Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What is normal, anger or grace?

The prevailing winds, from many voices, tell me that I should be angry. "Let it out! It's ok to be mad and angry! That's normal!!!" There's just one issue here, there isn't any anger. It's been replaced with grace & love. Maybe that is not normal; at least not by the world's standards & expectations. Have you ever wondered if there is perhaps another state of normal? God's normal. What a novel idea! It just came to me, really.

I have been so perplexed by the multitudes who truly want (maybe even need) me to show anger through this trial. I am told that I have a RIGHT to be mad! Who assigned me this right? Beats me. I say thanks, but no thanks. Anger & bitterness only consume the person who stews in it like a cancer growing in us. Why would I choose that for myself? Instead there is grace, a concept so simple yet we try to make it so complex & difficult to obtain.

Sure grace is not the "normal" response that our emotions would have us evoke, but are we not instructed to "live by the Spirit & not the flesh," meaning let's not be controlled by our emotions & the norms of this life. Instead let us choose the fruit of the Spirit & God's norm; Grace. Some would say, "but I just can't get there. This is just the way I am or maybe it's for you but not for me. To each his own. It's just going to take me a long time. You wouldn't understand it's a woman thing, a mother thing, a generational thing, it's different with my situation, you're not in my shoes", etc. I think I've heard it all and I didn't even go looking.

People want to be validated where they are. If I would just be angry then we could all sigh deeply & be comforted feeling it is just fine to hang on to this cancer. The truth just stares us in the face though, doesn't it? Brian, I am just not capable of letting it go & replacing it with Grace. You know what, you're right, you are not! (Bet you didn't expect that one!)

Only as Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are we capable of such amazing grace. It is not by our own efforts. Now, doesn't that feel better already? If you've been making excuses to bask in your anger, not knowing how to come to grace; it is truly that simple. One caveat though, you actually have to sincerely want it.

Admit, understand, that Jesus's sacrifice was sufficient to cover ALL sins, ALL injuries, ALL wrongdoing. You do not have to be the judge holding someone's feet to the fire. God said, it's not good for you!!! It will only bring you pain & suffering. Let me be the judge. Let my Son bear this weight, pay the penalty. He died for you after all, isn't that enough! He died for the entire world; even those who have caused you harm or wronged you. He died for them as well.

So what are you waiting for? No one is going to scoff at you for giving in to grace. No one is going to "get away" with their bad deeds just because you're not there to condemn. God's justice is, well... just! The price is paid, justice is met! You are free from this burden you carry! Take it, it's a free gift just like salvation & it is AMAZING!!! I promise, I know...I'm living in it & no amount of pep talks, prodding or stoking is going to rob me of such joy that comes along with such awesome grace. It's ok, it is God's normal! :)

P.S. If this somehow came across as a scaithing rebuke (which it is not meant to) you should ask yourself why this is.

Scriptural references
Proverbs 22:24-25; 29:11
Romans 4:23-28; 6:15-23; 8:9-16; 12:9-21;
1 Corinthians 13:1-7
1 Peter 3:8-12
2 Thessalonians 1:5-10
Just to name a few.

Today's song...again Hillsong! I see a trend brewing.

None but Jesus

In the quiet, in the stillness
I know that you are God
In the secret of your presence
I know there I am restored
When you call I won't refuse
Each new day, again I'll choose

There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

In the chaos, in confusion
I know you're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do your will
When you call I won't delay
This my song through all my days

There is no one else for me
None but JesusCrucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise

I am yours and you are mine...

All my delight is in you Lord
All of my hopeAll of my strength
All my delight is in you Lord

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Would you believe me- July 21, 2009

Dear friends and family,
I hope you are well. I am better than could possibly be imagined. If I told you that I have seen more miracles in the space of a few months than in the course of a lifetime, would you believe me? If I told you that every day, every single day without exception, I have encountered someone who by divine appointment was there to lift me up or for me to share my story with as encouragement or share the wisdom I have learned through counseling to help them in their troubles, would you believe me? What if I told you that EVERY time Satan threatens my hope and starts to cast the seed of doubt that I am rescued in that moment, that EXACT moment, by a song, a verse, a text message, a phone call, a passing stranger…I could go on. Would you believe me?

I ask because I’m not sure I would have believed myself a few short months ago that life could be lived in the space of His will so abundantly. Oh I’m not saying that I didn’t believe that God takes care of me, loves me or that I wasn’t walking with Him before. Now though, it’s as if I am truly alive in the way He always intended. Each day, every moment He permeates my thoughts, speaks loudly to my heart, calls me to action to speak boldly on His behalf by the Spirit. Can you identify with me?

