Filed under: Life
It has been about seven months since my last post. I don’t know if anyone still reads this, but I’ll take the time to write anyway. The last several months have probably been the most eventful time of my life. It has been a roller coaster ride, filled with many peaks and valleys.
My last post contained pictures from last summer’s trip to Colorado. That seems like so long ago. Upon returning from Colorado, I spent a few days back at home before leaving again, for Scott Lake Lodge in Canada. It was my second time to travel north of the border with my grandfather and two cousins, Tyler and James, and it was an incredible experience. The memories from that trip will last a lifetime.
During that summer, there was constant excitement, but fear, about something much more wonderful. My mom was pregnant with a baby girl. It was fantastic news, and family and friends were elated. But at the baby’s 18-week ultrasound, we received a troubling report. The baby, who we found out to be a girl in that ultrasound, had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. I won’t explain it fully, but it is basically a hole in the diaphragm that allows the organs of the abdomen to migrate up into the chest, hindering the development of the lungs and heart. We knew right away that it was extremely serious. The doctor told us that the survival rate was only about 50 percent. We also knew that God was sovereign, and that “all things come not by chance, but by his Fatherly hand.”
The baby was on all of our minds, and we awaited her birth hopefully. School started in late August, as did football. I played for the Oklahoma Patriots for the first time. I had a great time being on the team–I played quarterback and cornerback–and plan to play again next season.
In late September, my family moved to Dallas in anticipation of the baby’s birth. My parents had decided that Children’s Medical Center would be able to provide her with the best care possible. I stayed in Oklahoma, moving in with my best friend Hunter’s family, so I could continue attending class. Although I greatly missed my family, I enjoyed staying with them, hanging out with Hunter, going to OU football games and Thunder basketball games (I had my dad’s car), studying together, etc.
Then, on October 8, tragedy struck. I had just come home from football practice and showered when I received a call from my dad. I could immediately tell by his tone that he had bad news, and I feared the worst about the baby. Instead, he delivered a shocking blow by saying that my cousin, Tyler, had died in a shooting accident. I couldn’t believe it. I had known Tyler literally my entire life. He had been with us in Canada just the past summer. I cannot describe how hard it hit me, it was my first experience with death. I felt sick for my Aunt Christy, Tyler’s dad Robby, his brother James, his sister Mary, my grandparents. Tyler was the nicest guy you could ever meet, and everybody who knew him loved him. First Baptist Church of Bartlesville was filled for his funeral, which was held just a few days later. Tyler was a strong Christian, and the fact that we will see him again, and that God is sovereign, comforted us. Still, in the months that followed, and now, I thought about and missed him often, and I look forward to the day that I will see him again.
The whirlwind continued a week after Tyler’s death, as the baby was born in Dallas on October 15. Anne Marie. Her journey was chronicled on my parents blog, which I encourage you to read, as I can’t describe the events that followed any better than they did. Her lungs were seriously underdeveloped, and she was placed on a ventilator immediately. My mom wrote about her status five days after her birth. On the 21st, I caught a 6:30 flight to Dallas to see Anne Marie for the first time. Even though she was hooked up to a lot of medical equipment, I could see how beautiful she was. I stood and watched her, touched her hand, stroked her curly brown hair. It was a difficult time, but God was ever present. The roller coaster continued. On October 21, Anne Marie opened her eyes for the first time. The surgery to repair her hernia was scheduled for October 29. I traveled to Dallas again for the surgery, which went extremely well. Although the doctors repaired the hernia, the lungs were still very weak. Anne Marie remained on a ventilator and ECMO, which after a while could cause complications. So, the doctors decided to try to wean her off both treatments. At this point, her lungs were still not performing their job, and the doctors were not optimistic. After several trial runs of taking her off ECMO for a little while, the time came to take her off for good. The potential complications outweighed the benefits. Frankly, nobody gave her much of a chance, but we still trusted in God, and for good reason. Her condition did not dramatically improve or worsen over the next few days, and she had another surgery to complete the abdominal repair. However, she was still extremely sick, remaining “stably unstable.” She was fighting for her life. Eventually, there came a point where the ventilator could not support her. Her lungs were too weak. She died in our mother’s arms on November 21.
