This is Me

Who am I?

I am a man that grew up in the small American town of Oak Harbor, Ohio… that is where I grew up.   Where I didn’t think twice about playing on someone else’s lawn.  I could ride my bike with reckless abandon.  Where, besides the fact that my territory occasionally got invaded by a passing car, the block was my world.

My family is made up of my father, Robert, my mother, Agnes and my brothers James (Jim) and Robert (Bobby) and my sister Linda.  I am the youngest of the children and have always been treated accordingly.  I was born into a family that was at best on the outside appeared moderately “traditional” in the way of the early 1960’s.

My Dad worked and my Mom raised the kids.

While it was far from ideal, I did not have a terrible childhood and I don’t blame anyone for my decisions and failures in my life.   We weren’t poor. I have seen poor in my life and that would not have best described us.  On the other hand, we were not rich either. No silver spoons to eat with, just the lower level of Middle America. We never owned the house that we lived in, yet my dad always had a new car in the driveway.

On November 5, 1970, my brother was killed in a car-train crash.   Robert Allen Lee was born on June 9, 1956, and was the second of four children born into my family.  Bobby loved the outdoors and animals. He loved to hunt and trap.  He always had some kind of pet whether it was a rabbit, a hamster or a bird.

On that fateful day,  he was in a car driven by my cousin (Larry Mills) that came to pick me up from school.   In the car with him was his best friend Harold “Buster” Chandler.   They picked me up from school and we headed for home.   Larry was going to drop me off, then take Bobby and Buster to where they had some trap lines to check.  As we pulled into the driveway, I asked Larry if I could ride with him to drop the boys off.   He said that my Mom had told him to drop me off first.   I opened the car door and my Mom opened the front door of the house.   I asked her if I could go with them and my mom said no.   Like any other kid, I asked again and when she said no again, I shouldered past her going into the house.   I bumped into her and was mumbling under my breath about how stupid it was that she would not let me go.

Just a few minutes later, two blocks down the street, …they were hit by a train.  All three were killed instantly. Larry was 18, Buster was 13 and my brother Bobby was 14.   I was 10 at the time and I am thankful for the time that I had with my brother.  I still miss him and think of him often.   I wonder what he would be like today.

To this very day, my Mom cannot tell you why she told me no.   98% of the time she would have said yes…  I am so thankful that she said no.

As a result of his death, I was led to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ two days later in the back of Robinson’s  Funeral Home in Oak Harbor.   My whole family found the Lord as a result of it.

My teenage years were marked with the same bumps, bruises, and awkwardness that most teenagers go through.  I experienced my first “love”,  first kiss and closely followed by my first heartache and the first breakup.  There would be more as the years passed.  I played sports and have wonderful memories of being on a winning and losing teams. 

I survived high school.

I was the only one of the family that had the opportunity to go to college.  I was educated and trained at Liberty University, where I learned that there was much more in this life than my little world in Ohio.  While I was a student at Liberty, I was part of a music team that traveled all over the United States promoting Missions and our obligation to evangelize the world.  I traveled to almost every state in the union and  I traveled around the world and spent extended time in Brazil, where I swam in the Amazon River,  and South Africa, where I was in Soweto just outside Johannesburg during the time when Apartheid was flourishing.

I met and even had the opportunity to shake hands with President Ronald Reagan and then-Vice President George H.W.  Bush.    I had the accomplished all of this before I was 23.

After graduating from college, I spent the next 12 years of my life (from 23 to 35) as a Christian High School principal.  I was blessed with the birth of two sons,  Nathan and Adam.  I have wonderful and cherished memories from that time of my life as a teacher and principal.  I had the wonderful opportunity that most people never have.  I got to do and be exactly what I wanted to be for 12 years of my life. 

Since then, I have had a successful career in management with one of the largest privately held companies in the world and I love what I do.

My wife and I attend Grace Community Church in Fremont, Ohio. 

I write every day because I know there is more for me to do.

I write because I know I have something left to give.

I know that I am more than I have been.

I am a simple man looking for grace and forgiveness.

When it is all said and done, at the end of my life, I am sure there will be many things said about me.  I am sure that the words to describe me will vary about as much as the times I have been successful and the times I have failed.

Say what you will.

I can think of no higher honor than to have words that describe me as a man that loved his God, his wife Pamela, his children and future grandchildren…and that I was simply a “mommas boy”.

Simply put…

That is…  Just Me.

8 thoughts on “This is Me

  1. It is you indeed. Nice to know people like you.. I mean God fearing ones.
    I’ve read a blog recently. It was blasphemous.. I was sad and frustrated for a while, but then God could have also caused to harden their hearts… We can’t question that. Everything has a reason. Everything has a purpose.

