“For though the Lord is exalted, He regards the lowly”
I wanna do what You want me to.
No empty words and no white lies.
No token prayers, no compromise.
I wanna shine the light You gave, through Your Son You sent to save us, from ourselves and our despair.
It comforts me to know You’re really there.
Well I wanna thank You now, for being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see, when my eyes are on me.
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say.
That You’re coming again. Coming to take me away.
I wanna tell the world out there You’re not some fable or fairy tale that I’ve made up inside my head.
You’re God the Son and You’ve risen from the dead.
I wanna die and let You give your life to me so I might live and share the hope You gave me.
The love that set me free.
Most of us have big dreams. Many of those dreams involve becoming rich and famous, winning the Powerball lottery, becoming a star athlete, or marrying a celebrity.
I hate to burst your bubble, but the odds of these types of dreams coming true for most of us are pretty much impossible.
One of my many secret dreams as a child was to become a member and sing with the Motown group, The Temptations. In my dreams, I had the dance moves down. I could sing all the parts and I wrote all of the music.
The reality was not so convincing when I would really take a look at my dance moves and listen to my singing ability in front of a mirror in my bedroom growing up.
It was not pretty.
None of it.
But the fact that I was white (that in of itself would have kept me from becoming a Temptation, even if I could dance and sing) and that I was a member of an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church, proved that I had no rhythm and could not sing as good as I did in my dreams.
But, like many childhood fantasies, I still have those dreams every once in a while. I wake up the next morning feeling sad because I was only dreaming. But the sadness only lasts until the next dream emerges.
But there are dreams that are not tied to childhood fantasy. Dreams that God has placed in you. Dreams of what God can do within you.
As I pass people on the street, I can’t help but wonder about the dreams of the people I pass. Have their childhood fantasies been realized? Do their lives resemble anything close to those dreams, or have they taken on new aspirations?
We all dream, and the capacity for dreaming and pursuing those dreams is a gift God has given each of us.
These types of dreams come from deep inside, and they inspire us to do and be better.
They offer us significance, legacy, and a life well lived.
They put our mark on the world and prove that what we do matters.
Every person is born to pursue them; but, unlike the childhood dreams that are fantastical and out of reach, these dreams absolutely can come true.
We are on this earth for a purpose. What we do and how we live matters, not just to us but to those on the receiving end of our realized dreams.
And it matters to God.
The greatest discovery you can make is to learn what God has created you to accomplish. When you discover your purpose, pursue it with diligence, and see the effects and power of that pursuit, you experience the adventure of a lifetime!
So… follow your dreams… maybe one day you will find a place where your dreams and reality become one.
I don’t know about you but I find myself “waiting” in lines quite often.
I guess I have to find a better way to deal with it because in my 55 years I don’t deal with it very well. I just gotta to get used to it!
Lines are plentiful, whether we are in traffic, store checkout lines and waiting to get into a special event.
I’m not very good at choosing the right lines.
The “right lines” of course, are the quickest and smoothest lines.
It does not matter if I’m at the grocery store, Target, the line to get hot dogs at the game, or the line to get in or out of a parking lot; I pick the wrong line.
There is an art and a science to this.
The science of ‘line-oligy” has, to this point in my life, eluded me.
If I pick the shortest line and get in it, then immediately something happens. A guy wants to pay with a check but doesn’t have his ID. A woman wants to pay the entire $7.38 in coins, while talking on their cell phone and trying to find a coupon in her purse.
Or, it’s a shift change and the employee has to change out the cash drawer with the new checker and she is in the process of telling the replacement every single detail of her day.
I also get caught up in line checking. I look to see where the guy next to me is and base my progress on how fast his line is moving. It never fails, my line goes into ‘slo-mo’, as the longer line begins to zip along like they were on a moving sidewalk. Even if I use the reverse logic and get into one of the longer lines, then of course it remains the longest line.
