This is a Post I don’t want to Write

A little less than two weeks ago I had to got through the unfortunate experience of laying my Mother-In-Law to rest.  What a completely different experience than when my own parents passed, but for different reasons that you might think.

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When I picked my wife up from her house and met her mom the first time it didn’t really go very well.  The first few weeks of our relationship took place at summer camp so it was almost a month of us being together before I actually came to her house and picked her up for a date.  I’m a pretty shy person until I get to know someone, although some people may say the opposite.  I don’t recall really saying anything to my future Mother-In-Law, but when I asked my wife about it a couple of days later she mentioned that her mom wasn’t very impressed, or didn’t like me.  I was 19 and this was the first time I had dated a woman to the point on meeting her parents so I didn’t know how to act or what to expect.  Over time I’m pretty sure that she tried to convince my wife to leave me.  I deserved it, I didn’t do anything to change her mind in the early years of our relationship.  I know that as my wife and I both grew up and changed, so did my Mother-In-Law’s opinion of me.

About ten months ago she called my wife and asked her to accompany her to a doctor appointment to have some tests done on some abdominal pain.  My wife immediately thought the worst, I think we all did.  We were right to think the way we did, and we were all correct about the diagnosis, she had developed stage one pancreatic cancer.  The doctor was pretty sure it had been identified early enough that removal and maintenance chemo should take care of it.  This was news to me, because until before this I was under the impression that pancreatic cancer was basically a death sentence.  I understand it now can be controlled similar to diabetes.  She was up for the fight, as I figured she would be, since she had already beaten cancer once in her life.  My Mother-In-Law was a very tough woman in many ways.

After many months of treatment and some other problems that developed, we think from the treatment, Barbara Miller was called home to God on June 23, 2018.  This was a shock.  My wife had just brought her home from a chemo treatment the day before and she was in good condition.  Through her whole treatment she was still eating well, there were a couple of times we had meals with her and it was not uncommon for her to eat as much as I did.  Her appetite was still there.   We knew her time was limited, but we thought we would have a few months yet.  It was a shock to say the least.  We know now that she is now longer suffering, no longer having to be strong and fight.  She is at peace.

This experience with her death is different from what I went through with my own parents.  The obvious difference is that I would go through a different set of emotions than I did with their passing.  I loved Barb, but it goes without saying that this was a different level than what I had with my parents.  The biggest difference in her passing compared to my own parents is my understanding of death.  With the strengthening of my faith I’ve come to a better understanding of what death is all about.  I processed this death from a much different perspective than I did with my own parents.  I’m pretty sure I still would have processed their passing with the same outward emotions that I did, but the everything that I processed internally would have been vastly different.

I haven’t stopped praying for my Mother-In-Law since she passed away.  The prayers I say for her now are for different reasons.  I hope by these prayers she knows that I will do everything I can to make sure that her daughter is comforted as well.  I have to make sure my wife makes it to Heaven so that she can be reunited with her mother as well as with Him.  I have to do this, I don’t have any other option.  This is what I’m called to do.  There has been few things as clear to me in my life as this.  I cannot fail.

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Rest in peace Barb.  Thank you for everything you were able to do for my family while you were with us.

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This Post is Overdue

May 24, 2018 v5 p9

I haven’t been posting as regularly as I have in past, and at first I wasn’t sure why.  I think I may have figured out the reason.

Over the course of my blogging I’ve written about a wide range of topics.  I started doing this to write about sports.  Journalism is what I was planning to study when I went off to college.  He had different ideas in mind for me, and I’m thankful for that.  I wrote mainly about University of Michigan football to start, my favorite sport.  That was pretty much because it was the middle of the season when I started.  After that I wrote some about other sports, but didn’t get quite the same response.  Every once in a while I would venture off to a different topic.  Some of them that I have written about include parenting, family life, and leadership.  It was some of my posts on leadership that other people started to pick up with more regularity.  I could see that I needed to branch out to more than sports on a regular basis.

