As of late, I have had several people ask me where the title for this blog came from. Occasionally, a few people even correct my grammar. It should be “Walk Well” I am told. It occurred to me that there might be some others that wonder the same thing. So here is why we Walk Good here instead of walking well.
In July of 2008, my wife and I spent a week in Montego Bay, Jamaica for our honeymoon. We could not have asked for a better experience. Beautiful skies, brilliant sunsets, tropical cake melting in our hands (alright, I totally ripped that line from Kokomo), the waves gently lapping at the steps outside of our beachside vista and time to spend together enjoying the community with God’s creation. During our stay there we noticed a peculiar saying by the locals, “walk good.” We would hear this at various times throughout the day. After a show the performer would say, “Goodnight and walk good.” When we finished a meal our waiter would send us on our way and remind us in his thick Jamaican accent to “walk good.” This started to become a joke between Devon and I. We continually reminded one another to “walk good” throughout our stay.
During the week I started to wonder what does it mean for a person to walk good? Furthermore, how does a Christian walk good? As a minister and therapist I am constantly peeling back the curtain and looking at people’s struggles, habits, hurts and problems. I myself am no exception. I am a broken human being with more problems and shortcomings than I would readily like to admit. It is so much easier to deny them and make everyone else think I am walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ every second of every day. We all have our problems. I know a few Christians that would have me believe otherwise. A lack of struggles and problems do not a good Christian make. To think we are without our problems is narcissistic, egotistic, or living in denial.
One thing I have found is many of my problems, and this applies to all people, could often be avoided if I would simply walk good. My favorite verse in the Bible is Ephesians 5:15. It is verse that calls us to live to a very high standard and it is pure application. Ephesians 5:15-16 (NKJV) says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Circumspectly means to look around. We get the picture of someone taking great care as they walk down a path. Each step is made with precision and vigilance. If you are a dog person, you know what it means to walk good, because as you walk through the back yard where Fido, Trixie, or pickles uses the bathroom you are very careful about where your feet land. This is what our Jamaican friends were communicating to us. They were admonishing us to be careful as we exit and make our way home. In this verse the Apostle Paul challenges us to live carefully. The NIV translation of this verse says, “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise.” The question is, are we living a life that seeks wisdom? Are we walking down the path of life giving great attention to how we walk and where we are headed?
So we get the idea from this passage in Ephesians that we are to live wise, that we are to be careful in living our lives. Knowledge is one thing and application another. How do we do it? We ask ourselves a question. We ask ourselves this question every day. Every decision and aspect of our lives should be funneled through one single question. What is the wise thing for me to do? This question should be the backdrop for our entire lives. This is not a question many people think, or even want, to ask. Most people simply want to know is there a rule against it. Is there a Bible verse that says what I am about to is ok, or does the Bible speak out against it? I believe we should consult the Bible for every decision we make, but asking, “is this a wise decision?” holds us to a higher standard. Just because there is not a rule or Bible verse against a certain action does not mean it is wise for one to do. Everyone has different struggles, histories, temptations, circumstances and experiences. What is wise for one person is not always wise for another.
Asking “what is the wise thing to do?” radically alters how we live and raises the bar for morality and making good decisions. In I Corinthians 10:23 (NIV) Paul tells us, “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive.” Just because there is not a rule or verse against something does not make it a wise thing to do.
Paul then goes on to tell us in Ephesians 5:15 to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” He tells us we are to “make the most of every opportunity we have.” Wise people redeem the time. People that walk good don’t waste the time they have. They realize that one wrong decision leads to another and this wastes precious time and energy. I see so many people squander the time they have. They often do this by living in denial. They want their life to be at a certain point. They feel they have a goal and they are headed toward it. They dream about where they are going. They talk about where they are headed in life. They even pray for God to bless their endeavors as they head toward said goal. When you actually evaluate their lives they are making no progress at all to where they want to be. It is the direction you are headed that determines where you end up. We can dream, pray, hope and discuss where we want to be further down the path, but if we are not taking active steps in that direction we are deceiving ourselves. Napoleon Bonaparte said, “There is in the midst of every great battle a ten to fifteen minute period that is the crucial point. Take that period and you win the battle; lose it and you will be defeated.” When it comes to living a life called to wisdom there are various windows of opportunity. One squandered decision cost us time and we may never be able to make it up. We must redeem the time. We are never stagnate; our lives are constantly headed somewhere, be it forward or backward. The question is, “are you headed in the direction you want to be?” Are you walking good? Are you living as the wise? This question should govern our lives.