So, a few weeks ago, my wife and I went to IKEA. We had wonderful lunch there and just walked peacefully through the store looking at all of the neat ideas and deals that one finds there.
We had no place to be. Just a relaxing day together. It was wonderful.
Then we get to the checkout.
For all of IKEA’s great ideas, they still have not mastered the checkout line.
My wife, who is used to my impatience when it comes to waiting in line, usually finds a way to distract me or will slip away for a few minutes so she doesn’t have to hear or see me start the breakdown of my sanity that happens when I wait in line.
She thinks I don’t know she slips away intentionally to let me deal with waiting in that line alone.
But I am aware of her tactics.
As my wife stealthily slipped away yesterday I immediately start to stress out.
Now mind you, only a mere a few minutes earlier I was slowly strolling through the store like I didn’t have a care in the world.
“Why would you choose this line??” I think to myself. “It’s the longest one.”
I begin to glare at the cashier like I’m trying to force solve a calculus equation.
I act as if it is life or death and my blood pressure rises to the point that I start to see red and then my wife calmly comes back and reminds me that it really doesn’t matter and that I just need to relax.
The truth is… waiting in line is trivial. Most of the choices we make in life are trivial. Other choices are crucial to living the purpose for which we were created. There are monumental decisions like whom you will marry, where you will live and what you will pursue in life.
The choice of which line to check out of the store should not cause you heartache. But, I’ve noticed, that it’s the little decisions in life, like choosing the wrong line that most times cause the most stress.
So I came up with some things to ponder when I am in line to help relieve the stress and anxiety that I feel.
Five Things to Ponder While Waiting in Line.
1. Find something to be grateful for and think of ways to express it.
- Gratitude, when it’s genuine and expressed outwardly, changes perspective on most situations.
2. Look for someone you can encourage.
- There is no person who does not need encouragement. I need it often. Those who I think probably don’t need it, need it more than I realize.
3. Forgive someone.
- Is there someone I need to forgive? Are the “flagrant fouls” that people have contributed to me in life still there? Even if I’m not over the hurt, I can still attempt to keep my heart focused in the right direction. That direction is forgiveness.
4. Who do I need to say, “I love you” to?
- It reminds me to say, “I love you more often.” I don’t want people I care about to wonder if I love them. I don’t want people I love to have to try hard to remember the last time I told them.
5. What am I writing in today’s chapter of my story?
- Our life is a story. Our history has written a part of our story. What am I leaving behind on my journey? The decisions I make today of how I react to situations both write my present and future chapters of my story.
This is our one and only life. This one is the only one we get. What we do with our life matters. It matters to you, to those closest to you, and it matters to God.
So I ask myself, what decision do I need to make, to write the next chapter in my story? Is there a decision that will build my faith or my strength, and in doing so write a better life story?
I want to tell a better story of my future than the story of my past.
I may not ever eliminate my stress level when I choose the wrong line. But I am trying to focus on better things than my frustration.
How about you? Are you waiting in the same lines as me?
Let’s try to do better… let’s try to be better.
Something to ponder on… until next time.
I woke up this morning at 4:00 AM.
I had a dream that was so real and it was a memory that I had buried and forgotten about.
In my dream, I am watching the events as they happen. It is like watching a movie that you know what is going to happen and you wish you could change the events that were about to take place. I cannot change it. The reason why the story doesn’t change is because it retells an actual event that happened in December of 1971.
Why am I waking up in a cold sweat remembering an event that took place over 45 years ago?
Here is the story…
When I was in fifth grade there was a new boy who came into our class. He was new to our school. He started about three weeks into the school year.
By that time in school everyone had divided themselves into their own social subgroups and friends. Everyone already found a place to fit in. You usually hung with two or three other buddies and for the most part everyone got along. We had all grown up together and most of us had the same teachers since we were in kindergarten.
Maybe if he had his picture in our class composite he may have been remembered by more people. He didn’t have his picture taken. He missed picture day and I probably would have forgotten all about him had I not had a life event that involved him.
