I hate complainers…. wait what?

If I compare myself to others less fortunate – poor, no legs, cancer – and say I’ll never complain again it will be short lived because it’s based on a shallow, under the sun, very temporary perspective.  Plus the second they’re out of sight and out of mind and something starts bugging me I’ll be right back to griping my ding dang head off about nothing.

On the other hand, if I look at the bigger picture with a more eternal, God sized perspective I’ll see that what really brings me comfort, contentment, and a reason to not complain is not that I have legs, I’m not broke, and I don’t have cancer but the fact that Jesus has risen from the dead, He lives in me, He loves me, and this world is not the end all, be all of life.  Its just the beginning of a kajillion Plus years of life to the fullest with Jesus.

I might be dumb as dirt and I might just be right.

later – Runks

“Mercy in the Middle”

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The song in the video – “Ask Me” by Amy Grant has served as an incredible sense of encouragement and hope to me in my recovery from childhood sexual abuse. I cannot tell you how many times I have listened to it, over and over again, celebrating the hope and freedom Jesus has brought to my life over the past few years. My favorite line in the song is towards the end where it says,

“He’s in the middle of her pain. He’s in the middle of her shame. He’s in the middle…….

Mercy in the middle.”

What it means to me is that our God of mercy brings comfort to us in the midst of our deepest, darkest moments (see II Corinthians 1:3-4). I’ve come to believe and know that God was with me, bringing mercy and comfort to me when I was locked in a closet as a 7 year old enduring the horrors of sexual abuse. He was with me through years I kept it a secret. He was even there with me when I chose to medicate my pain in so many unhealthy ways. He was with me in 2005 when I finally began the process of working through and overcoming the horrors of my past. Every step of the way God has been there with me bringing “mercy in the middle.” And God can do the same thing for you! No matter what you have faced in your past or face in your present, God is there with you bringing you “mercy in the middle.” No matter how painful or shameful your situation may be – YOU ARE NOT ALONE! God is there with you ready and able to lead you out of the darkness. It won’t be easy and it will take a lot of hard work but not near as much work as it takes to live with shame. Trust me, it is so worth it! Freedom is a beautiful thing and you too can live in the freedom God has for you. If you need professional help check out The Heart Matters counseling center. These are the people who led me out of the darkness! I’ll leave you with a prayer I pray daily:

“God send your mercy in the middle to the abused and addicted still suffering alone. Use me to lead them out of the darkness.”

I’m praying for you!
God bless ya – Runks

“Me Too”

I’m sitting on an airplane with my 6’6” totem pole body crammed into a regular, no leg room, non-exit row, teeny, tiny airplane seat. I’m sitting next to a guy who is also circus freak tall and we’re both cramped, crunched, and fighting for leg and elbow room like sardines in a tiny can but at least we’re not alone! I don’t think there is anything more encouraging than knowing that whatever you’re facing somebody has either been there or is there right now and feels your pain. I think the most comforting words in the English language are, “Me Too” because those words scream out “YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!” My 94 year old grandmother, Maw-Maw, would put it this way,

“A burden shared is a burden halved and a burden born alone is a burden doubled.”

The problem is not so much finding someone who has been where you are but finding someone with the guts to be real enough to admit it. Sadly this is especially true in the church where often times rather than helping our wounded we shoot them and that has got to stop! I say its time we take off our masks and stop pretending we’ve got it all together. We need to start being real and transparent about who we are and what we’re struggling with so we can make it safe for others to do the same and hopefully all get better together. I’ll go first. To those who have faced the horrors of childhood sexual abuse I say, “ Me Too.” To those who have had their butts kicked by an addiction I say, “ Me Too.” To those who are fighting through the 12 steps trying to get well I say, “Me Too.” To those who have been beat down by the reality of depression I say, “Me Too.” To those who struggle to let Jesus take control I say, “Me Too.” To those who are sick of going to church and pretending everything is fine when its not I say, “Me Too.” To those who have feared that if people really knew you they wouldn’t love you I say, “Me Too” To those who battle insecurity I say, “Me Too.” To those who just want to be loved and accepted, warts and all I say, “Me Too.” To all the broken, hurting, and struggling people I say, “you are not alone. You have never been alone!” Somebody, including Jesus, Heb 4:15, has been where you are and you do not have to suffer alone!!! So let’s take off our masks, get real with each other and with God and start saying “Me too” as loudly and as often as we can!

Me Too – Runks

Journal Entry – May 14, 1999

I had the opportunity to be in Colorado the weekend after the Columbine High School massacre. I did a retreat about 2 hours from Denver. Those students were really freaked out by the shooting so all we really did was talk about the tragedy and the fact that God is STILL IN CONTROL! And that this should be a wake up call for them to begin to really reach out to the lost and the outcasts at their school. It was special weekend and God really ministered to those hurting & confused students.

I also had the opportunity to speak at First Baptist Church in Meadow, Texas the weekend after the Green Lawn Church of Christ, Lubbock, bus accident. One of the girls killed in that accident was a student at Meadow High School which is a 1-A school. They, also, were pretty freaked out by the loss of one of their own. I was able to share with them what God has taught me about His sovereignty and goodness through my Dad’s cancer and death. It, also, was a special time and God really ministered to those hurting students.

There is no doubt in my mind that God had me in both of those places because what they needed to hear was exactly what God has been teaching me throughout the most difficult time in my life. Once again God has proven to me that He knows exactly what He is doing even when what we are going through down here doesn’t always make sense.

God Bless Ya!!

Journal Entry – December 5, 1998

This has been a tough fall for me. My Dad’s cancer progressed horribly and on Saturday, November 21, 1998 he left this life and went on to be with Jesus. It was so difficult to watch someone that I loved so much suffer like that and it was almost a relief when he finally died. He has been gone for a week now and reality is beginning to set in. He’s really gone and he’s not coming back. I miss him so bad! 

In the beginning of this I was bitter and angry but over time I realized that I could stay that way and go absolutely crazy or let go and hang on to Jesus. When I finally did that, I began to grow spiritually in an incredible way. I began to experience Jesus in a way that I never had before. So many times I had griped to God that this was so UNFAIR. Then the Lord showed me John 16:33 where Jesus says, “In this world you will have hard times but hang on to me because I have overcome the world!” It was then that I realized that God never promised us that life would be fair but he did promise to be there when life wasn’t fair. And He was there every step of the way. I cannot imagine how anyone could handle something like this without having a friend like Jesus to help them through it. Jesus has helped my family through the most horrible experience that I can ever imagine anyone going through.

Romans 8:28 used to just be a verse that I quoted for people when they were going through a tough time but now it is a reality for me. God did not give my Dad cancer but He chose to use it to bring about so many amazing things. He has carried my family through this awful situation, my sister came to Christ, and I am finding that I can now relate to students who are hurting in a way that I never could before. I have seen countless students come to know Jesus simply because I was able to share with them how much hope Jesus has brought to me in the midst of a hopeless situation. 

If I could offer any advice to anyone going through a similiar situation, I would say this, “Dont’ run from Jesus, don’t get mad at him and push Him away but place all of your trust in Him and no matter how bad things get hang on to Him with everything you’ve got!” I know that sounds simple but if you trust Him, I promise you that Jesus will minister to you in a way that you could never imagine.

Everyday since Dad was diagnosed with cancer, he and Mom sang a little chorus that clearly states the attitude every Christian needs to have no matter what their circumstances might be. I will leave you with the words to that simple chorus.

This is the day that the Lord has Made
I will rejoice and be glad in it.

God Bless ya,