Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ted part 2...

I'm standing in the elevator of the SBC building in downtown Spokane, I push the 4th floor button. Man I wished they had some music playing in the elevator. I had only been in this elevator one other time but can't remember why. I know it had something to do with Ted. Maybe to see his new office or to meet up for dinner or a hockey game. I dont know. My mind was clouded with thoughts of what I was supposed to say to Ted. The doors open to the fourth floor and I weave my way back through the hallways to his office. You have to ring a door bell and be let in. I could see into the office through the window next to the door. I saw him walking up to answer.

 I'm not even sure what I felt but to be honest as soon as the door opened I was numb. He was shorter or was I  taller. I don't know but it was clear that there was something physically different about him. I shock his hand as he tried to hug me. He acted like he didn't know who I was at first... like he didn't recognize me. Ya right! He took me on a tour of his office and we ended up in a conference room. He went and got a map and we started talking about my trip. He wanted to know what I was going to do for the winter. He started looking at freeways and highways, calculating miles (he is like a human calculator) telling me temperatures and whether conditions (he loves watching the weather channel). However I had no interest in his opinion on any of that. I wasn't there for advice, I was there to apologize. I have hated him for a long time and I had done things to hurt him...writing this I think I may be a revengeful person. I'm not sure, I'm going to have to think about that one. 

A few years back my mom and step dad split up; divorced/separated. Well...more like separated than anything else. It wasn't a clean brake though cause my mom had moved back in with him but it's not cause she loves him and wants to work it out. Anyway, my mom had asked me to help her move her things either back in or out of the house (I'm not sure which it was). While I was back at the house I saw a legal note pad sitting on the counter with 3 or 4 pages of his "thoughts"... like a journal. It was a set up! He wanted my mom to find it and to feel bad for him. He plays the victim card hard core. He can be a mean and angry person and then blame it on how his brother was a bully and his dad didn't love him. 

So I read what he wrote and then added my own personal notes... hurtful things. I knew it was wrong and childish at the time and I knew what buttons to push, so I did. Years before my parents split I had stopped talking to Ted and just saw him on holidays, If even that. I never ever told him how I felt and I had never planned on it. But reading those words I was just so ...there is not even a word for how I was feeling. Before i knew it I was writing hurtful stuff. Well as you can imagine, they cut him pretty deep. Side note, for about a year he thought my mom had wrote those comments. I can't for the life of me understand why! My hand writing was/is barely legible and I mis-spelled half the words. My mom's hand writing is AWSOME and she has her Masters Degree and I'm sure she would have sounded a lot more eloquent then I did. 

So we're sitting in the conference room and I finally tell him I'm not there for advice on my trip. I start to tell him I'm sorry for writing those hurtful things and for hating him. He replied with "ya, you hurt me a lot". I said "I know, that's exactly what I was trying to do" and he said "ya you really kicked a guy when he was down". I said "I know and I'm sorry". He started to try and say sorry for something and take responsibility. It was just like when we would all go to family counseling. He really wasn't sorry, it was just a learned response from all the years of counseling. It was something like "I'm sorry for not being a father but trying to be more of a friend". In my mind I was thinking, man this guy has just always been soooooo clueless. Then he started getting into stories about how he was raised and how his dad treated him and how his dad's dad treated his father the same way. 

Ok here's the thing. I consider myself very intuitive and able to see throught things straight up. So let me help you see what I was seeing. He was taking long pauses, trying to figure out how he could apply those stories to us. Seemed like he was making the whole thing up. His eyes darted around searching for a way to make his story fit our situation. He went on for about 10-15 minutes and at some point I just checked out. I honestly dismissed everything he said. But then it got really bad. After every apology I have ever heard him give, he always found a way to put it all back on the other person. He went into this whole thing about how I never let him be my father because I idolized my real father. Ok! Then I was all ears, getting very frustrated and angry. 

I'm going to take a brief moment to talk about my true dad/father. He is my idol in a lot of ways. He loved me. We just bonded and he always called me son. He took ownership of me, and I belonged to him. Before this very moment writing this post, I've never really thought about that. Side note/ little fact, I started this journey on May 2nd of this year. The 20 year anniversary of my fathers' death.  

To me he was so amazing! To everyone else, he was a bad guy. He was in and out of jail all the time and no one that I knew that new him ever talked well about him (including Ted). So you know how you can say what you want about your family but if someone else says anything you want to fight them? Well, Ted started talking about how my father would have let me down and he was not a great guy and just put him on blast. In my head I'm screaming the F word and I'm thinking "you really want to talk bad about my DEAD father!?!?!" The craziest thing is that my mom had given me the same exact speech earlier that week. They must have talked about it together in family counseling. Once It was my turn to talk I looked him square in the eyes and said "No! that's not it! I did try but in the end I was never safe with you and I never trusted you. You were an angry and mean person." He paused and said "you know, your mom says the same thing but I don't feel like I am". After that point, the conversation was over for me. I realized that there would never be any kind of understanding between us. 