Nobody played with Darrell. He was an outcast. He was alone.
He was shunned by the whole class, and you would be shunned too if you sat with him at lunch or joined him in his solitary games at the fringe of the playground during recess. It was bad enough to have him in the same classroom.
All you needed to know about Darrell was that he was filthy. Smelled and wore the same clothes almost every day of the week. Looked like he slept in them most of the time. He was loud and it seemed to my 10-year-old thinking he was trying to keep people away from him.
He was ignored and over-looked. The butt of cruel jokes and commentary that were so much of the conversations of other 5th grade boys.
I had never spoken to Darrell.
His family had moved into a run-down house just a few blocks from my own and I never once saw him riding his bike or even playing outside. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t tell you if he even had a bike.
Frankly, that’s all I knew about him. And I thought that there was nothing else to know about him.
As the Christmas holiday approached, we drew names to exchange gifts. I was happy I did not get Darrell’s name, I just wasn’t sure who drew my name.
I’m sitting in my 5th grade classroom on the last day of school before Christmas break. Mrs. Day is my teacher and I am waiting for our Christmas party to begin.
I waited anxiously and noticed that Darrell had given his tattered wrapped present to another student so I knew he did not draw my name. I saw that he received his present from another student and I waited… but no one brought me a present.
My name had been drawn by another student that was absent that day. I didn’t get a gift. And everybody else noticed. The teacher said, “Oh, that’s okay. We’ll make sure you’ll get it when we get back from Christmas.”
Bullies and time had already taught me all too well that you don’t cry in public. Stuff like that wasn’t supposed to matter. I strained to make myself look unfazed, but I remember how hot my face was and that my throat was so tight that I could barely speak.
I felt like I had just gotten a big fat rejection notice.
All the other kids started playing some game. I stood off to the side trying not to vomit.
Out of the corner of my left eye I saw some movement. I turned to see Darrell holding something out to me. It was a book-shaped box containing several rolls of Lifesaver candies. A common Christmas gift in that day. The sort of thing you grab at checkout stand when you don’t really want to think too much about the gift. That’s what someone had given him.
He put it in my hand and said, “I want you to have this.”
I just stood there. I didn’t know what to say and couldn’t have said it even if I had known. My throat was so tight I could barely breathe. Finally, I croaked, “But it’s yours.”
Darrell said, “And I’ve already gotten it. Now it’s yours. Everybody should get something at Christmas.”
I just stared at him. Not because I was at a loss for words or was afraid I would cry.
For the first time, I noticed how nice and kind Darrell was.
I tried to give it back to him. He refused and walked away and retreated to the same corner of the room where he would carry on conversations with himself and play his solitary games.
In shame that I carry to this very day, I was too afraid to say anything to anyone. I didn’t even say thank you to him. I hid the gift in my desk and tried to assimilate back into my group of friends. All the while knowing that there was a boy playing by himself in the corner that was a much better person than I was.
Now I wish I could tell you more about Darrell. I wish I could say that we had become fast friends and that maybe I had even helped all the other kids discover what a good person we had in our midst.
But that isn’t the truth. I have not one single memory of Darrell after that. I learned that his family moved away over the Christmas break. Something I am sure was something he was used to.
In time, the house that he lived in would remain empty and eventually torn down.
I returned from that Christmas break, just as concerned to finding my own place in my little world of Oak Harbor, Ohio and to avoid being the outcast and rejected.
In my own eyes, I was not enough. Sometimes I was blinded by the effort to be accepted. Envy and intimidation blinded me at other times. There were times, I was condescending or competitive or too preoccupied with my own fears and wounds and grievances.
Blindness becomes a habit.
We learn early in life to see only certain kinds of people. The ones who we think matter.
And we learn to look past or look through other kinds of people.
Those who we think don’t matter.
I suspect we fear the stretching and growth we would experience if we would see people as God sees them.
