Daddy, let’s talk

“Daddy, let’s talk.” Three little words from a young lady that will just absolutely make you stop in your tracks. One phrase said so simple and sweet you almost miss hearing it. Three simple words, said so boldly, you can’t help but wonder what’s wrong. Three words my daughter said to me one evening after a great day with her. One phrase every parent longs to hear but is scared when they hear it.

But as she said it, I could tell, there wasn’t anything wrong, it was all good. You see, it was right after our game at College Station and we had been together for the past 24 hours. Sleeping, eating, watching football, cheering on the Aggies and much more. I could tell throughout the day there was something on her mind. Something she wanted to say or do but just didn’t know how. And as we sat at the Cotton Patch restaurant in College Station, she simply said, “Daddy, let’s talk.”

I wasn’t sure what about but I was sure it was something. Could it be boys? It always seems to be boys. Could it be school? It never seems to be about school. As I looked into her eyes, I said, “Yes, we can talk.” There was time and that’s all we had that night. Nowhere to be and only about 2 hours ahead of driving for us. As she talked, I realized what she wanted. She wanted me. Nothing more, nothing less. She wanted time to ask her Daddy about growing up.

How were times “back-then” she would ask. All kinds of things she wanted to learn about and I was plenty happy to tell her about it. As we continued talking, I could tell she had a peace about talking to me. I could tell this was her first attempt at opening up and seeing how much she could trust me when asking me questions. I could tell this was the beginning, not the end.

Over the few months since this conversation, there have been countless times I’ve picked her up at school and heard, “Daddy, let’s talk.” We’ve talked about how dumb boys are and about how important school is. We’ve talked about problems with friends and who the best friends are. We’ve talked about God and His plans. We’ve talked about cancer, divorce and what hurts us. But mostly, we’ve just talked. Daddy and daughter talk. Things maybe she shouldn’t hear at times but at least she heard it from me. Time for us to grow closer together and build on what God wants us to build on. Talking. That’s it. No expectations, no demands, no pretending.

As I think about our conversations I can’t wait for Garrett to open up more and more. To me or his mother, it doesn’t matter. But I’ve also realized that I haven’t fully said these words all the time to my “Daddy” as much as I need to. Not my earthly Dad, we talk all the time but to my Heavenly Daddy. Why? I have no idea. I can talk about good things, bad things, dumb things or just nothing and He’ll listen. He won’t judge and I may have to wait to hear His advice. But through it all, He will listen. He cares more than I’ll ever comprehend and loves no matter what. He’s the One I need to say “Daddy, let’s talk,” a lot more often to. Three words, one short phrase we need to say more often. Daddy, let’s talk.

I love you all!

Moving

Just in the past month, we moved into a new house here in Amarillo and it got me doing some thinking. Thinking about the past few years in our old house and how moving to this new house is not only a new beginning but a closing to so many other things.

When we moved into our house on 39th 5 years ago, Garrett was barely a year old and Elisabeth hadn’t started Kindergarten. Now Elisabeth is headed into 3rd grade and Garrett into 1st. It’s amazing the changes over the years in the kids in that house.

But it’s not just the kids that changed over the past few years. We have also changed. As I look back at every move we’ve made in the past 15 years as a married couple, it’s been during a time of change in more than the literal sense of moving houses.

For many of us, moving is a headache. It’s a time of stress, confusion on where things are, packing up your things, selling some stuff, giving some stuff away and possibly just throwing stuff away. It’s a time when we can sit and think about this and that and memories come back, one at a time and rush through us like a strong wind.

Moving is hard but necessary at times. It can release us or bind us, depending on the situation. But it should always allow us to start again. To wake up in a new place, wether it’s across town or across the world. New people to meet, new places to get used to and remembering where to go, home, not a house.

But for us, moving this time seemed a bit easier. I’m not totally sure why but I do believe it’s because this time, it wasn’t us moving. It was God moving in us. Leaving our “dream” home behind wasn’t hard because of the freedom it is bringing us. Freedom for Christy to quit teaching and concentrate on her business. Financial freedom of no debt. Freedom to do what we need to do, not have to do for the first time in a long time.

As I think back and now that we have moved and with the closing of our house very near, our “dream” home brought us many memories. Garrett learned the joys of walking, talking and playing in that house. Elisabeth made many friends at her school and started growing into a young woman right in front of our eyes there. We saw people grow in our house spiritually and personally. We had many people bless our home in small groups and we will always remember those times. I was able to see a life transformed on my couch there as a young man went from at wanting to end his life, to accepting Christ in a few hours of prayer, talking, loving and sharing.

