Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fresh Perspective

I am sitting in a class listening to Danny Silk from Bethel Church in Redding teach about the Father’s love.  At the end he begins to describe a father son athletic team.  The son was born with cystic fibrosis, but together they have competed in 206 triathlons, 20 duathlons, and 26 marathons who.  I know in a second who he is talking about.  I have seen this video twice before, and I contemplate slipping out.  I am not sure I can handle watching it.  Tears slip out before it even begins to play.  

The first time I saw it was in an educational setting.  I imagined myself as the father and wondered if I could ever love anyone with that sort of sacrificial love.  The second time I saw the video was  a few weeks after Makiah died.  That time it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was not the father.  I was the boy.  I was totally incapable of accomplishing anything on my own.  Completely dependent on the love of a father to carry my broken self across the finish line.  

I stayed to watch it a third time.   I am no longer viewing with a broken heart.  God has worked the miracle of resurrection life in me, and my heart swells with thankfulness and hope as I reflect on the last 6 years that He has carried me.  He has held me as we waded through tumultuous waves that I could never have even imagined before.  Never letting me slip away.  

Sitting here now I am reminded of a different truth.  Now that I have my legs under me again, I hear Him whisper that this is still the picture of Us.  My spiritual walk does not depend on my works.  It depends on His grace.  My job is not to peddle furiously to make it through the next leg of the journey.  It is to remember that I am still the boy.  It may get hot and I may sweat and I can’t quit.  But my role is to lean into Him.  To thank Him for the work He is doing.  To Look where He is steering us and to Listen to the words of love He is whispering as He runs.  To know He will not let me fall out of the boat.  

When the father in Team Hoyt  was asked what drives him, he shared that his son is able to communicate through a computer.  He told his father, “When I run with you, my disabilities go away.”  The love of a father.  The passion of a daddy to liberate his son.  I was struck with the realization that in my weakness, He is shown strong.  When we run this life race together, my disabilities, my weaknesses, disappear.

My burden is easy and my yoke is light.  I hear Him say.  Trust me.  Be Mary.  Not Martha.  We can all be Mary.  We can all sit and soak and be still and know that He is God.  

If the pace has made you weary, it’s time to see the Truth.  To get a glimpse of reality.  “And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:32.  The Greek word for truth here also means “reality” as opposed to “illusion.”  When we feel that it all depends on us, we are living in an illusion.   Perhaps we need to have a change of PERSPECTIVE.  We need to see reality.  That we are yoked together with One who calls us His beloved.  The One who says, “It is not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).   

The circumstance may not change.  It may be as permanent as losing a loved one.  Or perhaps your miracle is just around the corner.  But either way He changes US.  How?  Through His Word.  Through His presence.  Check out team Hoytt and when this father’s love blows your mind, remember that if we can give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mathew 7:11).  Even if you have seen this before, I encourage you to watch it with fresh eyes.  Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you about Daddy God’s love for YOU as you watch.  Our hearts need a new infusion daily.

28Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.…”  Mathew 11:28-29

Cameron and I are launching a website together,   It is under construction and more will be coming soon about our new joint venture!  If you look now, consider it a sneak preview and not the grand opening!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Love Covenant and Hope

There are gifts and then there are GIFTS.  I felt so blessed this Christmas by family and mostly because I was able to see the faces of my little ones glow with the anticipation of Christmas morning.  The excitement of knowing that there are special surprises just for them is a precious thing to watch as it dances in the light of innocent little eyes.  There is a sweetness when their tiny feet are hit with a burst of joyful jumping and their lips with squealing.

This fall my heart had it’s own Christmas of sorts.  Two surprise gifts of love whose depth of meaning and kindness still leave me astounded.  And they were both given on October 8th.  Yes, Makiah’s heaven day.  Each year that passes it seems the Lord unwraps more layers of meaning to her life and death. This year there were two very special weddings on her heaven day.  My cousin and his precious wife who are beginning their sweet love story as they dive into their early twenties and a dear staff member who has been a widower for several years and his new love both tied the knot that day.  

Last summer at our family reunion… yes, we meet in Alabama. No, we don’t wear matching t-shirts- no offense if you do!  And yes, we actually love our extended family get togethers!… my sweet cousin pulled Cameron and I aside to tell us what was on his heart for his wedding day.  I will never forget this six foot five young man with tears in his eyes as he asked if they could do something special to remember Makiah at their wedding. We insisted that it really was not necessary, and he needed to focus on beginning his happily ever after although we were touched to the core.  But the words he said next had never crossed my mind before.  He said as he was praying about it, he felt impressed by the depth of meaning that marriage has in the bible.  Scripture says that marriage is a picture of God’s love for his bride, his people, the church.  And on October 8th six years ago, Makiah had met her groom in person.  There wasn’t a dry eye among us as he shared, and we hugged.  It has taken me some time to dip my toes into the depth of the picture of love that God was painting.

Here is a picture of part of the wedding program from my cousin and his beautiful bride’s special day…

A Close Up

The other wedding was close to our home.  In fact Cameron officiated for our dear friend whom our children affectionately call “Papa Jim.”   He has served as a pastor for many years before retiring and working as volunteer staff at our church.  His feet never faltered on their faith journey as he walked through the painful loss of his first wife to cancer.   And God in his goodness has brought him new love and a promise of new beginnings.  A redemption of sorts that speaks hope to all of us.  If you had been there that day, you would have walked to the back of the church and into the fellowship hall for the reception.  Your eyes would have lighted on a table where instead of gifts for the happy couple, there was a basket to collect donations towards building a well in Makiah’s memory through the well project.  This couple was merging two households and so graciously decided to  start their marriage with a gift of eternal value- bringing clean water and the good news of the gospel to a people desperately in need.  And in memory of our sweet daughter.   When the final count was in, the gifts were enough to build an entire well!!

Thank you doesn’t even come close to expressing how deeply we were touched by both of these couples.  On a day that often makes me swallow hard, my God sent a message of the depth of his love covenant with us and his promise to redeem the hard things and bring about good even from tragedy.  If you don’t know a God like this, ask him today to make himself real to you.  You will not be disappointed.