Monday, January 27, 2014

Overcoming our Childhood (Part 2)

The previous blog I wrote, as I commented later was not at all what I sat down to write.

What I took from that blog and I think there will be more to write about in a different format than this was the comments on Facebook about how people were so glad I was not on that boat. It really made me think.

Maybe I could have recovered from being on that boat eventually but it is certain that I would not have the life I am blessed to have now. Sometimes we (I) get caught in this thinking that I am just one person and not all that special. Sadly there is the other side of people that do so much damage because they become arrogant in their walk with the Lord. So as one person we can do good or harm, and we will do both in our lives. We can choose to be humble with the good and take ownership of the harm. I think that best.

Your comments made me think of that wonderful Christmas Movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."

One person removed due to bad choices or one person willing to go where he or she is led.

I thought what if I would have been on that boat. What good and bad would not have happened not only for me but for others.

1. I would not have Micah Beasley as my son.
2. I would not have my later in life gift of my wife Julie who exceeds this dreamer's dreams.
3. It might well have destroyed my mom long before dementia cruelly grasped her.
4. I would not have worked 32 years as a Park Supervisor and have a pension today that enables me to pursue my dream of writing full time.
5. I would not have so many of the wonderful friendships and relationships that I treasure today.
6. I would not have had the privilege of kids calling me "Coach"  for 20 years.  And even as adults, some in their forties now, and I am still "Coach" to them. Some have wrote me of  how they have taking lessons taught on a basketball court and applied them to real life. What greater compliment could I ever be paid? It humbles me beyond belief.
7. There is a good chance I would not even be here.

These are but a few examples if I would have been on that boat. I could write one hundred good and bad and not touch the subject.

I wrote an earlier blog about "That One Person." Ed Wilson, my former coach, my mentor, took a chance on me when no one else would. I don't think it a stretch to say, God used this man to save me from that boat and all that would have followed. I wrote in an earlier blog about him...

Jesus Christ saved me but Ed Wilson rescued me. 

One person, and to a God who can grant us more than we can think, dream, or imagine my suggestion is don't place limits on yourself and especially don't place limits on Him.

"It's a Wonderful Life," Isn't the best part of that movie when his brother Harry rushes in and toasts his big brother George, "the richest man in town."

Friday, January 24, 2014

Overcoming Our Childhood

Very few of us escape our childhood unscathed. Recently I listened to someone share publicly that their most hidden secret was something they did in the first grade. I don't make light of it at all. There are many things in my childhood I would like to turn a switch in my brain and never have reappear again.I do not know where I once read this quote or who wrote it, but I have never forgotten it.

"You spend the rest of your life trying to escape your childhood." 

I once shared with my then teen age son that I believe one of the most unfair things in life is that teenagers must begin planning their future and make adult type decisions that can and probably will influence their adult life. Think about how young kids are today when the start taking PSAT & SAT's & deciding on a college. What major should they go for? They are still kids being asked to make adult type decisions and they for the most part are not equipped emotionally to handle it. Some are blessed to have great guidance and that is certainly an asset, though certainly not foolproof.

Lou Giglio spoke on this matter at Passion 2012 and he was funny but all so true. He started checking off the things young people were expected to do. Good grades, high SAT, pick a college & major, graduate, get a job, move out on your own.....

Looking back at that time period for me was a way different story. I was in high school and along with two partners my marijuana dealing reached a point where we were buying it in fifty pound allotments. We were pretty much for a period of time the biggest dealers on our side of town. I routinely had several hundred dollars in my pocket and life was a party pretty much every day of the week. Was I equipped to understand the repercussions when I came home to six narcotic officers and being the headline on the six o'clock news? No.

My record was clean up to that point so I escaped prison barely. I had a two year suspended sentence hanging over me and you would think the fear in me would keep me from ever wanting to deal again. Oh, I had no illusions about stopping my partying and especially my marijuana smoking. I did every drug available but marijuana was my God. I worshiped it. I was convinced that anyone not spending their life stoned was missing out. I use to say that if I had preached the Gospel as fervently as I touted the benefits of pot half the town would have been saved. Of course I jest, slightly. 

I went back to dealing, though far more careful. Rarely was I involved in the transaction. I just hired people. And where did I get the money? My parents went to California and left me with $150 for grocery money. I bought one pound of pot. By the time they came home six weeks later I had over a thousand dollars and the fridge was full of food.

Why would I risk all this? Being a marijuana dealer was my identity. I lost it when I was going to court and had no money, no power, little of anything worthwhile. Strangely many of the friends I thought I had turned away when I no longer had a couple of grand in my pocket.

So I had to go back to the life that I knew, that defined me. It was about one year after my reentry into the life that my two partners were busted on a ship with tons of marijuana. I should have been on that ship that was a set up before they ever left the local dock. My life at nineteen would have been virtually destroyed. Considering my prior conviction I would have probably been sent away for up to ten years.

