Archive for November, 2012

ms patti leans in

November 26, 2012 21 comments

It is my happy pleasure to post some thoughts from my girl.  Patti is the real pastor of the two of us.  Our transitions are much tougher on her than for me.  I love the stuff she is saying about our next venture!  Thanks babe!  xo  -MDP-

This is the day that lies before me.  These are the hours.  This is my life.  I lift myself up to ask for blessings from above and bow down to ask for the blessings of the earth.  I take these gifts with thanks and open my heart.  I let go of my past and what has gone before and reach forward to my future.  I turn to those things I am looking for but also to those that I do not expect and are yet unknown.  May the road of this day be good.  This is my life.  Everything starts with little seeds, bring them together and let them grow.  Let them blossom.  But everything that blossoms decays and falls to earth.  Take care of what is inside and be ready to open up.  All that was yesterday is past.  All of today lies ahead.  Trust your strength and sweetness.  A new day is awaiting you.

Innsbruck Retreat Center Prayer – Author unknown

“Let go, Let go, and receive whatever is on your path.   Take everything that you have learned so far and let it lead you.”

Wow, what powerful words I heard as I was listening to “Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr and Paula D’Arcy.  As Paula said those words, I heard in my spirit, “you must write a blog today.”  I debated with God, telling him that I am not a blogger.  Mike is the blogger.  But… here I am, writing my very first blog!

SO, here I go.  Hope you enjoy!

Our 25th move is only a few days away.  Yes… TWENTY-FIVE!  I married Mike when I was 18 years old.  In the 35 years that we have been married, we have moved 24 times.  Some of the moves were only for a few months, but they still count as a move.

When I heard Paula’s words today, it was an immediate reminder to me that again, I have to LET GO:

LET GO of another house that I have tried to make a home; LET GO of another season in my life; LET GO of another chapter in my story; LET GO of more people; LET GO of the things that are not mine, but HIS!

For too many years I saw another move as loss, but the older I get, I have learned that a new season and a new chapter is GAIN.  Yes, it is physically hard moving and emotionally challenging to let go, but I am thankful for being alive and learning to receive whatever is on my path.  Hopefully, I’ll take what I have learned in the previous chapter and let it lead me into the next.

As I sit here today, I think about all the displaced people from hurricane Sandy. I remember all the people who have lost family or their homes to fire, water, wind or sand.  I think about an amazing Pastor in Texas (who was once my Pastor) that was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, and I think about a dear friend’s brother who just had a stroke at the young age of 57.  I reflect on another friend in Texas that was suddenly attacked with a rare virus after years of health.  I watch my precious mother’s challenge with memory loss and my loving father-in-law struggling with his own set of health issues.  I have also recently witnessed a family face the one-year anniversary of the loss of their dear wife, mother, daughter, and sister.  I see pain, disaster, loss and sickness all around me.

Because of these things, I am reminded:

LIFE IS PRECIOUS!  LIFE IS SHORT!  The “things” of this world don’t really matter.

PEOPLE MATTER!  Our lives are a story.  No matter where you are in your book, at the beginning, the middle, or near the end, remember that your life really is about LOVING PEOPLE AND LETTING GO.

So today, as I prepare for #25, I am thanking God for so many things, especially this most recent chapter in my book.  I am excited to see what it’s going to look like.  Yes, I am moving away from some precious people, BUT I look forward to the new people I get to meet and love.  Some days I struggle with whether or not my heart is big enough for more people, and the answer is always YES.  I can do this!  God created me to LOVE, BECAUSE HE IS LOVE!!!!!

Maybe one day I’ll write another blog to give you an update, but, in the meantime, enjoy YOUR season and LOVE YOUR PEOPLE!   Continue to embrace your story and let HIM write it with you.  Be thankful, and learn to face every day with open hands!  LET GO AND LOVE!

Ms. Patti

Categories: Uncategorized

too much of a good thing

November 14, 2012 8 comments

Nothing is more “Christian” than our responsibility for discipleship.  Although not exclusively Christian, Jesus Himself instructs us in the logos to “make disciples” throughout the entire world (Matthew 28:19).  It’s clear we’re under a mandate to introduce people to our Champion and help them mature in their walk with Him.

The word for disciple in the original Greek is μαθητεύω mathētĕuō, which is pronounced math-ayt-yoo´-o; meaning to become a pupil; to enroll as scholar, to disciple, instruct, or teach.

Too Much of a Good Thing

Most people believe that we organically satisfy the call of discipleship by simply getting people to join our church or involve them in some form of spiritual community.  While this certainly gives them access to regular doses of spiritual teaching, they mostly end up getting an indoctrination of that spiritual community’s belief system and cultural norms.