I needed to get out of there so I said to him "look I didn't come here for this, I just wanted to say I'm sorry for trying to hurt you and for hating you. I don't want to waste anymore of my time/life hating you." In my head I was thinking, you are making that really hard to do. We said our good byes and he tried to hug me again. I didn't want him touching me. Just as we were leaving he said "I love you" and all I could think was "you don't love me, we never had a relationship, and you have no right to say that to me." 

I know 100% that I was supposed to have that conversation with Ted. I believe the Lord put it on my heart. Yet ever since, I've been struggling to see the point. Was that helpful to him? I sure don't believe I got anything out of it. I pray that God gives me clarity about this. I just want to be obedient. It's clear that I still have a lot of things I need to work through. In my mind this conversation was meant to bring closure and help us part ways peacefully. It didn't turn out that way I'd hoped and that bums me out. Honestly... it makes me wonder if there is something more I should do. 

Hebrews 12:14-15 says :

14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;

This is the verse that lead me to all these conversations (Sarah, Kim, Ted) but I'm not sure that any of that was achieved with Ted or Kim. I want the door to be closed on this but maybe there's still some work to be done between us and that's not an exciting thought for me. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012


To say I have daddy issues is somewhat of an understatement. I know I'm not the only one out there with this issue. Some how I seem to project it on just about every older male around me including pastors that I look up to. The crazy thing is that I have some amazing men around me at times but like always I find a way to discredit them and end up really hating them in the end. I have come to some conclusions on how my step father had something to do with that.  

Ok the word "father" in step-father bothers me. Here is a little fact... I called Ted "dad". Yet in the 20 years he was a part of my life, he called me son 3 times. I know cause I remember each time. The thing is, once I was able to identify the daddy issue thing in my late 20s I realllllllly started to hate myself for calling him dad. I felt like I had betrayed my real father and its something that I have struggled with for years. NOTHING about Ted was dad like and I'm ashamed I tried to impress him. I tried to make him my father. I HATE THAT! He was just not worthy of the title or position. I'm still not sure how to deal with it.

He is a very successful business man. That doesn't come as a surprise, he has just about every book out there on leadership. People seemed to like him too. Yet no one really knows him like my mom and I do. At home he was a tyrant and childish. With all those books, he didn't even know how to lead a family. For a long time it even affected my relationship with God.  I would see him read the bible every morning but the real God he worshipped was himself and money. 

This daddy issue has also shown up in other areas of my life. Like I have a problem with authority. I really really really have a problem with any kind of authority trying to tough talk me or intimidate me. 

Story time.... so I was on a mission trip a while back. We were doing an outreach with a few other churches, some of which were from Canada. They definitely thought that Americans were too loud and crazy. But that's what our job was for this outreach. We cause a scene and share the gospel. We had this whole flash mob thing that we did in high traffic was sweet!

Well in this one particular spot we were having trouble with the police so we decided to do our thing with out the music. I had many hats on including playing music, setting up sound systems, and just helping lead in any way I can. Ok, so there was this one guy in the group.  A real "Alfa male" type yet had really dumb ideas and was just not all that great of a leader (from what I hear later he was soon fired from his church and had been fired from a few others). Ok back to the story. I see the flash mob start so I head over to get with my dance partner and I hear him yell my name. I stop real quick and look back. Within a few seconds he is standing over me loudly telling me how my team is so disrespectful and that this is his country, we are only guests and that he is in charge here.

He got in my personal bubble if you know what I mean. He pointed at the sound system and yelled "GO! Get over there! Set it up!"  I ball up my fist and take a step back but out of the side of my eye I catch a glimpse of my dance partner. She looked very concerned and I realized we were on a mission trip so I backed down. That was the only thing that stopped me from punching him right in the mouth! Honestly, it was a miracle, I was about to make a bad decision. I never get angry like that but I was sooooo pissed. I turn and start walking towards the sound system. He is right over my shoulder talking crazy in my ear and I was then way past the point of anger. I did all I could to not cuss this guy out. 

There were a few pastors around the sound system laughing and just talking. They saw me walking up and I think they could tell I was unhappy by the look on my face.  The alfa pastor say, "what do you need to do first?!" I look at him and in front of everyone stair him down and say in a loud stern voice, " I need you to get away from me as soon as possible!"

Other pastors start asking me questions and I start snapping at them too. As soon as I got it up and ready the leaders gathered together and we had a little heart to heart but I was just not ready. The alfa pastor started talking crazy and I blurted out something about how if he ever does that to me again ... And before I was able to finish my sentence another pastor whom I love said, "lets pray".  Haha perfect timing! Cause I was not going to threaten that guy, I was gong to make him a promise..