Darrell may have continued to be the ostracized loner, maybe he moved to Argentina, or been abducted by aliens. Maybe he is the homeless man I pass along the way. He may even be my neighbor that I don’t know that currently lives a few doors down from me.
He may be a doctor or surgeon that has saved many lives. He may have been a solider that selflessly fought bravely for the freedoms I enjoy.
He may have become a teacher that changed lives. He may be the guy that works at the local factory. Maybe he is the mechanic that works on my car.
He may have become a great husband and father that raised good kids. Kids that accept others who may be different from them.
I have no idea. I’d like to think that many of these options are a possibility.
What I do know is that a young boy that spent a few months in Oak Harbor, Ohio in the early 1970’s was a better human being than I was.
So why the dream?
I am coming to the conclusion that even after all these years, I still have a lot to learn about acceptance. I have more to learn about loving people where they are in life.
I still have time to become a better person. I still have a chance to get it right.
How about you?
A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of mine.
One beautiful Spring day when we both had some time and he called and asked me to go sailing with him. I was thrilled to join him. I had sailed before and looked forward to the experience once again.
We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone.
If you are familiar with Lake Erie, it’s a large lake and a great place to sail. The problem with sailing on Lake Erie is that for such a large lake is relatively shallow. On the western basin of the lake, it averages only around 25-30 ft deep. Being so shallow, if there is any real wind, it can cause the waves to swell and it can make a trip on the lake a rough one.
But not this day. We had a great time and a wonderful day on the lake.
Then it happened.
Suddenly, and really without warning, a storm came up.
It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 5-6 foot waves, black clouds moving overhead.
Quickly the lake cleared of other boats. Within minutes we alone and we were in the middle of the storm.
Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was intense.
I WAS AFRAID!
But then I turned around and looked at my friend as he steered the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING! I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t he see what I saw? Didn’t he know this was bad?
In my amazement I yelled through the storm, “How can you smile in this storm? Don’t you see the wind and the waves?”
I heard the fear in my own voice as I said, “Don’t you care that we might drown?”
My friend smiled back and said, “You don’t understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride.”
Suddenly, my fear subsided.
I had looked at the captain’s face. He knew things about our boat that I didn’t.
He knew we were fine.
Within a few moments my fear turned to calm.
Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride.
Nothing had changed… the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves still washed over the deck, but something was different… I had seen the captain’s face.
The Christian life is much like this little adventure of mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our finances, our health.
This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect it.
I can imagine what the disciples experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus during a raging storm and declared, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?”
I finally understood the fear they experienced.
Fears overwhelm us.
Death feels close.
Panic is in our voices.
But then, with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that He is there.
He is there with a look of comfort on His face and with no fear.
How can He be so calm in this storm? Doesn’t he know we are about to go down?
And Jesus replies, “You don’t understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for you. You are fine. I’ll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride.”
- I am convinced that as I go through this life, that sometimes God calms the storm… sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.
It’s funny how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into an exciting adventure.
A look to the captain’s face can make all the difference in the world.
I try my hardest not to write until I get up in the morning.
Most often, I find myself waking up in a rush about 3:00 AM.
My thoughts rushing through me and just flooding my mind.
I want to jump up and put them sentence form. Inspiration on overload.
I fight the urge to get up and turn on my computer. I do what I can to force myself back to sleep. Work awaits in the morning and I have to get up in a few hours. I try to convince myself that I will remember the detail and will be able to write with the same feeling and perspective in the morning.
Much like the dreams we dream at night, we never quite remember them the same way in the morning. Those vivid dreams that seem so real in that moment of sleep, most times are not so vivid when you try to explain them to someone the next morning. It usually comes out as a bunch of blurry details that don’t flow together at all.
They sure do seem real and clear when we experience them right?
That is how these thoughts seem to me when they are so clear at 3:00 AM but seem empty and blurry when I am pressed to try to write them down in the morning.