We must keep in mind that it is not our wisdom that we seek to live by. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) challenges us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” We are to seek God’s wisdom if we hope to have a straighter path to walk down. We are to ask, “what is wise in relation to who I am as a unique individual taking into account my history, circumstances and struggles?”
It is based on Ephesians 5:15-16 that think about life and write my thoughts down. It is based on this principle that I seek to make sense of life and better understand how we are called to live. I could never have imagined what a difference it would make in my life to start writing down my thoughts and what I am learning. It has been both a blessing and a challenge.
Thanks to those of you that walk with me.
Walk good. Live Wise. Be blessed.
Road Trip! Many people hate piling in the car and staring at the road for hours on end, but I happen to enjoy it. Sure, flying is great at times, but road trips are conducive to great conversations and opportunities to reflect on life. It had been several years since we hopped in the car and drove across the country so my wife and I decided to drive to Atlanta this week, with our starting point being close to Houston. As we mapped out our route, we just so happened to notice that passing through West Monroe, Louisiana, was only about thirty minutes out of our way. What’s in West Monroe? Don’t you know? The bearded boys from Duck Dynasty, who else?
My wife and I began watching the show in season two, and quickly caught up by buying season one (which we watched in a night). We have been hooked ever since. We tune in every Wednesday night to see those friendly, fuzzed up faces.
When I stop to think about the show, it’s hard to say what drew me in to begin with. Sure it’s funny, but there are a lot of funny shows I don’t watch. I have never gone duck hunting (which I am not opposed to if anyone wants to give me an invite) a day in my life. I don’t even own a rifle. I have never even shot a deer, or at one for that matter. I really don’t even watch much television period, so it is interesting that I tune in faithfully every week this show airs. I even watch reruns from time to time, despite the fact that I own the seasons.
As we rolled up to Duck Commander, that’s the dynasty headquarters for those not sucked into the cult of duck yet, I was amazed. The facility wasn’t some huge corporate operation sprawled out over acres. It was a modest warehouse with some offices and a newly added gift shop. It is located right beside a small town car wash with some houses just down the road. To be honest, it looks smaller in person than on television. It is fascinating that the network, A & E, took a bet on the beards in the first place.
The gift shop opens at nine in the morning, and we arrived about eight-thirty. To my surprise, we were not the first ones there. We took some pictures while we waited for the gift shop to open. People continued to arrive by the minute. When the gift shop opened there were probably fifty people inside. The place was bustling with beard enthusiast by nine-thirty. I was amazed that this place attracted so many people.
This season, Duck Dynasty attracted an average of 8.4 million viewers per episode. It was the number one rated reality show this year. Just a bunch of guys, with beards, that make duck calls for a living. What is the appeal? It is something very simple, but so counter cultural that it almost elicits shock value. The success of Duck Dynasty is wrapped up in faith and family.
The show promotes a very family oriented lifestyle that flies in the face of our individualistic society. Each episode ends with the extended family sitting around a dinner table and some kind of moral is presented to tie the show together. There is also a healthy slice of faith served up with every episode.
It is my opinion that these two things, faith and family, are what pull people in (though Uncle Si’s antics also help). Why are people so drawn by these two things? Because it is what everybody wants. Who doesn’t want to have a close family? Most people want to find something that guides their life and instills a sense of purpose as well.
The sad fact is, much of our society is lacking in these two areas. So many people feel they can’t have what is seen in the lives of the Robertson’s, but they can. Anyone can have a life devoted to family and faith. Now this may be to varying degrees because, for many, the past plays a part in the present. Families don’t immediately change over night, but they can start the change process in a night. The Robertson family has what it has because it is willing to do what many people are unwilling to do, which is making faith and family a priority.