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Let's talk


When I said I don't know if I loved her what I ment was I didn't love her more then I loved my own flesh, fear and insecurity . I loved Kim as much as I knew how but when it came to really dying to myself and loving her more then I loved myself I failed so very miserably. What I now know and what I now see is heartbreaking when I look back and see how selfish and lost I truly was and how though I was a Christian at the time I could not be Christ like to my wife and choose her and serve her. I know now that  I had spent my whole life in self preservation mode just trying to survive and  still suffering in my own help from my childhood that when we were married I still was in the mindset of taking care of me and protecting me. I am heartbroken and disgusted when I look back at this period of my life and to be honest that's why I hardly ever do.

Why I blog these stories.

This whole trip thus far has been a time where the lord is shaking me and making me the man i have been always wanting to be. I am blogging all of this for a few reasons one because I am such a bad man left to myself but the lord chooses to use me. I want the world to know that the lord can use a wretch like me then you are in no way counted out. The enemy wants you to live in shame over your sin and to hide never ever letting anyone know how disgusting you really are but there is power in bringing it to light and allowing the world to see you standing unashamed due to the work of Christ. So I want to stand and put my money where my mouth is.......

With that said this is the reality of what happend when I talked with Kim. I'm sitting at Starbucks trying to get my head in the game to talk to Kim, but it's just not happening. I'm struggling to even remember all the things I wanted to say to her. She pulled up and we greeted each other with our eyes. I though I would feel something...ya know, some spark or sadness of a love lost. But I felt nothing. I don't know what to make of that. She looked just as I remembered her, nothing was really different.

Kim has always been good at putting on a smile and sailing through a moment and this was no different. We got coffee and started with small talk. I felt like I wasn't being myself and the whole time was trying to figure out if I was being guarded or shock up from Sarah. I wasn't present for the conversation and I think she could tell. I didn't care, I was going to say what I came to say. I didn't want to have to do this twice. I started telling her the end of our marriage was on me. Shared what I was thinking and feeling before we split. I wanted her to know that I let her be the fall guy and I was so sorry for that. 

Somewhere in that conversation I was able to show up and be present. But still a little guarded. I told her about how I had fallen for someone else while we were married. She admitted to some things as well. I must say she is very classy and handled the whole conversation with grace. Even when I was trying to expose the worst of the things I did she coved them. Saying things like "we all make mistakes" and "ya, don't worry about it it's all good". We talked about my conversation with Sarah earlier that day. I told here that I loved Sarah at one point (side note Sarah and Kim used to be best friends). She asked me if I was going to try and make something work out with her I told here I had no intention at all of that and that I didn't think we would ever talk again. 

 The conversation turned out to be not nearly as intense as I thought It would be. Kim recently had a child and we talked about that. She is a mother now, nothing else matters. I'm very happy for her. She seems for the most part happy and I'm so greatful for that. In the end I am not sure it was all that helpful for her like I thought that it might be. I left feeling like she didn't really care and I'm ok with that. I had tagged her in a post on Facebook with the comment "good things are happening". A while later I noticed that she had untagged herself.  Either way,  I definitely felt like all loose ends between us were tide up....well at least for me they were.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I'm a coward!

Kim... I'm not sure if I ever really truly loved Kim. I am so ashamed to even write that. In fact, I hate even thinking that. But, in hindsight, I am left questioning myself. Did I really love her?  Our marriage was not typical in any way. In fact our whole relationship was not typical. I had known her for 3 years before we got married. We had fooled around off and on the whole time and even talked about getting married once in a while, but we agreed we should date first.  So we did… kind of. 

Late one night  we ended up sneaking onto a golf course with some friends to collect golf balls which had been left behind on the driving range. (Not legal). As we trespassed through the golf course in the dark, Kim and I hid behind some bushes to avoid security and I turned to her and said “do you want to make this official”?  She smiled and agreed. We came out from the bushes and told the other couple our news. Haha. That began our very short dating period.

 4 DAYS LATER! Count it 1-2-3-4 days later, we went to the court house and got married. Hahaha! I want to be clear we officially dated 4 days then married. CRAZY KIDS! I was 21 and she was 18. Oh, to be young and reckless.  Ok, I really did believe we were in love then or at least for what I knew of love which wasn’t much. It seemed so Romeo and Juliet to us. Oh, one other minor detail.... We never told anyone! Not even our parents! That's right, I said it. Neither my parents nor her parents knew for the first eight months of our marriage. 

Then came the pregnancy scare! We thought its probably time to tell some people! Hahahaha.. my poor parents ...  I wish you could have been there when we told my parents. We show up to my parents house… they were eating dinner and we were standing at the edge of the table. I had my arm around Kim and I tell them we got some news. My step-dad keeps eating and my mom looks up from her plate.  Ok here’s my line…. “Ummmm, I-I-I don't know how to say this, but we are married”. Hahaha! Kim and I are smiling and my parents are just looking back at us in shock. Seems like they are trying to catch their breath. Then I hit them with ... “Annnnd we’ve BEEN married for about eight months”. Hahaha! (Did I mention that I already had a fairly strained relationship with my mom and step-dad?) So, I let that last statement settle for a few moments. And then hit ‘em with the grand finale... “Annnnndddd, we are pregnant”.  My step-dad drops his fork pushes plate away and says “I CAN'T EVEN EAT”. My mother blurts out, “I KNEW SOMETHING WAS DIFFERENT ABOUT YOU TWO”!! Kim and I just giggled and laughed. 

