July 30, 2011
In the blink of an eye, our lives were changed for ever. As we have responded to what God is doing, in us, through us and around us this past two years since Mike’s death. I am so proud of Kathy, Akila, Laura and myself! As we respond to God, He has responded to us. We made right choices to the options He put before us. We could have experienced the natural consequences of ‘going our way’, instead we have experienced the supernatural consequences of ‘going His way’! Joy overcoming sadness, life overcoming death, celebration overcoming mourning, looking out and up instead of in, moving forward not standing still, released not captured…..but all of this because of and provided by The Father. Philippines2:13 ‘It is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose’.
The storm has stopped; the sun is out, even though its grey some days, the sun is out in my heart. He gives and He takes away, I want to say He gives far more than He takes away. We as a family praised Him in the storm, we chose to do that and guess what we have received a grateful heart and a healed heart. I want to thank so many dear dear friends who have been a huge help and comfort on this journey.
Mike’s life and death have been used to take us to new places in our family relationships, in our mode of living, in our focus, in our experience of Father God…..it sounds bizarre but nothing but good has come from Mike’s death. Of course I miss him, but how good it is to know he is safe and out of this world’s pain.
Mike, your sisters are as crazy as ever!
Miss you Mike, you were the best son I could of ever wished for, Dad.
July 27, 2011
As we approach this weekend, the 2nd anniversary of Mike’s death, I am mindful that I do not want to be trapped by the past. I do not want to make a tradition around this date, I do not want to be morbid at this time. I dont want to be paralysed in the present because of the past. As I try daily to walk with God, I want to live in the present with the hope of what He has said about my future. Last year I memorised Phil 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. As of yet, I do not know what I will do on Saturday. Akila and Laura are heading to Germany and it is just Kathy and I at home. What I do know is I want to celebrate Mike’s life not mourn over his death. I see a biblical principle for myself that my past sin, failure, circumstances, failure of others and so on, do not have to dictate my future. My Heavenly Father is so kind to lead me into green pastures, new beginnings, joy instead of sadness.
Mike, I think I may watch some Mr Bean or The Castle and laugh and remember the good times we enjoyed together. Love you buddy.
Remember the past, enjoy the present and hope for the future.
July 13, 2011
As I start to look at lessons learnt over the past two years, to recognise what has been helpful in “walking through the valley of the shadow of death”, I come to one foundational reality on which all other factors are built on; it all starts with God.
If I look at my personality and my story, it has been full of life and activity in the fast lane; doing. In amongst all the activity or as I prefer to call it, ‘the noise of life”, when did I take time out to listen, to differentiate the noises, to recognise the various voices and either tune in and listen or say, thankyou but no thanks to your message. My natural inclination is for a fast response time, immediacy. The word revelation means “unveiling” or “drawing apart”. It’s similar to the curtains in a theatre, they slowly come back to at first reveal a part of the stage and then as they keep drawing apart we get to see all we are supposed to.
I would have to say right up there at the top of lessons learnt has been the desire and practice to go very slow and listen and discover “His voice in all the noise of life”. His communication has been in both words and pictures. A part of the “listening” journey has been to “know” His voice and have a trust and confidence that it was His voice! Jn 14v 21 “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
For me, His voice has not been loud, He has not pushed His message on me, He has used various modes of communication; His Word, books, people, songs, thoughts, nature. It’s also required an attitude on my part to listen, to seek to listen, to quietly wait until He speaks, to accept that there are times of silence in His presence. Most times I have not heard Him in Church! I don’t say that to be controversial but for me, that is more where I enjoy worship with others to Him. I like my chair in the quiet of Mike’s room!
July 12, 2011
A verse that we associate with Mike is from Gen 5v24, Enoch walked with God as was not because God took Him. Over the past 2 years, I have read, studied and spoke on what “walking with God” looks like.
As I was pacing up and down the Driving Test Centres car park yesterday, waiting anxiously for Akila to return and find out if she had passed, a thought came to me that has so excited me since. We hear or use phrases like; a closer walk with God, a deeper walk with God, a more disciplined walk with God, a better walk with God……..my goodness are we so ego centric! Why is it always about us and not about God? Because I am so ego centric I missed a reality, not a head knowledge reality, not an implicit knowledge but recognising through looking back GOD WALKS WITH ME!
We talk about our relationship with God, knowing God, experiencing His presence, His grace, His mercy, His love and on and on, but how cool is it that “God walks with His people”.
Can you believe I burst into tears when I got in the car and Akila showed me her certificate that said “PASS”. Kathy and I have walked this path with Akila. As you may know she is off to Australia for 1 year. She will need to drive as it is almost impossible to function out there without a car or someone to drive you around. Every single pound Kathy has earned cleaning once a week has gone on driving lessons for Akila. We have spent 10’s of hours in the car with her, putting in more petrol, going through the frustration of trying to learn manoeuvres. She came back to the test centre before I expected and drove straight into a bay, not reverse park like others. I was convinced she had failed. Less than 43% of people pass and less than 30% pass on their first time………I along with Kathy and Paul walked Akila through learning to drive and what joy, relief, pride, emotion came from those two words, I passed. God walks with me!
Akila Passed 1st time!
July 5, 2011
- Carlisle Youth Zone
As I watched the kids play last night at Carlisle Youth Zone, it brought back many memories with my own kids. The new centre has only been open a few weeks and the response from the kids in the community has been overwhelming. At this time I am helping 1 evening a week with 8-12 year olds. We had so much fun playing simple games that did not even need props. They wanted to play “Shark” and “Stuck in the mud”!
In an age where parents are working, shattered when they get in, computer games or Facebook are the rage, we have in my opinion in England lost the value of playing with our kids. What I witnessed last night was sheer enjoyment of kids getting 2 hours attention from adults. How wonderful to see exuberant excitement at such simple activities.
I gave two boys hula hoops and all I had to do was throw a soft ball through the hoop as they turned it on their arms. The smiles and giggles at such silly little games.
What does it mean? At one level it simply means kids want and enjoy attention from parents, especially when we are willing to play games with them. I could always get the kids to join me in the garden if we were to play with a ball, bowls, or cricket. What you see is a by-product is friendships, a healthy energy release valve, emotional health, an unspoken message that you are important.
Time with us not things brought by us is what they ultimately need.
July 1, 2011
“I have no regrets”, is what I said to a group of people 24hrs after Mike died. Mike was not just my son, he was my “buddy”. We spent time together, not just quality time. We did both the mundane and the fun together.
This past week I have been over in Belfast meeting many business people, all of them very successful in what they have set out to do. As I listened to their stories, I also heard on occasion a tinge of sadness about their relationship with their children. You realise no one has more time than anyone else, we all have 24hrs a day, the fruits of our labour are more often than not a “trade off” for something else.
I see more than ever the need for dad’s to be there for their kids, to just hang with them, to involve them in what we are doing and for us to be involved in what they are doing. The property market will fall, stocks will depreciate, demand will move on, health will go, the buzz and action will stop, our importance will vanish…………but our families will remain. Invest today in the greatest treasures you have, a note, a card, a call, a walk, a game………..the returns are awesome!
Invest in Family!