The Lord’s Supper and Pain

These last couple weeks have been far different than we anticipated them to be.  While we anticipated a recovery time for Lottie after her surgery, it has been weeks longer than we expected.  We are still watching her recover with great effort and observing her strive to maximize her recovery time to gain strength and independence in every way she can.  The reality of dependence on us for her movements and her general needs is difficult to accept and often times hard to understand.  However, God is graciously showing small steps of improvement as we see more signs of our lionhearted Lottie rising to the challenge.

This past Sunday evening during worship we observed the Lord’s Supper.  I have always considered this event a celebration, a worship opportunity for believers to rejoice in the saving death of Jesus.  During these observances I have often pondered the realities of the brutal beatings of His body, the crown of thorns on His head, and His brutal murder on the cross.  As Scripture instructs, I have regularly reflected upon my life and confessed my own sin prior to partaking of the bread and the cup.

While all of these elements still took place for me this past Sunday, there was also another element that happened inside.  This time I was hurting.  I was not physically hurting; I am not being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, ridiculed, or even offended.  I was not spiritually hurting; I am not far from God, nor have I strayed from His mighty hands of grace.  However, I was emotionally hurting; I am sad that my daughter is sad, and confused, I am sad that my family is having to walk through this time, I am sad that it is Lottie going through this pain instead of me.

This hurt brought a wonderful realization to me that I would never have been able to experience apart from walking through hardship at the very time of our observance of the Lord’s Supper.  This time, as I held the bread in my hand, I thought about the sacrifice that the Father gave in watching His son be beaten, bruised, spat upon, and ridiculed.  This time, as I held the cup in my hand, I thought about God the Father watching His son be nailed to a cross and shed His blood when He did not deserve such pain.  I thought about the Father and what it must have taken for Him to send His Son for our sin, our punishment, our penalty.  And I ached.  I ached because it is immensely difficult to watch your child suffer needlessly, but watching Lottie be sad and confused is nothing in comparison to what God the Father must have felt as He chose to pour out His wrath on His righteous son as the atonement for our sin.

The Lord’s Supper is beneficial to all believers as a reminder of the death, resurrection, and return of Christ.  However, for those who are hurting, it is a beautiful reminder of our opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ (Romans 8) for the glory of Christ and for the good of His people.  I am more confident in God’s glory being made known through this trial than I ever have been and am leaning more heavily on his perfect plan for our future.



Gifts are something everyone likes…at least a little.  However, some people actually feel most loved when you give them something.  Take heart though, it’s not always expensive gifts that make the difference.  Here are 10 ways you can show your spouse that you love them with a gift.

  1. Candy – Make sure you learn his/her favorite and pick it up next time you go to the grocery.
  2. Magazine – Maybe there is a magazine that he/she doesn’t have a subscription to that you could easily pick up on your way home.
  3. Movie – This is a good idea if you are a person who feels most loved when spending time with your spouse (its a win/win).
  4. Ice Cream – While gifts aren’t my love language Ice cream probably is.
  5. Flowers – More ideal from Husband to wife but an easy win nonetheless (tip: grocery stores often times have inexpensive flowers that allow you to do this more often).
  6. Jewelry – Obviously this one can be expensive so you may want to only do this for special occasions and feel free to save up for a long time if necessary.
  7. Hobby items – Does your spouse run? Hike? Hunt? Sew? Whatever his/her hobby is get something that will help him/her do it.
  8. Music – CD’s or iTunes gift cards is a way to help them enjoy the pleasure of good music.
  9. Books – Maybe your spouse likes to read – help them do this.
  10. Make something – Use your time to help them see how much you care by making a card, building something, sewing something, or simply writing a note.

Time is ticking away

“I’ve had the time of my life.”  “Time is ticking away.”  Time flies when you’re having fun.”

These are some pretty common phrases.  For some people all they really want from you is your time.  And the truth is, sometimes, that is the hardest thing for you to give.

If your spouse is one who wants your time more than flowers, candy, or other gifts, than here are 10 ways you can uniquely give her just that.

