Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Sunday, May 15, 2011

As much as we love the family, going to this graduation party was tough.  It was also a necessary stop on the restoration tour, and in the end, we’re both glad we went.

See, a friend of mine has a daughter who is a true miracle child.  She wasn’t even given much chance to live, much less grow up and graduate from high school when she was born at just 1 pound, 6 ounces, but grow up and graduate, she did.  There was a lot of prayer and sacrifice that went into getting to this day and we certainly wanted to be there to take part in the celebration.

The problem was that the party was being held at the church we attended at the time we separated.  That meant facing some of the people and the memories of that time of failure and loss, and my wife wasn’t sure she was ready to do that.  In the end, we agreed to go, with the understanding that I would stay by her side and not allow her to be put in any kind of uncomfortable situation.

It all turned out well and made a statement of who we are as a couple now.  It was also a confirmation of the prophetic words my friend had spoken to me during Ceecee’s and my separation, when he said, “When this is all over, you’re going to get a brand new wife.”  He didn’t mean a new person to be my wife, but that Ceecee would be made new and return to me healed and whole.

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eight months.

I moved into the old loft with Ceecee to end our separation on August 2 of last year.  She has become so much more than my treasure.  She truly is my queen.

My love for her continues to grow, and my commitment to learn to be the best man I can be for her and for my Lord continues growing as well.  We’ve learned so much, come so far, and overcome so many challenges in these past eight months.

Things aren’t perfect, nor can they ever be, this side of heaven.  They are better than I could even have imagined, though.

I’ll never have an answer to the question of, “Could we have gotten here without going through the things that we did, but I would never go back to where we were, and forward is the only option for where we go now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Five years ago today, the tornado that changed our lives ripped through our house on a Sunday night outside Republic, Missouri.  We were asleep just moments before it hit, and with no sirens to warn us, we would never have known it was coming if it weren’t for God.

He woke me up and, while I didn’t hear any audible voice speaking to me, somehow I knew that a tornado was about to hit us.  I woke my wife and we crawled on the floor into the hallway, calling for our two teenage kids.

We told them to get down and we got on top of them as it sounded like the house exploded.  Suddenly, I could feel wind, rain, and swirling objects hitting my back.  In those moments, which actually were probably only a matter of seconds, I believed that I was going to die.

I had two prevailing thoughts: I hope it doesn’t hurt and I’ll never see my wife again.

Our daughter didn’t know that Taylor had woken up and was with me and she was screaming, “Where’s Taylor?”  My wife was thinking the same thing I was about whether we would die and hoping that, if we did, it would be quick and painless.  Taylor was quiet and had no outward reaction.

Almost immediately, faith began to rise up in me and I began to pray aloud and then to thank God for saving us.  My wife also began to thank Him, saying, “He saved us!” as we realized that the tornado had gone through and we were still there.  The fact that we were also now homeless was secondary to the fact that we were, miraculously, unharmed.

Little did I know then, that this event would affect our lives so deeply.  While it was a great testimony of God’s protection, I also developed PTSD and didn’t do anything to treat or take care of it, even after I was made aware of it.

I don’t know if he even knew today was the anniversary, but a friend of mine wrote to me on Facebook today asking about that house.

Tonight, we have special plans that I’ll write about next time.  Last night, Ceecee and I went to the little theater to see, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”  It was light and fun, and we had a great time.  I’m really glad we’re finally living the life that we used to only talk about!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to try to describe yesterday….

We got up in the morning still iffy about actually heading out on the roads to drive to San Antonio.  I mean, it’s about an 11 hour drive under normal conditions.  The conditions yesterday were far from normal.  Even on the major interstates, there was still about three inches of solid ice.  Around town, some of the residential streets were still nearly impassable.

I’ve never been a big believer in using a “fleece” to ask God for a sign, even though I understand that it is a Biblical concept.  I’ve just never had faith for it.  (See Judges Chapter 6:36-40 if you don’t know the context)  In this case, with our safety at risk, I figured I needed to know whether it was going to be all right for us to make the drive, so I asked for a small sign.

While he’s been in Basic, Taylor has only been allowed to eat what they feed him.  When he graduates, he gets a little bit of time to go off base with us and do what he wants, and what he wants is cupcakes.  Not just any cupcakes, though.  He wants cupcakes from The Cup, a specialty shop downtown real close to our loft.

Some of the downtown businesses have been closed due to the blizzard, however, and we hadn’t gotten any cupcakes.  We were going to have to leave early in the morning to get to San Antonio at a reasonable time, so I told God that if there was someone there at The Cup and they would let us in before they were open and they had any cupcakes made that they would be willing to sell us, I would take that as a sign that it was going to be OK for us to make the drive.