Granted, every church does it differently and that’s okay.  But, whether it’s all about the Bible teaching or not, liturgy driven or not, mission focused or not, evangelically-purposed or not, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee that any of those things transpose into true discipleship.

Discipleship is still about relationships which involve one person following another person who is following The Master.

Just because you know a lot of scripture doesn’t mean that you know Jesus.

Just because you attend church on a regular basis doesn’t automatically prove you’ve taken on the character of Christ.

Just because you live in close proximity to other Christians doesn’t guarantee you are spiritually healthy.

As much as we’d like to put the weight of validating proof on externals, it’s not a foolproof plan.

Externals can be deceiving.

The character of Christ doesn’t develop from the outside.  It’s sourced from an internal work of the Holy Spirit, and it takes real time to work its way outward in a person’s life.  Thus, we need the opportunity to walk with people for a season or two…or three.  The transition from seed to fruit doesn’t happen over night.

With all that said, I’m convinced that we have an incredible opportunity to steward our relationships, living situations, roommates, and partners with an intentionality that raises the spiritual bar at every level.  Even though the discipleship process may not be formally recognized in that arrangement, you still have the opportunity to help someone “step it up” or you yourself be the herald of excellence when things go sour or get stale for that person.

Where it gets weird and funky is when the ugly viper of codependency slithers into a discipleship opportunity.  What could be “iron sharpening iron” becomes a self-made prison of taking for my own need and emotional desires.

Bearing one another’s burdens is part of any healthy relationship; but if I’m doing it for my own emotional legitimacy or comfort, it’s become too much of a good thing.

If you can’t function in life without the sign-off of another person, you might want to think about what I’m saying here.  If it can get overly restrictive and controlling with married couples (and it does happen), imagine how jacked up it can become with singles who rage with the need to be validated!  Add the possibility that illicit sexuality or unhealthy soul-ties somehow get involved and now you’ve brewed a deadly potion that reeks of control, bondage, and witchcraft.

Too much!

If it has gotten to that point, take the word “discipleship” – or any other notion of spiritual health – out of it altogether.  You can think it’s an honoring relationship if you want, but that doesn’t make it so.  If you need another person’s approval in your life more than you need the presence of God, then you have a problem.

It’s not an either-or situation.

You can live in a healthy balance.  But if you can’t get into the next season without the sign-off of all the people you’re currently with, or find yourself addicted to the need to be needed, that might be an indicator of how hung you really are.

Discipleship is all about the transfer of life.  Codependency ultimately is a confining and restrictive element.  Take an honest look and evaluate the overall health of your relationships.  Is what you’re involved in too much of a good thing?


Categories: Uncategorized

i made the call

November 1, 2012 95 comments

A couple of days ago, I made the call I had promised myself I would make one year later.  The only reason I remembered was because I put it on my iCal.  Sometimes it does pay to do clerical due diligence.The call originated out of a discussion I had with “Awesome Man.” 

Patti and I, Michael and Kathy, the Awesome Man and his Awesome Daughter were having a beer and a bite before we caught our flight home.  The day before, Awesome Daughter and Awesome Man had lain to rest the beloved mother and faithful wife of 35-plus years.  Her long battle with cancer had finally subsided and her new life began.  We were there to support, love, and care with the other thousands of friends and family.

I knew I wanted to ask the question before Awesome Man sat down.  I had spent the better part of the previous evening (after the funeral) watching his interactions with his girls.  When I say girls, I mean GIRLS.  To say that Awesome Man had lived in a sea of estrogen is an understatement.

His Joy gave him 3 gorgeous daughters, but she also surrounded herself with some of the strongest women who have ever walked the planet.  Sisters, aunts, and bold friends – all more than qualified to sit at the table on The View – weigh in on this family like velvet steamrollers.  Opinions and suggestions fall like the icy waters of Niagara.

Awesome Man had to bring his “A” game every damn day!  I’m thinking, one mistake and he’s nothing more than a greasy spot on the street!

I liked him instantly.  Classy, smart, and driven – a low-handicap golfer who appreciates good whiskey in a proper glass.  Serious, but inwardly chilled.  It all made perfect sense now. 

Awesome Daughter must have inherited those tiny feet and hands from him.  He was the reason she was so comfortably secure in all her drama and audacious silliness, but at the same time carries so much favor and beloved charm. It almost doesn’t seem fair that one person (or people like her) can carry so much irresistibility and predisposed talent to build and enhance whatever they touch.

