Thursday, September 30, 2010


On Monday morning I was driving home and noticed two police cars parked parallel to each other with the drivers' windows only a few feet apart at the end of the street.  I didn't think much about it.  How many times have we seen two police cars parked like this with the officers catching a quick chat? 

An hour later, I was leaving the house and they were still there.  This time I noticed they were not Fort Worth police; they were Tarrant County constables.  At the same time a group of men were going in and out of the house and bunch of stuff was now on the lawn of the house.  I realized the family was being evicted. 

I have found myself thinking about that family, who I do not even know, a lot these few days.  Part of me sympathizes with them for now they have to find a new place to live.  Part of me understands the reality that housing costs money.  Mostly, I hope for them they are safe.  The house now sits empty waiting for someone new to move into make a home.

Over the last several months, I have had to commit a few evictions of my own.  I have kicked some things out of my life that just could not stay.  Self-reflection, prayer, support from my wife, have all played a role in being able to keep these tenants out of my life.  Evicting habits and pain is not easy.  I wish I could have called for an eviction notice and had two constables oversee the work.  It would have taken less time and probably been much easier.  I have learned, however, that bad habits and pain do not pay attention to eviction notices; they keep coming back if I do not keep a watchful eye on my house.

Honestly, I had an option; I could have let those old tenants stay in my life.  Those habits, frailties, and bruises, that brought so much pain to my life and the life of people I loved, could have stayed, but those things are not the things of life.  They stole from me and the people around me much like the family down the street was basically stealing to be point of being physically evicted from a house.

The house down the street sits empty.  My life, my spirit, is not empty.  It is being filled daily with the love of my wife and my boys.  I am being filled by helping on several community boards.  I am being filled by letting the light and grace of God into the darkest recesses of my soul. 

Yeah, I had to evict some things from my life. I had take the time to remove the log from my own eye.  I had to stop and let the peace of Christ take up residence in my life.

Evictions are not easy.  They are difficult.  The fact still remains that poor tenants have to go from our lives so that healthier, better tenants have the opportunity to move in.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My wife's Tahoe is broken.  I am not a mechanic so I really have no idea what is broken.  I just know that we had to take it to a mechanic to get it fixed. 

While many of us feel inadequate to the task of fixing cars, trucks, and the like, fixing a broken vehicle is often a relatively simple thing to do.  You take it to a mechanic, they look for what is broken, they put in a new piece to replace the broken one, and after paying them what feels like an arm and a leg (and you have no idea if what they did or what it costs was reasonable) you drive away no longer broken.

Broken people and broken relationships are much harder to fix.  Sometimes, when I listen carefully, it seems as if everyone is broken in one way or another.  Other times, when I am pushed down within myself, it seems as if I am the only broken person to ever walk the face of the earth. 

The broken parts of me caused me to act in ways that broken my most valued and intimate relationship.  A year ago, Tammy and I began working to fix the brokenness of our marriage.  We have had to rely on the grace of God often to bind us up just so we could make it another day.  There is no quick fix, pay the man, and drive down the road answers to this level of bring broken.  And sometimes, even now, Tammy and I can feel the scares and pain of the deep broken place where we were.

I cannot fix my wife's car.  I need a mechanic to do that.  I cannot totally fix myself.  I need the grace of God to heal my brokenness.  Tammy and I cannot fix the broken parts of our marriage alone, we too need the mercy of God's Spirit to bind and heal us.  So today, I just ask for a little more grace and mercy to fix what is broken.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

New Heart

Seven years ago today, the younger of my two sons went into surgery at two and a half months old.  The doctors at Cook's Children's Hospital fixed a congenital heart defect and literally gave life to my son.  In many ways, today is as much his birthday as is his actually birthday in June.  Thank you, God, for Dr. Tham, Dr. Lai, and all the wonderful medical staff and support staff that used your gifts to give life to my son.

One year ago, this weekend, I moved back into my home after about six weeks of living in an apartment a couple of miles away.  At that point in my life, my heart was broken.  I had just gone on an official leave of absence from pastoring in the United Methodist Church.  I was trying to fix a marriage that I had literally destroyed. 

Over these last twelve months, God has blessed me in many ways.  First, I have had much time to give to my boys as I my primary responsibility has been as a stay-at-home dad.  Second, my marriage is stronger and more honest than it has ever been.  Third, I have had to do some serious self-reflection. 

In this self-reflection and self-questioning, much time has been spent working on putting down the demons of my past.  These battles are not easy, and I have had to rely on God to help me do what I have found impossible to do by myself in the past.  Much time has been spent trying to simply do better today than I did yesterday at the little things that are so important in life. 

I still am not 100% certain where God is leading me in the coming months.  I do know I feel I have less to prove in life than I ever did before.  A year later, I know myself to be stronger mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally than I may have ever been in my life.  I also know my greatest weakness is loneliness.  Many people see me and think of me as an easy-going extrovert, but inside I am introverted and almost chronically alone.

I thank God for the new heart that is growing within me and for the salvaged heart that beats within the chest of a young boy.  And I pray honestly, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10)