One of the cleanest shows on television right now is at the top. How does that happen? Because many people want to be a part of something good (not perfect). Maybe it also serves to show that there is a bigger desire for wholesome entertainment than some would have us think.
We were made for community. We find that fulfilled both vertically and horizontally. We need one another and we need God to feel fulfilled, have purpose, and be healthy. We long to be in community with God, family, and friends, whether we are cognizant of it or want to admit it. Somewhere, Duck Dynasty gives us a taste of what that feels like, and it feels nice.
We have to remember though, to have what most people don’t have, we have to do what most people don’t do. Invest in our families and make faith a priority, each of which require a certain amount of sacrifice, but the reward is worth the effort.
You were made for community. I was made for community. We were all designed with a void that only God and family can fill. How are you doing at filling your void?
Seek God. Invest in family. Live in community. Enjoy life. And if you want, grow a killer beard.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. Moms are a big deal. We should make sure they are celebrated more than one Sunday a year because moms (Most moms that is. I work with mother’s every now and then that don’t deserve any celebration.) shoulder incredibly responsibilities. So to all the mothers and soon-to-be mothers we salute you. Let’s have a moment of silence for all the amazing mothers……….Alright, moment over.
My wife is no exception. She is an amazing mom to our two kids. If she got a nickel for every hour of missed sleep because of our kids, she could buy us a small island in the tropics. This mother’s day was her third one to celebrate. For her first mother’s day I bought her this amazing leather bound photo book of our son with captions to her from him on each page. When she got it, she went straight to ugly cry. It was a case of daddy success!
Each year you have to step up your game a little. So guess what I got her for mother’s day last year? You ready for this? Absolutely nothing. In retrospect, I don’t know what I was thinking. I wish I could say I forgot about the holiday, but I new it was coming. I wish I could say I had the flu, but I was as healthy as a Clydesdale. I wish I could say anything other than the flimsy excuse I gave. Here was my excuse “I didn’t get a chance to do anything.”
It’s certainly true that I was extremely busy at that time. I had a lot going on. There were dozens of irons in the fire that I was juggling. Yet, Mother’s day comes around the same time every year. I knew it was coming. I had good intentions. I planned to do something, at some point, eventually.
My wife doesn’t particularly care about having expensive gifts. She just likes to feel thought about and cared for. She likes to know that I took a few seconds of my time to think about her and communicate that I care for her. So when Mother’s Day came last year, she was naturally disappointed. She felt underappreciated, and rightly so! I had good intentions, but never acted on them.
Have you ever noticed we tend to judge ourselves by our intentions, but we usually judge others by their actions? In our marriages (and every other facet of life) our intentions don’t cut the mustard (whatever that means). Good intentions are pointless. Wives don’t feel appreciated by our good intentions. Romance doesn’t flourish through our good intentions.
Its’ so easy to give ourselves a pass because our intentions were good, and then get upset with our spouses when their actions fall short. So what am I saying? We need to be fair. We need to stop using our intentions as an excuse for not acting. We also need to cut our spouse some slack at times when their actions don’t meet our expectations. We need to judge ourselves by the same standards we judge our spouse. As the truisms go, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions and actions speak louder than words.” So how are your actions talking? Are you being intentional?
This year has been even busier than last year. Work has been extremely busy. We added another baby to the mix. We are close to finishing a house. The end of school fell right on Mother’s day for me. I could whine on and on, but you get the picture. It’s busy. You can relate. You are busy too. Right? Yet this year I decided not to cop out with my “good intentions.” I decided to act. I even tried to go the extra mile and redeem myself. This year she got another photo book and some Vera Bradley (which I hear is like Lisa Frank for grown ups).
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Confession. I took two solid years of Español (that’s Spanish for all you English only people) in college. To this day, I can say a handful of Spanish phrases, most of which are extremely unhelpful. I know how to say rug, pants, underwear, potatoes, count to thirty, and sing a song about a Cockroach. None of that will ever help me negotiate my way out of a Mexican prison (should that need ever arise) if I am ever taken captive down on Méjico. Wouldn’t it be much simpler if everyone just spoke the same language?