One area I decided to start sharing in was my faith.  It wasn’t too long after I started this hobby that my wife and I returned to the Catholic Church.  When I look back on the statistics, it’s those posts about my faith journey that have received the most clicks/views/reads.  It really isn’t even close for the rest of the categories I write about.  I realized that this may be where my voice needs to be heard.  I still enjoy writing about University of Michigan football, but when I post things about that I don’t expect much response.  That part of my audience has actually become pretty small.  Most of the discussions about those posts come on my personal social media sites.  I’m not supposed to be a sports journalist.  I’m OK with that.

My faith has become the number one part of my life.  I can’t get enough.  I want learn more.  There are some times when I wish I could go back to myself in middle school and convince myself that I was already headed down the wrong path.  I do my best to live my faith out in my everyday life.  I hope the people around me see it.  I want nothing more than to be able to help them experience what I have experienced.  I realize that a lot of people don’t think they need God in their life.  That’s totally understandable.  That’s also why He gives free will.  The ability to choose to follow Him, or to follow our own wants.

I have asked people for a response to my posts, but often don’t get one.  I don’t know if that’s because people think I’m way off base, or if they aren’t willing to admit that what I’m saying has some worth.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve come to realize that most likely it’s neither of those cases.  When it comes to faith for most people it’s a pretty personal topic.  If they aren’t comfortable sharing their own faith, within their own lives, then why would they share it in mine?  I know I’ve been guilty of that myself.  I have been able to share on this platform, but when it comes to sharing it with other people in a face-to-face setting, I tend to clam up.  In the men’s prayer group I’ve started going to at my church I have no problem at all speaking out, it’s in those situations outside of that where I struggle.

So that’s what I’ve come up with.  I really want to share my faith.  I have a platform where I really don’t struggle to speak, I just need to utilize it better.  I’ve been putting off some changes to this blog out of fear, but I need to put my trust in Him that it will show if I’m making the right changes.  Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for more from me.

St. Francis is often accredited with saying, “Go out and preach the Gospel, if necessary use words,” but nobody can confirm that.  I’ll just stick with Mark 16:15, And he said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.”

 

This Post is Whispering

March 21, 2018 v5 p6

This year I set a goal to work on myself.  I needed to do this to help my family and me, here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

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That blank line is exactly what I’ve determined.  The only thing I know right now is that I need to continue on this journey.  The more I started to look inward at myself, the more I realized I was doing the right thing.  I need to figure out if I’m understanding things correctly.  In 1 Kings 19 we are told the story of Elijah hearing God.  Elijah is in a cave and there is an great wind, but no word from the Lord.  That is followed by an earthquake, but no word from the Lord.  After the earthquake there was a fire, but still no word from the Lord.  Finally after the fire, in a very soft whisper, the Lord speaks to Elijah.  This story wasn’t new to me when I started this journey back in January, so I knew that I needed to find a more quiet place.  Unfortunately I live in a word that is full of nothing but noise.

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I’ve been able to narrow down a few of the whispers I’m hearing.  It’s lead me to where I am now, trying to figure out which one is the right path.  The first one would be that I’m supposed to continue on the current path I’m on.  I would stay in my current job, doing what I’ve been doing for the past two plus years.  That includes trying to lead my department through a growth spurt at our company.  The biggest obstacle I face is none of my coworkers have been through this type of growth, and honestly, neither have I.  What I do have a is great understanding of what my department is going to look like when the dust settles.  I’ve worked in a leadership position in that type of environment in the past, and at a successful level.  I can see where some areas need to be adjusted, but I’m having a hard time convincing those around me.  Some of that is due to that lack of knowledge of what we’re heading towards, and some of that is due to coworkers who aren’t receptive to change.  So do I continue with what is safe and keep being frustrated?

