When you witness another couple give each other an extended, passionate kiss, you don’t forget it — especially if they’re a married couple. I certainly haven’t forgotten one particular time I got an eyeful on a sweltering afternoon in Mississippi.
One time I was talking to a friend and she mentioned that when she first started following Jesus, the Lord greatly used sermons from a certain TV preacher to help her grow in her faith. Personally, I wasn’t impressed with the televangelist. Granted, I hadn’t actually listened to any of the preacher’s sermons, but that was beside the point. Everybody in my circle agreed that the preaching was little more than motivational speaking with scriptures thrown in.
I sat on a bench in a beautiful cemetery visiting with the woman who would be my wife and tried to ignore my sad, racing heart. Our relationship was about to end — not because I wanted it to — because she was about to learn the awful truth. “There’s something I need to tell you,” I said.
I had been sitting on the edge of my bed for about 20 minutes when my wife, Raquel, walked in. I didn’t even look up. “I can’t do this,” I said. “I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I can’t do it.”
It’s the end of the year, and as usual, I do a recap of the most popular blog posts, articles, or op-eds I’ve written. Some of these pieces have appeared on my website — others have appeared on websites like FoxNews.com or Boundless.org.
Today is the 15th birthday of a young man named Canaan Rogers. This birthday was not supposed to happen. When Canaan, my nephew, was seven months old, he nearly died because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis of a serious illness. By the time the doctors figured out what was really going on, it was too late. Canaan was all but gone.
“This year, we need a break,” said my wife, Raquel, at the beginning of 2017. Each year since we’ve gotten married, there’s been some huge stress that has shaken up our lives. I know we all go through those times, but knowing that doesn’t make them any easier — it certainly hasn’t for us.
One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.
The day my oldest daughter was born, I held her in my arms in the hospital and made two promises: “First, I promise I will never leave your mother; and second, I’ll show up. I’ll do everything I can to be at your recitals and ball games and dinner around the table.”
An eight-year-old girl broke my heart on the metro last year. Her name was Briana.
I stared at the TV and fought back tears while watching a CBS news interview with American missionaries Gracia and Martin Burnham, who were haggard, filthy, and appeared to be disoriented. The couple, who were missionaries in the Philippines, decided to spend one night at a resort to celebrate their 18th wedding anniversary. But that night they were kidnapped by terrorists, and a year later, they were being dragged through the Philippine jungle. One of their fellow hostages had been beheaded.
For the first few years I wrote my blog, it was the number one source of stress in my life — more than moving to a new state, having two kids, starting a new job, or getting diagnosed with an incurable condition.
When I was in high school, I attended the funerals for two classmates, one of whom died in a tragic shooting accident. I have a vivid memory from his funeral: sitting in the packed funeral home listening to Michael W. Smith’s song “Friends are Friends Forever” as teenagers sniffled and wiped tears away.
Last week I made an unexpected phone call to an old friend, and five days later, countless thousands of people had heard about the conversation.
I knew my accent would stand out when I moved to Washington, D.C. I didn’t think anyone would make fun of it. As I walked away from the break room and said, “Bye, y’all,” to a group of coworkers, I hadn’t gotten far away before I heard one of them say, “Byyyyye yawl!!” It stung.