In my first year of marriage, my wife and I got into a disagreement while visiting a family member’s home. We went to the guest room to hash it out privately but we had no idea how badly we were about to embarrass ourselves. While in the guest room, our tempers flared. Unfortunately, I became particularly disrespectful until suddenly, my wife’s face dropped and she said, “Oh my gosh – the baby monitor is right next to you.”
My seven-month-old nephew Canaan was dying and nobody knew it, including his doctor, who had misdiagnosed his digestive issues. The real issue was Hirschsprung’s disease, one of the leading causes of death for kids like Canaan, who has Down Syndrome.
I was not prepared for the phone call I received on May 26, 1994. It came from my mother, who was letting me know she was worried. “Joshua, I’m just calling because I want to remind you to be careful today. There was a teenage girl who was killed in a horrible car accident this morning.”
I sat in the Fox News Washington studio last fall and waited to be interviewed on “Fox & Friends” about a heartwarming op-ed I had written for Fox News headlined “What happened when my daughter saw me kiss my wife.” My body was exhausted from an intense treatment for a chronic illness; a doctor had just reported that my dad would probably be dead in six months; and I felt like I was failing as a dad because I was spending too much time at work. I was lost in sea of depression and I couldn’t find my way home.
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.