Mr. Skiddles, room Mom!

One of the things that has been keeping me occupied these past few months has been spending time with these crazy people…
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These are my seventh graders at one of the best schools on earth in my opinion, South Fork Middle School.

Yes, I said MY! Not that I am their teacher, although had I not been chosen for the vocation of pastor, I would most likely gone into teaching. Well, that or stuntman, there’s not a big difference when you are talking about Middle School kids!!!

I had gone to science camp with this group last year when they were sixth graders and we had a great time. This past Fall this group of young people got hit with an unfortunate memory they will have for the rest of their lives…the loss of a classmate due to possible suicide!

Suicide is a devastating way to leave those behind…so many unanswered questions…so much self-blame…so much pain! Add in being a 12-13 year old with the onset of puberty and all its ugly monsters and you’ve got a recipe for the prefect storm.

When the tragedy hit our small school (24 in 7th grade, only 120 in 5th-8th grades combined) we were hit hard. I met on a Sunday afternoon with our superintendent and some other key faculty to set up our game plan for the coming week. I was going to be with the seventh graders since I had a connection already.

After our camp trip last year, I had wanted to spend time with these kids, crazy right? A guy who has raised his own kids and is working on grand kids actually wanting to spend time in a classroom with seventh graders!!! These kids are very good kids and part of my calling in ministry is to minister to all.

Well after our tragedy I rescheduled my schedule so that I could spend a few hours a couple days a week in their homeroom class. It’s really not that hard to find three or so hours two or so days a week to give to someone else who needs you.

Well after a while the kids, as they will, began playing with my name. Having the last name of Siddle, it wasn’t hard for them! I’ve been used to it my whole life, no worries here! But the fun part came when they added the moniker “Room Mom”! You see there is a bias that happens in schools that mostly mom’s are the ones who volunteer in classrooms!

Guys! Buck up and find some time to be in the classroom and not just on the sports field with kids who are not your own! (More on that in a later post)

Back to MY kids…Today was our last day of school, so we had a party. They could have had it any day this week but when they found out Friday was the only day I could be there due to being out of town for #Connection15, they chose today!!! I’m glad they did. I just wish these future leaders of the Class of 2020 would quit making my eyes sweat!!!
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Oh, and there is another thing! This is one thing I had to do with socks on. You see, we have a no flip-flop policy on campus. A policy I broke today, the last day of school, and ended up getting my first blue slip of the year! Life is good!

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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!

I have the faith to jump out of the boat, but do I have enough to walk on the water?

Mat 14:25-29 “Around three in the morning, He came toward them walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said, and cried out in fear. Immediately Jesus spoke to them. “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s You,” Peter answered Him, “command me to come to You on the water.”  “Come!” He said. And climbing out of the boat, Peter started walking on the water and came toward Jesus.”

I admire Peter for his courage and faith to climb out of the boat in this situation. I too have been called by Christ to “Come!” into an area that seems to be very stormy and unsure right now.

Just over eleven weeks ago we sold our business to pursue the new calling God has placed in our hearts; Suicide Alertness and Intervention Training. My wife and I know this is what we are to be doing, we’ve heard the call and it has been confirmed. We’ve jumped out of the boat! OK, I jumped out of the boat and she has followed her crazy ‘dreamer’ husband once again!

Now almost twelve weeks into this new journey, the waves and wind are looking rather ominous! There is doubt that I can stay walking on the water, so to speak.

Mat 14:30-31 “But when he saw the strength of the wind, he was afraid. And beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I know that God’s plan takes His timing, and I see the unfolding of that plan transpiring…

But with faith comes doubt, just like Peter, I feel that sinking feeling and am crying out!

Jesus is saying to me also…”You of little faith…”

It’s a matter of who I am doing this for, this new journey and all. My Honey wrote a great post about this who, read it here.

I just need to remember that God has called me to follow Him, even if it is through stormy and uncertain seas, because with Christ, things work out…

Mat 14:32-32 “When they got into the boat, the wind ceased.  Then those in the boat worshiped Him and said, “Truly You are the Son of God!””

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!