Now to clarify… I honestly do not feel like I am a good writer. Regardless of when I respond to these moments of inspiration, my words lack the same impact of those I read by real writers. The thoughts that I have in these bursts of inspiration are not worthy of much more than making me feel able to express myself.
In that expression, I find a sense of being comfortable in my skin.
It comforts me. It doesn’t matter if they are good or not.
I write because it makes me feel productive.
I know that my grandmother loved to paint. While my family always was kind when she would paint something. It wasn’t until she passed away that her paintings took on a different appreciation. They are so valuable to me now.
I would love to see them survive for many years to come.
Are they great? Will they ever be hung in an art gallery? Absolutely not.
That really isn’t the point. These paintings express her inspiration and in some way made her feel productive and complete. They are a reflection of who she was.
Over the years, I have always said that I write to leave something for my grand kids to read on day.
While I convince myself that this is true on some level, the truth is I write for me.
I have been given a gift of being able to write and feel complete and productive as I express myself in words. It doesn’t matter if anyone likes them or not. They don’t have to be good in other people’s opinion. I do not need that affirmation to feel better about myself.
When I reflect over the past 9 years of writing this blog. I have found that I am not the same person I was from all those years ago. From my perspective, the bitterness that I so often directed at people who did not deserve it when I was younger, has been tempered by my ability to express myself in words. I express myself better in writing than in my spoken word.
I wasn’t planning to write anything today in this space but I find that my little writing corner on the internet gets quiet when I get away from the creation process and spiral into trying to be perfect. It’s a tiring game to think of things to write. I struggle with looking at the lives of other people who seem to have it all together and wishing I could be more like them.
So at 3:00 AM this morning, in a burst of inspiration, I sat down in front of my desktop. The message is for all who read this is to find a way to express yourself. Find a way to make your mark. Find a way to let people know you were here. Express yourself your own way.
Don’t stray from you. Don’t look to other people as if they are going to start your journey for you. Sit down and find someway to express yourself. You’ll find freedom you never thought was there. Do your thing. Use your keys to this life that God gave you. It’s your journey and it doesn’t belong to anyone else. No one but you will suffer if you never take the journey. Time is of the essence. The time is now. Don’t miss or grieve over the life you didn’t live.
If you are someone who creates things then make life about the creation. You can admire the creations of others but don’t waste your best hours of the day watching other people. Use your hours wisely. Do the work. Even if you only get 20 minutes in a given day to make something, make it happen.
We run around like maniacs claiming there isn’t enough time in the day. Complain over the most trivial things. We hurt ourselves with the curse of being “busy.”
We don’t see how much time we waste with scrolling, clicking and liking.
Maybe you get wrapped up in stuff that doesn’t matter. Maybe you have forgotten what you truly love. Time isn’t up though. You can still go back to yourself. You can start over. You can open doors to new things. You can have a new beginning. You can find the peace and freedom of expressing yourself and leaving a mark on this earth, for the good. You can leave something that people will remember forever. You can do this.
Life hasn’t called and asked you to come and turn in your keys yet.
Start while you still have the keys. Go.
I recently was in a training session for work. The question was asked, “If you could speak with any kind of expert about anything in the world, what would you want to know?”
The group came up with a lot of good questions. Most of them were about money, health, career, family and more.
But one person responded, “How can I know my life’s purpose?”
The room got really quiet. The trainer just kind of laughed it off and moved on. It was obvious that he did not have an answer to that one.
For the rest of the day, this person’s response weighed in my mind.
Can you relate? I’ll bet each of us would admit that at some point, that question was at the top of our list to get the answer.
How can you know your life’s purpose?
Over the years, I remember desperately longing to know my purpose and wondering if I was somehow missing it.
For a long time, I couldn’t relax in my work (and otherwise) for fear that I was off course and somehow ruining my future.
But today, as I sat there thinking about the question, I came to this conclusion…
“What is my life’s purpose?” is one of the least helpful questions we’re all asking ourselves.
Yes… I said LEAST helpful.
Because here’s the thing – it’s unanswerable.