Kim had a miscarriage a few weeks later. It was a painful and confusing time for us.  Although we were excited about having a baby and very sad to have lost him/her, we had both been fearful about whether we were ready to be parents. 

The next few years into our marriage were carefree.  It was just about the two of us having fun, playing music together, playing video games, snacking on slurpees and cheetos. We ate pizza every night! But just like every marriage, life found a way to get in to our little bubble. It always starts with little things which seem to grow. We did a really good job of ignoring our problems and began to grow apart. We had these friends Kim and I would hang out with. We would all talk about the married couples we knew personally. The statistics are that half of us will get divorced. We would debate on which of our friends would fail in marriage. At the time, we just knew it wouldn't be us! Yet after six short years, Kim and I split.

Now, to the ugly stuff.... I saw it coming and I didn't do anything about it. The last few years Kim and I lived like married singles. I was hanging with girls and she was hanging with guys.  Honestly, I had fallen for someone else and so had she. We hid our secrets from each other and from everyone else. The last few months leading up to the end, I was just waiting for her to mess up on any little thing, so I could be justified in leaving. Ahhh, man I have a lot of self hate over all this stuff. The opportunity arose and I took it. I abandoned her. I didn't protect her. I fell for someone else and I helped her fail. When it comes down to the truth of it, this was all my fault, but I let her take the blame. I'm such a coward. 

So this is the reason I needed to talk to Kim. I had to take complete responsibility for our failed marriage.

To be continued…

Friday, September 21, 2012

Restored Relationship

I had just left the coffee shop where I had an epic fail on my apology! I thought that was the end of it; that I wasn't going to ever hear from Sarah again. I got in the car and did my best to shake the whole thing off. I was meeting Kim (my ex-wife) in half an hour. But it was hard to shake off what had just happened. I really wanted that one to go well. More so than the others. I whispered under my breath "Ok God, I did it" I was being facetious…and honestly feeling a little defeated. I guess I anticipated it going better than it did.  I thought if this had really been the Lord’s will, He would have had it go better. 

Ok, so now I'm going to skip over the Kim and Ted stuff (those will be in the next blogs). I had just finished my meeting with Kim and was driving away to find Ted. As I'm driving I get this text from an unknown number. It's Sarah. In short, she said she was willing to meet that night to talk more about my letter. My jaw dropped! Now, I was riding high! Unfortunately, that was soon squashed by the conversation with my step father. But I’ll tackle that in a later post.
  Ok, so it's later that night. I'm leaving the church. I'm meeting Sarah at 10:15 in Riverfront Park by the Bloomsday Monument. I'm on one side of the field with Leeroy and had gotten there a little early. I see her walk up and sit on the edge of the monument with her back to me. I walk up from behind, ready for anything that comes my way. I was feeling a renewed sense of resolve for this talk. She turns around and I'm braced for a fight or some drama but no, she is smiling from ear to ear. She hugs me and says “sorry I was such a b*!<# this morning”.  Ok pause! I completely stopped in my tracks. What? This is nothing like earlier that day.
  We walked to the other side of the field, and sat in the grass.  LeeRoy is just chillin, eating grass and hangin nearby. *SIDE NOTE* I would like to point out how crazy it is to have a goat in the middle of all of this... Hahaha!!! Ok, so there we were sitting, laughing awkwardly. Neither of us knew what to say. And our vibe -It was still there! Like we were friends! I mean we had a lot of healing to do, but there was openness and just realness . It wasn't stressful, but surprisingly comfortable. She finally breaks up the giggling and starts with this comment "your letter didn't suck" hahaha! Oh man, we just giggled. We exchanged small talk for a bit and then she hit me with another funny line… She says "so I mean this in the nicest way, and I'm sorry if it hurts your feelings, I don't want to hurt your feelings, but when did you learn how to spell?" We died of laughter. She is soo right too! Anyone who knows me knows I am terrible at spelling and grammar. 

