Extreme Makeover

Wednesday I did something I have not done in quite some time. I got out of the house, ate dinner out with my wife and older daughter, and ”volunteered supporting the student ministry”. That phrase is funny to me. I go and spend time with people who I adore and that’s my ministry. I enjoy their presence. I get to encourage these men and women as they learn more how they are men and women.

I really love to be with students because I feel at home. These are my people. I belong. I can be a hot mess and they are like me too. One of my favorite aspects of this ”ministry” is observation of the students to learn who is struggling and hurting. Seldom will you hear it but most students have yet to learn the skills of hiding that most people practice far too well. I get to surprise them individually. I get to speak directly to them, look them in the eyes and say, “I love you and there is nothing you can do to change that.” (You would think that I would have learned to believe that of my Father, but that’s a different blog.) Some look at me as if they are now certain of my insanity. Others look and say thank you. Still others question how steadfast the love truly is.

But all of that is not the point of this blog. The student pastor had just returned from an overseas mission trip. I’m not sure he knew what day it was to be honest. He normally shares a devotional after the worship time. While the student worship team was doing an amazing job leading rest of the students (and adults in attendance) in worship, I was distracted by the words of a song. (Of course I can’t remember which song now. If I could it would make more sense. It would likely be meaningful and significant, but I don’t.) They began the process of getting to the revelation.

Since Byron knew that he would likely be exhausted after returning, he had asked me to share a devotional with the students. And because Byron is wise beyond his years he had asked Kelly Marie to share a devotional (because I had completed checked out earlier in the month health wise and he needed a pinch hitter if I wasn’t back in the game) which I wasn’t expecting.

I honestly don’t remember what KM said. I don’t remember what Scriptures she used. I do remember her object lesson of perspective and I needed to hear it. It meant something separate to me than it did to the students. KM’s devotional reminded me of this verse:

A new thing!? Something unexpected. Something unplanned. A new thing.

(Being a child that grew up in the 80’s I had to do this.  I’m sure Toby Mac, Michael Tait of the Newboys now, and Kevin Max of Audio Adrenaline now would love to forget his video. Sorry gentlemen.)
So new, it is a river in the desert. Unimaginable, incomprehensible, and amazing. To say that rivers will flow in a desert sounds foolish. God says it was. I know the correct context of this verse and I am well outside of the proper contextual use, but stay with me. 
The Lord convicted me of how I was not trusting Him. I have wanted do badly to be healed of MS. To be physically whole. To have a meaningful sexual relationship with my wife. Those are good things that God has given. They are not evil or distracting from Him. I was right in my case and frustration. My cynicism and negative thoughts were accurate accounting not pessimism. 
I was wrong. I did not have faith that the LORD desires to give me the best. I wanted what I believed to be best. I started to think of the show Extreme Makeover Home Edition
I have been like a home owner in this show. Except I have been running on to the work site picking up rubble, nailing broken boards together, stacking bricks and yelling, “I want to fix it! Help fix it!” 

In this video you can see the volunteers cheering as the house comes down. Ecstatic about the destruction. Why? This was someone’s house. Why cheer this? Because they know where it leads. Without the destruction there could be no new. No perfect home. No removing of the trouble causing house. 
I have been convicted and encouraged by this though: I am going through God’s Extreme Makeover Life Edition. I have no concept of where this leads. What this looks like. I do know that what I have thought my life was like; what I thought it needed; what I believed was best is far from the best. I cannot even fathom what a best life looks like without what I believed to be best. I have no choice but to choose to believe God when He says that He will prosper me, not harm me. He will give me a future and a hope. He will give me not only life but have life to the maximum. I also cannot a fathom how a river would be formed in the desert.

This post makes it appear that I am really spiritual and have it all together.  It would seem that I don’t have doubts and anger and bitterness that I battle.  That would be a lie.  I do suffer with fighting bitterness and anger.  I do battle doubt.  I do fight worthlessness. I do battle believing that I am not loved and accepted  It is encouraging to see that God is still seeking to work in me.  That I am not undone.  I fight lies everyday and lose quite often.  I was encouraged Wednesday in a most surprising way with a thought I didn’t want to think. God is allowing a demolition of by life. On purpose. He is going to build something new and that scares me to tell the truth. I want to have Him build what I want, not the best He knows. He will prosper me. He will give me a future. I have to keep reminding myself of this in the demolition.


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.