Posts Tagged ‘God’

img_0157Saturday, February 18, at 7:02 PM Becki delivered our firstborn, Daniel James Calaway. Leading up to that and since has been an incredible journey. Right now, I am talk texting this blog entry with him snuggled in my arms as we wait for his 1 AM feeding.

We are feeding him breastmilk and apparently that makes newborns poop often and in a wide variety of colors. Our little guy poops probably every two hours. This afternoon in the middle of changing yet another poopy diaper he farted and then gave me more poop to clean up. I’m glad I had his dirty diaper under his butt to catch the addition!

With all of this poop action, Daniel developed a diaper rash. We were given some Desitin to spread on his butt from the nurses at the hospital when we were discharged on Thursday. Friday evening, we noticed that we were running low. Early Saturday morning we ran out. We scheduled a Walmart pick up to get some but would not be able to get there until late afternoon Saturday. We considered one of us running out to get it but did not want to leave the other one alone at home.

img_5499As we contemplated the situation, a mom of one of the youth who has come to our small group texted us totally out of the blue. She said she was in Walmart and wondered if we needed her to pick up anything. We texted back our need for Desitin and in about 10 minutes it was sitting on our doorstep!

Isaiah 65:24 NLT, ‘I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!’

The same person signed up through our church to bring us food that evening. We were treated to London broil, mashed potatoes, and green beans. We received our much needed Desitin and had a yummy dinner all because God used this kind woman as His hands to provide for us.

All along this journey God has made Himself very known to us and taken care of us (‘us’ used to mean Becki and me but now it means Becki, Daniel, and me). It has been something to see Him Himself involved through His presence, peace, and favor. It has also been something to see Him use the people of His body, the church, as His hands and feet in our lives.

I am thankful to God. I am thankful to our family and friends. And, I am thankful to play my part in His body both receiving and giving.

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When I was a child, I lived in the woods of northern Michigan. I enjoyed church (gave my life to Jesus at a very early age), baseball, Mario Brothers 1, 2 & 3 (especially the coon tail), and bass fishing. Childhood was quiet and nice. Challenges included trusting God to take care of me and teach me. God came through.

When I was a teenager, I moved to Florida where I graduated high school early and went to Bible school. My inner nerd came out (Star Wars, Star Trek, Superman, etc.) and flannel shirts were donned as much as possible! Enjoyment of baseball evolved to include all the other major sports (while maintaining my allegiance to Michigan teams). Difficulties included condemnation that grappled with me, being a light in my public school, uprooting and moving to Florida to follow God’s call, working for early high school graduation, Bible school, and preliminary ministry. God came through.

When I was a young adult, I graduated from Bible school, went to Southern  India as a missionary, served as an associate pastor in Texas, and traveled to Northern India for more missions work. Harley the Golden Retriever joined our family (named after a pizza delivery guy). Nerdness continued. Good times. The challenges of childhood and difficulties of teen years grew in size and complexity. Indian ministry. Associate pastor work. Praying for a wife (a lot). Paying bills. Work. God came through.

As I have been an adult, I returned from India, settled in Pensacola, served as a youth pastor for eight years, married, became an insurance agent, and became a foster parent. Now we are expecting our first born. Geek is now chic! I’m cool with my Clark Kent glasses and plaid shirts! Pop culture is flooded with comic book and sci-fi things, HOORAY! I thought my challenges and difficulties grew when I was a young adult. They have turned into mountains, Goliath-sized giants, oceans to cross, etc. (whatever analogy you can think of)! Ministry. Providing for my family. Fostering. Expecting our newborn. God will come through.

I am 35 years old now. My wife and two foster kids depend on me to provide for them. We’re about to add a baby. Father. I’m going to be a father! The small group of teenagers that meets at our house depend on us. Our families depend on us. Mountains. Giants. Oceans. Obstacles. Challenges. Difficulties. These things all feel larger than simply trusting God to teach me how to be a good little boy. But, the same God who came through for child, teenage, young adult, and adult me will continue to come through. He will for you, too.

