On February 26th, my dad was admitted to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Jersey as the result of a stroke. When we had finally heard about his presence in the hospital, he had been in the hospital for 3 days. Through the Lord's provision and the graciousness of family and friends, I was able to fly to New Jersey to spend the last couple of days with him. Many people love my father and have been praying for him all around the country, so I wanted to give an update with all that I know until this point.
I love Christmastime.
I love so much about what this time of year represents. It’s fun to see so many folks finding ways to connect together and celebrate life. For me, the most beautiful aspect of this season is the celebration of advent.
As a mixed guy (half black/half white) I was essentially born into an intentional conversation about race. I've never had the opportunity to recuse myself from it, as I've had to navigate stereotypes, misconceptions and their implications on both sides of my own family.
Our little man has definitely gone mobile. He has been crawling, scooting and stumbling all around the house. It has been so much fun to watch him try to figure out how to get from point A to point B.
Being a people pleaser is certainly a part of my story. For most of my life, even into young adulthood, I was consumed with the desire for others to like me. No matter the root cause, this idea tainted the way that I made decisions and had a direct impact on my personality.
Our family is on an adventure.
This is not the type of quest that will result in us being chased by some huge boulder down a mountainside or will cause us to be hanging from the side of a cliff, but this adventure is just as wild to us, nonetheless.
So, I've been studying to preach a message on 1 Corinthians 13 this week and, as usual, the Lord is challenging me in some good and unexpected ways.
I suppose this could be filed under the "Lessons From Noah" category but there is absolutely no question about it; my wife is a gift.
A few weeks ago I saw something that was incredible.
I was at the airport waiting at the gate where the plane from my connecting flight would arrive. It turned out that the flight was filled with veterans that had fought in the military. One by one, these brave individuals exited the plane.
This, right here. This is good stuff. I'm so thankful for the folks that God has placed in my life that have invested in, challenged, encouraged and loved on me.
I've had a lot of conversations lately that, at some point, had the individual that I was chatting with point out how "tired" they are. In moments of honesty and vulnerability, they've pointed out that their journey toward connecting with and understanding who God is has them feeling burnt out. These have been conversations with people that are "established" in a church and folks that have never stepped through the doorway of one. Some of these folks are people that believe that they have been "doing all the right things" and are still feeling empty. Some are searching for a point of entry that would establish a connection with God. This makes me sad but I'm hopeful because there is a remedy that provides rest. The interesting thing is that the remedy is the same, no matter what the reason for fatigue.
Oh, the love of a father for his son!
One of my favorite times lately is at about 6am, just after Noah finishes his morning feeding. It is an opportunity before the start of my day to allow Monique some extra rest and to spend some time with my son. It is the most incredible feeling when she passes him to me and he gives me that big smile.
This is our first go 'round as parents but I think I can safely say that Noah is a great baby. He loves to smile and laugh. He loves to talk to his mommy and daddy. He loves to explore with his eyes and discover new shapes and colors. The only thing that seems to unsettle him beyond consolation right now is the longing for food. When he is hungry, he will immediately let you know. (I certainly can relate at times). Once Noah gets some food in his belly, though, he returns to the content and joyful little baby that he usually is.
I was in line at the coffee shop this morning and I happened to see a guy quickly scrolling through and clicking in and out of news stories on his phone. (I know, it was kind of shady to be staring at the guy using his phone but it was early, it was a long line and it happened. Let's move on for the sake of the story.) In that moment, it hit me how easily accessible and readily available information is.
Last night I flew into Maryland and rode about 30 minutes into Ocean City to serve at the Metro Maryland Youth For Christ Impact Conference. Admittedly, I was very tired when I arrived and the night was dark and overcast. I went straight to the room, called my bride and fell immediately to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I looked out the window and had no idea I'd be waking up to THIS VIEW: (!!!!!)
I heard it so many times before we had our son. "When you have kids, they will teach you so much about The Lord." "Kids will help you to understand the Father's love in a whole new way." "Kids will help you to see scripture in a new light."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." It's an amazing reminder to me that this life is not about me and all about His glory. When I got married, one of the first things that I realized is how selfish I was. I have loved embarking on the journey of trying to understand how to serve my bride. I believe that the primary role that I play as her husband is to help prepare her to meet Jesus one day.
We have a son. It's still feels unreal to say it. The past few days have been awesome, humbling, exhausting and exhilarating. So many people have made comments along the way in effort to prepare us for what was to come. I can say unequivocally that there are no words to properly communicate the emotions connected to this experience. I am in love in a way that I never thought I could be. My love for my amazing bride has an added depth and richness to it that I didn't think possible. It's awesome.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to share the story of God with people all around the country. It’s an honor to be invited to speak in any venue. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities to do this in various settings. I know that there are a lot of different reasons that people have for speaking at different events and engagements. It’s certainly easy to make assumptions about what those reasons might be for different individuals. In my season of evaluation and introspection, I’ve attempted to assess those reasons for myself.
I know, I know... it's been a while. It doesn't change the fact that I'm thankful! After going to the doctor with my bride this morning, I cannot help but express how thankful I am that I'm going to be a dad!