails and letters I have from hundreds of people across this globe. Stories of radical transformation in lives and in families as people turned to Jesus because of the example of faith that you set. Stories upon stories of lives changed and relationships restored. You are a hero to thousands. I wish you could know how over 10,000 people a day were reading your story on our blog. Your life has been such an influence…but not just to the blog world; also to our family. Those closest to us are changed forever and I believe for the better. Not the least of which is me. I’m sitting here in a pool of tears because I know there is no way that I can repay you for what you have given to me. You helped shape my faith and my life….and you did it willingly, even when it took you through incredible suffering. I have nothing to even come close to expressing my humility here. I’m so incredibly sorry for what you went through. How you willingly, not voluntarily, but willingly walked into the arms of Jesus still trusting him. I’m brokenhearted today…not for my loss, but because someone I love so greatly paid such a steep price for the benefit of so many. Many you don’t even know.
Before I go I have to tell you a little about what’s going on…
Olivia and I talk about you often. Lately, she has been making up stories about how Mommy comes down from Heaven and plays with her or watches her sleep and then goes back. She misses you. She misses you but I can’t even explain how incredible she is. She is sensitive, loving, smart and already pretty darn funny. She is exactly like you. Thank you for giving her to me. I will never drop the ball on caring for her. She has my heart.
Things with Anthem of Hope are going well. The first CD is almost done and we decided to do a journal that goes with it (which is totally written, just working on the layout). I had hoped to have it out by the end of summer…but you know how I get a little over ambitious. I’m working on that. We are only a few weeks away from finishing the AoH recording studio we just built. It’s totally pro and we should be started on the Worship CD pretty soon.
I kinda have some big news too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be heading to seminary. The mantle that God has put on me with Anthem of Hope is really stretching me to get smart about the Bible. For me to do this right I feel like I have to go get a serious seminary degree. Not sure of the details on that yet…but I’m pretty sure its coming.
I’m doing well Mist. This year has been pretty rough at times, but I feel like God has been carrying me. In fact, just this week I sat in my office and cried for 20 minutes during lunch as I listened to a Leeland song. Here is the first few words:
Carry Me on Your Back
Even heroes fall down
And mountains won’t last forever
But Your promise never fails
When the ocean is raging
I find stillness in Your presence
And I lift my voice to say
‘Jesus take me away!
Carry me on your back
Through the storm, Lord!
Carry me on your back
Through the storm, Lord!
Seriously, you should get it on iTunes. Well worth it.
I want you to know that Olivia and I are happy. She is my highest priority and I am doing the best I can with her. I think we are doing well. Mist, God is really healing my heart. A month or two ago, God took away the loneliness that had bound me for months after you left. It was like he overnight replaced it with a fulfillment in him. Things are good now. I have been reading the Bible and praying more than ever in my life. I feel like I hear from God and I’m walking in his plan.
I’m so sorry for not posting your index cards online. It was hard for me at first to do those and I let it slip through the cracks. I have no real excuse for this and I’m kinda ashamed I let it slip. There are lots of people who could have benefited from these. I’m not going to throw in the towel though. I have been working this week on http://mistyleblanc.com and I intend to launch it in the near future. I’m excited about it.
I still have the bottle of anointing oil we always used in our house to pray for you. With it remain burning questions of why God didn’t seem to live up to his word. (i.e. James 5:14-15) I’m not through with that. Like I said, I’m planning a 3 year excursion to Seminary where I can wrestle with God and hopefully draw closer to an understanding of the Bible and what it says about what you walked through. I’m somewhat intimidated to do this….I know it’s right though.
Anyway, it’s almost 4am and you’d be yelling at me to get to bed. So I’m gonna do that. I have to recap something though: I want to say this so clearly and loudly…I am who I am, the man, the father, the leader, the Christian, the servant…I am that because of you. God has used you to make me radically different than what I would have been without you. I owe you a debt that I cannot repay. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I esteem you so highly…
Thanks for the emails I have gotten from a few of you checking in to see how my trip last week went. Yes, I’m home safely from the White Mountains. I had an incredible time and I feel like there is infinitely more clarity in my life now. God solidified vision in my life for the new year. I can’t tell you how important I think it is, if you are a leader, to get away on a personal retreat. If we don’t have a vision for our own lives, no one wants to follow us.
One thing that God really dealt with me on is focus. I have pretty clear priorities established for my own life and I am trying hard to make everything else for into that.