  2. OUTSTANDING…your “about” section as well as your post on “Mistakes we knew we were making…” (from today, 02-08-10) show SO clearly that you, Mr. Legacy-Builder, are learning well the lessons on GRACE from the Master Teacher — our Lord Jesus Himself, the great Grace-Giver. But…A-ha! It is SO hard to give *ourselves* that grace, isn’t it? Wittingly or unwittingly, so many others — who have received the greatest “grace” (the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who in His death did a complete “white-out” of our every sin — past/present/future) are among the LEAST grace-giving to others, thus compounding our own inability to forgive ourselves, & to set ourselves free from the continual condemnation from the Designated Accuser!

    May you be encouraged and strengthened, deep in your spirit, to know that our God IS a God of forgiveness… And that He forgives sins of all “shades” of black: BLACK-black. “Light-black” (aka: “gray” ~ like that of gossip, whereby no other person knows the source of the words that are flying around to destroy another’s reputation). “Off-white-black”! If He were not strong enough to forgive ALL sin, of ALL “shades”, then He would not be strong enough to be the Savior Who died for the sins of the WORLD. Whew! What a GRACE-full God Who has redeemed us! May those of us who have received the “least” grace from humans be among the “most” grace-giving to others, and in this way, BLESS our ‘enemies’ (anyone who works against God & His transformation processes in our lives, even if they claim to name the Name, can still be an ‘enemy’). Among the Accuser’s strategies to ‘steal, kill, & to destroy’ us, using other *Jesus-believers* must surely rank among his “favs”…

    May God continue to “grace” you with His GREAT grace to forgive, to affirm & to come alongside others in their struggles, and to speak the Truth clearly and boldly regarding “Respectable Sins” (cf Jerry Bridges’ great book with the same title). KEEP UP the good work! How DEAR you are to GOD! How He LOVES you, and your desire to “chase hard” after Him. Plug your ears WELL when the Accuser starts to whisper his lies, whether directly into your ears, or via those who should be fellow GRACE-givers. YES!!! “GREATER is He that is IN you, than he that is in the world.”

  3. Michael,

    I have a 38 year-old son, I’ll call him Kyle, who is sitting in jail today. He spent about 5 days with us at Thanksgiving and we took him home 60 miles away where he lives with the half-sister of his second x-wife. That is painful to say. We tried to teach him in the ways of God, but he tasted alcohol and drugs. He has never been able to leave it alone for very long since he started. That is why I had to take him home, no license, no car, and no job.

    Monday, after we took him home on Sunday, he did some more stupid things and that is why he is in jail, or is it. I think God truly has him as a “Captive Audience.” Kyle is saying all the right things, but after years of being around us and attending a Christian school, he knows the right things to say. He has been in jail before and said the right things, but this time he will probably be there for a few months. I hope what he is saying is coming from a truly repentant heart. Time will tell.

    I was preparing a Sunday School lesson a couple of weeks ago and it was talking about the fact that all of us would like to have a “Reset” or “Do over” button we could use when needed. For me, that is quite often. I Googled those words and selected images because I wanted to post these buttons on the wall during my lesson. Almost at the top, I found one that said “Do Over” and “How to get a Second Chance at Life”. I intended only to add it to the couple of others I had already downloaded to print out. However, I “accidently” double clicked it and was taken to your blog. That is where you come in.

    I saw Kyle all in your story. God had already spoken to my heart that I should use this time, where contacts with the outside world are only for very brief periods, to remind Kyle of some of the things he already knew. I have written some things and have sent him your “Second Chance” and “This is me” stories. Kyle tells me the prisoners put letters and pictures they receive on their walls with toothpaste. They read them over and over. The original 2 letters I sent Kyle were returned to me because I had put envelopes in them for him to send out letters. It seems some people lace the glue of the envelopes with drugs and they are forbidden. Like all things their return was for a reason, but I just don’t fully understand that reason yet. I re-mailed them and he has received them now.

    Last night when I talked with Kyle he said this to me, “Dad, if you are going to keep sending things like this, could you please make an extra copy. There are a lot of people in here who have no hope and need some encouragement.” So with your permission, I will continue to send him selected reflections from your blog (of course giving you credit) along with things I write and other things I find. I have to send them in their entirety because he can’t just look them up on the internet.

    I just wanted you to know that what you are writing is not only helping those of us who find ourselves in the prisons we create in our own lives, but also in the physical prisons some may find themselves in.

    Thanks for using your gifts God has entrusted you with.

    Kyle’s Dad

  4. I found your blog by accident but it’s truly inspiring and thought provoking. I’ll try to get back here to read some more. Till then thank you for sharing.

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