Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado

Tracey and I are in Aspen, Colorado this weekend celebrating her 52nd birthday.

Our plan is for her to fly back on Tuesday, April 4 (someone has to be there for Jackson) and I will stay here until April 12 working on the final few chapters of the book. Personally, I can’t think of a better place to write than in the beautiful majestic mountains. Even Jesus went to the mountains to pray.

Interesting, since arriving in Aspen on Friday afternoon, all we have done is sleep.

Last Wednesday was my 72nd round of chemotherapy. In an effort to squeeze the most out of this weekend Tracey and I scheduled a flight to depart Nashville at 5:45am on Thursday.

The night prior to departing we had a lot to accomplish and we both got only around 3 hours of sleep. Upon arrival, in Denver, we had breakfast with Nanci Ricks, President – Empart USA. Following this meal, we headed to Michelle and Jeff Spadafora’s home where we napped and enjoyed a dinner with some of their closest friends.

This dinner was full of deep discussion and sharing from the heart. Our new friends Eileen and Jeff shared of how their lives have changed since losing their house to a fire this past Christmas. They literally emerged with nothing more than their lives. They didn’t even have shoes when they escaped.

This experience, for them, was a reset. It has forced them to wrestle with the question, what is really important? Why are we still here? How can we come alongside God in order to accomplish his purpose and plan for our lives?

Interesting, the questions they are asking and the stance they have taken isn’t far from where Tracey and I have landed with our challenge. I am fully convinced of the truth found in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Do we really believe this? ALL things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose?

How about if…
– we pray for healing but our loved one dies anyway?
– we are wrestling with chronic illness of any sort?
– we have severe stress and anxiety?
– we lose our house to fire over the Christmas holidays?

Paul said, “ALL things God works for the good.”

Personally, I am thankful I have been given a cross to carry for this season of life because it reminds me this life is not about me…it is much bigger than that and embracing this reality makes life exponentially more rewarding.

However, whatever I do I must engage in his timing and at his pace. Since Friday Tracey and I have slept 20+ hours, much needed sleep I might add, since we sabotaged our rest Wednesday night in an effort to get out of town.

It is Sunday morning and we are well rested, dressing, and heading out to the adventure. Today we will celebrate her birthday at the Pine Creek Cookhouse, an absolutely gorgeous cabin in the mountainous terrain offered by Aspen.

As we celebrate Tracey, we are praying God will use us to be an encouragement to whoever he brings our way. May we get our eyes off of us and on to others, life is more rewarding when we live in this way.

May we all remember the truth found in Romans 8:28 and live accordingly.

Amen

What Would Have Been.

If life had gone as planned…

  • I would be 51 years old and, deep inside, I would be living a timid and somewhat fearful life.
  • I would have been gainfully employed and focusing most of my time and energy on exceeding next quarters earnings.
  • I would be attempting to follow Jesus using my plan in my way.
  • I would have been working as hard as I could to gain God’s approval, your approval, and the approval of others while being overcome with fear knowing I would never measure up.

The fact is…I would have never understood the joy (the life) found in following Jesus with reckless abandon. I would have never experienced the joy of sensing the promptings of the Holy Spirit and acting in obedience to what He asks me to do.

In God’s grace, He allowed me to get sick so I would slow down and abandon my personal plans thus moving out of the way and learning to love and trust Him by just being. Frankly, I would rather enjoy life this way, the way God intended, if only for a few years than exist for 50+ more years wrapped up in my own small timid plans and the insecurities present in that lifestyle.

“The best argument for Christianity is Christians: their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians–when they are sombre and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug in complacent consecration, when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.”
-Sheldon Vanauken

It is my fear, outside of illness, I would have forever been that somber, self-righteous, smug, narrow minded Christian. The one who judges instead of loving others and again…the one who missed the joys found in following Jesus, and His teachings, in the manner in which He intended.

Amen.