There is but one reason I was not on that ship. During that year I was walking down the street one night looking up at the sky and I felt a whoosh from head to toe, followed by a voice, "Come and admit you are wrong. Come and sing my glorious song."

I have wrestled with this calling. Why me? Why not the other two guys? I have little answers. Maybe my mom's prayers? My Little League Baseball Coach, Ed Wilson who took a chance on me when most people shunned me?

Sometimes today as I write this blog I feel a little guilty. I didn't deserve this. I turned away from God for decades. Oh, I would speak to him at night, usually in anger with horrible cursing at him for making me a part of this damnable life. I think I came out of the womb angry.

Here I am today with a beautiful wife and a long sought after book deal. Somehow my childhood has been overcome. Oh, I have flashes of youthful memories just as the speaker I alluded to in the beginning of this story shared. But they don't haunt me any longer and there are many far worse than what I have shared.

The identity of being a dealer and all the other identities I thought were truly me. They were all lies.
I am deceived no longer. My identify is clear. I belong to Jesus Christ. I am his child, even his friend. 

Think about that. I am not talking religion. My friend and pastor Jim once said, "Jesus did not like hanging out with religious people either. He came to the sick. He came to me. He will come to you. He is as real as he was that night he showed himself to a lost, sick, troubled, young man.

Disclaimer  :) I sat down thinking I was going to write something entirely different.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sydny & Devotion

This morning I woke before Julie and enjoyed the quiet time before the day began calling. Coffee in hand, Sydny & I huddled near the gas logs, reading from the gospel of Matthew. Well, I was the one reading as Sydny is not quite that advanced yet. But give the old boy time. He has learned a lot of new tricks since he moved in here full time a little over a year ago.

Later as I was preparing for the morning workout I was listening to Joyce Meyer and she said, "We should not be thinking how much can I get away with & still make it to Heaven."

I lived that way for most of my life. Many of us have. And what is the reason for that? I can answer only for me. I trusted what I wanted with my life way more than I trusted God. To follow God completely would be zero fun right? It would mean giving up my dreams. 

Yesterday I had a meeting with our Senior Pastor Steve Mattis. It was a wonderful hour spent sharing the good news as it applies to our lives. The meeting was scheduled to discuss my upcoming novel The River Hideaway, which will be released April 20, and we did chat about it, however, we spent more time talking about letting go of the wheel and really turning it over to our Father.

I did just that about two years ago for really the first time in my life. Oh, I was Born Again when I was 19 in dramatic fashion but I was always hesitant to really let our loving Father decide the path best suited. I believed but I charged ahead in my own steam. Later when I felt that God had failed me and did not really love me I rejected anything he may have wanted for my life.

So two years ago and fresh from hearing his voice clearly again but not trusting myself to surrender, certain that I would fail again. Do you sense a pattern here? Me, me, me.

Yesterday I shared personal insights with Pastor Steve about this calling by God. I have had two great callings in my life. I had one dramatic encounter when I was 19 and the second when I was an angry man in my 50's a more gentle calling of the Holy Spirit.  

But even as I shared what has happened  in my life since I turned the wheel over in January of 2012 to recap it still seems surreal. It would be way more than a blog to attempt to explain it fully so I will hit the highlights.

Regardless of whether I was going my own way or walking the path with my Father as I am now I had two great desires of my heart.

I wanted that one exciting relationship with a woman that would love me, enjoy me, protect me, and could  handle the depths of my heart. A love that would not grow stale. Many times I ventured down ill fated roads in search of this woman. It reached a point where the ride was not worth the fall. I told God one day I did not want to be alone forever but if it was not a spiritual woman and a relationship that he not only approved of but would bless it then close all the doors. I would be better off alone.

The day I said that I just have this image of God surrounded by his angels and saints. He says, "Okay everyone, I have his attention. Let's go to work."

The second great desire of my heart was that I wanted to be a published writer. Not for glory or fame, but simply to be walking down the beach one day and see someone reading and enjoying a book that I wrote.

April 6, 2013 Julie Morgan and I were married on the strand at Carolina Beach. I lack words to describe all she is to me. She certainly does love me. We enjoy each other and laughter often spills out for no apparent reason. My friend Todd mentioned just this week about how he loves Julie and how he sees not only how much she loves me but how protective she is over me. She does indeed handle this big complex heart of mine. Last night I had a dream that I don't recall in detail but the sence of it was that I was going through a breakup and strangely the person in the dream was no one I had ever seen. I woke a little out of sorts and then I reached over and touched my wife and smiled. She will not only love me and be there for the good times. I have had that many times in my life. Julie means it when she says she is standing right there with me for the challenging times as well. She is a loving beautiful woman and she is a rock for God and for me.

September 5, 2013  I received the following email.

Now that we've had the opportunity to review your novel, The River Hideaway, and get a sense of your marketing perspectives, we would like to offer you a publishing agreement. 

One day short of five months and both desires of my heart granted.

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