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

Another whisper I’ve been hearing is that it may be time to move on.  This would involve starting over completely, being the low-man on the totem pole.  I’m ready to move into a leadership position in my field, but I don’t have the schooling to support my work experience.  With the job market as flooded as it currently is, I don’t really stand a chance of getting my resume past the recruiters and into the hiring mangers hands.  I have looked into returning to school and getting my degree, but for me to go through all of the undergraduate general education courses doesn’t make sense.  Taking on some debt to improve my education is only worth it if I can focus on my degree.  For me to have to take the basic 100 level courses doesn’t make sense.  I went through the process to apply but couldn’t get a straight answer about those classes until I submitted an application.  As soon as I did that I was told, “you’ll need to speak with the specific program you’re interested in.”  A lot of the time throughout that process I wondered if it would even be worth it.  It’s been three weeks since I applied and I haven’t heard back, and I have called.  I’m not feeling like that’s the route to take, basically it’s coming loud and clear.

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

The last whisper I’m hearing is to walk away and give myself to my faith.  But in what capacity?  My church is looking for an Adult Faith Formation coordinator.  I checked into the time requirements of this position and it requires some regular business hour office time.  I would love nothing more than to take this on and help my fellow parishioners in their faith journey.  Unfortunately my M-F job doesn’t allow for me to take that on.  I have offered my time to help on other ways with that ministry though.  I haven’t seen any paying positions come across my eyes to lead me to believe that I’m supposed to take that direction.  This is the place that I feel the most fulfillment though.  When I participate in volunteer opportunities through the Knights of Columbus there is no greater feeling.  It’s something that doesn’t happen when I do volunteer activities for Scouts or in my community.  I still do those, but mainly because my child is involved and nobody else will step up.

There hasn’t been a whisper to that yet.

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So I’ve begun to spend more time in prayer, it’s the only think I know I can do that will help.  When Lent started I added some prayers.  I spent a Saturday afternoon at a Men’s conference with some of the other men from my church.  That has lead to me breaking down and attending the 6 A.M. Saturday morning men’s prayer group.  From there I have begun adding hourly prayers throughout the day.  Those just started over the last few days.  All they have done is make me realize that I need to find a way to get the noise out of my life so I can hear whisper.  Strengthening my prayer life so far seems to be what the whisper is telling me right now.

It’s hard to be patient in this me first, instant gratification world.  But it’s what I must do in order to be the best husband, father, and man that I can.

This Post is Slippery

January 24, 2018 v5 p3

There has been a lot of tragic and disturbing items in the news lately.  While those are difficult to deal with sometimes, the reaction to them may be even more tragic and disturbing.

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In November of 2011 a Grand Jury indictment was brought down on former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.  In August of 2016 The Indianapolis Star released a report into allegations of sexual complaints, which lead to the recent news of Dr. Larry Nassar abusing over 150 girls.  Unless you’ve been living in a cave without internet (if you are, how are you reading this?) then you’re most likely familiar with these stories.  I really don’t want to go into the details of what both of these horrible men did.  All that would do is bring more attention to the sick men who perpetrated these crimes.  That isn’t what I want to focus on with this post.  In order to help illustrate what the point I’m trying to make I need to mention these stories.  What led these men to do such horrible acts?  I don’t know.  I don’t want to try and speculate about it either.

The top goal I have set for myself this year is to strengthen my relationship with God.  I have come to realize that by doing that I will be able to take all of the lessons I’ve learned in my past to be a success in everything that I do.  In Philippians 4:13 we are reminded “I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”  This has never become more evident to me than it has in past couple of weeks.  I’ve been praying for His guidance for some time now and I wasn’t really sure that I was hearing what he had to say.  When I realized that I wasn’t doing what Priest I gave my last confession to told me to do, I decided I should at least start there.  After I started the first thing I was told to do it made me realize that it was God who told me what to do through the Priest.  I knew this was how confession worked, but for whatever reason I wasn’t putting it into practice.  Immediately my prayers began to come to life again, they had gotten stale for a couple of weeks.  I didn’t change anything about them, but they certainly changed.  So I continued to do more of what I was told during confession, and more has been revealed to me.