I watched a very tired Awesome Man try to be present, but the wheels were already turning for what was ahead.  I surmised that there were some hard days ahead, but you’d rarely see him wear it.  This sucker was a stud, and little would affect his character or demeanor.  Let me say it once more:  I liked him instantly.

It was risky – and I didn’t want to be calloused or presumptuous – but I took a chance anyway.  Just as he bit into the sandwich he’d ordered, I asked, “Awesome Man (except I called him by his real name), I’m sitting here with my wife.  Michael is sitting there with his wife.  Knowing what you know today, and having gone through what you’ve just gone through, what advice would you give two men who still have their wives?  How can we love them better?”

He chewed a couple more seconds, swallowed, took a swig from his glass and simply said,

“Don’t miss anything… especially the small stuff.  Notice the little things that she does.  Laugh when it’s silly, pay attention when she’s sad, but don’t ignore her.  See her.  Really see her.”

There was a lump in my throat.  I didn’t want tears at this table.  Not today.  Not now.  So, I grabbed Patti’s hand under the table and squeezed.  I just wanted to be home, and alone, so I could tell and show her how much I love her.

“Awesome Man,” I asked, “Is it ok that I call you back in a year to see what you might have to say about what I’ve just asked you?”  “Of course,” he said, “I’m up for it.”

That was it.  We hugged Awesome Man, kissed Awesome Daughter, and headed to the airport. 

I don’t remember there being a lot of conversation in the car.  We were all thinking.  Processing.  Readjusting.

So, today is the anniversary of that day.  A casual call to Awesome Man a couple days ago found him wheeling through a Krispe Kreme to pick up a batch of fried dough for some friends’ needed consumption.  We talked as he waited in the drive-thru line.  He wanted the low-down on all my “stuff” and, as usual, he wanted to know what state Ms. Patti could be found in today: Georgia, Colorado, or Texas?  The drive-thru line was stalled, so I went there.

“Awesome Man, do you remember the question I asked you at that table last year?”  He remembered.  “The part about how to love my wife better?  Well, it’s been a year.  How do you answer that today?”

There was no hesitation.  It was as if he’d been thinking about a response for a while.  Then it dawned on me that he has had some alone time.  Probably way more than he cared for.

“Yeah… two things. 

Don’t sweat the small stuff.  What I mean by that is, don’t get crossways with her regarding things that aren’t really that important.  You’ve got enough big things to struggle against together.  Let that small stuff remain small.”

Yeah, that’s good.  I remembered that he had used the word “small” when I originally asked him this question.  But this time it charted a new tributary.

Then the intensity changed.  He said,

“Touch her.  Pull her to you.  Grab her hand.  Touch her hair.  Rub her shoulders.  Don’t paw her because you want something from her.  Enjoy the fact that she is right there within your reach.  Smell her hair.  Notice her lines.  Touch her because you can.  That is what I miss.  That is the stuff that keeps me awake at night.  I miss touching and talking to my friend.”

This second part was more solemn and serious.  What he told me had been marinated in an unresolved ache.  I knew that God was talking through Awesome Man to me.  I was wearing a new batch of tears to confirm it.

A few hours after that call, I shared this story with a younger buddy of mine who is also married to a lovely lady.  He’s a man’s man, through and through.  His response was accurate:  “Wow, that’s serious stuff right there!”

It is serious stuff. 

I married very young.  It took a long time (too long) for me to grow up.  In today’s relevant vernacular, I was a classic douche bag.  But I have tried to put away childish things over our 35 years together, and I still want to be serious about Awesome Man’s counsel.  More importantly, I would like to think that my Awesome Girl knows just how serious I am about this.

I don’t want to just show up for the big stuff.  Anybody can do that.  Anybody can be a hero with the big shit. 

Buying someone crap doesn’t forge love.  Being a sugar daddy don’t make you daddy. 

People of depth see through that nonsense in a millisecond.  If that’s the best you’ve got, you’re so hosed.

What about the daily need, the daily desire, or the everyday love that touches and tells when no one else is looking?  That is what matters.  And that is what I think Awesome Man was pointing to.

I believe there is a lesson to be learned here for every one of us.  Awesome Man’s counsel is relevant to all of our meaningful relationships.

There is no excuse for not paying attention to the PEOPLE who are most important in our lives. We have too many excuses for our isolation.  It’s just not necessary.

Guys, stop bringing your heartless body to the house!  Stop trying to fix your communicative retardation with trinkets and flowers.  Show some consideration and interest in what she’s got going on.

The instruction is, “as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  As my buddy said, it’s serious.  Jesus wasn’t much of a taker.  He didn’t play games with people so he could have what he wanted.  He came to serve.

Thanks Awesome Man.

I heard you.


Categories: Uncategorized