Psalm 37:25 (NIV): “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

Weight. Age. Income. These are private issues people commonly reserve for conversations behind closed doors. My relationship with Jesus has been a fourth issue. In ministry roles or in church settings, where it’s normal and expected, I’m comfortable discussing but in everyday life it’s another story.
My uncle’s father passed away a few weeks ago. Becki and I went to Bogalusa, LA, to attend the funeral. It is a quaint town that reminded me of stepping onto a real life Andy Griffith Mayberry set. My uncle led the funeral and different family members contributed. Toward the end, he shared a brief message of anecdotes and spiritual encouragement.
I can’t remember a thing he said but I do recall how naturally and conversationally he spoke about his relationship with Jesus. Instead of being a one-time act on a Mayberry funeral stage, it lined up with the rest of his daily life that I have observed. It’s not a forced facade. It is a large and genuine part of his life that naturally outflows to his daily conversations.
It challenged me. I want my walk with Christ to be a natural conversation piece in my daily life. “We’re trusting God in this area,” “let’s pray together for that,” “this morning I read in the Bible . . .,” “Jesus led us to do … ,” etc.. I don’t want it to be a forced act but instead a natural outflow.
I do insurance customer service / sales on the phone. While helping a lady I found out she had surgery scheduled for later in the week. After taking care of her insurance needs, I told her I was a Christian and I’d be praying for her. Honestly, it felt a little awkward but right and good. She was genuinely thankful and following the call I talked to Jesus about her. Steps in the right direction.
Deuteronomy 6 NLT, “And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Relationship (vs. 5) naturally flows to everyday life (vs. 7-9).

My wife attends the University of West Florida. As a student card carrier (nautilus card), she has complimentary access to the UWF Fitness Center. This is a sprawling complex, a candy store (or should I say a fruit and veggie stand) for fit and becoming fit people. Amenities include basketball courts, locker rooms, exercise machines, free weights, cardio machines (including scary stair climbers – my calves shake in fear), and climbing walls. Becki has free access because she has a student card.

Climbing Wall at UWF Fitness Center

Climbing Wall at UWF Fitness Center

Gym On at UWF Fitness Center

Gym On at UWF Fitness Center

In January, we paid for me to join (perk of being married to a very cute Argonaut).  My wallet now holds a nautilus guest card and I have access to the candy (or fruit and veggies). I take full advantage, usually visiting twice a week to get my gym on. When I approach the check-in gate a twinge of panic presents itself because I’m not a student and I don’t feel like I should be walking in with students. Then, I pull out my nautilus card, swipe it through the id scanner and sashay in. Panic passes and confidence comes. I have access because I paid for a guest card.

A place exists infinitely greater than my new fitness center. This place is not greater because of its amenities but because of its occupant. This occupant is the source of all things, ruling the cosmos with absolute authority and plenary power while being the very definition of love. This occupant is God Almighty and this great place is His throne room. An insignificant speck of dust like me has no business entertaining thoughts of seeing this great place let alone entering. Forget panic, that is pure poppycock. Jesus Chris, God’s Son, paid for me to have a card called salvation that grants me access. By accepting the gift of this card, not only am I granted access to this great place but also into this great God’s family. Every time I pray, I can confidently come in and call God Almighty my heavenly Father. I have access because Jesus paid for a son card.

Hebrews 4:16 (NASB) Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

A few weeks back I accompanied my wife to her UWF campus (she was a PSC Pirate but now she’s a UWF ARGonaut) so she could attend a teaching meeting and I could hit up the gym. We were on time for her meeting but an hour early for the gym. So, I decided to run, well actually jog but I like to think of it as running, on the campus.

UWF Nature Trail

UWF Nature Trail

I ended up on a nature trail that snakes its way through thick forest areas of the campus. At one point I was completely submerged in forest behind and in front. I felt absolutely alone. A snake in the leaves by the path and a frolicking squirrel were the extend of the animal life I had seen, but I imagined a more ferocious creature bounding out of the forest with a fancy for some Joshua flesh (yes, a little extreme but it sounds good). That thought didn’t help the aloneness I felt.

At that moment Someone else joined me on the trail, not visible with my human eyes but certainly with my senses. I felt an ancient, confident, powerful authority surround me and at the same time a soothing, reassuring, calming peace settle me. I felt the words, “This is a son of God,” echo around me. God my Father, the creator of that UWF walking trail forest and every creature big and small in it, made himself known. I felt His loving ownership over me. I felt His authority and peace.

Then, as if waking from a dream, I snapped back to “reality”.

Psalm 139:5 NASB, “You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me”

Psalm 139:5 The Message Paraphrase, “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too – your reassuring presence, coming and going”