I have always had a problem doing what I knew I should be.  Not really in a sense of my faith, because if you’ve been here for a while you know that really wasn’t a part of my life for a long time.  I would always procrastinate on doing things I knew I should.  I would push timelines to the very last minute, and then stress myself out as I was forced to finally sit down and take care of what needed to be done.  Once everything was completed on time and in a glowing manner I would always look back and say to myself that I just need to pressure of the deadline to do my best work.  That was never true.  I never did anything any different in those last minute rushes than I would have if had started a project weeks in advance.  I was always more interested in what I wanted to do rather than doing what I had committed to.  It’s also not like I didn’t want to commit to these tasks when I made the commitment, but as time went on I would always find something else instead, and it wasn’t always something productive or better.  A lot of the time I wasted was spent on the couch on weekends napping.  I can excuse away those naps in a 1000 different ways, but they were never better than working on what I committed to.

My wife gave me a book this past Christmas which is proving to be one of the best I’ve ever read.  It’s really been eye opening to how I’ve been living my life up until now.  I thought I established a pretty deep relationship with Jesus over the past three years since I returned to my faith, but in reality I’m just scratching the surface.  The section I’ve been reading through over the last few days is all about idolatry.  When most people hear that word they think about the worship of idols.  Idols come in many forms, and for the most part they aren’t small statues that you put on a pedestal and burn a candle in front of.  Anything you put in front of your love of Him becomes and idol.  When you choose to spend money on stuff instead of donating it to a charity, you’re making the money and idol.  I don’t mean you have to give all of your excess money to charity, but if you have some it’s, His preference that you give some.  It’s things like this that are leading us down a slippery slope.

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So you’re probably trying to figure out how this ties to the two sexual assault cases I mentioned at the beginning.  These are both pretty extreme examples, but this is where the slippery slope leads to.  The more you worship your idols, the more you take yourself away from Him.  Those idols then begin to take control of your life.  When idols begin to take over your life you no longer have the free-will that He has given you. In 2 Peter 2:19 we are told, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”  You become a slave to that idol and begin to make more decisions the appease that addiction.  Eventually you begin to tell yourself that what you are doing is right.  It then becomes easier for you to add in more or different idols to your life.  If we don’t start changing our ways then there can only be one result, and it won’t be pretty.  If you look back through history to other examples of when people have allowed these idols to take control it never ends well for those people.  If you’d like a biblical reference, just refer to the story of King Saul.  He was told to completely destroy the Amalekites, leaving nothing behind.  Instead he kept the best of the cattle, sheep, and lambs.  He took Amalekite King, Agag, hostage.  He did all of this so he could give his soldiers the best animals for sacrifice, making them remember what Saul did for them instead of God, making himself and idol.  Because of this disobedience Samuel was instructed to annoint a new king.

I have really focused on removing the idols from my life that have lead me down that slippery slope in the past.  I’ve gotten a pretty good foothold, and am ready for the long treck back to the top.

This Post Looks Different

December 12, 2017 v4 p60

If we all do the same thing as everyone else, we lose our identity.  Our identity is what makes us unique.

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A lot of people are afraid to go against the grain.  They are afraid to stick out and draw attention to themselves.  I get that.  There’s part of me that wishes I could just go with the flow.  It would be so much easier to just fit in.  But I’m not wired that way.  I never have been and I don’t think I ever will be.   When I did try to act like everyone else I found myself divorced, living with my parents, and at the bar more nights than not.  If I wasn’t at the bar I was probably at home drinking, or in the midst of some other self-destructive habit.  It wasn’t leading me down a very good path.  When I finally realized that if I would spend more of my money on rent than beer I could afford an apartment with an extra bedroom for my son when my parenting time was one thing that helped me get out of that rut.  Since I only had him for three nights per week that left four others that I could still be self-destructive.

My wife and I reconciled and she moved in with us, which helped control some of those behaviors even more.  My life had turned from being a part-time single parent and part-time single guy to being a full-time family man.  There were a lot of bad habits that I had developed over a three year period that I thought I could hide from wife.  I thought I was pretty successful, but really I was just ignorant.  In my ignorance I ended up creating a huge mess.  Through nobody’s fault but my own I was driving my wife away, and my family apart.  I thought I could continue to ask for forgiveness and keep doing what I was.  All that did was drive my wife into a depression that was totally my fault.  It took some pretty major events to change my perspective.  My parents both passed away, she left her job, and we lost our house, all within the span of about 10 months.  When the dust all settled from that I started to change.