I have a new understanding of relationship, of communion with the Lord. If there is anything we hold back and keep for ourselves; whatever we don’t give over to Him…it creates loneliness, separation. In our loneliness, we cope. We cope because we are not with God in this area, we are alone by our choices. We may have a healthy relationship otherwise except with this one thing we won’t give to Him.

Our coping takes many forms and usually as an overindulgence of something; food, entertainment, shopping, work, sports, exercise, romance novels, video games, pornography, affairs, etc. We are searching to remedy our loneliness and the stress that comes with it. Have I struck a chord? It did with me.

I share this with you not to condemn anyone, but to show you the path to freedom. I share this because I love you. Jesus and I are especially fond of you. :) You may not feel like you need this message, but maybe you know someone who does. Who am I to share this with you? I am nothing, I know little. My knowledge is limited, but His ways are great. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Would you believe me if I told you such things as these?

Sincerely with all my love,

Today’s song- Hillsong – You hold me now

On that day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fears swept away
In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need
And forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let these songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suff'ring

You hold me now
You hold me now

No darkness no sickening
No hiding

You hold me now,
You hold me now

In this life I will stand
Through my joy and my pain
Knowing there's a greater day
There's a hope that never fails

When You're name is lifted high
And forever praises rise
For the glory of Your Name
I'm believing for the day

When the wars and violence cease
All creation lives in peace
Let these songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suff'ring

You hold me now
You hold me now

No darkness, no sickening
No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now

For eternity
All my heart will give
All the glory to Your name

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My heart ache - June 26, 2009

Dear friends and family,

It has been a while since I last wrote you. I have so much to share. So much I am learning through good counsel and the Word. I have been working to formulate those thoughts and lessons to paper. It is a difficult task. Till then, I could go on and on about God’s provision, His grace and peace. He is amazing and I know He is sovereign over all. He is in control and I am not. Instead today, I bring you my struggle so as to encourage one another and lift it up in prayer.

I write my bride letters to share with her my heart. I do not want to breach any confidence I have with her, but this one time I will share with you a couple excerpts that aptly express my current challenge and I do not believe it will create any jeopardy in our trust.

Excerpt 1

My thoughts betray me as they take me to places I wish not to go. I shutter at the thought of you ever in another man’s arms, sharing the affection that I long for, pouring out your heart that I desire to be one with. The agony of such thoughts mixed with the pain of my longing over you feels unbearable at times. I know my resolve with not change, I love you so much. No one can take that from me. So I believe it is now Satan’s plan to try to take away my hope, to burden me with deep sorrow and despair.

This week I have felt moments of being overwhelmed with grief, stricken almost to panic that we may never be a family again. I can’t begin to explain how much it hurts my heart. How can I go from being in such a state of joy and happiness in the Lord to such a deep valley? I know how, my love for you is great, my flesh is weak, my spirit is challenged to break, my thoughts can be so bleak, my circumstance is not aligned with what should be, my heart calls out in desperation to the one it was given to, my family is fractured, there seems to be an impossible cavernous separation of our souls, you are not in my arms, nor do you invite them to hold you.

Excerpt 2

I am not telling you all of this to burden you. I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know that I will endure anything for you. If this pain and agony brings us together again somehow, if we are closer, if we share our hearts together and love like never before, then bring on the pain. I want all of it if that is what it takes. Let me bear my cross so we can have a new life together.

With great love,


“Out of the depths of pain brought forth great love. From sorrow and despair came amazing hope. In turmoil and restlessness there was overwhelming peace. Darkness was blotted out with brilliant light. Through loneliness and separation was formed incredible oneness.” -Brian Wheeler

Today’s song is by Hillsong – This is our God (I highly recommend you download it. It is such a powerful worship song)

Your grace is enough

More than I need

And your word I will believe

I wait for you

Draw near again

And your spirit make me new

And i will fall at your feet

I will fall at your feet

And i will worship you here

Your presence in me

Jesus light the way

By the power of your word

I am restored

I am redeemed

By your spirit i am free

And i will fall at your feet

I will fall at your feet

And i will worship you here

Freely you gave it all for us

Surrendered your life upon that cross

Great is your love

Poured out for all

This is our God

Lifted on high from death to life

Forever our God is glorified

Sovereign king

Rescued the world

This is our God

Bring the Rain - June 2, 2009

Dear Friends & Family,
Today was a rough day. Everything that could possibly go wrong seemingly did. My heart ached deeper for my wife more than ever before. I wept. This evening I played ultimate Frisbee at Avon park with friends. A storm was brewing and the rain began to pour out on us. What a finish to the day, but not in the way you would think. The rain felt like the Father’s tears showering down on me; tears of sorrow, tears of joy and tears of love all at the same time. I stretched my arms out to the heavens and all I could do is smile and raise up face to receive his gift of cleansing water. How mysterious our His ways to comfort us to free us from our hurt and sorrows.