We’re obsessing over a question we don’t have the capacity to answer.
There’s a better question for us, one that will help focus our efforts today and lead us to where we need to be tomorrow.
That question is… “What is my purpose for today?”
Don’t you like the sound of that better?
Far too many times, I have been wondering about the future, making plans and waiting for it to come around. I thought that “someday” I would finally find out what my purpose in life really was.
Will I have a great moment in history? Probably not.
Will I do or say something someday that will change the world?
Again… probably not.
Truth is… my purpose is to do and be the person I am supposed to be today. If I take care of today… tomorrow takes care of itself.
This is the real stuff that makes a life. This is my purpose… now.
It may seem obvious, but look around. How many people in your life are waiting for some big revelation before they’ll start?
We have no promise of a tomorrow. Only today.
And as we do the things we know to do today, we will stumble into things we could never plan and in the process, we change the world in a thousand ways… that only we can.
How do you know what your next purpose is? I can’t say for sure, but it is not easy to find when you consider your fears and the lies swirling in your head that keep you from doing what you need to do today.
How about doing this…
How about we start by considering the needs of those who are directly in our life?
Seems like a worthy place to start to me.
So maybe it’s time to give up trying to solve the unsolvable,
To know what’s unknowable,
To see what’s unseeable.
Maybe it’s time to ditch the question, “What is the purpose of my life?”
And replace it with, “What is my purpose for today?”
Friday morning about 3:00 AM, I woke up and tossed and turned for a while before I got up and sat in my office. A story that I had never really thought about was suddenly in my thoughts. I could not shake these thoughts from my head. I wanted them to go away so that I could go back to sleep. It didn’t happen.
What were these thoughts?
I could not shake the thoughts of when I taught my daughter, Cassidy to ride her bike.
Why did this story flood my thoughts? This happened a long time ago.
I just could not stop thinking about it. I had to get some sleep because in the morning I needed to drive my sister-in law Lynn to the Cleveland Clinic. She has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and her journey to fight and overcome it is now in front of her.
Driving home from Cleveland it started to make sense to me.
God was telling me to apply the lessons learned from this story.
The encouragement from it is directed to our family. The call is for us to remain positive, resilient, unified in the common cause, to help Lynn overcome that which is placed in front of her.
And while it is easy to question and wonder why all of this is happening. We will remain steadfast and persistent in the confidence that God knows what He is doing.
My hope is that this will be an encouragement to all of us and to those that may read this.
Cassidy was ecstatic – until she noticed that I’d removed her training wheels.
“David, where are the little wheels?”
“They’re gone, You’re 5 now. You don’t need them anymore.”
“No, David; I do! I can’t ride without them. Will you please put them back?”
“Nope, it’s time. You can do it. I am here – I’ll help you.”
Much whining commenced, but in the end, she relented and got up on her bike to try. I assumed the position that every parent has found themselves in at some point.
Left hand on the handle bars, right hand under the seat – trying to run sideways as fast and as far as I could.
Which as a fat man… wasn’t very fast, nor far.
And when I couldn’t keep up, I gave her a push.
“You’re doing it! Keep going!”
It was a beautiful sight… for about 3 seconds… and then she crashed… hard.
I coaxed her back up a few times, but it always ended as it had begun – Cassidy on the ground, scraped up, crying and working on a new bruise.
If you knew Cassidy at that time in life, she had quite the stubborn streak. When she’d had enough, she stood up, left her bike where it landed and began walking home.
“Cassidy… where are you going?”
“I don’t want my bike anymore, I can’t do it.”
She wasn’t trying to be dramatic. She meant it.
She didn’t see a way over the hurdle in front of her. In her mind, it was impossible for her to ride it without the crutch (those little wheels) she’d grown to expect and rely on.
So she gave up; she quit.
In that moment, my heart broke a little. The thought of her feeling incomplete or incapable in any way pierced me, even over something so small. I wanted to intervene, I wanted to force her but what could I do?