In six weeks, I had lost a cousin and a sister. I didn’t know why, and I still don’t, but I know that God is in control, and that Tyler and Anne Marie are in heaven together. Those facts, along with the overwhelming support of friends, were my only source of comfort. In the weeks that followed, I thought a lot about Tyler, and about Anne Marie. As much as I was hurting, I knew that others must be in even more pain. I ask you to pray for Tyler’s mom, my Aunt Christy, for Robby, for James and Mary, for my grandparents, my other cousins, and all of Tyler’s friends. Pray for my mom and my dad, my brother and sisters, my other grandparents, who stayed with my family in Dallas the entire time they were there and were an incredible help.
As I look back at the last several months, I am amazed. Although it was most definitely the saddest chapter of my life, I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the time I spent and the memories I made with Tyler. I am thankful for the life of Anne Marie, and for the inspiration she and my parents were to so many people. I am thankful for great friends, who have made it that much easier for me. I am thankful for an amazing family, with whom I have grown closer to in the midst of adversity. And I am thankful for Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death, thanks to which we will not perish, but have eternal life.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I know I haven’t posted in forever. Sorry about that. I just thought I’d write something about my upcoming trips. I’m leaving tomorrow for Colorado, where I will go river rafting, tour a coffee roastery, and hike for three days. Upon my return, I will depart for Canada, where I will fish at Scott Lake Lodge with my grandfather and two cousins. I’ll be posting pictures from the trips soon. Stay tuned.
I recently went on a trip with a friend on a trip to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. These are a few snapshots from the trip. The entire album can be found here, here, here, and here.
I recently finished a paper on John C. Calhoum, a nineteenth century statesman from South Carolina who was very influential in bringing about the American Civil War. Click here to read it.
To celebrate the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth, I am reading his Institutes of the Christian Religion this year.
In Section 1.51-3 of the Institutes, Calvin states that the “clarity of God’s self-disclosure strips us of every excuse…. [H]e not only sowed in men’s minds that seed of religion of which we have spoken but revealed himself and daily discloses himself in the whole workmanship of the universe.” This is so true. From a tiny human cell, to the vast galaxies of outer-space, we see evidence of God. Consider a tiny human cell. Each individual cell contains more information than Encyclopedia Britannica. Christian author Lee Strobel writes that “one ‘simple’ cell is a high-tech factory, complete with artificial languages and decoding systems; central memory banks that store and retrieve impressive amounts of information; precision control systems that regulate the automatic assembly of components; proofreading and quality control mechanisms that safeguard against errors; assembly systems that use principles of refabrication and modular construction; and a complete replication system that allows the organism to duplicate itself at bewildering speeds.” Calculations indicate that if a person could write out all of the information that can be stored in a sample of DNA the size of a pinhead, the result would be a pile of books that is 500 times higher than the distance from the earth to the moon! In one microscopic cell, we see the work of God.
There are countless other examples. This video reveals it better than I could.
Psalm 19:1 proclaims, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
Calvin, however, goes on to say in Section 1.5.4-5 that “man turns ungratefully against God.”
Here, however, the foul ungratefulness of men is disclosed. They have within themselves a workshop graced with God’s unnumbered works, and, at the same time, a storehouse overflowing with inestimable riches. They ought, then, to break forth into praises of him but are actually puffed up and swollen with all the more pride…. How detestable, I ask you, is this madness: that man finding God in his body and soul a hundred times, on this very pretence of excellence denies that there is a God?… [T]hey set God aside, the while using “nature,” which for them is the artificer of all things, as a cloak. They see such exquisite workmanship in their individual members, from mouth and eyes even to their very toenails. Here also they substitute nature for God.
Calvin is brilliant. This was written centuries ago, but it still applies today. Now, people use evolution, or “nature,” as the explanation for the amazing things in the universe. The “pride” that Calvin mentions does not allow them to believe in a God. They want to be in control, but the idea of a God makes them feel small and powerless. So, they reject God, substituting nature for Him. But we should rejoice in what he has given us, life and salvation through His Son.
Filed under: Uncategorized
From an article on SportingPress.com:
“After much consideration, I have decided to skip my senior season at the University of Florida and ascend directly into Heaven,” Tebow announced. Upon making the announcement, Tebow was bathed in a blinding white light and vanished….
“He wasn’t just the greatest player in college football history,” said a college football writer at the press conference, tears streaming down his face. “He might have been the greatest person to ever walk on earth.”