So what about love languages? You remember the book by Gary Chapman right, The Five Love Languages? Essentially, he says we all have a different language that communicates how we like to be loved or know we are being loved. He divided the love languages into the following categories: Words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and gifts.
People try to love their spouse in the language that they themselves “speak”, but that might not be the language their spouse speaks. If someone feels loved by receiving gifts then they naturally buy gifts for their spouse in order to communicate their love, but Chapmen says, their spouse may feel loved by hearing affirming words. So the underlying principle is, learn what language your spouse speaks and love them the way that they like to be loved.
It is an interesting read. Thousands of couples have done it together in small groups. It has four and a half stars on Amazon as reviewed by 1,649 people. It always seemed to make sense to me, but I think there may be more at work here than speaking your spouse’s specific language.
When I read the Five Love Languages, my primary language was words of affirmation and my SSL (second love language) was physical touch. So, all my wife has to do is tell me nice things and hold my hand and I am feeling some kind of loved. Easy-peasy.
Several weeks ago, however, something happened that got me thinking. One thing that grates on my nerves is having a dirty vehicle. I like our cars to look clean, smell clean, and not have 2 month old M&M’s melting in the dark recesses under the seats. I enjoy washing the cars. Give me a beautiful day, some soap, and a shop vac, and I am thrilled. This one particular week, however, my car was filthy. It had been several weeks since I got to wash the car and my week was hectic and my schedule was packed. One day when my wife was out she washed the car, vacuumed it, cleaned the seats, and wiped the entire interior.
It was nighttime when I had to get in the car, and I noticed my rear slide in the seat. WAIT, “I know that feeling” I said to myself. That’s what the seats feel like after mink oil has been applied. But….what…who…? I looked at the floor. Vacuumed. “Devon, did you wash the car?” “Yup. I knew it was stressing you out.”
In that moment, I had just been handed a blank check. Someone just slapped me upside the head with warm fuzzies for my wife. She washed the car. I couldn’t thank her enough. But wait, you say. Acts of service isn’t your love language. It is words of affirmation and physical touch. That’s right, but her act of service meant the world to me that week.
So that caused me to wonder. Maybe we do all tend to have a certain way that we feel more loved or tend to express our love just like Gary Chapman says, but maybe there is a universal language? Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking his book. You should probably read it, but maybe there is something bigger here than several different languages. Maybe the universal love language is simply doing something for you spouse. Anything at all.
As the years creep by in a marriage, it is easy to let all the things that you use to do begin to slip. Maybe it isn’t what you do for your spouse that matters as much as the fact that you actually do something. I think if we take the time to invest emotionally, let them know that we care, think about them, and want to see them happy, what we do won’t matter nearly as much as the fact that we have chosen to let them know how valuable they are to us.
We should still study our spouse and try to meet their specific needs and pay attention to the unique ways they feel loved, but above all else, let’s make sure we continually communicate that we care. There are millions of ways to do this. Let’s not get too bogged down in trying to figure out exactly the perfect way to communicate we love them, let’s just make sure we invest in them often to show we care. What we do doesn’t matter near as much as that we DO! Let’s not use our inability to love perfectly as an excuse not to act. Action, doing, making the effort often, that is the universal love language.
Tonight, as I hopped in bed with my laptop while my wife settled in to read for five minutes until she passed out she asked, “You about to blog?” I told her yes. “Got a topic?” “No, not yet Dev. You have a suggestion?” “Yea, you could write about how great your wife is?” So here is it. Thanks for all the ways you invest in me. The many things you do mean the world. You are pretty amazing. I know your love language is not words of affirmation, but you are pretty great.
What have you done/said/given to remind your spouse how great they are lately?
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Have you ever lost something important? What did you do? Did you sit around, hoping it would eventually turn up, or did you keep searching until you found it? It probably depends on how important it was. Around my house, I feel like we are constantly looking for things. Our little boy is frequently putting things in random places. My wife has knack for misplacing (her word for losing) various items as well. Honestly, I think they are both in cahoots just to watch me tear the house apart in a frantic frenzy. The most common items I search for are: remote controls, car keys, debit cards, and cell phones (which are always on silent when they are lost). I hate losing things. It is such a frustrating experience. Generally, things get lost when you need them most, or when you are in a hurry.
