My wife and I did not intend to have another year of sweeping changes in 2016. We never do. We told ourselves this year was going to be different. The roller coaster was finally going to stop. No more big transitions like the previous eight years of marriage.
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.
The other day my seven-year-old daughter said something I wasn’t expecting: “Daddy, I know a bad word.” Oh no, I thought, my worst fears about the D.C. school system are already coming true. “Oh really?” I said casually. “What word did you learn?” “The S-word.” I cringed.
There are a lot of people out there who are waiting for Big Things and they can’t seem to get a breakthrough. I got the chance to hear from some of those people this week when I shared an essay at Boundless called “So Grateful God Made Me Wait.” Many responded, some whose hearts are aching as they wait, others who are grateful the wait is over.
Last year, God finally answered yes to my years-long prayer request for the “Big Thing.” It doesn’t really matter what the Big Thing was. Maybe it was healing, a financial breakthrough, a reconciled relationship, a job or some other change in circumstance. Whatever it was, my waiting experience was like that of so many other people: a constant fight with the lingering fear that God was punishing me for wanting it too badly.
I’ve always enjoyed the holidays, but as I got older, I began to realize how painful this time of year is for so many. There are so many dashed expectations, so many hurts that we all hide behind the sometimes-fake smiles we force while singing Christmas songs or attending the office party.
I went through a long, dark time a few years ago. I prayed that God would end it, that He would set me free from the people and circumstances that vexed me. He did not.
A few weeks ago, there was an unpleasant and unfair turn of events in my life that knocked the wind out of me. Feelings of disappointment kicked in. Those feelings eventually turned into anger, and the anger turned into a low-grade anxiety. I couldn’t stop looking in the rearview mirror and reliving what happened.
My old friend Dawn emailed me with unbelievable news last week: She accidentally found Amanda. The last time either of us saw her was 17 years ago.
I was a sophomore in college when I began receiving a series of harassing emails from an unidentified person. Each one was loaded with expletives and insults that cut into my stomach like rusty razors, leaving me with a cold, sick feeling. The worst part was that it was clear that I somehow knew the person, who I assumed was male based on the tone of the emails.
The other night, I was putting my little daughters to bed, and I sensed that I needed to talk to them about shame. I figured we could discuss it the next day since it was already late, but I didn’t realize the Holy Spirit was prompting me for a reason. Before I left the room, one of my daughters said, “Daddy, a girl at school called me a mean name.” “What was it?” I asked. She covered her face with her hands and said, “I don’t want to say.”
In 2009, I was at a friend’s birthday party when my vision suddenly became distorted. I could hear and see everyone, but it felt like I was in a dream. About 15 seconds later, I came out of it. I walked over to my friend, who’s a doctor, and tried to describe what happened. “Maybe you’ve got superpowers,” he said, and we both chuckled. Soon thereafter, I stopped chuckling.
For a lot of my single years, I was hopelessly awkward. No doubt, there were still attractive things about my personality (or at least my mom says there were), but overall, I was kind of weird.
When a horrific terrorist attack happens, the first question that comes to my mind is, How afraid should I be? I live in Washington, D.C., so it’s fair to assume that my family and I are, at any given time, at risk of being killed or injured in a terrorist attack.
I don’t have a lot of regrets from my childhood, but there’s one from fifth grade that still bothers me. I made friends with a second grader named Jennifer who rode my bus. She had a round face, a raspy voice, and a wild mop of wavy blond hair. And those eyes — they nearly disappeared when she smiled, which she did a lot — especially when she was talking to me.