At my last job I did a lot of the “going with the flow” stuff and didn’t really push back against my boss.  I showed up every day and did my job to the best of my ability.  That ended up getting me promoted into lead positions.  Along with promotions comes more money, so I was never in a place to turn them down.  What I didn’t realize was that because of the increase in pay the management thought that meant I could be given more responsibilities that two people could handle.  As the amount of work I was expected to perform increased I started to let things slip.  Although I was doing things in the same manner my manager was, she didn’t like it.  If I took the same short cuts she did it was unacceptable.  When I reached the point where I was averaging 65+ hours per week I started to push back.  They didn’t like that.  Everyone else that they tried to do this type of thing would just accept what was being forced on them and went about their day.  I was trying to get the culture changed, they didn’t like that.

Ultimately I left that toxic environment because I was starting realize that if I continued I wouldn’t get anything changed and would only be stressed.  After a couple of months on the hunt I found my current job.  Over the last five plus years with this company I have grown more personally and professionally than I ever have.  It was my first manager here that encouraged me to return to my faith.  That has been the single most vital thing that has happened in my life in my professional life, in my family life, and in every other area of my life.  Returning to my faith has allowed me to find peace that I had been missing throughout most of my life, probably dating back to my days in middle school.  It certainly has changed how I look at things, and I would guess that if you ask my friends they would say that it has changed how I look from other people’s point of view.  That has really become evident as of late.

As I am scrolling through my social media on a daily basis I’m constantly reminded of the life I used to live.  I shake my head almost constantly and wonder if having a social media presence is even worth the stress.  I seriously think about deactivating my accounts on a weekly basis, but then I remember how my timeline has changed.  One of the features on Facebook is to see your “memories” which is just a different timeline of what you posted on that specific date over the years that you’ve had an account, I’m sure you’re familiar with it.  There are two distinct differences in my Facebook history.  The first one comes from anything posted in Mid-May of 2012, when I left the toxic job, and the second comes in early 2015, when I returned to my faith.  There has been an even deeper change that has occurred over that last six months, but that isn’t viewable through that option.  If someone were to scroll through my personal timeline they would see it.

A few weeks ago it really hit home how much different I have become than most people.  I really don’t like getting into conversations with some people because I know it’s going to lead in a direction that I’m not interested in.  I see all of the sexual innuendo posts on social media and in people’s conversations and I try my hardest not to get drawn into that.  But as they say, old habits are hard to break.  I’ve come to notice now how I’m not leading the life I want to when I get drawn into those types of conversations.  It’s almost an immediate thing for me, like when a light bulb appears over a cartoon character’s head.  I began to reflect on whether or not I wanted to look that much different than everyone else.  It didn’t take me long to answer myself with a resounding yes.  If I don’t look different than everyone else then my children won’t either.  I don’t want them to head down the paths that I did.  There’s no hope in that direction.

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In Matthew 5:11 the disciples are told “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.”  If I lose some contacts or get insulted because of my faith, then that just proves that Jesus was right.

This Post is Festive

November 29, 2017 v4 p58

This Sunday marks the first week of Advent, the season leading up to Christmas.  I’ve already started to see people begin to decorate, but I hope they remember what this holiday is truly about.

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I remember one of my aunts would always send me and Advent calendar when I was growing up.  It wasn’t anything special to me other than a way for me to count down the days until Santa came.   I remember waiting for it to arrive as soon as Thanksgiving was over so I could start counting down.   It also signified that it was time for me to start making my wish list.  Those calendars weren’t anything too special.  I remember them as a Christmas scene of a house usually, with little flaps that you opened every day to see what was behind them.  I never really understood what the meaning of the pictures behind the flaps were because, as a child, they didn’t make a seamless connection to the birth of Christ.  While I knew what Christmas was about the birth of Jesus, I was really only focused on how soon I could begin opening my presents.