Last Sunday night nothing could have prepared me for what got lost. It was my two-year old son. We had just gotten out of church, and several of us stayed around visiting and catching up afterwards. All of the exits were locked. My wife and I were both keeping our eyes on our son as he ran and played with several of the other children. Out of nowhere someone asks, “Where is Hayden.” My response was, “He is right over here playing with the kids.” I walk around the corner and I see the kids, but my kid is missing. No big deal. I check the bathrooms because sometimes he meanders in there. I walk in and the lights are out. I call out and no answer. I quickly check his usual spots all to no avail. We check the sanctuary. No Hayden. We look, and one of the exterior door are cracked open.
At this point, about twenty people go in every direction, some out the front doors, others out the back, and some stay inside. I quickly run to the front and make sure he is not anywhere close to the road. Thankfully, I don’t see him close to the road, but then again, I don’t see him anywhere else either. Nausea starts to ripple through my stomach. Where is he? He isn’t one to wander. Where can he be? Please, God, help us find this sweet little boy. I walk back inside. Everyone else has moved outside to look so I start to sweep the inside again. I run into the sanctuary and something to my left catches my attention. He is playing in the floor of the sound booth completely oblivious to the frantic search going on around him.
Relief. I am flooded with a heart of thankfulness. I found him. He is okay. He is safe. I scoop him up and squeeze him. In that moment he has no idea how relieved and thankful I am to have my arms wrapped tightly around him. My son that was lost is now found. What incredible joy. I cut my celebration short in order to tell everyone else to call off the search. I had found him. No longer did I rejoice alone, we all gave thanks. Everything was alright. My son was safe.
In those short couple of minutes I collided headlong with a new perspective on the degree of the Father’s love for us. I had previously thought I had somewhat of a grasp on the extent of God’s love for His children. What I thought I knew about God’s love was shattered in several extremely long minutes.
I would have given anything to find my son. There is no extreme I would not have gone to in order for him to be wrapped safely in my arms. How much more so is the Father’s love for us? He paid the ultimate price.
He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a slave,
taking on the likeness of men.
And when He had come as a man
in His external form,
He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
Ever since mankind willingly chose to separate himself from God, He has been seeking us. Even though our souls have become twisted and we desire to hide, He has been seeking us. Though we have tried to do things our own way and rebelled, He has continued to search for us.
He is always there with arms wide. A Father that longs to embrace His children. What joy he finds when we are found! We will never know what pure love is until we run to Him!
Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.‘ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. -Luke 15:8-10
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Last week, a new baby girl entered the world. I have a little life entrusted to me that will one day call me daddy. When I met Hadley for the first time, I was flooded with emotion. A sense of wonder and awe washed over me. God uses children to speak into our hearts in a significant and unique way. Our children touch us in ways that nothing else can. The night our daughter was born, I lay in a hospital room on a lumpy, uncomfortable pull out couch. A box fan hummed as the balloons from gift baskets buffered against the window. As I lay there my thoughts turned to my family, specifically the two beautiful children God has given me. I considered how much I love my kids, and how much I know that love will grow.
Then the verse came to my mind, “For God so loved the world.” Everyone knows that verse. It is recited repeatedly. It is one of the first verses children learn in Sunday school. People hold it up on signs at sporting events. It has been called “the North Star of the Bible.” It is hard to truly get your arms around that verse without having experienced being a parent. What I thought that verse meant growing up has deepened as my love for my children expands.
For God so loved. What does that mean exactly? When it comes to my children, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. I would gladly lay down my life to protect them. I would go to great lengths to see them taken care of. What a tremendous parallel. Is it no wonder that we call Him Father? What lengths He has gone to that we might have life, and have it to the fullest.
When I was growing up, there were several instances where I questioned my parents. Why are you doing this? Your decision doesn’t make any sense. Why are you being unfair? Why can’t I, when my friends are? Why don’t you do this instead of that? There were times that I was aggravated with my parents, thinking they should change the way they see certain situations, or that they should do things differently. Now, having children of my own, their actions are abundantly clear. I don’t need anyone to explain to me why they did what they did. Though as a child I lacked the perspective needed to understand. It is curious how time and a change in perspective provide one with so much clarity.
