A few days ago, my wife and I drove our daughters to their first day of school. I hardly noticed that my breathing was becoming shallower as we got closer. I didn’t want to notice it. “You know,” I said, “I’m not going to cry when we say goodbye to the girls today, but I understand why parents do.”
When I was growing up in Petal, Mississippi, I felt a steady sense of being out-of-place. I didn’t play sports; my dad didn’t take me hunting; I paid the reduced price for my school lunch; and we weren’t Southern Baptists like almost everyone else in town. These were a few of the clues that helped me see that I didn’t belong.
Although I hate ironing, I went on a wild ironing spree this past Sunday afternoon.
This month, 150,000 prisoners will receive a newsletter called Inside Journal, which is a ministry of Prison Fellowship. In that newsletter is a story called “A Secret No One Knows,” and it’s about a man who spent years hiding his secret of sexual abuse. I was that man, and although it’s not easy to tell my story, I’m praying God will use it to help set prisoners free from shame.
When I was in college, I lived with the perpetual fear that somehow I had missed the salvation boat, that although I had placed my trust in Jesus, in the end, I would come before God’s throne, and He would shake His head and say, “I’m sorry, but you just thought you were saved.”
One afternoon when I was 6 years old, I was physically assaulted by a female adult whom I did not know. It happened about 25 yards from the apartment where I lived.
Eight years ago this month, I was at a hat-themed party in Washington, D.C., feeling an acute level of insecurity. In a variety of areas of my life, I was dealing with a lack of integrity, self-control, and spiritual maturity. And although I’m sure my personal life could’ve been worse, it was bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t be getting married for at least another couple of years.
One summer during high school, I spent a couple of weeks with a well-meaning adult who aggressively tried to undermine everything I believed about Jesus. The man inundated me with anti-Christian arguments I had never considered before and ran circles around my partially developed 14-year-old brain. By the end of our time together, my faith was in shambles.
The other day, I let my three-year-old daughter ride her scooter on the sidewalk in front of our house, despite my irrational fear of her suddenly being kidnapped by a random psychopath. I wasn’t especially worried about it because I was landscaping just a few feet away. Occasionally, I looked down the slope from our house to make sure she wasn’t going too far down the sidewalk.
It’s official. I’m the father of two children under five who can ride their bikes without training wheels. It is wonderful – sort of.
This week, I had the unfortunate experience of getting multiple shots in my gums and spending a total of seven hours in three different dentist’s chairs. The only good part about the experience is that it’s finally over.
The other night, I thought I heard something break upstairs in the girls’ bathroom, but I decided to keep a low profile until there were further developments. I figured that one of the girls would let me know if I was needed for a cleanup. Then I heard something at the top of the stairs. It sounded two little steps.
On May 26, 1994, my mother called me at home and reminded me to be careful if I left the house – apparently, a teenage girl had driven in front of an 18-wheeler that morning and had been killed on impact. “Someone said her mom is a schoolteacher named Betty Myers and works in Hattiesburg,” said Mom. “Mom, Erin’s mother is named Betty, and she’s a schoolteacher in Hattiesburg.” My mom paused for a moment as we both put it together. “Oh no. Joshua, I’m so sorry.”
If you’re anything like me, just the thought of a new year’s resolution provokes a sense of dreaded guilt – the feeling that you’re only doing it because you’ve already failed in the previous year, and you’re going to end up failing in the next one anyway. I’m thinking this is not one of those things Jesus was talking about when he was talking about coming to give us abundant lives (John 10:10).
When I was a little boy, I desperately wanted to be famous. It probably had a lot to do with me idealizing the lives of the children who appeared on Family Ties and The Cosby Show, not to mention the fact that my parents were struggling financially, and I thought being famous would make us rich.