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
As we walk through our faith journey, we are instructed to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Why? Because it’s the very essence of who we are in Him. Every breath we breathe comes from God. Think about that for a moment. All that we are is God’s. Every breath is a gift from our Lord. He has given life to our bodies. Not only that, but we have also been bought with a price. A heavy price paid on the Cross. At one point in our lives, we were filled with fear, confusion and ultimately death. In one moment God changed our eternity. Today, we are free from our past. Living in the freedom and victory of God. Each day is a beautiful opportunity to live out God’s purpose for our lives. If our identity is entirely in God, that will be reflected in the way we choose to live our lives. How we love. How we serve. How we forgive. How we respond to the needs around us. How will you use your breath of life? Your gift. ~OC
I love to read. My reading journey is a beautiful story of a teacher’s love. A wonderful story of a summer that forever changed my life. Here we go.
I did not always love reading. It did not come naturally for me. Putting words together was very frustrating. But one summer, a neighbor and family friend made it her mission to help a young kid learn how to read. Not just to read, but come to love reading. That person was Mrs. Speir’s. She and her husband were both dedicated teachers. Mr. Speir’s looked like President Abraham Lincoln. This wonderful family lived two houses down from my parents. Their two daughters were great friends. That summer, Mrs.S took it upon herself to help increase my reading skills. So Monday through Friday, I would walk down to her house for tutoring. Mrs. S, knew I loved sports. She used that to her advantage. Upon arriving for tutoring each morning, Mrs. S would hand me the sports page and have me pick out an article. Mrs. S would then sit down with me and together we would read the article together. She was very patient as I struggled through the article. Mrs. S would always encourage me and let me know she believed in me. What a gift she had for shaping young minds. After reading the article, Mrs.S would have me explain what I had just read. Once again, she had a lot of patience. As the summer flew by, something amazing happened. Mrs. S did not have to sit with me as much. I began reading the articles on my own. I started sharing what the articles were about without Mrs. S prompting me. The words began jumping off the page. I found myself getting lost in the words. The stories became so real to me.
That summer literally changed my life. From that summer on, reading became a passion. I could not read enough books. They became a huge part of my childhood. I would escape into the stories as I read the words. That love of reading followed me into adulthood. I love to sit around with a good book and let the words flow. Nothing like a great book that puts you right in the middle of the story. I love a book that challenges me to be a better person. A book that ignites me to action. That is what reading can do for you. Reading can change your life.
I am so thankful Mrs. S took precious time out of her summer break, to help a young boy fall in love with reading. A side note, something that encouraged me to attend tutoring that summer was the chocolate covered frozen bananas that Mrs. S shared with me on many occasions.
I share this beautiful memory, to celebrate the amazing educators who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of young people. I want each of you to know you matter. I would not be the man I am today without Mrs.S and all the amazing teachers that invested in me over the years. Thank You! ~OC
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
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
Some nights, I wanna disappear into the night like a flying star. Maybe I can be like Marty McFly and find a time machine to take me back in time. Maybe I will travel to the year when I was 12. That’s when I remember my body facing its first medical trial. When life changed for awhile. Of course I didn’t know then that at 35, my life would turn into one crazy beautiful health journey. But a miracle would change that at 53. Then a pandemic would hit that changed everything at 55. I would tell that 12 year old, he’s going to take a lot of hits along the way. His life is going to become a medical odyssey. A journey around the world for doctors to see how this dead man walking keeps on overcoming. They whisper to themselves this man just refuses to die. I would share with that 12 year boy, it’s not by his strength that he is surviving the crazy waves. No it’s by the powerful love of God that he’s thriving as the waves come raging in. Remember when you were 10 years old and you asked the King of Kings into your heart? That life changing moment did not make life easy, but that single moment filled you with peace and hope. Those would come in handy in the years ahead. You will make mistakes along the journey, but when you look to your left or right the King of Kings will always be