So how does that relate to how we see God? For Christians and skeptics alike, there are often times where we question God. We wonder why He behaves the way He does, or doesn’t give us the answers we want the moment we want them. We question why He allows certain things, or why He remains hidden at certain times. We desire to know why He doesn’t intervene in certain situations, and why bad things happen. At certain points, we might even shake our fists at God.
What if, at our present juncture, we lack the perspective to see things with clarity? Just like when we were kids we questioned our parents only to see things in lucid detail as our children came along, maybe it will be the same with God. Perhaps one day everything will make sense when we are given that moment of clarity.
So for now, can we just rest in the fact that God so loved the world? Can we be both comforted and frightened by the fact that God holds the world in His hands, and no sparrow falls that He is not privy too? Can we simply find solace knowing that God is in control even when things feel out of control? Can we be reminded that as a parent loves their children, so does God love us?
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Don’t you love holidays? Labor Day was nice last Monday. I had the day off to get ready for labor day today. That’s right, it is finally here. Actually, it got here much quicker than I had anticipated. Today around 12:30 P.M. we will be welcoming our new baby girl into this world, Hadley Brittland Fults. We are pretty excited, although, the overload of pink is certainly a change of pace. What have I gotten myself into? I can’t wait to find out.
In a very short time I will get to meet one of my new best friends. I will get to watch her grow. I am allowed the privilege to teach her about life, help her find her own way, and tell her about the Creator who gave her life in the first place. What a humbling responsibility and privilege.
Since I will be up to my neck in dirty diapers and late night feedings, I will not be writing as much as I usually do this week. I will certainly post tidbits here and there, and maybe a few pictures, of our brand new little girl. So feel free to check back for updates if you like. Since I knew I would be preoccupied this week, some other talented writers will be sharing their thoughts here throughout the week. I hope you enjoy what they have to say.
Please keep us in your prayers. To all of you who journey with me, read my thoughts, and share your own at times I want to say thanks for doing life with me.
“I wonder what sort of tale we have fallen into?” – J.R.R. Tolkien
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
So, your fingers are sort of a big deal. Did you know that? Bet you haven’t really considered that as of late, have you? Ask any three fingered man, and they will back me up on this. In fact, five out of five of three fingered men agree that the importance of phalanges is not to be minimized. I came to understand this harsh reality last night, and I am proud to proclaim that I really appreciate my fingers.
Yesterday evening, my wife and I were getting dressed to meet some friends for dinner. I went through my usual routine getting dressed. There was only one step left, throw on my watch and wedding band. The watch went on successfully; the ring did not! I had worked outside in the heat all day. In fact, several hours were spent working in my attic, which we refer to as the outer circle of hell. I did not make the connection that my fingers might be swollen and holding fluids from working in the heat. In my hurry to get ready so we could walk out the door, I rammed my ring down on my finger. It decided to get conveniently stuck on my knuckle. When I say stuck, I mean stuck; like sunk up to your neck in quicksand stuck. It would not budge off of my knuckle.
I thought to myself, “No big deal.” I went to the bathroom and ran it under cold water, added a little soap, and expected my ring to slide ride off. This did absolutely nothing for my cause. I started to notice my finger turn a deep red. My blood pressure spiked a little at this point. The most important thing in the world at that moment was for my ring to come off finger number three.
I decided to enlist the help of my wife. She brought me some cold ice water and baby oil. I soaked my finger in subfreezing water for about ten minutes and then tried the baby oil. All this was to no avail. My finger is moving from bright red to a reddish blue.
At this point my wife and I have a mini-meeting, and decide we should probably go to the emergency room. Neither of us could think of any other options. I would rather be punched in the face by ten large men than go to the ER. A couple of months ago I had a large gash in my forehead and refrained from going to the ER. For me to go to the ER on this short of notice should reveal the panic I could feel, not to mention that my finger is starting to throb in pain.