It was a great home but those things won’t stay. They’ll move with us to our new home. That’s what makes a home. It’s not the house but the memories within the walls.

I’ve been blessed so much during this move and I ask that you take a look at where you are. Maybe you don’t need a literal move but a move in yourself. Maybe it’s time to pack some of the stuff away or throw the crap out. Maybe it’s time to go through the dust and cobwebs of life to see the beauty that is beneath. Maybe you haven’t seen or used some of your stuff (talents/gifts) in a while and it’s time to use them again before you have to throw them away.

I don’t know where you are but wherever you are today, I pray that you aren’t there this time next year. Sometimes growth is hard and there are times we have to pack up and move to get where we need to go next. Are you ready to move? I was and I did. What a blessing!!

I love you all!

The Journey – The Search

Jack was the first one awake in the house the next morning and as he fixed breakfast, he couldn’t stop thinking about his time with Jose the day before. He was still trying to figure out what he knew and today was the first day in trying to find out what Jose was so upset about. Jack was packed and ready to head into the jungle he spent so much time in during his first 8 years.

But this time was different. When he was younger, he thought about his family, future and dreamed of teaching in the village with his parents. But now it was a search. A search for the truth of what happened 20 years ago and a search for who he truly is. Jack never could figure it out in Kansas City and he thought coming back here would help. But as the hope built, so did the questions about his past.

Jack finished breakfast, wrote a note to Shelly and took off on his search. It was a warm, humid morning and the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon. As Jack entered the jungle, he thought about his dad. This was a place where he and his dad went as a refuge from it all. John had spent many years in this jungle and Jack just couldn’t believe someone had taken him and his mom deep into the jungle for harm. Yes, Jack had fear of what he might find or what might happen but he knew he had to go.

The terrain was easier than he remembered and he was very happy he remembered the jungle so very well. As Jack walked further into the jungle he heard someone behind him. He stopped to see who it was and it was Jose. Jose knew Jack would come out here and wanted to tell him why he couldn’t speak the day before.

Jose knew where the tribe who took his parents settled. He had gone deep into the jungle about a year after they went missing with his father and they spotted them. As they left to go tell Miguel and their village leaders, Jose’s father was shot and killed for trespassing. This so shook Jose that he could not tell anyone what they had found. All he did was lead the leaders to his father’s body and had them carry him back. They thought a hunter had accidentally shot Jose’s father but Jose knew what had happened.

As he told Jack this, Jack stood in disbelief and pain. Pain for Jose because of what he had seen and disbelief his parents were alive a year after their kidnapping. Jose warned Jack of trespassing on this land but Jack had to go and see if he could find what happened to his parents. Jose gave him a map but told him he couldn’t go any further. “Good luck Jack,” Jose said. “Please know I love you and I hope the best for you.” Jose turned and walked away from Jack.

Jack knew he had to press on but was a bit worried about what he might find. The tribe’s settlement was about a 10 day hike and Jack knew it was risky. But he felt the reward outweighed the risks. If he lost his life while searching for the truth then so be it. But if he died knowing he got so close and didn’t search for the truth, then he would never be able to forgive himself. As day turned to night, Jack pulled out his sleeping bag and got some sleep. He needed to make it to the tribe fast and rest was something he needed.

As Jack continued hiking deeper into the jungle, he began to wonder if there was a real chance his parents were still alive. If they survived 1 year, why not 20 years he thought. Jose’s map was spot on and on day 8, Jack arrived to the edge of the tribe’s settlement. Jack surveyed the land like a good hunter and found what looked to be a cemetery.

Jack looked around and found the names of many Americans. Was this was a cemetery where the tribe buried their captives? As he searched for his parents names, he grew weary and was having a hard time thinking about moving forward. He had been in the jungle for 8 days and to this point, he knew a little more truth but nothing that overwhelmingly pointed to the total truth. Jack decided to hide out and sleep for the night because he believed tomorrow would be the day he learned the truth.

To be continued….

The Journey

After he folded his last shirt, Jack opened his bag to put his shirt in and thought about how he had gotten here. He thought about the good and bad. He knew he had grown but he wondered exactly how much. Jack knew everything he had been through since he got the call and knew it was worth it. But as he packed his bag, he couldn’t help but think back to the day it started and wonder, “What if I hadn’t come?”