It wasn’t enough for me to believe she could do it.
She had to believe for herself.
This was her journey – and she decided she was done.
So, I picked up her bike – and walked her home.
Thankfully, that’s not how this story ends because after a few days, I talked her into trying it again. And before you credit my parenting skills of breaking the iron will that Cassidy had, I must admit, I was afraid she would give up.
Such a pivotal moment for such a young child.
Would she always back down when things that became hard and difficult? Would she shy away in fear of failure? Would she quit when it seemed impossible?
What happened next changed my perspective on life.
Cassidy climbed up on her seat and with the best push-off I could muster, in a burst of energy and faith, she took off.
Tons of passion – not a ton of skill, so you know how that ended.
As she stood up, looking at a freshly scraped knee and then at me. She gave me a look like only Cassidy could and I felt a chill run down my back. She was not happy.
I could almost see her standing at a crossroad.
She could retreat to where she was safe – and sad – or she could try again and move a little closer to the awesome thing waiting for her.
This moment would cut a path for her, in either direction.
I shook off her look and I ran over to her and put my face close to hers.
“Do you wanna know a secret?”
She nodded her head.
“Did you know there’s a really special trick to riding a bike that only big kids know?”
Her eyes got big and she looked at me with a puzzled look.
“What is it?” she asked.
Slowly, like I was delivering top-secret information, I whispered,
“Are you listening good?” she nodded again in approval.
“You’ve gotta steer straight, keep your head up, look forward and keep peddling. Just keep pedaling… don’t stop!!!”
“No matter what, you can’t stop pedaling or you’ll crash. And even if you pedal really hard, if you jerk the wheel around all over the place, you’ll crash. You’ve got to keep your wheel straight, keep your head up, look forward and just keep pedaling. That’s the secret. You got it?”
“Yes” she nodded, but not quite convincing herself.
Cassidy resigned herself to give it one more try. I was nervous because if she failed again she would not ever believe me again. She would start to believe that she could not trust me.
Cassidy climbed back on and positioned her feet for takeoff. I gave her a little push and as she pulled away, I reminded her to “Steer straight and keep pedaling… Steer straight, keep your head up and keep pedaling… Steer straight, look forward and just keep pedaling… don’t stop.”
Losing her balance, she jerked the wheel far left and right a few times, but this time, she immediately corrected and steadied herself.
Her head was held high and looking forward now, instead of down – and her courage began to swell.
She picked up speed and I whispered to myself, as if I could will her to get it right, “Come on Cassidy… steer straight and keep pedaling… don’t stop.”
With her wheels turning faster and faster, moving farther away from me, I yelled out one last time… “Steer straight and keep pedaling!!”
And in that single moment, right before my eyes, I watched Cassidy step out of her past and into her future.
It’s rare that we get to see someone’s moment of breakthrough so clearly. Watching it up close was inspiring – not because she learned to ride her bike – but because she overcame her fear and the lie playing in her head that she couldn’t do it.
What had been impossible for Cassidy just a day before not only became possible – it became reality.
Lynn… in the coming weeks and months there will be times that you will struggle. There will be times when you want to quit. We know the challenge that you are facing. Days will seem impossible. You’ll fight the urge to quit.
You most certainly will have doubts. But know this… we are here.
With one hand on the handlebar, the other under the seat. If you fall… we will help you get back up.
We will hold you until God takes over.
Lean in with your head up and keep pedaling.
When you think, you can’t, when experience says it won’t work, when the pain affects your will, and when you bear the bruises and scars of previous attempts…
Be Brave… keep steering straight, keep your head up, look forward and keep pedaling.
Don’t stop. We are here… to win it… with you.
As a family, we will press on. We will encourage each other.
We will stay the course. We will remain #CASESTRONG.
In the valleys that are in front of Lynn, we are comforted by knowing that God will not leave her there. Because we know that God knows what He is doing.
Steer straight Lynn… keep your head up, look forward and don’t ever stop pedaling.