The Dance

As I travel this journey, my life has been blessed with meeting people walking through the same dance. A dance no one ever wants to experience. A dance filled with pain and many days sitting in a chair while you experience the drip, drip from your IV. Days filled with tears, but also filled with sweet memories as you laugh with other conquerors doing the same dance. Oh the memories we shared. Our bodies fighting to enjoy another dance. How could we have known the music would end for some and they would say their goodbyes. Oh the memories of the dance. We never thought we would say goodbye. As I continue to walk through this journey, I will think about those that have taken a bow and completed their dance. I will embrace the memories we shared and continue to dance. ~OC

Storms

Living in Florida means we deal with a lot of storms. In the summer it can be sunny out, but around 3 or 4 o’clock a storm can come out of nowhere. Some days it can be raining hard in the front yard, but sunny in the backyard. Of course then there’s the hurricanes. Some hurricanes move quickly through, while others just stall over us.

On this crazy beautiful journey called life, we will face many different storms. Sometimes there will be a light rain that comes and goes in a minute.
Then there are storms that blow in, causing havoc for everyone and everything in its path.

We don’t like walking through the storms of life. Who does? We love the sunny beach weather. But unfortunately that is not the world we live in. We will all walk through a storm or two during this life. We will all face days of blowing winds and flooding waters. Stop for a minute and sit still. In that minute, I am sure you can think of one person who is currently walking through a storm. The storms of life are hitting them from every side. Maybe that person is you. I often hear pastors share we are either walking in a storm, just coming out of a storm or about to walk through a storm. How true. If you are currently walking through a storm, I encourage you to take hold of the strong hand of God. He will lift you up as you face the raging seas.

When we walk through a storm, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or isn’t listening to our prayers. On the contrary, the scriptures tell us in this life we will all face trouble. We like to skip over that part because it isn’t very comforting or encouraging. But that doesn’t change the fact that we will all face troubles in life. When we walk through a storm we can take heart because God has overcome this world. That means He will never leave or forsake us. That should bring peace and comfort to everyone.

I have walked through many storms in my life. I have come to learn these storms have a purpose. That may not always be clear as we are walking through the storm. But if we will take the time to listen, God will reveal the lessons he has for us as we walk through a raging storm. I have learned God never wastes a storm. God can use a storm to show us the purpose for our lives or to reconnect us to our true purpose in life.

Hopefully this will bring you peace as you walk through your storm. Especially if you have walked through this storm for many years. You have been praying and crying out to God, but it appears he is not listening. Believe me I have been there. I’ve walked through a stormy season in life that lasted for almost 18 years. I was hit with one storm after another. So I get it my friend. Life can be hard. But in the mist of my storm, I saw God grow my faith in a life changing way. God allowed me to share the gospel with many as I walked the halls of the hospital or during my weekly treatments and doctor appointments. During the storm, God reminded me that my worth and value are not tied to my career, success or what I achieve in life. No, my value and worth are found in being a child of God. In being chosen by him, called by him, and equipped by him for a purpose.
Sometimes our lives are rocked by the storms of life, so that we can rebuild on a better foundation. On the firm foundation of God. ~OC

Go Rest On High

As I have scrolled through social media the past few weeks, I have been saddened by stories of friends dealing with the death of loved ones. Those stories inspired me to write the following words.

Your mission on earth is now complete. No more pain fills your days. Your journey on earth was filled with ups and downs. But even during the hardest days, you looked up to heaven and gave praise. When the enemy came in the middle of the night, you faced him head on never taking a step back. You reminded the enemy that even on the darkest days, you would continue to praise the one on high.

Now you are looking into the eyes of Jesus rejoicing in praise. He has welcomed you home. No more walking through the pain. Your purpose on earth is now complete. I wish I could have seen your face as the angels led you into the gates of heaven to meet the King. We rejoice as we think about you sitting at the feet of the King of Kings, as he took you by the hand and uttered those beautiful words well done, thou good and faithful servant. I can see the smile on your face as you gazed into his eyes. Go rest on high.

We will continue this journey as we carry your memory in our hearts. We will remember your strength and determination as you faced your darkest days. Some days will be filled with tears, when we pick up the phone to call only to remember you have gone home to the King. We will smile as we recall how you made everyone laugh even during the pain. We will rejoice as we think of the day we join you in heaven and sit at the feet of the King. Go rest on high. ~OC