Today’s song has a double application as I can’t help but cry out to the Lord and my bride through its message. God is pulling me closer every day, at the same time he increases my burden and love for Jessica to the point that it is almost physically painful. I am deep in love with my Lord and my wife.

Please continue to lift our family up in your prayers. Pray for softened hearts, spiritual protection, for the Spirit to stir in Jessica’s heart, for His will to be done. Continue to reach out to Jessica in love. She needs to feel the churches love surround her.

Deep in love with you – Michael W. Smith (download it if you can. It will bring you to tears)

Sitting at Your feet is where I want to be
I'm home when I am here with You
Ruined by Your grace, enamored by Your gaze
I can't resist the tenderness in You

I'm deep in love with You, Abba Father
I'm deep in love with You, Lord
My heart, it beats for You, precious Jesus
I'm deep in love with You Lord

Humbled and amazed that You would call my name
I never have to search again
There's a deep desire that's burning like a fire
To know You as my closest friend

Lord, my redeemer,
Your blood runs through my veins
My love for You is deeper than it was yesterday
I enter through the curtain, parted by Your grace
Oh, Your the lover of my soul

Encouragement to you May 24,2009

Dear Church,
I hesitated sending this message to you in concern that it might be taken the wrong way. After today’s sermon I am certain this message was placed on my heart to share with you. So I must ask of you, are we not the body of Christ? For whatever we do for the least of these do we not do it for Him. Many are angered and have high emotions by the experience my family is enduring. It is ok to be angry and upset, but it is easy to let that anger turn into bitterness, malice and yes, forms of hatred.

Many of you have asked me what you can do for us outside of prayer, how you can help. I thank you for that outpouring of love and affection, I really do. The question then is this, are you doing the same for my bride? Is she experiencing an outpouring of love, care and concern? Are we not to love the sinner, but hate the sin? How many times does the church get accused of being full of hypocrites sitting around in idle gossip. Yes, we are hypocrites at times just as we too are sinners. It is the easy route to get caught up in our anger and emotions and justify our one sided behavior favored towards the person that appears innocent. What would Jesus have done? Not condoned the behavior I am sure nor enabled the person to continue in their sin, but at the same time shown great compassion and love.

It is not my intention to scold or chastise anyone and I hope you do not take this message in that manner. I want to encourage you to reach beyond your initial emotions, surrender them to God, lay them at His feet and replace those feelings with the fruit of the Spirit. I am not some “holier than though” good guy that has this all figured out. Daily I struggle with these emotions. Daily I have to give them to God and cry out His name. Daily I weep over my wife, our children and my marriage. I just believe that in being the body of Christ for Jessica you will find healing for yourself if you need it. I know I have. I also believe it will bring her one step closer to living in His presence one again. What a marvelous way for our Creator to design us, that by helping others, broken sinful people, we too are made whole. It truly is AMAZING grace!

If you are in a position of response to this in Jessica’s life, her friend, a church mate, fellow mother who she occasions to hang with, whatever the case may be…if you would normally reach out to her in a trial she is facing, please do. She needs you now more than ever. I know it may feel like a lot to ask and perhaps even a bitter pill to swallow depending on your current state of emotions. Remember one thing for me, I am not the one asking really, but you already knew that deep down didn’t you.
With Sincere Love,

P.S. Her voice mail is not set up on her cell, but she does receive text messages. :)

After the move - May 18,2009 -

Dear friends and family,
Saturday was by far the hardest day I have had to face in my life, but for as bad as it was...God was better. After moving all of the things Jessica had requested she went to work while we went back to the house for the second and final load. Loving friends and family helped me to understand that I needed to make a clean break and allow Jessica to truly have the separation that she wants and not to let it linger. So, we packed up every worldly possession she owns, removed everything from the house that she could possibly want to come back for and moved them into her apartment as well...and then we installed a new lock on the door. I feel at peace about this as if I have finally let go and now I can just let God.

Thank you again for your outpouring of support. To my friends and family who helped me through the day I am eternally grateful. For the church, my brothers and sisters in Christ, as I came to the alter on my knees you where there for me laying your hands on my body in love and solidarity. For all of the hundreds of prayer warriors who are lifting me and my family up and praying for Jessica's heart, your prayers help sustain me. Your encouraging words, sharing your personal trials and testaments...they build my hope and continually renew my faith.

