Friday, December 28, 2007

Even If I Could Complain?

I don’t know what I would change, what I would complain about, even if I could. Let me explain. Recently life has been kind of hectic, difficult, hard to explain, and seemingly impossible. For some strange reason, to make much of a deal over all of these things don’t make much sense to me, even though I likely could.

Let me explain:

I recently took a job that is eventually supposed to be 3 evenings a week, which will allow me to work on The Virtual Pew and supplement some of my families’ income.

Unfortunately, for the last month, and at least the next 3 weeks I have been putting in long hours, through the day, 5, 6, and in some weeks even 7 days a week, and unable to get most of my obligations taken care of related to The Virtual Pew. I have had to put on hold the radio programs The Virtual Pew Live and HJ Live until the schedule gets worked out. Thankfully that appears to be in the near future and I will start working on the new schedule this next week. I have also had to cancel officiating several, actually 5 wrestling tournaments, I have at least 2 more I will have to cancel, and that is at a loss of $125 to $150 per tournament. Unfortunately some of these have come at a notice of less than 2 days.

On top of this, income and needed promotion of The Virtual Pew has been slacking due to my commitments to my new job. The reality is, The Virtual Pew still needs all of the donations and support we can get. Ministry has to continue, and the ultimate dream and desire is that this ministry is a full-time, self supporting ministry that continues to provide the ministry it does to The Lost, The Last, and The Least. We can’t do that without the support, plus there are the other outreach events, that require money.

Even if I could complain though, I wouldn’t. The reality is my new position with Youth Horizons is a wonderful opportunity provided by God to provide some income, plus allow me to work with troubled boys. In a few weeks I will be able to give a large portion of that time from Youth Horizons, to The Virtual Pew. While the contributions and gifts are needed, God works in his time. I know people will continue to contribute and support this ministry, I also know that the additional time will discipline me to get things done, plus provide opportunity to work on other things I have been wanting to like the possible publication of The Keystone Kid as I work to submit it to an agent for consideration.

I could complain about Christmas, in fact, it is the first Christmas that I can ever recall where I was actually sick. I got sick on Christmas morning, and was in bed most of the day, was sick the next day. I went to work yesterday, still a little sick, but nonetheless, still sick.

I could complain, but while I was sick God honored my family and I to provide a wonderful Christmas to a new, dear friend. I will be careful about saying too much but will say that for around 26 of my 28 years of marriage, my wife and I have had people spend Christmas with us who would have no place to go otherwise. This last Christmas was no exception. A former gang member from the area spent Christmas with us, in fact, he spent 4 days with us. Complete with all of the gang tattoos, and numerous gun shot wounds, this person told us Christmas morning that this Christmas was the best he had ever had in 32 years of life. To hear things like this, even when you are sick, have ways of making one have a great Christmas.

I could complain about how I would really be at HJAG (Hollywood Jesus Annual Gathering) this year in Seattle. I was there for the first one and Hollywood Jesus is a ministry I am honored to be a part of. I was looking forward to it this year, but with the new job, lack of finances, it just isn’t possible.

I am okay with that though, I am spending some time with my family that I wouldn’t get to otherwise. I also know that God has something good for me this weekend. Don’t ask me how I know that, I just know that. I will call the folks at HJAG on Saturday morning, sending my love, encouragement and more to the folks attending. Maybe in some way, God will use this, I can only imagine.

On Christmas night, I got the hardest news though, I got word from my wife, who had spoken to my mother when I was in bed sick that my sisters former husband went to the ATM and just fell over dead. This is a former brother in law I had had numerous discussions about regarding faith, most not good because of his attempt to keep any area of faith discussions away from my sister, who was instrumental in getting me involved in church. This person at the time denied God, and saw no value in religion at all. This is a former brother in law who showed up at the funeral of my Aunt Ruth who was murdered, intoxicated, and was asked to leave the funeral. I’ll be honest, I didn’t like the guy much, but I had my reasons, that didn’t mean I didn’t pray for him, and I don’t hurt for my sister who is hurting. For those having issues with thoughts like this, I guess I will only say, walk a half a mile in my shoes. It isn’t always easy but there is far more that went on here than many realize, even I. Only my sister knows, and I know she isn’t willing yet to talk about it all.

On this one, I have to admit, I struggle because I realize my sister was the smart one in the family, she was the one who should have gone to college, she is the one who should have never experienced the abuse she did for the duration of time she did. I have always struggled with that, I guess brothers kind of do that.

I could complain, but, my sister is back in church now, she is growing in her faith and getting stabilized. I firmly believe she is around others who will help her through this difficult time. I certainly hope so as there is no way I can visit and be there with her, even though I would love to do so. I am confident that God is still good, and I am confident my sister knows she played a significant part in my life, and a part of the blessings I have seen belong to her.

I could go on and on about things I could complain about. I know I come from a background where drugs, death, difficulty, gangs, and all are still, in many ways, a part of my life. I have come to the conclusion those things will always be a part of my life because that is a part of who I was, and in some ways, who I still am. That is with the exception of having Jesus in my life now.

Some say faith and religion is nothing more than a crutch. I consider myself an intellectual but I have to admit, I think sometimes religion and faith are a crutch. I don’t see that as a bad thing though. I see that as a need for those who need it. A crutch don’t make a broken leg any less broken, it don’t make a sprained ankle any less sprained. Neither does a person having a need for faith or religion make that person any less of a person. In fact, I think it makes them whole, especially when they need it. The benefit is that a crutch can be temporary; it can be a short term need to help one get through the rough and tough times. During that process, they heal, get better, and are able to move on, often times in a stronger faster way than ever before. I have also learned that my faith in Jesus is something I enjoy, and desire, some may say, even hunger and thirst after it. Why, because I know the process works, I know it works because while I could complain, I don’t, in fact, I am at peace because I know the Prince of Peace.

Here is a song by Thousand Foot Krutch (Notice the Pun) called Falls Apart. Double Click on the Video Below if you don't see the video, just click on the link. Listen to the words, you will see how it applies to this article.

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