Activation: Love and Marriage in 2015

Yesterday we packed up Carter and Aiden and took them to the elementary school parking lot.  Both of the boys had received new bikes for the holiday.  Carter’s is a smaller version of a regular bike with training wheels still attached.  Aiden’s is a smaller version of the Big Wheels tricycles we had as kids.

Carter took off like a rocket around the empty lot, doing circles and turns around the light posts.  Aiden pushed himself along on the ground, not yet willing to put his feet on the pedals.  I looked at Val and stole a rare moment of peace.  It was inspiration to consider what our marriage could be in the new year.

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Photo Credit: becca.peterson26 via Compfight cc

May 2015 be the year we reclaim ourselves and not lose each other in life, work, and parenting.  May we make the most of the down times and rare moments alone.  May we rededicate ourselves to each other and go on a date night when possible, even if it means sharing leftovers while the kids play in the living room.

If you are single and searching, I pray 2015 is the year you find that person who is searching for you.  I pray for patience and peace, that you can know you are worth finding the right person and being loved and respected. Know that you are valuable as a person, friend, romantic partner, and child of the Creator.

I pray that 2015 offers a new dawn and second chance for those relationships and marriages struggling under stress from outside and within. Never forget that love wins, that we are called to serve with a selfless love like the one who died to set us free. Keep the lines of communication open, say what you feel and trust the person on the other end of the conversation.

It does get better.

I promise you that.

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” 1 John 3:23

Activation: Faith in 2015

This post starts a short series this week wrapping up 2014 and looking forward to some specific goals for the year to come…

I stood in the doorway of the dining area at Hope Rescue Mission at noon on Christmas day. They would serve, as with Thanksgiving, almost 250 men with their holiday meal. The chaplain, Steve Olivo, stood to my left.  We exchanged some small talk and I asked him if he was keeping an eye on things at Hope.  Steve normally is present for the “second shift” of time in the late afternoon and early evenings.

Robert Turchi, the director, passed by us and said, “Yeah he is, twenty-four-seven.” It took me a second.

“Really?” I asked.

“I live here now,” Steve replied. “It’s not the first time.” This is a man with a family and a home outside the walls, living at the Mission and overseeing the more than one hundred residents. I’m still struck by his comment.  I spent the rest of the day asking myself if I could do the same.

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Photo Credit: Karin Viva via Compfight cc

Pastor Olivo is one of my heroes and one of the reasons I’m writing Overcome. The men and women in the city of Reading working on the front lines of the fight against poverty deserve to be highlighted and my goal is that this book shines a light on their efforts.

I pray our faith transforms in 2015, that it is active and moving, engaging and passionate.  I pray that our boys see God reflected in us. I pray that I can serve Val and help guide our family to follow this path we are traveling.

2015 will be a year of lifting.  I’ll be honest, I’ve spent too much time on the sidelines.  I was Zacchaeus climbing the tree.  I’d get myself closer, higher up above the noise of life, yet wouldn’t push though the crowd to get my hands on Jesus.

I know now he has come to me and told me to climb down.

I’m praying that 2015 is the year your writing, your faith, and your dreams are realized. Give yourself permission to climb down or, at this point, just jump for it. The hands of grace are ready and waiting to catch you.

~Matt