We drove around the corner and it happened just exactly the way I prayed.  A short time later, just as we were hitting the edge of town, we got a report that the interstate was closed ahead due to a fatal accident.  We were going to have to be rerouted onto a lesser highway that was likely to have even worse driving conditions than the interstate.

Even though we had the cupcakes with us as a tangible answer to prayer, I prayed again (like Gideon) and asked God to have the detour take us onto a clearer highway to confirm that it was going to be OK.  Almost immediately, the sun came out and we hit nearly clear and dry pavement.  God had shown us again that He was with us and keeping us safe.

I’d like to say it was all smooth sailing after that, but it was anything other than smooth.  In Oklahoma, we were once again driving on a few inches of ice and at one point, the car suddenly went out of control in a slide.  We slid all the way off the road to the right, down the slope of the embankment, then inexplicably back up and back onto the road pointing in the right direction and none the worse for the experience.  I imagined it was angels flying alongside and pushing the car back onto the road.

I’ll finish the story tomorrow…obviously we made it, but not without further adventures!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes it feels like no matter how much joy and newness we’ve found, the past will never let us go.  We’ve come so far and overcome so much and it’s truly been an amazing, wonderful journey.  At the same time, we both keep figuratively looking over our shoulders and waiting for things to begin to crumble.
These six months have had the highest of highs and some of the happiest moments of my entire life.  They’ve also had some real challenges and every time we allow ourselves to begin to think we might be in the clear to keep moving forward without any setbacks, we seem to run right smack into another setback.

Today was a tough one, to say the least.  Some things came out that weren’t supposed to come out and they were serious enough to threaten all that we’ve been able to build since last August.  It was a painful and frightening day and it reminded me how fragile our love still is and how much we really have come through.

On the other hand, it ended up being an opportunity to reaffirm, in the strongest of terms, our commitment to one another now.  It was a chance to show each other and the powers of Hell itself that nothing will come between us or destroy the love we are building.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So this is 2011; so full of possibilities…starting out with a heart full of joy.  This was my Facebook status for New Year’s Day.  We’re just part way through the restoration tour and so much has happened.

There’s so much still to do, but it doesn’t seem daunting at all.  On the contrary, it seems joyful and wonderful and I can’t wait to continue our journey forward.  We are learning, loving, and restoring as we go, with August 6th as our target.

I’m so glad North Point Church has Saturday services.  It’s going to be so amazing today to worship the Lord, who has made this all possible, on the first day of the new year with Ceecee and Angie by my side.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Had a nice run through the streets of Dodge City this morning.  It’s one of our least favorite places for a plethora of reasons, but it’s where Ceecee’s Mom and Step-Dad live and close to my daughter as well.  We’ve hardly worked out or trained at all recently, so we decided we better do some running while we’re here.

Dodge City was where we lived when my spiritual decline really began.  We only moved there because we felt that God was calling us to.  We went through a painful church split and a number of other things that caused a lot of bitterness for me.  We were victims of numerous property crimes, had some falling out with people we had been close to, and got into financial difficulties with two houses that we owned.

Although it was wrong to do so, I blamed God and began to shut down.  I started shutting off my emotions toward Ceecee as well, although I didn’t entirely realize it.  We finally left and moved to Missouri as kind of a plea to be allowed to go and try to start over somewhere else.

This afternoon, we went walking downtown and through the old neighborhood.  We reminisced and romanced and it was wonderful to be in a place where we had gone through so much frustration and pain, but now had overcome it and were in such a different place, both literally and emotionally.  We had endured everything that had come against us and come out of it more in love and better people than we had been before.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

For some time now, I’ve been lusting after the new Bianchi road bikes at one of the bike shops in town. Today, I finally got one. My wife has a Masi, so we both have Italian bikes now, but I’ve just always had a thing for Bianchi.

We’re having a very small thanksgiving meal with some family this weekend, because we’ll be taking the Restoration Tour to Chicago on Wednesday and be spending the actual holiday there. We also are taking part in an outreach our church does where they give you a list and you go to the store with a plastic bag and you buy all the ingredients for a traditional holiday meal except the turkey.

Everyone brings their bags to the church and another local charity provides the turkeys. Needy families are identified through the public schools and they are sent an invitation to receive an entire meal for their family.

Ceecee and I don’t usually shop at Wal-Mart because we find it very aggravating. We finally decided that instead of complaining about it, we’d just quit going and shop elsewhere. Today, we shopped at Wal-Mart for our bag from church, mainly because we could get everything in one place and they want everyone to get pretty much the same stuff, so no one feels slighted.