This morning something new occurred. I have struggled with feelings of wanting to dig in and discover evidence of possible transgressions, but this morning my heart was filled with images of love as I walked out of my room to see my baby Leo fast asleep cuddled up in my mother's arms. I took a picture, it was so beautiful, I would share it with you, but I fear my mom would beat me for posting a picture in her pjs. :) This is the benefit of prayer and faithfulness. Love replacing fear, bitterness, and loneliness. Praise God through whom all blessing flow.

My boys know that my love for their mother is steadfast and will not change. We talked about demonstrating patience, endurance, love, forgiveness, and grace. We pray for an extra measure of these fruits and to deepen our understanding in them and ability to live it out. Their hearts ache for oneness as well. It was brought to their attention that they will be lucky to have two houses to live in (someone mentioned in the interest of cheering them up) to which Gabriel aptly replied, “you call that lucky!”

Leo clings to me like there is no tomorrow. He misses his mother terribly because he rarely sees her now. Logan and I cried and prayed together in his bedroom for a while. Luke I am concerned about the most. He holds everything in and doesn't want to talk about it. I know that he is quietly taking in everything so I pray that God would provide the right opportunity for him to let it out and grieve.

Today's song of worship, praise and getting me through the day, Casting Crowns, “Who am I?”

Who am I?
That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I?
That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wandering heart.

Not because of who I am,
But because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done,
But because of who you are.

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling,
And you've told me who I am.
I am yours.
I am yours.

Who am I?
That the eyes that see my sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again.
Who am I?
That the voice that calmed the sea,
Would call out through the rain,
And calm the storm in me.
Not because of who I am,
But because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done,
But because of who you are.

If you haven't notice music is the medium in which God speaks to my heart, that I use to praise His name and the words speak His truth and righteousness. If you have songs that you would like to share with me, please do. Feel free to share my thoughts with others, it will only increase the prayer circle and God's ministry.

With burning love and thanksgiving,

Moving Day - May 16, 2009

Dear friends and family,
Well, today is move out day. My stomach is in knots and my heart aches profusely for my wife. Is it too much to ask that I only want to grow old with her? To love and cherish her till the day I die, so that I may give everything of myself to her alone. I know that I must endure this trial and that God would not give me any more than I can handle, but right now I feel like I'm going to buckle under the weight of it all.
Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement. They have made an impact on me and I see it at times in Jessica. Please continue to prayer for brokenness, a softened heart, wisdom, discernment and a shield around us. Some of you have offered up hope of a new life for myself and the kids and I thank you for your intentions. In the book of Hosea, in the old testament, Hosea's his wife Gomer strays from him for many years and into many awful situations. Years later God calls Hosea to “Go, show your love to your wife again...Love her as the Lord loves the Isrealites.” So it was that Hosea rescued his wife from a horrible place and restored their love for one another.
It is my prayer that God would grant me such a day. Until then or the Lord takes my heart in a new direction I pray to remain steadfast in my love for her, in patience, grace, and in the strength of endurance. Please pray that for me as well.

Today's song of praise and reflection, “If you want me to,” Ginny Owens.

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I will go through the valley If You want me to

Now I'm not who I was When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

Last thing, if there are a couple guys out there that feel like they know us well enough to come help us move (I mean wouldn't be weird or awkward for you to be here with Jessica) I would be grateful for your help. We will start a little after noon due to the kids' soccer games. Please let me know by facebook or call me.
Love in Christ,

Post counseling session - May 12,2009 9pm

Dear friends and family,

Counseling went as expected. Jessica is still resolute in her desire to leave. Thank you for your prayers and to those of you who fasted. They carried me through. Knowing where Jessica is spiritually, I don't think anyone can reason or plead with her without pushing her away further. We need to let her take the path she has chosen and live with it. I do think that if you live near us and you find it appropriate, make attempts (multiple and without giving up) to reach out to her and fill up her time with Christian love so she doesn't fill the vacuum with other things and bad influences. She also needs to reminded of the love we have shared over the years.

The counselor says Jessica is in what is called “negative sentiment override” meaning no matter how much good is between us or moments of happiness they are overridden by a negative outlook overall and everything is viewed from that lens, including our shared history of love and happy times. For her, history has been rewritten in her mind to believe that everything in the past nine years was negative and dismal. You and I know this NOT to be true as evident by the recent photo album I posted on Facebook to combat her efforts to erase me. So feel free to take a look at the pics and post your own comments for her to view one day. A couple of people have already reminded me of loving moments Jess and I have shared over the years. I think this would be a good “passive” way to share in building her back up.