standing by your side. When you have questions or need some insight, God will always be there to direct your ways. You see, God is always listening even when you think he’s asleep. Hey, let’s take a break and return to that young man trying to navigate his way. There are some things you’ll do along the way you wish you could erase. But remember, every slip up will make you the man you will become one day. Far from perfect, but still allowing God to mold him like clay. People will build you up along the way, but will be quick to tear you down when you go astray. But don’t let anybody tell you how to write your story. Along the journey you might need to flip the script even if it scares a few people away. We are all products of our lived experiences. At times along the journey you will feel confused and scared. That’s when you stop and lean into the loving arms of the King of Kings. I hope you’re hearing this. I wish I could tell you life is going to be easy, but that would be a shiny bright lie. Yeah, I wrote about that before you should check it out. Life will be full of mistakes. That’s just part of the race. Do not forget about those lived experiences. But life will also be full of decisions you get right. Both are learning experiences. Don’t miss out on the lessons. When the journey gets hard, remember that Mother’s Day back in the day when you said yes to the Lord. You will often look back on that day when facing those crashing waves. Life is not going to be easy. There will be days you feel like throwing it all away, but then God will suddenly stop everything so you can take it all in and be amazed. Don’t miss one of those days. You see, life is going to go quick. One day you will wake up and wonder what happened to all those days. My prayer for that 12 year old boy, is that you will take it all in. The good and the bad. The memories that bring tears and the ones that bring smiles. Enjoy every minute of this amazing ride. ~OC
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
Today’s a new day! Becoming a Christian is more than a one time decision. It’s more than waiting to die with a ticket to Heaven in our hand. No, becoming a believer in Christ is about experiencing Him here and now. To live out a beautiful creative journey.
Living out this God journey actually means believing and truly living out the scriptures. Not just the scriptures we like.
Living out this God journey actually means loving our neighbors. All of our neighbors.
Living this God journey actually means serving all people. Not just the people we deem worthy.
Living out this God journey actually means living in God’s love and unity. Not being separated by the color of our skin, denominations, political parties or anything else that tries to separate us.
Living out this God journey actually means we can have opposing opinions without having division. Being able to listen without judgment or prejudice.
God never said this beautiful journey would be easy. It will take a lot of patience, constructive conversations, listening, wisdom, love, healing and grace. But I personally believe God wants us to experience him in a beautiful creative way, right here on planet earth. ~OC
Today’s a new day! This journey is not about us. It’s not to show people how strong we are, for our strength comes from God. It’s not to show others how great our faith is, for our faith is a gift from God. It’s not to show people how courageous we are, for our courage comes from God…exactly at the time we need it. Anything people see in us that is good is not of our doing… it’s from Heaven. ~OC
Sometimes I miss the simple days. The days of riding my bike and playing street football with my friends. Not worrying about the trials of life. Always had a smile on my face. Life was about hanging out with friends. Planning the fun events of the day. Not stressed about the mounting bills to pay. I miss the days when the only bill I was worried about was the one on Schoolhouse Rock. Oh how I miss those simple days. I miss playing hide and seek on a hot summer night. Watching sports with my dad. Days spent walking around the mall. Excited about who we might see. Friday nights at the local skating rink. Oh, how I miss those simple days. Saturday mornings watching Looney Tunes and then listening to American Top 40, to hear your favorite tune. Oh, the simple days. The days of sitting in the yard talking about life with your friends. A life with less distractions. Oh, how I miss those simple days. Summer vacations with family and friends. Sitting around with a bottle of Coke, soaking it all in. Maybe lucky enough to catch a lightning bug in a glass jar. Make sure you punch some holes in the top. Oh, how I miss those simple days. The simple days when you could count the number of tv stations on one hand. Those days when your parents knew your teachers name. When teachers were held in high esteem. You may have thought about talking back to your teacher, but you realized you would have to face your parents at the end of the day. I miss the days when I knew my neighbors names. I realize those days were far from perfect, but sometimes I miss those simple days. ~OC