I’m not exactly sure when those calendars stopped coming, but I’m guessing it was sometime around the age of nine or ten.  It was around age five when I discovered that Santa wasn’t real though.  That was my dad’s fault indirectly.  The local Lions Club in my hometown sponsors the Christmas parade every year.  One year in particular I remember sitting on Santa’s lap afterwards and noticing his watch.  It was the same watch my dad wore!  How cool, my dad and Santa wear the same kind of watch!  I mentioned that to my older brother a little later that day, who would have been nine if I were five.  He clued me in as to what was up, but was smart enough to tell me not to let Mom and Dad know I had figured it out, and to not let the rest of my classmates in on the secret.  He didn’t want me to ruin Christmas for anyone else.  That may have been one of the only times my brother had actually looked out for my best interests.

So it was pretty early in my childhood when I discovered that Santa wasn’t real.  All that meant to me was that I knew my parents were the ones who were buying me all of these gifts.  It was pretty easy to make the connection to them doing it as a way to show their love for me.  Unfortunately that made me feel like I should test how much they loved me.  As I got older my wish lists began to grown.  Not only in length but in cost.  Later in my elementary school years I figured I would just make my Christmas wish list an extension of my Birthday wish list.  With my birthday coming only weeks before Christmas shopping season it only made sense to not make two lists.  I would write a smaller amount of things on my birthday list and post it on the refrigerator about the middle of October.  I would then proceed to add to it every time something new would come up, mostly after the toy catalogs would arrive.  All of this would pull me further away from the true meaning of the holiday and the true meaning of why my parents would go out and buy me all of this stuff.

This behavior went on throughout my teenage and early adult years.  The more I wrote larger items on my list, the less I received what was on there.  The only exception to that was the Christmas before I built my first house.  My parents knew I would be needing a lot of tools and stuff for that so they used that as an opportunity to help me out with that stuff.  I distinctly remember my brother getting upset that day because the physically biggest gift in the room, my toolbox, was for me.  What he overlooked was that my mom had taken enough care to make sure she spent close to the same amount of money on both of us, and then wrapped everything so we would have the same amount of packages.  Clearly this was not what the holiday was about.  His actions really made me see how greedy I was being and I was completely humbled by my parent’s generosity.  This was the first time that I really started looking at Christmas in the way it was meant to be celebrated.

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In the years following that Christmas I began to ask for different types of gifts, especially from my parents.   One of the things I would ask for was tickets to sporting events, either for the University of Michigan or the Detroit professional teams.  The request for these tickets was for a pair, so I could take my son with me to these events and experience them with him.  Every year my wife loves to make Christmas goodies.  Every year she is kind enough to make extra enough for me to share with my coworkers.  We aren’t talking just a plate to set in the break room for everyone to share.  We package up individual plates for everyone, based on how many people are in their family.  Both of my places of employment where I have brought these in, they ended up being something that my coworkers look forward to, and usually begin asking me when they’re coming around the 10th of December.  Every year my wife’s extended family gets together on Labor Day and exchanges names for people to buy gifts for.  There is then the great exchange of wish lists as I like to call it.  It kind of makes me sad to see men beyond retirement age hand a multipage list of “gift ideas” to their younger generation relatives.  Especially when it includes items you should be embarrassed to buy publicly on your own.  Personally I usually ask for a gift card, or $25 in single beer bottles to add to my collection.

One of the best things I’ve gotten from returning to my faith is a different perspective on holidays like Christmas and Easter.   My perspective was so screwed growing up, that I didn’t understand how Easter was the bigger holiday in the eyes of The Church.  It was one of the first things that dawned on me.  Yes, the birth of Christ is important, but it was his death and resurrection that proved everything and started The Church.  Both holidays usually include giving gifts.  It is considered a tradition of Christmas that was started by the “Three Wise Men” who came to see the Christ child while he was still in the manger.  It is considered a tradition of Easter as a way to honor the gift the Christ gave us when he died on the cross for our sins.  Both viable reasons to give gifts, but the old saying is that it is better to give than to receive.  This is where things have become skewed.  When we make Christmas more about what or how much people are giving us, rather than how much we can give others (not just in physical gifts either), we start to lose the true meaning.  Jesus was sent to us to better show us how to better love God and each other.  The only commandment he gave us is found in John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

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This message isn’t anything new when speaking about the holidays, but it’s never been more vital to get out.  I will be spending time this year reviewing this with my kids so they can pass it on to their’s.

