Some pain never leaves you.

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Pain is an interesting monster. Without it we don’t know we’re hurt. Pain from a cut finger or a broken bone can be mended.
Then there is the chronic pain of disease. I have a dear friend who suffers from the effects of MS. She is in pain, often excruciating, most of the time now. Through her faith in God, she seems to motor through. I know its not easy for her.
My own wife suffers from chronic pain from injuries years ago, she does not allow herself to be sidelined by them though. Again, an attribute of her faith in God.
Last night I heard a woman’s name mentioned at our Bible study and found out today that last week she succumbed to the pain she has had since her son died in a car accident a year or more ago.
That seems to be  a pain many people just can not motor through.
This woman could no longer face another day and ended her life.
Suicide is not the answer.
Now there are many people who are feeling a great pain in their hearts for this rather young and once vibrant woman. Pain that can not be healed without the proper medicine.
Let’s face it; death of a loved one, early in life, is not something anyone cares to face, especially the death of a child. But there are better alternatives than answering death with death.
I know first hand what it is like to face the darkness that surrounds suicide!
As a pastor, I have a duty to share the hope that is found in Christ Jesus. You may not be one who has a strong pull to know the love that Jesus has for you. You may be hiding behind pain that you believe no one else can understand.
Stop hiding, begin living!
Trust. Surrender. Believe.
Its not about a religion, its about a relationship.
A relationship that can heal every hurt and pain you face!
Believe that God really does have a plan and that He wants you to be part of the beauty He has established.
The Bible tells us that we can take the ashes of our lives and bring them
to God. He will then take those ashes and turn them into a beautiful thing!
No one else is able to do that; only God, through Jesus Christ can heal the pain you face today, or give you the hope to motor through.
Please, take a moment and give Him a chance to heal your pain!

Thanks for checking in.
Today is definitely a no socks day!
Shalom!

Searching? Look closer…

Have you ever been searching for something and when you finally find it, it was right there the whole time?
I’m not just talking about your keys (those are where you left them) or your glasses (check the top of your head), I’m talking LIFE stuff here!
 
Think BIG on this…stuff like who you will marry, where you will attend college, buying a home or the right car, seeking that new job, or should you make that move to another area… you know…life changing stuff!
 
We all spend a lot of our lives searching for things and sometimes we jump in with both feet only to end up with the dreaded “buyers remorse”, when all along what you were searching for was right under your nose.
 
Sure, this falls into the “grass is always greener” genre and is a bit cliche’ but then again…That’s Life! (Que Frank Sinatra sound track here!)
 
The BIG things we search for in life are not always in the immediate vicinity, but I’m finding out as I travel along this road and trust more in God everyday…He’s got a plan and He will give me the desires of my heart when I make my desires line up with His.
 
So, keep searching and try doing some of it without wearing socks!

Don’t call me if it’s broke, go to the Manufacturer!

Not long ago I read an article entitled, ‘When Life Cracks You Up’ by the inspiring author Rachel L. Proctor.

The link is having some issues at the moment or I would post that here. The message I receive is, “Something is amiss…one of the servers is crying out for help…investigating and resolving…blah, blah…”

The gist of the article was that her phone screen had cracked, and as she began to worry about the ramifications of screen leakage, cutting her ear on the glass, cost of repairs, etc. She realized that the protective adhesive cover was doing its job by holding things together and covering the damage, just as God protects us.

The following week after Rachel’s article was published, my Honey and I were blessed with a pastors retreat at Hume Lake Christian Conference Center. Hume is a purposeful place to relax and refresh. The staff is amazing, the food is very good to outstanding (better at some conferences than others), the weather is always accommodating, and cell phones do not work there! And a deafening silence fell over the crowd! 

Not being one who wears a wrist watch very often, my phone is my timekeeper. My protective case was getting worn and tattered and would sometimes catch on my pocket. Most times I was able to hang onto the phone. If it did fall, it was on a soft surface or the case took the brunt. Not so at Hume! My phone did a belly flop directly on the cobble stone walkway. Just like the proverbial ‘butter side down piece of bread’!

My reaction…”Oh man, cracked!”

The words of Rachel’s article were fresh in my head, but I had no protective film on my phone, and this was the third phone I have had since December of last year. (Other technical problems on those phones.) The crack wasn’t all that bad, I’ve seen worse, so I’ll just live with it!

When we got home from Hume my Honey did some account searching and alas, none of our phones were up for renewal. OK, I’ll just live with it, no worries. She even looked up repair centers and buy back programs…not worth the hassle.

Then I took a moment and did a search for DIY repair kits! For just under $60 I was able to get a new and more protective case. And from iCracked.com I received my replacement screen, handy dandy tool kit, and step by step Repair Flowchart!

The kit arrived yesterday and the first step on the Flowchart was to STOP and download the instruction video!!!

