Month: January 2013

We Were Made For More

Did you know that I won the 50 yard dash when I was in 3rd grade?

Yep… It was an epic battle of pure brawn and speed between me and twelve other 9-year-old boys.  Jimfinish line Blausey was favored to win, but he had no idea what he was up against.  No one saw me coming from behind.  I wonder how that second place ribbon looks up on his wall.

In 5th first_place_ribbongrade,  I won 1st place at the Ottawa County Fair with my pencil drawing art project.

In 8th grade, I was chosen to be Mrs. Cherry’s teacher’s helper.   She was every art student’s favorite, so she had her pick of us all… And that year, she picked me.

I played Goliath in the school play when I was in high school. I killed it. I was the most convincing hundred pound Goliath that audience had ever witnessed.

My senior year in Varsity basketball, I scored 31 and 37 points in thThe playoffs begin for the over-30 basketball league Aug. 4 at the fitness center here. The championship game is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 at the fitness center gym here.e first two games of the season. I also set a school record 29 rebounds in a game that lasted almost 25 years before it was broken.

Are you yawning yet? Bored to tears?  Skimming?  Skipping to the next part, ready to read something that matters?  Something a little more interesting? 

These are just a few of the pivotal moments in my life – events in my history that defined who I was at the time, both to myself and to others. And yet today, none of it matters much at all.  It’s over. It’s in the past – irrelevant and forgotten by everyone but me and Jim Blausey.

I could have easily made you a list of my most embarrassing moments. There’s plenty there that would have you on the floor, laughing.  Like the time I was de-pantsed in front of pretty much the whole student body of the Oak Harbor School system.  (Yes… you read it right, I said “de-pantsed”… as in having my pants ripped off of my body).  Or I could talk about the many times my stuttering got me saying the weirdest things in the most bazaar ways but these are stories for another time.

More importantly, I could list for you the many times I’ve come up short of my goals, my hopes and plans. That would be a long list as well.

In my mind, at this moment, I’m thinking about my greatest failure. I’m thinking about that moment I’d do most anything to take back and relive differently. The moment I’d least want you to know about… the one I most want to forget. And NO… I am not going to share it here.

But let’s be honest.

franchise-mistakesWe’ve all made choices we’d like to do over.  We’ve all felt the sting of regret. We bear the mark of our mistakes.  Even the mistakes we knew we were making when we did them.  Each of us has been judged and rejected,  unwanted and cast aside.

Have you ever wished it could have been different?  The harm done to you, the harm you did?  Have you ever wished you could relive those days? Or, wish you could forget them forever?

I have.

But maybe you’ve noticed what I’ve noticed. I’ve never won the chance to relive my past by wishing I could.  Truth is… I’ve wasted plenty of my “present” time wishing I could.

For all the men who may be reading this… I have never become a better father or a better husband or even a better man by simply wishing for it. I have never become a better son, a better brother or friend by wishing for it either.

It’s become cliche to say, “Yesterday is in the past”.   But if that is true why are so many men stuck in the past?  Too many of us are stuck in places of past failures or past victories.

Look around you.  Take a look in the mirror with me.  How many of us are nursing old wounds – crippled by past failures, unwilling or unable to move on?

To the other extreme – how many of us are resting on some long past moment of greatness?  You To doearned your degree. Great!!!  You raised your kids. Great!!!  Now what? How did that change your world today? What will you contribute tomorrow?  Some of us are so enamored by our past successes that we’re unable to see the purpose today holds for us. It is not about what you are “able” to do… it’s more about what you were created to be and do.

We were made for more.

Our failures don’t define us – nor do our successes.

What defines us?

Our potential does.  Our passion does.  Our progress does.

More importantly… our relationship with Jesus Christ defines us.

God in His infinite grace fashioned us together for this very moment and for the possibility tomorrow holds.  There’s little good to be found in dwelling on the sweetness or the pain of yesterday.  We are here. We are part of today and what we do today defines what will happen tomorrow.

It’s time to lay aside what has been.  Good or bad… they are the former things.

There’s more race to be run, and it’s all ahead for of us.

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 3:13-14

 

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The Truth Is…

The-Truth-Is-Powerpoint-Background-Title-copy

I did not sit down at the computer to write for over 30 days. 

It has been a long 30 days.

The truth is… I felt lost.

Even when I would take each September off,  I would still write, I just wouldn’t post it.

The truth is…my intention was to take some time off and not write or post to this blog.  I was excited because this new year was like a blank canvas.  I thought about the coming year and I was thinking about what picture I wanted to paint this year with my life.

The truth is… I had to take a long look at myself.

What do I want to do with these days ahead?  What will the year look like when I’m done with it?  

The truth is…I have discovered the hard way that words are easy to write and to say… it is hard to live up to those words.  I do not want to deceive anyone, especially my family because they know if my words match my actions.

The truth is…I won’t get to erase my words if they see me fail or not live up to the words I write.  Each word is like a stroke of the brush that leaves paint on the canvas.  Each decision, each word, each action is like a brush stroke full of paint….it continuly changes the painting daily and it becomes part of the finished product.

The truth is…I know I’m not a gifted writer, but it’s all I have.  I’m trying with each word to create something that pleases God.  I’m trying to take the canvas of this year and make it a work of art.

The truth is…I still feel like I am painting with old, used and ratty brushes.   The ability to paint a picture with clean lines and beautiful blends of colors are hindered by my failure to take care of the brushes that God gave me all those years ago. 