Right now the burden of this sin, the consequences it may bring and with the worst probably still yet to come weighs on my heart. Thank you for the kind words you have written me, the encouragement you have provided and the support and love from you all. With God's direction and love we will persevere with a lot of help from my family I call the Church.

In Christ,


P.S. If you happen to have pics of Jess and I from any time period that you can add to my collection I would be delighted! I have yet to find the digital archives of our early days. :(

P.P.S. Not to get your or my hopes up prematurely, stir up a hornets nest or anything, but tonight she pressed forward wanting a kiss on the cheek and a hug. I don't know what that means nor will I try to read into it, but it felt for a spit second like a mountain moved. Was that God stirring her heart for my affection or her just wanting me to stay on the leash? I don't know.

Pray for us - May 12,2009

Dear friends and family,
I write you today with a heavy heart. Some of you I haven't spoken to in a long time, but it is still important that I reach out to you because of your faith in Christ. You may not know of the trial my family is going through and I need your prayer support and God's intervention.Jessica is in a spiritually dark place right now and has decided to walk away from our marriage. She will still tell you to this day that we are best friends, we get along great and that we have each been great spouses to one another. However, she has fallen prey to a great lie. She says that she is not in love with me and wants to “go find love.”

As Christians we know that love is a choice followed by our actions which lead to the emotions, but she now believes that love chooses you instead. She has fallen into this emotional void of a romantic fantasy just as many men fall prey to the physical void and fantasy of pornography.She has agreed to go to counseling a few times for my benefit only. Today at 1pm is the last session she is willing to attend. The Christian counselor said he will be getting to the heart of the issue today and it will be hard for Jessica to hear.

Please pray that God's truth would pierce through to Jessica's heart. That she would not only understand and acknowledge the truth, but would be broken by it, moved to repentance. Pray today that her hardened heart would grow soft again and she would turn from her selfish desires and turn to the Lord and His love instead. Pray for a hedge of protection around us at this time that the evil one would loose his grip and influence over her. Pray for supernatural healing that only God can bring and that He would receive all the glory for it. Pray for our children, for God's peace and grace to surround them. Pray for wisdom and discernment for us and you as well as we look for opportunities to speak the truth in love, to demonstrate God's love to her and His Grace that she may feel comfortable to return to the fold. Pray what is on your heart.Please be very judicious with who you choose to share this with. I am concerned that if Jessica knows how many people are aware of this session and what is going on she will just run away even faster and with anger.

This is a spiritual battle we fight and we must not let the devil one use any of this for evil. Also please be mindful that Jessica is aware of her actions, the wrongdoing, and she still chooses to take this path. She knows that this is un-biblical. She knows this will hurt the kids and me. She knows this will be an enormous struggle financially. She knows all these things and yet she persists almost in solidarity. This tells me that pleading or reasoning with her logically will not gain any ground. The only one that will turn this around is God, Jessica's conviction of spiritual truth and a repentant heart.

I think II Timothy 3:1-7 pretty much sums up the troubles we face and please guard your heart Christian just as we teach our children, we too can stray from the Lord and everything that is good.

As the band Casting Crowns so aptly put it in song from Proverbs 4:20-27

It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade

Thank you all for the support. It is by God's grace and mercy that I survive each day. I have set aside my heart for Jessica for now and instead I fill it with praise and worship for the Lord and he brings me peace. Amen. Stay on your knees in prayer, never give up hope because our hope is in Him who can do all things. Continue to show the unconditional love of Christ, that NONE of us deserve. Please use discernment and extreme caution with whom and what you share with people. We are, after all, in a spiritual battle over evil. Please think carefully before you choose to write her directly and PLEASE wait until after today or so.
Make sure that the spirit is leading you in discernment of such things. We don't want to push her away, but to show her the love of Christ through us. She is scheduled to move into an apartment this Saturday and perhaps that is what it will take for her to be broken and fall on her knees to a loving God. There can not be peace and true happiness in a selfish heart. The path she is on will only lead to emptiness until she remembers that only God can fill that space. Remember that His ways are not our ways. If it is His will to remain in this valley for a time then let us pray for strength, patience and endurance.

Finally, we can use such trials to build our faith and character or allow them to tear us down. I choose to draw closer, I choose my marriage, I cling to my faith. What do you choose? We are either drawing closer or we are drifting away. There is no middle ground. Use this for good, as a wake up call perhaps. Spend more time with your spouse at the heart level. Pray together as if you do not have tomorrow. Be selfless with your time and talents. Praise the Lord with all your heart throughout the day and give Him thanks for everything, all the blessings and the trials. If you would do this, then He has already won a victory over what Satan would use for ill.

Be strong in Christ,