My Honey, ever one who encourages, told me when I ordered the kit, “If you can rebuild front gears on a 4X, repack wheel bearings, and figure out so many other things, you can rebuild your phone!” She sometimes forgets I have meat hooks for hands!

The paperwork said to take your time, it should take about 45 minutes, the screws are small keep them organized (small is an understatement!), note the placement of parts as you are disassembling your phone! I got this! Video on laptop, jawbreakers for energy, hands clean, tools laid out, Flowchart set…

Let’s do this!!! It wasn’t that bad, even for a guy with meat hooks that fit better on a wrench than minuscule screws!

I now have an intimate understanding of my phone that did not exist earlier today. I know it literally inside and out. Much like the relationship my Heavenly Father has with me…

To quote my Honey’s favorite passage:

Psalm 139:13-18 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” (emphasis mine)

I thought of this passage as I worked on my phone. I thought of how God knows me so intimately. I thought of how He knows that I am ‘cracked’ and still chooses to use me. I thought of how He will restore me better than new someday. I thought of how, even through my toughest times and now, through my journey with depression, He still has precious thoughts for me!

Don’t worry if you are cracked or struggling…God’s not surprised by it!

Stigma shmigma!

Stigma shmigma!

More manageable now…

Aaahhhh!

I was asked this morning how my life was going. My dear friend was referring to some of my recent posts on instagram and FB. I was able to tell her that my time seems much more manageable now.

You see, it has been almost two weeks since my Honey and I stepped away from the Coffee House we started from scratch ten years ago. It didn’t go under, we sold it to another mom-n-pop and wish them the best as they embark on the adventure.

Last week was the first time we were able to get away and just really do nothing in a long time. The kicker was when my wife said while filming me and my dogs on the beach, “This was Sssoooo worth selling the shop!”

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It was even better when on Friday morning SHE came up with the thought of extending our stay another night. We actually could do that and not have any problems.

This week begins our new schedule, we can only be semi-retired from business for a short time, after that it becomes unemployment and since we were self employed for so long, that option is not available to us.

Sure, we still have the ministry we are very much involved in, but our primary focus will be in expanding our Suicide Alertness and Intervention training’s. That’s what prompted us to sell the shop to begin with.

Next to God, Sierra Sun Intervention Care is our driving passion now. We became involved in suicide intervention and prevention for many reasons.

Because of my own thoughts and struggles throughout the years (check it out here) and the survival of my wife’s attempted suicide almost 20 years ago (she’s written about that too, follow the “my Honey” link above) – we are now devoting our time and efforts into educating communities to be suicide safer.

And we are willing to travel to do it!

If you do not have the resources in your area, contact us at sierrasuncare@yahoo.com and we will be glad to help or get you connected to a training in your area.

Suicide IS preventable!

You CAN be the link to saving a life!

Men, there is a problem…cajones…got any!

Guys, yes, this is mainly for you today. Ladies, if you know a man, please share this with him.

There is an old saying…”The first step is admitting you have a problem.” It comes from the twelve step program.

For a person with thoughts of suicide or one who struggles with depression and anxiety, I believe (again, this is just my two cents here) the first step is getting the cajones (ie; nerve, ba**s) to ask for help in admitting there is a problem!

You may think this too harsh, especially coming from a pastor’s point of view. I’m supposed to be a loving, gentle and caring individual who sits with you and tells you stories of puppy dogs and butterflies and how everything will be alright, right?

WRONG!!!

Let’s look at it this way…

Your house is on fire…I’m standing in the street…you are unaware that there is imminent danger…do you want me to quietly and gently tell you from the street in my best “counseling” voice that you are in trouble? Or would you rather I jump to action, scream my butt off to get your attention and get you and those you love out safe?

Well, there is another imminent danger for men…

The largest percentage of completed suicides in our country right now are men ages 45-85!!!

Let me repeat that…

MEN AGES 45-85 ARE COMPLETING MORE SUICIDES THAN ANY OTHER AGE GROUP!!!

Anyone ready to admit there is a problem? Anyone ready to join in with jumping to action and getting others to safety?

I wasn’t…not just a few months ago. Then I did because my world was coming apart.

WHAT? A pastor with problems? Say it ain’t so!

SORRY…the problems and struggles that those in the pastorate have are causing between 1400-1700 servants to leave the ministry every month!

Most of those in ministry leadership are men. Men are fixers. Men don’t ask for help. I didn’t want to, but I did. (Check out my journey starting here.)

Seriously, we men don’t even like to ask for directions, the GPS has been the best invention in recent history!

Men, if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, frustration, anger, loneliness, or anything else like that, admit it and ask for help. Talk to your doctor or health care provider.

And don’t just think that a little pill for E.D. will help. That will only give you a temporary “fix” to a deeper issue! That’s not being a true man. Life is NOT like the commercials!

So guys…MAN UP…admit there is a problem…get help…get some cojones…you’ll be glad you did.

Thanks for coming by and hanging with this shepherd’s stance today and letting me rant!