We call my parents and let them know we will drop of our son with them so we can go to the emergency room. When we pull up, my dad says, “Let me try to get that thing off.” We go inside and he says, “We have to squeeze the fluid out of your finger past the ring.” He then proceeds to grab my ring finger. He squeezes it tighter than any finger has ever been squeezed. He squeezed so hard that had he been milking a cow with this grip, it would have killed the cow. My dad is no small guy. In High School they called him “The Animal”. Sound’s intimidating, huh?
He keeps squeezing. I can literally feel the blood and fluid squeezing underneath the ring. I was concerned that his squeezing might force the fluid OUT of my finger instead of under the ring. It hurt so bad I almost threw up (don’t judge me punk).
Once the flood was gone, the ring slid down. He squeezed some more. I soaped up my finger and tried to slide it off. I was making progress at this point, all the while my dad is yelling in the background, “Get that ring off. Get it off. I said get it off boy.” Ahhhh. At last. Sweet victory. I could feel the blood rush back into my finger. I didn’t even have to sit at the ER for hours and pay hundreds. It was a moment of sweet victory.
That is how I really came to appreciate my fingers. Without that third finger where would I be? No more guitar playing. My typing would be hindered. My blog posts would take much longer to write. I would have to wear my ring on my right hand. Everyone would inquire why I was missing a finger, and I would have to tell them this stupid story. I never knew that finger was such a big deal, until I ran the risk of losing it. Okay, I know I wouldn’t have lost it, but I still came to really appreciate it.
How often do we go through life never realizing how blessed we are? What areas do we fail to appreciate? When was the last time that you thought, “Wow, I am incredibly blessed to have ________.” When was the last time you were thankful for your: health, family, wife, church, talents, salvation, job, home, friendships, fingers, etc?
Even though life is hard at times we still have so much to be thankful for. In fact, so often everything is amazing and we fail to notice it. What would happen if we stopped from time to time to give thanks for so many blessings that we so often fail to notice?
As Joni Mitchell (and Amy Grant and Counting Crows) use to croon, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you get ‘til it’s gone?” Let’s not wait for a crisis to force us to appreciate our blessings. Lets count them daily.
By the way, my finger still hurts.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
What are you thankful for right now?
It was four years ago, on July 19th, that I stood across from the woman I love and exchanged vows. It was truly a happy day. We were both able to relax and take the day in. We were able to celebrate life and the love we have for one another in the midst of all the people that have cared for us and invested in our lives. Yet, on that day, as I stood smiling across from this wonderful woman, I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of tale I had fallen into. What would life be like? What would our adventure together consist of? Thus far, it has exceeded my wildest expectations. It has been an adventure like no other.Sometimes, it’s just fun to reminisce. It is life giving, to remember some of the details about your past together and celebrate the relationship that God has given you. I feel truly blessed. I have an abundance of happy memories and would be pressed to come up with a handful of unhappy ones. God has blessed my wife and I in so many ways, and I am thankful for his goodness in our lives. Even if tomorrow my life was over, I can say I have no regrets in my relationship with my wife, and that is an incredibly wonderful feeling.
So, just for a few minutes, I would like to reminisce about some of the tales my wife and I have woven together in our first four years together.
After we were married, we were to leave for Jamaica the next day. We didn’t make it to Jamaica the day after our wedding because we slept through our flight. Oops. So we stayed in Houston an extra day. It was so great. We just recounted the day before. We ate at Saltgrass, which we usually do every anniversary now, and we slept because we were exhausted from the wedding. We were also worn out from wedding preparations. We ironed at least 40 table cloths until 5 AM the morning before our wedding. Once we got to Jamaica, we had such an amazing time. We rode four wheelers through the jungle, zip lined through the jungle canopies, and fed hundreds of tropical fish hot dog buns while snorkeling (who knew the fishies liked hot dogs).
Shortly after this, we had to fly to California. We hiked all the way up to the Hollywood sign. We met a lot of interesting people in Hollywood. We got to see a lot of sights I would just as soon forget.
Some of my favorites times with her, were driving back and forth to Tyler several times a week as we both stove to finish school. The long car rides gave us so much time to connect and talk about life. It gave us time to dream together. I enjoyed getting to sit in classes with her. We would always compete on tests. She beat me on majority of the tests, but my GPA was where I got my victory. In December of 2008, we both were able to graduate together, and got our MA in psychology.