  1. Go on a walk.
  2. Go to dinner at a quiet restaurant so that you can talk.
  3. Turn off your phone.
  4. Rent a movie to watch after the kids go to bed.
  5. Go on a picnic.
  6.  Go on a hike.
  7. Play a game.
  8. Go get a cup of coffee.
  9. Go for a drive.
  10. Go get ice cream.

What do you do when there’s nothing you can do?

I like to think I solve problems.  I am one of those guys who likes to have definitive answers and likes to be able to help people figure out what the best next step is.  In my work, I am often the guy who makes decisions and keeps us moving in the direction our pastor sees best.  In our home, my wife keeps us from falling of track but she certainly trusts me to drive the train.  Even amongst friends, I find myself making decisions and moving forward.  But what do you do when you aren’t the one in charge?  What do you do when you aren’t the one who gets to make the decision?  What do you do when something is happening to you or the ones you love and you can’t fix it, solve it, or do something to make it get better?

This past Friday my youngest daughter, Lottie, had an 3.5 hour back surgery.  If you know us very well, you know that Lottie has Spina Bifida and therefore is quite used to surgeries these days.  However, this surgery was both very exciting and very extensive.  She had new magnetic rods screwed into her back.  As you can imagine, this has been pretty uncomfortable for her.  The surgery ended up becoming more complicated than originally thought and the surgeon had to do some other movements that caused the surgery to last longer and increased her neurological deficits in her legs.

So, what am I supposed to do?  When my child is hurting and my first inclination is to try and fix or solve or decide but the reality is…I can’t do anything.  There is nothing I can do to solve this.

It is during times like these that I am thankful that I know the only one who can do something.  I know the one true God.  I know that He is a far better Father than I am and a much better physician than any of the myriad of highly skilled, wonderful, doctors that have been caring for Lottie.  I know the King of kings and Lord of lords and I know that He is doing what is best for our good and His glory.

Here are the three things that I have found I can do when there is nothing I can do.

  1. I can PAUSE. I can stop, take a break, and realize that I am never really in control anyway, so pausing allows me to remember this reality and wait on God to move in the way He sees fit.
  2. I can REST. Since I have paused I am able to find myself resting in the perfect plan of a perfect God.  I am able to trust that what the Lord wants is what is best and so I don’t have to solve anything – because He is solving it.
  3. I can PRAY. Many times we take this one for granted.  We feel like this one is too small, or not even worth counting.  However, prayer is not only acknowledging God’s sovereign control over it all but it proves to be a consistent reminder to us as the communicator that we are pausing and resting in the only one who is worthy.


So, I guess, there’s never nothing I can do!

Giving someone an ear full

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me.”  Yeah right.  Words hurt bad.  But as bad as they can hurt, they can also uplift and build up all the more.  For some people the words you say to them are the most significant way you display how you feel about them.

Gary Chapman describes this love language as “Words of Affirmation.”  As we continue to approach this Valentines Day here is a list of 10 ways you can show your spouse you love them if Words of Affirmation are what speak to his/her heart the most.

  1. Write her a note – Handwritten note, not just store bought
  2. Text – A quick text that is checking in or simply says “I love you.”
  3. Call – Similar to texting him/her, take time to make a quick call to check on him/her day.
  4. Thank you – When he/she does a small task that seems mundane and regular express how grateful you are for him/her.
  5. Celebrate – Publicly brag on him/her (this does not always have to be in his/her presence – things have a way of getting back to his/her).
  6. Hallmark – Use store bought cards some too, sometimes they say what you wanted to say just better.
  7. Sticky note – Before you leave the house place a quick note of “I love you” or “You are beautiful” can go a long way.
  8. Write a poem – You may think you are not good at this but try.  Make an acrostic of his/her name or write a word that describes him/her for every word of the alphabet.
  9. Speak tenderly – Guys, we can be harsh without even meaning to.  So, speak with a gentle voice.
  10. Say I LOVE YOU – Don’t let a day go by without him/her hearing you say those words.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains that not everyone feels loved in the same way.  Therefore, it is important to know your spouse and understand what makes them feel loved the most.  Many times they feel loved in different ways but some just speak to them more intimately.