 Soon the convo changed and turned intense. A few very important statements were made. We had been talking about how we would be friends going forward and she made this statement. "I think for me the best way is not to try and bring up even the good moments in the past… we should just move forward from this moment on." I thought that was important. Even the good moments at this point to her feel like lies. She can't separate them from the hurt, which I understand. She also said " I was not sure how you could ever fix the things you did to me in the past and I never thought we could do this, but I guess God is fixing them for you". I was just shocked. I finally asked her, "Why are you here?" And she gave the best answer, "because if God is really doing something here, I want to be a part of it." Oh man, is that great or what?! What she said next really touched my heart. "You are always so passionate for the Lord and so encouraging and I have really missed that."
 The rest of the night we talked like old friends. Chit chatting about things and people. We laughed, we cried over stuff in the past, and in the end we prayed. Our talk went on till almost 3 amWhen we finally parted ways, I was soooo happy. God had done it. The God who created the universe in seven days can easily set right a life that has gone wrong. And heal any and all wounds. Sarah has done the hard work of forgiveness. The thing about forgiveness is that it doesn't change the past, but it does change the future. And my future with Sarah has been transformed from being enemies to friends once again. PTL!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sarah part 2

    We have an extremely complicated history (just like all good relationships. Haha). I would actually say if there were an award show for relationships we would sweep all the categories. It was the very best of everything that you desire in a relationship. Love, friendship, compatibility, passion. BUT, it was also the very worst. LIES, DECEIT, BETRAYAL.  When it ended, it left a scar so big and a wound so deep because of the very nature of the love. The destruction that followed was the kind that doesn’t only break hearts, but tears at the very fabric of the souls of both people involved.  The details of our story would equate to a trilogy of books. But the most important detail for this story is that I betrayed her in the worst way.... I cheated on her.... And honestly, not just once.   
   Alright, now that my dirt is out there, it will give a context to this story about why I really believe that the way the story ends is a straight miracle of the Lord. 
Now we are back in Spokane the day before I leave to head back to Boise to head back out on the road. That night I was speaking at a youth group. And yet again was feeling extremely blasted out. I found out that Sarah was working at noon. I had come up with the idea to write my apology in a letter also to give to her. My thought was that I would give my apology and then give her the letter. It would be something she could refer back to and remember what was said.  I think that often we don't remember what was said during a heated conversation, or we take it the wrong way, ya know? 

   Anyway, that morning I had hurt my back. Goofing off, of course. So, I was really in a lot of pain.  A little thing I should mention… and I don't know why I did this… but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Since I had to be at the church at 5:00, I scheduled all these convos one right after another. I was meeting Sarah at noon, Kim at 1:30, and Ted at 3:00. Anyway, I was with St and I was taking him downtown to drop him off. We sat in the parking lot of Starbucks on the corner of 2nd and Division. And we prayed. It seems to be a theme lately for me to be begging God. And today was no different, I begged God do some healing. In me and in the people I hurt.  St gave me some encouragement and then hopped out the car. I headed to see Sarah first; I drove to her work and sat out front in the car. I reread the letter maybe 3-4 times. This is what the letter said:
I really don't even know how to start this. At times there are simply no words that can adequately express the depth of a person's feelings that are plagued by regret, guilt and sadness for a wrong. And I know saying sorry can't undo what has been done and it won't ease the pain in your heart. Instead, let me write this to let you know that I regret my actions and what I did is certainly an unforgivable mistake. It pains me to know you suffered as a result of my misbehavior. Guilt burns in my heart thinking of all the hurt that you must have felt because of my recklessness. When I think of you, I get angry with myself because I can imagine all the bitter tears you must have shed over what I did.
I have been doing a lot of mending fences the last few months and so far everyone has been kind and have  been willing to meet and talk with me. In every cases it seems that there has been healing or at least the starting of it. I really have long awaited talking to you and with that said  have had doubts on if your heart is ready to hear me out. The fact that you won't meet with me and I just have to find you is proof to me of that. However I really believe the lord has allowed this to happen now so I have to believe He knows what He's doing.
 The day I ran into Holly was a climax to a very interesting few days surrounding you and Kim and even Ted. It's a long story so I'll just say the Lord hit me hard with this verse in Hebrews 12...
 14  Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
I made the desision to do my best to find you. I'm really not trying to play the God card, it's just the reality of my life.
This is the part where I am going to ask you to consider something crazy. Will you allow God to redeem our past? We have a very unique opportunity to take all this and turn it into a testimony of grace, forgiveness and redemption. I really don't know what it would look like and I'm not saying we have to be friends or anything. I'm just saying I believe we can be witnesses to the power of the gospel. I know you will need time to talk about this with your people and time to pray. If it takes weeks months our even years my door will always be open. Not many can put the past behind them. Not many can, again, find real forgiveness or redemption in a man who has betrayed their trust. I understand that perfectly. The wound in your heart requires time to heal. We are now at a crossroad and for whatever reason I feel the Lord allowed this to happen now.
 This letter is intended to be short and to the point. I don't want the apology to be over shadowed by any other part of this letter. I imagine this brings up painful memories from the past and I want to reiterate how really truly sorry I am.
So as you can see it was a lot more than an apology letter. I was asking her to let God do real healing between us. I really wanted to be able to share this story with joy of how God can do anything! And heal any situation.  
Alright, so I got out the car and headed over to the coffee shop. I went in, looked around, got a coffee, and went out front to get a table. I don't really remember being nervous. I’m pretty good in high pressure situations… I think was just excited to see what would happen. Sarah is a bit of a scrapper when she wants to be.  Well it DID NOT go well.  Hahaha… When she arrived, she came over and sat down. She had her game face on. But I could see right through her. I could tell I was in trouble up front. But, I had to go for it… So I did my best to share what was on my heart about our opportunity.  She was not having it.  The whole thing got out of hand quickly. I could see how hard this was for her. She got defensive immediately and it felt like somehow Sarah felt like I was attacking her. But I swear, I wasn’t! At one point she blurts out THIS IS NOT AN APOLOGY. I tried to back pedal.  Finally I said “This is not coming out the way I wanted it to”.  I handed her the letter and said “I'm not sure if this will make you mad, but it is how I have been feeling”. She grabbed it away. Leaned toward me in anger and said, “You know me! Is this going to piss me off?  IS IT?”  I looked at her and just said “I don't know”. That seemed to calm things down quickly. We then said our good-byes.  And I walked away. 
To be continued....