The truth is…my painting, as I finish it this year can still be a beautiful reflection of the grace of God and of Jesus Christ seen in my life.

What will my canvas look like at the end of 2013?  Each day I will be making brush strokes on the canvas of this year.  Each word that touches my canvas and each action leaves color behind.  May it be found with faithfulness to my Savior Jesus Christ and may it be a reflection of the real me as I show others that my actions back up the words I write.

The truth is… I am excited to see the final picture of my journey. 

Come along with me, paint the canvas of your life with the love of Jesus Christ.

Jeremiah-29-11

Sweet Words of Healing

“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24

This week I had the honor and privilege to attend the funeral of Nancy Schueren.

Nancy SchurerenI was saddened by the loss of someone who for the greater part of my elementary years and a good portion of my adult years treated me like a son.  Her son Steve and I had bonded as friends in early 1971 and she immediately took me in and thus started her influence on my life that has lasted over 40 years.

I could no more deny the influence of the Schueren family in my life than I could deny the influence of my own family.  I have written about my friendship with Steve in my post called,  “Save Me a Seat – A Tribute to Steve Schueren” (Click to Read)   This was my tribute to honor Steve and his life.  I wrote it because I had been carrying a lot of guilt and shame because I had let him down in our friendship.  I wrote it because I could not bring myself to go to Steve’s funeral, but I had to in some way give honor to him.  I just could not go and face the Schueren family with my guilt, shame and embarrassment of my failure in my Spiritual walk, not to mention my failure to be the friend that I should have been to Steve and to his family.

I did not write it to get a response from anyone.  It was a just an attempt to clear a burden and weight on my soul.  To my surprise, my tribute to Steve has been read over 7,000 times since I posted it.  I am thankful for that because hopefully people will see what a good man he truly was.

Now to the rest of the story…

For most of the last eighteen years I have spent a lot of time and effort avoiding situations where I would feel uncomfortable and most assuredly I would avoid those situations where  I would make people feel uncomfortable with my presence.  Mostly it was spent in avoiding those who knew me from my former life.  When someone in the ministry fails in their walk with Christ there is a very high price that is paid.  Forgiveness is not something that is offered from other believers easily.  I would avoid as much as I could so as to not cause offense.  When I would be in situations where I would be around someone from my past I would try my best to avoid any direct interaction and most assuredly I would avoid eye contact at all cost.

One Sunday morning, just after Steve passed away I was walking to my car after the morning church service.  I was doing my usual head down and walk in a straight line out to my car.  No eye contact.  No conversation with anyone.  That is when she stopped me.  One of those 7,000 views of my post was read by Nancy Schueren. There was no avoiding the contact.  There was no avoiding the conversation.  I had no idea what to say and I surely had no idea of what she was going to say to me.

Nancy had indeed rforgiveness-2009ead my post about Steve and she grabbed my hand and pulled me in close and looked me in the eye and her first words were, “Thank you for your kind words about Steve and know that I have forgiven you.”    I cannot tell you the  weight that was lifted from my heart.  I have to be honest with you… this was the first time a fellow believer had ever looked me in the eye and told me they have forgiven me since my divorce which at that time was 16 years earlier. 

Those words spoken by a woman broken by the loss of her son were sweet words of healing to my soul.

It was the beginning of the healing of some of the wounds to my heart and while I still struggle with the lack of forgiveness and acceptance from other believers I will always savor the reconciliation and forgiveness from a woman I have looked up to for all of my life.

This week, as I dealt with her death, I remembered  as I listened to her son John and her grandson Jared speak at her funeral, although wounded and hurting from their loss, they were using words of love, healing, and encouragement as they honored a mother and grandmother that was now in arms of Jesus Christ.  These spoken words were sweet, healing, like a warm blanket to the hearer.  I longed to hear more.  I was amazed as I listened.

Our words make a difference.  They can  heal and comfort or hurt and cut to the heart.  We are most Sweet Wordscreative AND most destructive when we speak.  We choose which we will do…build up, encourage, love and comfort or hurt, destroy, and wound.  Our words are powerful!!! Our words are a reflection of our heart.

The Schueren family,  hurting from the loss of their mother and grandmother, was encouraging and comforting others!  Sweet and healing only begin to describe what the kindness of the lips can do in the lives of others.  We all need to know we are loved, to know it from those we care about and when the words of another are encouraging, healing, and loving it changes everything.  It changes us.

I’ve been thinking about these things since I left the funeral.  I am embarrassed at the thought of what may be said about me when the time of my passing is announced.  The footprints of the legacy I left behind will speak for itself.  I cannot change the legacy that I have left behind nor can anyone else that reads this post.  The only option is to live today with the hope that people will find the last years of our life will be found to have been lived in faithfulness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that we spoke words of forgiveness and love for our family and to those who we met along the way.

What I saw in the Schueren family this week were sweet words, kind words, encouraging words.  I wonder how we could change this world if we decided to only speak those types of words.  I long for the day in heaven when those are the only words we will use.

I know that the last 15 months since Steve died were so hard on Nancy and she paid a price with her physical body as she dealt with the loss of a son.  A parent is not supposed to out live their child.  It is one of the hardest experiences we face here on earth.  I am comforted only by knowing that she and Steve are re-united in heaven.  

Thank you Nancy for your influence and for your forgiveness… maybe you will be there when Steve saves me a seat next to him on my first day in heaven.