Dear Running,

Dear Running,

It is very painful to write these words to you. Running, we have been friends since I was a child. Back then, I loved running through the neighborhood. Not a care in the world. I did not get my drivers license until I was 18 years old because I thought I could just run everywhere. My friends had cars. Why did I need to drive? After high school, you and took a break. We reunited a few times in college, but nothing serious. Just a casual short run every once in awhile. After college you and I drifted apart. Life got busy and I abandoned you. Then in 2003, while having open-heart surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, God spoke to me through a vision and said it was time to reunite with you. Not only to start running again, but to start running marathons. I was under heavy anesthesia, so was this real? Yes indeed, it was real. Not only did God say to start running again, but to share the Gospel through running. Four months after surgery, I started running again. Oh, how nice to see you again old friend. It was like old times. We were back together. One year after my surgery, I completed my first marathon. Oh what a wonderful feeling and experience. As I ran, God gave me the chance to share his amazing love. You and I continued to complete one marathon after another. In 2007, we received a scare when I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. My first question to the doctor was “Can I keep on running?” I was overjoyed when the doctor shared I could indeed keep on running. Oh, we had a fun time the next year and a half. In 2008, God blessed me with the opportunity to run a 1,000 miles in one year. We anticipated a wonderful and exciting year of running in 2009. It started off with me completing the Disney Marathon. But something just wasn’t right. My health was declining. Was Parkinson’s starting to come between me and running? We fought hard to stay together. From January through March we completed several 5k’s. But once again something just wasn’t right. In March of 2009, my body started to betray me. That month, Myasthenia Gravis joined Parkinson’s to wreck my body. They finally broke us up in mid 2009, when the doctors stated I would never run again. For the next ten years, I would fight for my life and daydream about you friend. Funny thing about those ten plus years, God kept directing me to buy a new pair of running shoes each year. Was God planning a reunion? It sure didn’t look like it. My health continued to decline. Funeral arrangements were made. Goodbyes were shared. Then on November 3, 2019, a shell of a man walked into a tent revival and was completely healed by our amazing Savior. A month later, God reunited us. In 2020, after not running for over ten years, God blessed me with the opportunity to complete 1,000 miles in ten months. Oh what a feeling. We were back! But during 2020, a pandemic rolled in and changed the world. On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I was introduced to this strange virus called Covid. Little did I know my life was going to be completely changed. Since that Super Bowl Sunday, my body has never been the same. I have tried on many occasions to run again. To reunite with you. We had a little success, but there have been many moments of major disappointments and setbacks.

So it’s with a broken heart, I say one final goodbye to an old friend. We have made some beautiful memories together. But the effects of Covid and some other health issues have made running difficult and not enjoyable. I never wanted to see this moment come. I always dreamed running would be part of my life until Jesus took me home. Maybe it will in a different way. So on August 4, 2022, I announce my retirement from running. It has been a beautiful crazy journey. Thanks for the memories. I will never forget you. ~OC

Hello Fear

Hello Fear, you are not welcome here anymore,
I remember when you were my closest companion
You would control my every moment
Hello fear, I thought I was safe in your arms
You were there every second of the day
I would let myself get lost in your life stealing lies
I tried letting you go on many occasions, but you still came calling
Then came the day, I fully surrendered you to the King of Kings
Oh, you still try to slip into my thoughts, but now I cry out to my King and you flee in fear
Hello fear, you can keep trying to take space in my head,
but I will keep calling on the One who died on the cross
to take away your power over me
Hello fear, you can never win
You can keep trying to come back
Hello fear, you can never break me
You used to own a space in my head
I was yours 24 hours a day
Hello fear, I know you are never far away
Some days, I hear you knocking on the door
In the past, I would open that door
Today, I call on the Lord when I hear you knocking and I watch you flee
Hello fear, you don’t own me anymore
You can never again fill my head with your lies
You can keep trying, but now I have the power to keep you at bay
This power does not come from me, but from the King of Kings who lives in me
Dear fear, you can no longer control me
Those days have come to and end
Today’s a new day and my life has changed
I know I have a target on my back
Fear will always be creeping around ever corner,
You will use every storm as on opportunity to slide back into my life
I might bend, but I will never break
I allowed you to rent space in my life for too long
You passed yourself off as a friend for too long
You always showed up on time
But today, you are not welcome
Hello fear, there are no vacancies inside my head
Fear, you have been replaced
Today, peace, freedom and victory have taken up space in my head thanks to the King of Kings. ~OC

Life Moment Lessons

Today’s a new day! As we walk through life we will all face storms. As we walk through the storms of life, we make the choice what lessons we learn. Here are just a few lessons I have learned during my journey.

Life Moment Lesson 1: I could not do life without my faith. As a 10 year old boy, I gave my life and heart to God. There have been some ups and downs along my faith journey, but God has never left me. As with any relationship, I have taken the time to get to know Him better. I have taken the time to listen to God as he has spoken to me. l have seen God move mountains, perform miracles and heal relationships that people said were dead. I have felt the beautiful peace and presence of God in every area of my life.

Life Moment Lesson 2: Do not take any moment or person for granted. Life can change in a single moment. So share grace and forgiveness. Do not hold onto anger or grudges. Let it go.

Life Moment Lesson 3: Family and friends are a beautiful gift. Hug them often. Never miss a chance to say I love you. Treasure the time together. Cherish the laughter and memories. Be present.