It was a typical winter day in the Midwest. Cold and blustery with snow covering everything. The day turned from typical to extraordinary though when his phone rang. Jack answered the phone and on the other line was a voice from his past. A person who he hadn’t talked to in a while but someone he missed greatly. And with one question, life as Jack knew it would change, no matter what his answer.

Jack was a good guy who had many friends but always felt something was missing in his life. He had tried going to school and working but just couldn’t find what he wanted to do. Jobs led him nowhere and his friends was all he had. He enjoyed life but knew there was more. More that he wanted to do and more he knew he was supposed to do.

Being an outdoors man, Jack always seemed confined in the city but the city is where he thought he would find his true life. He thought this was the only way he would ever be able to get back what he had lost so many years ago. Being in nature was his release but the pain from the past hindered what nature could now provide him. Nature was where he used to think about the past, present and future. It was a time to think about the meaning of life and about his friends. To think about his family, who he hadn’t seen in years and just wonder why things had turned out like this. But mainly, it was a time for him to get right with who he was and who he badly wanted to be. But Jack hadn’t allowed himself to be in nature for quite some time and he was in need of time in nature.

But when the call came in, Jack realized there was more. More to life, love and happiness. More than  just living. Finding out there is a calling.  His quest for a career wasn’t important any more. He just wanted to know why he was being called to this place at this time.

It wasn’t the first time this call had come in but it was the first time Jack acutally listened to the person on the other end. It was the first time he had acutally thought about the call in perspective to life. This time it was different and he wanted to know why.

To be continued………

Don’t be stopped by vision, be great beacuse of it!

Vision. It’s such a small word but has so many meanings. Vision is what we see and it helps us get to where we are going. In the true sense, vision is needed, good and desired. As people, our vision tells us about the things around us and if it works properly, it opens our mind and challenges everything we know. But when vision isn’t working properly, we see it as a handicap, disability or something to complain about. Vision isn’t all we need; it’s just something we get used to having. There are thousands of people who have never had eyesight but they had a greater vision than us.

Vision can’t be brought down to such a small thing as eyesight but for some reason that’s all we do. We put vision in this box and we don’t let it out. Whether it’s at work, home, school or church. If given by God, the “vision” of our future should guide us and lead us to where we are called to be. Every leader should have a vision and should share it often with those they are leading.

Vision should be talked about but not set in stone. I once heard Emmitt Smith talk about being a running back. They asked him about his running style and how he can see the holes that don’t appear to be there. His response was amazing. He said that as a running back, you can’t lock in on one vision, the goal, and nothing else. You have to be able to see all around you and continue to see who’s helping you by expanding your vision. His linemen were in the trenches and if he continued looking behind them long enough, he could see a new way to his goal. His vision was expanded and he didn’t get tunnel vision. 

 

In our lives, I think it’s easy to get tunnel vision. We have our minds and hearts set on one goal, which is awesome, but we have to realize that the vision could be enhanced or helped by those in the trenches. We have to be willing to look around and expand our vision. You see, having vision is not only about what’s in front of you; it’s having the ability to have peripheral vision. We have to be able to see what coming from all areas of our life. We have to see what’s coming from in front, from the right, let and what’s behind us. Those things that sometimes “broadside” us are the ones that hurt the most. If we are not looking out for all sides, our vision may be broke. It’s not what you see in front, it’s what you see all around. 

 

In order to help clear up our vision and expand our vision, we must trust those around us and allow them to help. We must be willing to drop our pride and give things over to the people in the trenches. We must know we can’t do everything by ourselves and just because someone is seeing a different vision, don’t discount theirs. You might just get a hole opened enough from someone else to spring you for a long run toward your goal.

Just like when you are sick, you go to the doctor and sometimes a hospital visit may be required. Vision sickness is the same. There are times we must leave a situation in order to get healed. We must give ourselves the medicine needed to get our vision corrected.

We can’t allow our vision to be clouded too long. If it stays clouded too long, it could destroy the vision that we have. And when this happens, we might miss our true calling.  

Allow your vision to grow beyond what’s in front of you. Look around and see who’s there. See if they are willing and able to help you pursue your goal. And if they are willing but not able, begin pouring into them so together you can grow and work toward each other’s goal.

 

Don’t let vision stop you. Remember, our eyesight changes over the years and so will your vision. Allow it to change and don’t be so stubborn that you miss seeing the hole that will spring you for a long run! Don’t be stopped by vision, be great because of it! 

 

Love you all!