This epistle may come across as fatalistic but I’m willing to take that chance in these unprecedented days. As I write, the coronavirus is running rampant around the world. It has not yet reached it’s peak but it has found it’s way into our home. Scott was not feeling well on Friday, went and got tested, and the test came back positive. He is officially quarantined in our house. He doesn’t seem to feel all that bad at this point but this has made a surreal situation all of a sudden seem incredibly real.
There is no guarantee that the virus will stay contained in his room. There is no guarantee that I or anyone else in our home won’t get it. There is no guarantee that “this too shall pass” without grave consequences. Pun intended!
For that reason I did not want to leave things unsaid. I have always been better at communicating on paper than verbally because it gives me a chance to process what I want to say before I say it – and then review it and make sure I said it the way I meant to say it. So bear with me if this gets a bit lengthy. My hope is certainly that we can read this together 10 years from now and rejoice together that we all dodged a bullet.
No matter what happens always know this: God is my refuge and my strength, a VERY present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
I am a blessed man and have had an incredibly blessed life.
What a blessing to be born into a Jewish family that was full of love. Even though my parents split up early in my life, both my dad’s family and my mom’s family were some of the most caring, generous, fun-loving people that I know. And to grow up in a home with my mom and my brother – during the tumultuous ’60’s – and not just survive, but thrive in so many ways was more than I could ask for.
What a blessing to grow up in Aiken, SC and have so many great friends – many of whom were instrumental in my faith journey. (I could name lots of names but I would no doubt leave someone out. Let me just say that I am grateful for the influence of so many good friends over the years.) The eyes of my heart were opened to faith in Christ late in my high school days and it changed the trajectory of my life forever. What a blessing to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I have been “rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
What a blessing to meet your Nona in the summer of ’79, in Galveston, Texas of all places, and begin an awesome adventure of love that has now lasted 41 years (almost 39 of those being married). She is an astonishing wife, ministry partner, co-laborer in our parenting adventures, and now Nona. When I think back to the days when I was a student pastor and we had 3 young kids and when I ponder the sacrifices she made on my behalf so I could pursue God’s calling on my life, I am beyond amazed. There were many years when I would be gone 4-5 weeks for camps, mission trips, conferences, etc and she would parent solo without grumbling or complaining. Even now I am awed by her work ethic, her desire to pursue God, her generosity, and her constant and creative investment in all of you. I am hopeful for about 35 more years of sojourning this life together – but I also know that if this virus (or anything else in these next few years) were to take me away that she would continue to find her strength and joy in God’s steadfast love and would continue to exude a robust faith always knowing that she is blessed “in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
What a blessing to be a dad. My legacy is already being lived out through your parents as I watch them carry on in the faith and diligently raise all of you to do the same. Make sure that they are reminded often of these dad-words.
- Christy – It is truly a delight to be your dad. And a joy to watch you be such a creative mom, wife, and disciple-maker. You are a gift! May you abide deeply and find nourishment for your soul daily in the Lord.
- Chad – I am grateful that the Lord brought you into our family and it is fun to watch you grow as a pastor and leader. N.F.T.P.A.A.W and N.F.T.P.W.A.T. May your boldness be used to transform the city of Charlotte and to infuse your kids with courage.
- Scott – I am amazed everyday as I watch you with your kids. You are an incredible father. The Lord is going to use you in ways that neither of us can even imagine right now. May you be fueled each day by the joy of the Lord and find your strength in Him.
- Mary – You are such a blessing to our family. You are amazingly resilient and demonstrate a tenaciousness as you wait upon the Lord. May your heart overflow with gladness as your hope is rooted in Christ.
- Tucker – You display a fearlessness and a willingness to try anything. The Lord will greatly use your daunting spirit as you submit yourself to God. May the fear of the Lord drive your pursuits as you seek Him and His righteousness.
- Danielle – It is challenging to me as I watch you treasure friendships and invest in relationships. You are incredibly authentic and real. May God’s grace and peace fill you each day and cause you to hunger to know Him better and better.
What a blessing to be your Pop Pop. Eight of you young-uns in the last eight years and who knows how many more. I have every intention of watching all of you, graduate, get married, and have kids of your own. But just in case that does not happen I hope these Pop Pop Epistles will help you to navigate your way through all the challenges that you will face in this life – and there will be many. Always remember that it is as true for you as it is for me… God is your refuge and your strength, a VERY present help in times of trouble.
Never forget that you are very loved!