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You are doing this!

My flight to Seattle was great.  I landed and was warmly greeted by my very good friend Sarah M. and my dog Louie. It was good to be back where it all started. It seemed so unreal. We managed to squeeze in some fun times amongst all the other things I had to do. My time there was way too short. It seemed like as soon as I landed, I was leaving and giving hugs good-bye. I was headed back to Spokane.

 Ok, so I mention in my last blog that the Lord was doing some big things in my personal life. I haven't blogged in a while because I needed to see how some things were going to play out.  As you can imagine, when I’m walking, I have a lot of time to think. A LOT OF TIME TO THINK.  Much of that time has been spent thinking about three relationships in my life.  My step-father Ted, my ex-wife Kim, and an ex-girlfriend Sarah (who I was convinced at one point was the love of my life).  All of them ended badly. Two out of the three endings were completely my fault. The honest truth is, I did some horrible things. I'm not sure how much I'm going to share in these blogs, but I do think that it is all important to share. Because I think it tells about the grace of God, about His mercy and redemption. 

Before I left Boise, I really believed that the Lord had set things into motion in my heart. Ok- rewind, this may get confusing. I’m going to start back just before I left for Spokane the first time from Boise… Do you remember Amy?  She was the one who picked up St when we arrived in Boise. Well, on the first day that I met Amy I was slightly uncomfortable, because I knew she and Sarah are friends. So, I just assumed she hated me, but that she was just being nice for the cause.  Anyway, during that first day we hung out, she said something like "Oh, I have heard stories about you!" This honestly shook me up. I thought she was talking about things Sarah had told her. Move forward a few weeks later, when I had returned to Boise again, I found out that the “stories” she had referred to were only about how much fun St and I had together! It figures. Anyways, that one comment planted this seed in my heart. I had to find Sarah and apologize on a real level for the things I had done. I had wanted to do this for over a year now, but it just never seemed like the right time.

Ok, now back to Spokane, I had been in town for a few days and this nagging thought would not leave my mind, it just kept growing stronger. My ex-wife was now in this mix to get an apology from me, as well. I needed to share some things which I'm not sure she knew…. Anyways, I was set to meet St downtown. We were going to take some pictures of the two of us with LeeRoy. Since he was already down there, I told him to meet me at the skate park. I didn't know this at the time, but he had been at the coffee shop where Sarah works earlier in the day. later that night, we went out to the Flying Goat to chill and talk. I told him that I felt like I was supposed to talk to Sarah, Kim, and without me even thinking about what I was saying, my step-fathers name came out too. I told him I didn’t even know how to find all of them.  St just laughed.  He was like “dude, it has to be a God thing, because I was at Sarah's work today”. I was struck dumb. We chatted about it, and then I spent most the night thinking about it. I couldn't even sleep.  The next morning, I was up at 3:30. I had to take my friend Aubrey to work so I could use her car. St and I had a radio interview that morning and I was speaking at the church that night. I dropped St off after our interview and headed to Starbucks (I was picking up Aubrey from work.)  I was sitting there drinking coffee completely wrapped up in my thoughts about talking to these people. I got a little freaked out. I started to look for ways to discredit this whole idea of apologizing. But I couldn’t. So I moved on, trying to clear my head.  I had been working on memorizing Romans 8, so I thought, “I’ll do something "holy" “… Haha. I picked up my phone to open up my Bible app. The verse of the day was Heb 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord”. (Hebrews 12:14 ESV) Haha, man, just thinking about that moment right now, I know it was sooo a God thing.  A straight-up spiritual back hand... Like "Look, You are doing this!" I just laughed after I read that. I said aloud “Ok God, I'm on it”... I sent out some messages, and made some phone calls to try and track these three people down. 