Life Moment Lesson 4: Never make life about you. Make life about serving others. Every experience we encounter, has a beautiful God purpose if we only stop and embrace the moment. Stop rushing through life.

Life Moment Lesson 5: God is in every moment. But we must stop to see God’s beautiful presence. It doesn’t matter what storms we are facing. God is always there. If we look closely, we can see God’s fingerprints on everything. Slow down.

Life Moment Lesson 6: Be thankful and grateful in everything. I have learned when my focus is on God and everything He has brought me through, I can only praise Him and say Thank You. Take time to be thankful.

Of course there have been more lessons learned along the journey, but these are the ones God wanted me to share today. I am Blessed. ~OC

Wake Up

Hello. Here is a little something God put on my heart.

You spend your life running a race not created by God. Cause you live your life in a self created lane you keep running up against hurdles. You keep slipping. Look up and open your eyes, you’ll find a hand reaching down for you.

Wake up grab hold of the hand of God
Wake up and grab the hand of God

You keep running a race that has no purpose. It’s a dead end. It’s a race filled with shiny things, but no substance. No hope. It’s a fantasy. Look up and open your eyes, you’ll find a hand reaching down for you

Wake up grab hold of the hand of God
Wake up and grab the hand of God

Your race is full of money and a big house in the right zip code The world looks at you thinking you’ve got the American Dream. But your life is empty. Full of regrets and broken promises. Void of hope, Void of peace. Oh, if you only had some peace. But peace is not found in the race you chose. Look up and open your eyes you’ll find a hand reaching down for you.

Wake up grab hold of the hand of God
Wake up and grab the hand of God.

The race you run is full of comparisons and false images. Your race is full of lies that leave you empty. Look up and open your eyes, you’ll find a hand reaching down for you.

Wake up grab hold of the hand of God.
Wake up and grab the hand of God

Stop running your own race
Where’s it gotten you? God has a better race for you to run. A race designed just for you. Look up and open your eyes, you’ll find a hand reaching down for you.

Wake up grab hold of the hand of God.
Wake up and grab the hand of God.
(Wake Up Wake Up) ~OC

Scars vs. Wounds

Today’s a new day! Are you scarred or wounded in life? There is a huge difference between the two.

You see, your scars tell the story of everything God has brought you through in life. When I look at my own physical scars, It’s a reminder of the storms I have faced in life. I have a personal story for each scar. But those scars also remind me of the beautiful healing God has done in my life. Healing from the darkest storms of life.

Wounds are a different battle. When we are wounded, that usually means the healing is not complete. We are still walking through the storm. The wound still needs care. Most of the time those wounds are deep. They may be physical wounds, but most of the time they are deeper than just physical wounds. They are emotional wounds. Relationship wounds. Spiritual wounds. Wounds that go deep and need more care. Wounds that are repeatedly opened. But I have good news. Amazing news in fact. God can heal the deepest wounds in our lives. Not only can God completely heal those wounds, He desires to bring complete healing to our deepest wounds.

So today I encourage everyone that is wounded, to lay those wounds down at the foot of the Cross. Allow God to begin healing the deepest wounds in your life. Stop holding onto those wounds. Stop allowing them to be your identity. Today, let God begin to turn your deepest wounds into beautiful scars. Allow those scars to become testimonies. ~OC

Be Kind

Today’s a new day! Check on your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. A smile or positive social media post doesn’t mean everything is okay. ~OC

Lay Down Your Rocks

I remember as a child picking rocks up on the train tracks and throwing them as far as my little arm could. Sometimes I would imagine I was playing centerfield for the Cincinnati Reds, and I would throw the runner out at home plate. The Reds win! The Reds win! Oh, the imagination of a child.

As I got older, I used to carry a rock in my pocket. No, not to throw out the tying run at home, but to remind myself not to throw rocks at others. To lay down all the rocks that had words like judgement, hate, ugliness and other negative words written on them.

As Christians we are good at throwing those painful invisible rocks at people. The rocks may be invisible, but the pain they bring is real. To that single mom with multiple children we throw judgment at. To that homeless man. To that person walking into church that doesn’t dress or act the part of the “Christian” we have created in our mind.

I often reflect on the women in the Bible caught in adultery. She was brought to Jesus by men who were ready to throw rocks/stones at her. Our Savior knew this woman was guilty. But Jesus came not to judge, but to love and save lives. Can you imagine the look on this women’s face as Jesus started writing in the sand and her accusers quickly moved along.

We all have have issues going on in our own lives. Things we would hate for others to see. It’s easy to throw rocks at others, but remember that we, to need forgiveness. We all need a little bit of grace.

I pray we will keep all of our rocks in our pockets. We have all sinned and fallen short. Thank goodness Jesus died for all of our sins. I do not want to be like the men in John 8:1-11 that were so willing to throw their rocks. As Christians our goal should be to become more like our Lord and Savior. To lay our rocks down at the foot of the Cross. ~OC

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