1) knowing God – I am truly trying to do a better job at chosing to read the Bible daily instead of investing so much time in blogging/facebook/etc.
2) loving my family – for me, this is Olivia. I am taking active steps to give her better time. We spend time together, but all to often, its when I’m exhausted. I need to eliminate some late nights to give her better time when she is awake.
Life is a matter of balancing priorities. If my marraige were on the rocks, you I’d do absolutely anything possible to fix it. Anything that doesn’t impose on priority number one (and if God is #1, then anything includes basically everything but wrong or sinful things). If my kids don’t know I care about them…I’d drop the Bible study I lead, eliminate the side business I do to have money for big vacations and I’d ignore calls from my old college buddies. These are of course notional…just trying to make a point. Sometimes I need a reminder that focus on priorities. Make a list…then stick to it. I probably sound preachy…which is so not me. I’m just kind passionate about this today.
He taught me so much more, but I’m focusing on my priorities and getting to bed so I have energy to spend some time with liv tomorrow :)
I’m officially out of touch for a few days. The last few weeks have been a scurry of overwhelming issues in work and at home. I found myself lacking the normal clarity with which I see life and the vision that usually drives me. It’s about the right timing though…
I committed last October to spend a week each year to myself. A week of personal retreat that I can pray/think/read and cast vision for the upcoming year. Last year I did this at Acadia National Park. This year, I’m climbing Mt. Lafayette in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A few days there should be really good for me.
I personally believe that those of us who call ourselves leaders need to take personal time seriously. If we lead people, we can’t afford not to have a time to refresh and make sure our vision is secure.
I have 3 A.W Tozer books already in my CD player and ready for the long drive to NH. It’s about 8pm now and I’m heading out. Not sure where I’ll sleep tonight, but 8am starts my hike tomorrow morning. If you think of me today please pray with me that God gives me clarity and vision for the future of my family, my work and Anthem of Hope. There are a lot of big things coming this year and I need to be on the right track.
Ok, cell phone off. Love to you all.
Olivia and I have had some good times lately:
Last week, we went to the Cole Bros Circus with Olivia’s best friends Violet and Lyla (and their parents, who happen to be my best friends, Scott and Ann). Some of you who frequent my twitter page or my facebook will recall a lovely commentary on some thrilling events. First, I decide to risk the $6 on an unproven fresh lemonade provider. Now, in the past this has proven problematic as I have had to deal with lemonade that tastes like metal, plastic and even medicine. But we decide to risk it as this is a pretty “classy” event compared to the local town fairs. The lemonade isn’t bad so we make our way to the seats (which turn out to be the ghetto cram-them-in section when 200 people fit on a small set of bleachers. Thats what I get for using cupons.
I’m about 30% through my 32oz cup of lemonade priced like gold and I spill this entire drink down the back of the woman in front of me. Her first reaction was profanity…it just came out. but she quickly gained her composure and she was incredibly gracious. I apologized for like 10 minutes and we were on our way.
Next, as I am turned to help Olivia with something this family slides in so close that the man literally sits his butt cheek down on the edge of my plate. Now, I’m turned around facing sideways and I have to reach my hand around to get my plate out. I literally touched his butt trying to get my plate. He didn’t bat an eye. I couldn’t believe it.
Regardless, Olivia loved it. It was fun.
Then tonight I took her out for a late night Starbucks run. We sat there and shared a Soy Milk Steamer. I had the big cup and she had a small cup with some pured in. This was her mommy’s favorite drink there, so its somewhat of a sentimental beverage :) Afterwards we walked around red bank till it was time for bed. I’m just in love with spending time with her.
But as we sat there in starbucks I began to remember all the times Misty and I visited there….the same place in downtown Red Bank. Truth be told, Misty’s first love was coffee but as she got sick we decided to cut out the caffeine. So we moved to the soy steamers. And she would sit in the car while I ran in and got us drinks. Then we’d drive around with nothing to do and everything to hope for. A lot has changed since then…
It’s just a few weeks till the 1 yr anniversary of Misty meeting Jesus in person. I’m looking forward to blogging on that day…there is still so much to say.
For now, I have to get back to work. I have some shopping I have to do for the AoH studio.
ok, so I was just about to hit send on this and I look over and just outside my sliding glass doors, there is a huge (biggest I’ve seen) oppossum on my desk rummaging through my garbage. Just last week I tweeted about how I walked out the front door and found a skunk on my front steps. This is not supposed to happen in suburban NJ. Oh well…