Aubrey and I left Starbucks, but we had to be back in a few hours for a meeting she had with her store manager.  During that time I made arrangements to meet with my ex-wife and my step-father the day before I would leave Spokane to head back to Boise. But I still needed to track down Sarah.  Aubrey and I headed back to Starbucks for her meeting. When I dropped her off, she asked me to get gas. She gave me her card, but not the pin so I had to turn right around and head back. I walked in to Starbucks and started to sit down. I saw a girl I kind of recognized. She saw me and seemed to recognize me right away. Since, I realized that I knew her somehow; I walked over to her table and started chatting her up. She was visibly UNComfortable. Not even three minutes in to the conversation, she blurts out. “YOU DO KNOW I’M BEST FRIENDS WITH SARAH RIGHT!"... I got a big smile and just started laughing. Man. God is so crazy! He set me up to succeed. So, I did all I could to get her to see this was so the Lord at work. Soooo much happened in that convo. More than I’m gonna write about now. She, of course, had her reservations. Honestly, I think she kind of hated me... But I convinced her to text Sarah. They both were not having it.  But after a lot of convincing, Sarah finally agreed to meet with me. She told me to meet her at 6:00 that night.  But I couldn't make that time work.  I would just be leaving an appointment, and then I had that speaking engagement at the church for the college group. So I asked if we could arrange to meet after that. She said no.  She said she could meet the next morning at 9:00, but I explained I had to catch a flight at 6:30am… our schedules just weren’t coming together. I think she was frustrated. She finally said "we make time for the things we really want to do" and that if I really wanted to meet up with her I would just have to make the effort to go find her.

So, I left town without being able to tell her what was on my heart. It wasn't the ideal out come. However, it did give me some insight on how she was feeling. And on the bright side, it gave me more time to reflect on how I felt and have time to better prepare my apology. For when I returned form Seattle.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Tuesday night college group...

Tuesday was such a busy day for me! I was speaking at a college group at 7pm and the Lord had been doing so much in my life on a personal level (that will be in the next post) but in short, the Lord was putting some things in motion in my life to be able to have a few extremely hard face to face conversations with some people from my past. 

Since I hit Spokane I was non-stop meeting with people, it was the norm. BBQs, photo shoot, interviews tv/radio. Haha that sounds so... whatever but it's just the reality of my life right now. Oh and not to mention that the next day I had to be on a 6:30am flight to Seattle. I was busy busy busy!  I say all that to emphasis that I was just beat/ dead...Out of gas so to speak. The events of the day had taken everything I had left. 

I had arranged a few weeks prior to speak at a college bible study while in Spokane. My friend Aubrey had set it up for me and turned the whole thing into an event. There are 2 campuses for open Bible in Spokane so they put the 2 groups together and had a band play worship. After a super long and intense day, I got there about 5:30 and needed to refocus. I started going over my notes, prayed, but I just was not there. Wasn't vibing it at all. I thought it would be OK once worship started; that I could sing and find my way. 

College group is different than any other group. The whole thing was supposed to go down at 7 (well at least that's what I was told) but we didn't even start till about 8pm. Worship finally started and I thought I only had 20-30 mins to get my heart and mind focused, but it went for about an hour. I started praying and singing. The worship was intense and that was perfect, exactly what I needed. Here's the picture, I'm in the very back of the room, pacing back and fourth (which is often what I do before I speak) I think it's nerves...  I can't remember the words of the song exactly but It went something like " my flesh is weak, but Lord Your strong, You never fail" and I lost it! That was right where I was; how I was feeling.  I was weak and empty. I had nothing left, but didn't want to waste this chance to share. I BEGGED God to do something, to show up... anything. I was so afraid to let these people down, to let God down. I didn't want to try too hard and sound super spiritual or fake. So I let it go and my heart had surrendered it. I was relying on God to show up. My mind was still scattered and I was still completely drained BUT I knew that Jesus and I were in it together. 

The worship seemed to have played forever and I wanted so badly to just start. When it was finally my turn to get up there and speak I started out being as honest/ real as I could. I told them how drained I was and then invited them to pray with me. Now as of late, it seems like ever time I pray I cry and this time was no exception. It was a short simple prayer and I was holding back the tears as best I could. 

 I'm a slow starter when I speak. Takes me a few moments before I really get into it. About 15 mins in, I started really leaning in to them. Talking like they are all going to the mission field and THE LORD SHOWED UP! It was crazy!!!  I touched on so many things over that hour or so.  At the end I prayed for them, that the Lord would keep them strong and not let the world steal there faith. Again in tears. Then I really wanted to sing "I love you Lord" a capella. So I called the worship leader up and I got to hear them sing to the Lord... Ahhh just melts me. After that, the leader came up and prayed for me. A bunch of people came up and surrounded me and prayed over me.. It was so great!