The store was really crowded as usual and there was little or no service from employees, as usual, but it didn’t bother me. In the past, I would become upset and very negative and my wife would often get the brunt of it, even though I never meant for that to happen. Today, I have a new peace inside and I realized that it just didn’t matter. It was pretty nice to go through the whole Wal-Mart experience and be able to keep smiling.

It’s little things like that, as well as the big things that continue to show that I’ve really changed. Not just on the outside, but on the inside, where the changes are real and permanent. Anyone can temporarily change their behavior, but that’s only an outward change. Willpower can only take you so far. Only God can truly change a heart and I’m so thankful that He has and that I let Him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The emotional whirlwind continues. So many highs and lows right now and I’m not sure how much of it is my doing, how much is the nature of us trying to adjust to our new reality, and how much is just circumstances. About an hour before my shift was to end last night, Ceecee called me and asked me if I wanted her to get me a headlight for my bike. Just like that. No discussion about earlier in the day, just the question about the bike.

I figured if she was asking, it must mean that she still wanted to go on the Moonlight Ride, she wants there to be peace between us, and she doesn’t want to talk about it. Fine with me, so I just told her yes, that would be great. She said to hurry home after work and she would have our things ready for the ride.

We went and it was really a lot of fun. Since we hadn’t gotten to do the Tour De Cox the day the restoration tour started, I didn’t want this to be something we had to cancel also because of problems and stress in our relationship. It turned out great, though, but that’s only the beginning…

This morning, we went to the gym and Ceecee said that today she was going to try for her goal of swimming two miles. I can’t swim nearly that long, so I said I would start out in the pool with her, but then I would need to go do other things while she continued.

I stayed in the water for about 30 minutes, then asked her about how long she thought it would be. She said two hours total, so I headed off to work in another part of the gym. About an hour later, I was running laps on the upstairs running track, and it has three windows that overlook the pool. Each time I came by, I would look down and see if she was still swimming.

At first she was going steady and strong, but after a while, I could see that she was faltering and I figured she must be exhausted. I went down to the pool and squatted down at the end of her lane. When she made her next turn, she gave me a signal with her hand of five more laps, so I decided to stay until she finished.

Each time, I could see her struggling more and more, so I started saying encouraging things when she approached. She just kept holding up the number of fingers for the laps she had left. Finally, she made it. When she got out of the pool, I felt awkward being in my clothes, but she hugged me and thanked me for encouraging her. She said on Facebook that she couldn’t have done it without me. It was also the first time since we had been back together that she had shown affection toward me at the gym.

So that would have made it a really joyful day right there, but then we went to church. The week before had been a disaster, so I suggested we try somewhere else this week, if she was willing. She said she felt like we should go back to North Point and give it another try. I was pretty surprised, but off to North Point we went.

This time it was completely different. Everything I had hoped for last week happened today, and so much more. It was like everything from the songs to the message were set up specifically for her (and me) to be there! By the second or third song, she started to break, and I could see tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.

I went out to the lobby and got her some tissues, and it was good that I did, because as the message went on, it turned into this amazingly emotional bawl fest for both of us. I’m sure people around us must have been wondering what was wrong with us, but we didn’t care. We were having a healing moment with God and each other. She came back to her faith today and I can’t even begin to tell you how full my heart is and how much I love her.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pretty disappointing and confusing morning today. The part of our life that is still way out of whack is our spiritual life. Mine is better than ever, but Ceecee is still having a really hard time with that aspect.

She is very angry at our old church for not helping or being there for us when we were having our problems and she has been angry at God for not intervening when I messed up. I know that she still believes and that God has worked in her life to bring us to this point, but she’s not where she needs to be.

Anyway, she agreed to go to church with me this morning to North Point, the church I’ve been to a couple of times. We’ve talked about it several times and she was pretty nervous about it because of her tattoo and all, but I’ve told her that it won’t matter there. So we went and I had high hopes that she would like it and that God would have something on tap that would speak to her.

Instead of having regular church, they were having some kind of panel discussion about the past, present, and future of the church. They just sat up there and talked about the church’s history and what they have planned. When we were leaving, Ceecee said it was a waste of time and she was kind of upset.

I didn’t know what to say or do, but I knew I needed to not react the way I used to. I knew that I needed to not judge her or be upset with her, so I just tried to be understanding and be concerned about her, not myself. I felt terrible and I also was a bit disappointed that God hadn’t answered my prayers. I was kind of like, “Really? This is what we got her first time back to church in months?”

Today is our last day of Summer vacation and I go back to school tomorrow. Ceecee doesn’t report until Tuesday. I am soooo thankful that we’re back together. I can’t imagine what we would be doing if we hadn’t worked things out.