Shortly after graduation, we wanted to hear the pitter patter of little feet running around the house so we got a dog. We drove to Dallas just to get our pup, and we named her Jacksie. She got her name because she is a Jack Russell, and also because that is what C.S. Lewis named his dog. We had so much fun playing with this dog.
Together, in the last four years we have gotten to meet several people on my bucket list: Ted Dekker, Norman Geisler, Andy Stanley, Chuck Swindoll. We have taken road trips. We tend to love time together in the car. One time, we drove 14 hour straight home from Tennessee and listened to a book the whole way home. It was such a great memory.
Another one of my favorite memories was when it snowed in December in Southeast Texas. We played in the snow and drove around. It looked like a whole new place, since everything was blanketed in white. That was definitely one of my favorite Christmases.
I remember when we first found out that we were going to have our son, Hayden. What an interesting stir of emotions that was. When Devon was in labor, I worked on paper and played angry birds for a few hours until things got intense. When he made his way into this world it instantly brought us closer together. Then, I slept around the clock in the hospital. I was more tired than Devon, it must have been from all the hard work I did.
When we got Hayden home, I was not prepared for the sleep deprivation coupled with excitement. It took us a couple of days to figure things out. I remember a set of pajamas with buttons made us both break down and cry. They were tricky and we were taxed of emotional resources. I can remember taking care of Hayden in shifts. I got the night shifts and would watch movies or read books.
I could go on and on, but I will just stop here. What a blessing these past four years have been. I am looking forward to writing the rest of our story together. Who knows what the next fifty years of marriage hold, provided I don’t tap out before then.
Thanks for being a part of my story Devon Fults. Who knows what twist and turns our story will take? What an exciting story it has been.
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Usually on Mondays, I do a post on marriage. This week, that just did not happen. Why? Because I was being despicable. I had a bad attitude Sunday night and put myself to bed early, and Monday was pure chaos. The week started off on a negative note. My wife’s dad is was still having some serious health problems and we found out at the doctor on Monday that we need to see a specialist due to some potential (although unlikely) complications with our pregnancy and future daughter, Hadley. We spent much of the day Monday in the doctor’s office or at the hospital.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Charles Stanley’s anacronym HALT, but it stands for: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. When you are in any of these states, he says you should halt. That is, take a step back, talk to God, and find your center. Monday, I was firing on all four HALT cylinders. Not only was I not heeding to the HALT, but I was very behind on work, which is far worse for giving me a bad attitude than the combination of being hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. Throughout the day my wife was a champ, often trying to lift my spirits, but I was completely incorrigible.
When faced with trying days, challenging situations, or just days when you feel that you have every right in the world to be a grump, you can either lean into God love and mercy or you can pull away in the opposite direction. You can turn toward your spouse or you can turn away. You can find rest and encouragement or you can choose to keep a bad attitude and live in the land of funk (the gross funk, not the funky funk that Coolio sang about on his fantastic voyage).
Monday, I chose to pull away from God and turn away from my spouse, both of which were bad ideas. When we choose to pull away from God we reap the unfortunate consequences of that and find ourselves in short supply of peace, joy, patience, etc. When we turn away from our spouse instead of turning toward them we feel like we are fighting alone. It is a much better idea to trust God with the course of your day (and life) and walk side by side with your spouse through trying times.
The week has gotten much better. I’m not hungry anymore; in fact, I got some Chic-Fil-A that day on the way home. I am not angry anymore because I had no one to be angry at. I am not lonely anymore because I turned toward my spouse. I am not tired anymore….wait…I am still tired, but I can deal with that. Plus, not to mention, I have worked my tail off this week and caught up on a lot of work.
I am thankful for fresh new day. I am thankful for grace. I am thankful for the God who loves me and offers mercy. I am thankful for the amazing friend He has given me in a wife.
Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? Behind? Busy? Worried? Constipated (just making sure you were paying attention)? Frustrated? Always lean into God. Always turn toward your spouse.
God chooses what we go through; we choose how we go through it.” – John Maxwell
Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.