Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lessons, Providences, and Tomorrow

I guess I blinked.

I'm almost 20 now.

I have 6 little siblings... becoming progressively less little.

When the clock strikes 12 tonight, another year will have melted from the life ahead of me into the life behind me, trickling at the rate of 24 hours a day through an hourglass that will never be turned upside-down.

It wasn't long ago that I wrote about the runner's two greatest fears, as we began the race of 2013.

Tonight, we will all cross the finish line of that race, and the starting line of a new one.

We have the opportunity to, at once, remember, through the bittersweet lens of hindsight, the great and remarkable providences of God in our lives, and to set forth with the wide-eyed excitement of a faithful child on a new adventure.

Scripture repeatedly exhorts us to pass on landmarks to our children; to remember the great providences of God to the next generation (Deuteronomy 6).  Here, I'm going to chronicle a few of the signal providences God worked in my life throughout 2013.


This year I began participating in obstacle races, building great memories with friends and my Dad along the way.  God also used one of my obstacle racing experiences to teach me about marriage.


This year I had two life-threatening experiences.  God's mercies were made abundantly evident in each case; the lessons to be learned were equally evident.  You can read about the first one here.  The second happened just last week; returning from helping a family remove sheet metal from an old building, I was driving a friend's car at a speed that was unwise on the dirt road we were traveling.  Three overcorrections, two seconds, one turn-too-late, and in little more than the time it took me to wonder "is this really happening?", the car was on its side spanning the ditch on the side of the road.

I never considered myself the immature, foolish teenage guy that is the paragon of youthful short-sightedness.

I guess that was the problem.

There are a few lessons to be taken from this experience for me which I hope to communicate to all my readers- especially other young men like myself.  The first, and most obvious, is- always wear your seat-belt.  This may sound trite; let me tell a bit about my experience and you might see just how important that decision was in my case.

I wear glasses, as a general rule, when I'm driving; so I was during the crash.  The windows of the car were open.  About fifteen minutes after the accident, the young man who was riding with me set my glasses case in the trunk as he was cleaning up the mess inside the car, and I realized- my glasses were no longer on my face.  We found them sitting on a rock near the crash site; I can only conclude that they flew off of my face and out of the window in the incident.  That gives a good gauge by which to judge just the kind of condition I would have been in if I had not been wearing my seat-belt.

A wreck like that could easily have had severe consequences; it is by the mercy of God that I'm typing this while sitting in an office chair and not a wheelchair.  In God's providential kindness, my friend and I both walked away from the scene.

The bigger lesson from this ordeal, however, is the need for young men like myself to heed instruction; to gain "grandpa wisdom at daddy age," as my father says.

We had already fishtailed; I had already lost control on a different turn and bumped off of the dirt bank on the side.  A wiser man would have said "if there were a ditch rather than a bank, the consequences would have been much more severe; we should slow down."  I was not that wiser man.

I have been warned repeatedly about the dangers that come with young men who fail to ask themselves "what could happen if..?"  Yet when push came to shove I was one of those young men, and I only recognized it in myself after the fact.  Oh, God, I pray- let me learn my lesson now!  Let me remember this and not put You to the test again!

Perhaps the greatest irony of the event was that my friend and I had been meditating on Proverbs during the drive to the location in the morning, and again on the trip home that resulted in this crash.  We were mulling over the very Scriptures that we were violating in our unwise roadway behavior.

God is merciful.  I am grateful.

Please.  Please.  Learn from me.  Don't learn like me.

Oh, and the glasses?

Not a scratch.


We got to host the Jost family on their tour this year; made a movie together with them; had some good ol' manly fun together with the guys.


Attended the inaugural Arizona Patriot Academy.


I made an adjustment to my brand, going from clean-shaven to a light beard.


Attended the final San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (final for now, at least) with my dad and my sister; that was an incredible experience.  So many friends; so many Providences; so many stories.

While there, got to meet with a lot of great musical friends from the Rhapsodize Music Network.


Speaking of the Rhapsodize Music Network... get yours on iTunes, AmazonMp3, Spotify, and elsewhere!  Let me know if you want a physical CD.


Went on my first mission trip to a hospital in Mexico, helping to get it fully-functional.


Last week, Dad preached a great sermon on time stewardship.  Got me fired up to set goals for 2014.  

"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." - Eph. 5:15-17

Thusly, I have set goals for 2014; praying for the grace of God to grant me a warrior's mentality to accomplish them.  I'm not going to list them all, but I'll list a few, and you're welcome to check in on my progress, as well as share your goals in the comments.

- Read "The Institutes of Biblical Law" by R.J. Rushdoony
- Learn Spanish to the level where I can converse, read, and write fluently
- Learn First-Aid
- 25 pull-ups 
- 50 push-ups
- 5 muscle-ups
- Cold showers 3x/week
- Go to bed at 9:30 and wake up at 5:30, and start preparing for bed at 9, M-F
- Don't go to social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) unless I have content to post

May 2014 feature the sounds of cheering and laughter and the gates of hell groaning and cracking and crumbling to dust.  May the giggling voices of a thousand babies be born into Kingdom households; may the tearful joy of a thousand souls reborn join the chorus.  May the Word of Christ pervade our land as the waters cover the sea.  May we be faithful to turn every breath we are given into a song or a step for the glory of our King.