After the service I headed out to the lobby to get a drink and a bunch of people came out and wanted to share with me what they had gotten out of my message. It was bananas, they practically formed a line to talk to me. One girl that stood out from amongst all of the people I spoke with came up to me crying; trying to keep it together. The Lord had spoke to her clearly about some stuff but she still had some fears and doubts. So we made a plan. She had a narrow window for her circumstance to work and I told her to quit school, put in her 2 weeks, pack her stuff and not to take no for an answer. Later I found out she was obedient to the Lord and now is where she's supposed to be. Everything worked out perfectly. How great is that!

Later that night a group of us all went out to eat (have coffee) at a restaurant just up the road. I was sooo tired and had an early flight but it didn't matter. Walking through the parking lot I looked up at the stars and let out a deep breath. "Thank You God!"

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Family reunion...

Family can be the biggest source of blessing but at the same time can be ... well, difficult.  On the car ride up to the resort, my mother coached me on what topics not to bring up and the things I shouldn't mention to certain people that weekend. Often times I put my foot in my mouth so she was hoping I wouldn't do that at the reunion.  She also mentioned that I shouldn't share about the needle2square project too much. I think she though that it may come off as bragging or that I would be over shadowing other people and trying to steal the spot light. At first I was like "I do what I want! Say what I want!" But then I thought about it and didn't want to cause any drama so decided I'll keep my head low and not say too much. Try not to be in the spot light at all... well as much as I could. LeeRoy kind of blows that whole plan.

The reunion was relatively uneventful just hanging out, talking, and eating food. There was a lot of people there that I didn't really know. I kept getting asked "who do you belong to?" We all had matching family shirts that my cousin had designed (I know what your thinking but they actually weren't that bad).  He did a great job on them!

The best part for me at the reunion was.... Ok, first the back story. I have a cousin named Tami. She is married to... ( I can picture his face but can't think  of his name). Anyway, Tami and her husband have 3 kids, one of which specifically I have thought of often over the years. Her name is Shelby. I honestly don't have very many memories of her from back in the day. In fact the only one I can really think of is when I first met her at my late uncle Bill's house. She must have been only 2 or maybe 3 years old.  She was born with spina bifida. If I remember correctly she was going to have a series of surgeries in hopes of helping her.  I got the feeling that it was a very real concern  and they didn't know if she would make it. I haven't seen here since. At least not that I remember . 
When we pulled up to the resort I saw Shelby walking across the driveway and my eyes welled up with tears. I was so stoked that she was doing well. I was really excited to see her and talk to her again. For most of the family reunion I just spent my time messing around with her, hanging out, talking, and trying to see what she was all about. I think she is about 16 now.... so of course I asked her about boys and school, what she wanted to be when she grows up. She's very sassy and we poked fun at each other most of the time. It was great! We became Facebook friends so we can now stay in touch.

Now I have to say, Tammy and her husband Sean (Shelby's parents) are an awesome couple. One of the things that really struck me about them is how great they are together. Sean must be doing something right because Tammy seems so happy and confident in herself. Not confident as in  " I'm woman hear me roar " kind of way but more like she knows that she is loved and has a team player on her side. She doesn't have to overcompensate. Its really just magnificent for me to watch. They genuinely seem very happy... like they're best friends. When I get married I'm
going to pay Sean a visit for advice. I want to know what he does different than every other husband (way to go Sean).

 For the most part, it seemed to be a successful family reunion. I ended up heading to bed late on Saturday and had to be up early to head to Cheney where I was speaking Sunday morning. I spent most of the night reading and praying about what the Lord wanted me to share.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Uzima vs. Needle2Square...

Before I left for the family reunion, I had this thought that since I was from Spokane not many people from my home town would be interested in supporting Needle2Square/ Uzima. To be honest, for the most part I didn't care. I had a few speaking engagements already lined up over the next week and was busy preparing what was on my heart.

Here is what I have found. For the most part when I share about Uzima, the kids and the need that is there, people will feel bad and may even donate but for the most part it seems like some people just don't care. They ask me more questions about the walk, where I sleep, what I eat/drink and a million questions about the goat. It starts to feel like a novelty or a gimmick. I really truly hate it. I've been trying to redirect the conversation and focus only on Uzima but after a while It feels like I'm hustling a product. Looking for the "zingers" that would get people interested to donate and get involved. Yet somehow people turn their attention back to the goat. It seems like a blessing and a curse. LeeRoy has been the catalyst for starting conversations but sometimes steals the attention from what this is really all about. At times I feel like I am a poor communicator when it comes to all of this. I'm still finding my groove in trying to figure out how to articulate the need. I worry I don't talk about Uzima enough and that its becoming about me, the walk and the goat. That is not my intention at all. I said it before and I will say it again, this walk is less about me and more about what God is doing in Kenya through Uzima.

With that said, the most interesting thing I have found about this is that people are so much more willing to be apart or donate when they really get to know me. This sounds strange but the largest donations and support I have received thus far has come for conversations about what God has been doing in me personally through this journey. When I open up and share about the worries and fears I have in this whole thing.