Showing the Path

November 22, 2017 v4 p56

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling disconnected from my prayers because I was letting my scheduled get in the way.  Last week I made sure to refocus my priorities and right on cue, things came to light.

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It was a little over a year ago when I started telling God that I was ready to do His will in my prayers.  It was a couple of days later that my manager at work let the warehouse know that he would be moving on within the company and that someone else would be taking his position as Supply Chain Manager.  He had told me this a few months earlier, before it was public knowledge to the rest of my co-workers.  He was able to do that because he could trust me not to let it out, and that he knew of my desire to move into management at my company.  By no means did I think that his moving on would mean I would even be considered for that position, but I know that he told me ahead of time so that I could be prepared to lead my department through the transition.  I do believe there was some connection between me telling God that I was ready to do his will and the timing of my manager’s announcement.  I’m not exactly clear on what that connection is, but I know it’s there.

I’ve continued to include my desire to do His will in my prayers.  There have been times when I thought that I knew exactly what that is.  Usually I end up realizing that I may not be right, or that if I am right, the time may not be.  It was about a month after my manager’s announcement that I let him know that I had an interest in the position that was opening up.  I made it clear that I didn’t expect to get the position, but that I really wanted the experience of seeing what going through the process within my company looked like.  That would be extremely valuable in my career.  At just about the same time I had reconnected with an old family friend, and it was actually by accident.  I realized that I must have clicked on the “send a request to all of your contacts” link on LinkedIn.  We were already connected on other social media platforms, but this one led me to reach out more to him.  It turns out that my friend is a C-level executive in Procurement/Supply Chain for a major world-wide manufacturer.  This was the mentor my manager had asked me to seek out a couple of years ago.

Through that mentoring relationship I had started on a course of professional development that was geared more towards my work and a little less on leadership principles.  This was an area I needed to grow.  I had 20+ years of supply chain knowledge, all gained through work experience.  I knew some of the terminology and the basic principles of supply chain leadership, but not a very deep understanding of how they operated or how to implement them at my company.  I did some self-guided studying on a couple of different process improvement initiatives and actually read through the course materials for a professional certification program that my mentor consulted on.  All of this gave me a completely different point of view on the entire supply chain process.  It also showed me that some of the ideas I had going on in the back of my mind were exactly what I could see needed to happen at my job.  The biggest questions I had now were; how do I begin to implement these changes, would the new manager come in and try to change the new things I was implementing, and how did I get over my lack of self-confidence to follow through with all of this.

As I was continuing to pray for guidance, I thought there were other areas I was being called to go towards at the same time as trying to get through this transition at work.  The more I thought I was doing the right, other things, the more I was getting frustrated at work.  Then we brought home the Chalice.  As a family we had a strong week of prayers, then I went camping and fell away slightly.  I was really eye-opening how much just one day of missed prayers would affect me.  As I refocused my prayers the following week I went to one of my go to sources for guidance.  One morning I had four different videos brought to my attention that all spoke to me about what I was going through.  I came to the realization that I was trying to get guidance in too many different areas.  It helped me realize that the one area I really wanted to focus on the most was the only one I needed to focus on right now.  Once I have that area figured out it should be easier to begin to focus on the others, one at a time.  That has allowed me to realize that my job is where He is calling me to excel.

In the past few days I have been able to think clearly about what needs to happen at work to get things in order.  It has allowed me to be calmer when faced with people at work who aren’t yet on-board with what needs to happen to move my department forward.  I have a clear vision of how things need to be handled.  I have regained some of my self-confidence in my vision.  When the warehouse was going through the management transition I was really excelling in my job.  Things were starting to change and people were seeing things the way I had hoped.  When the new manager came in, it allowed my self-doubt to creep in.  Nothing anyone said at work reversed that.  It was my prayers and my inward reflection that led me to that.

discernment

This wasn’t a case where my prayer for something broken to be fixed was answered by a physically evident result.  This was a case of my prayer for guidance being answered by being shown how He has discerned this for me.