One of those ways is through physical touch, so, if physical touch is your spouse’s love language here are 10 ways to show your spouse you love him/her through physical touch.

  1. Hold hands – Do this in public, when you walk through the parking lot, when you pray, and when you sit in the movie theater.
  2. Kiss – Everyday when you leave for work and for when you arrive home greet each other with a kiss.
  3. Hold him/her – When you are in the bed at night simply lean over and hold (it doesn’t have to be a long time – just hold).
  4. Dance – Sometimes this can be silly in the living room type dancing but just grabbing hands and getting them up and moving is part of physical touch.
  5. Gently scratch his/her back – Just simply scratch/rub his/her back (this is different from massage).
  6. Give him/her a massage – You may not be good at this but you will learn in time (tips: lotion and take your time)
  7. Hug – Along with that everyday kiss, add a hug in there too
  8. Sit next to each other on the couch – This is especially important if your seat is the recliner (you don’t have to do this everyday, just take the initiative to do this periodically).
  9. Place your hand on the small of his/her back – You can do this in public as you stand and talk with others or it can be a gentle brush of your hand as you pass through the kitchen.
  10. Have Sex – Remember this is not all about you (your body belongs to your spouse).

The Art of the Hand-Written Note

From the time I was a little kid and even now; I have always loved getting mail.  Not junk mail, not bills, not magazines, but REAL MAIL.  You know the kind.  The kind where someone took the time to hand-write (not type) a thoughtful word of encouragement.  The kind that was important enough to not just be 140 characters of a tweet, or an email.  The kind that is significant enough to put pen to paper.

I found in my life and in my ministry that these “real” letters are both extremely encouraging and especially meaningful to those who receive them.  So here are 5 thoughts for how you can master the art of a hand-written note.

  1. Get your own stationary – This does not have to be highly expensive but gives a distinguished purpose.  Also, if you have the stationary, you are more likely to use it.
  2. Have stamps on hand – Be ready to write a note and send it at any time.
  3. Thank randomly – You do not have to only write a thank you note for specific needs being met.  Instead, say thank you for being my friend, or simply thank you for being you, etc.
  4. Short and Sweet – Your notes do not have to be long.  In fact, your stationary might serve you better if it is small.
  5. Scripture – Any time that you can add a passage of Scripture to your thoughts regarding this person it takes it to the next level.

Think now of you can write to offer a kind word of encouragement.

The ABC’s to describe your wife

Ok fellas, this one is for you.  I just recently celebrated 12 years of marriage with my wife and was trying to think of the best way to describe her.  Sometimes, let’s be honest, we need a little help.  So here is a way to get the wheels turning in your head when you just can’t think of the right word to put in your Christmas card this year.

The truth is that it is nice to hear kind things said and or written about us from the one’s we love the most.  Take time to use these words and/or other deliberately kind words to your wife this Christmas and every other day as well.

I hope these ABC’s prove to help you.  And yes…Gloria fulfills all these words and many more.

A- Awesome, Amazing

B- Beautiful, Blessing, Best, Brave

C- Creative, Charming, Caring, Cultivating, Cute, Calming, Compassionate

D- Delightful, Dedicated, Determined, Dependable, Desirable

E- Engaging, Exquisite

F- Forgiving, Funny, Fun, Faithful, Fixer

G- Generous, Gracious, Gorgeous, Godly, Good, Great, Gentle

H- Humble, Happy, Hospitable, Helper

I- Incredible, Irresistible, Insightful, Irreplaceable

J- Joyful

K- Kind

L- Lovely, Loyal

M- Marvelous, Mesmerizing

N- Needed, Nurturing, Noble

O- Optimistic, Organized

P- Photogenic, Pretty, Patient, Peaceful, Provider

Q- Quiet

R- Relentless, Reliable, Remarkable

S- Supportive, Strong, Smart, Steady, Stunning, Stylish, Selfless

T- Trustworthy, Tremendous

U- Undaunted, Upright, Unassuming

V- Vivacious, Valued

W- Wonderful, Wonderfully Made, Wanted, Welcoming

X- eXcellent (sorry thats the best I can do)

Y- Youthful

Z- Zealous