Thursday, June 30, 2016

7 Years in Review

Seven years ago I began blogging, and while my pace has slackened because my time and responsibilities have shifted, I'm grateful to God for every chance I get to delve into His word and learn from it. It's difficult to believe that seven years ago my wife was seven weeks away from having our twin girls and we had only been married for less than two years! Now we have a summer of festivities as it were: Gabriel's birthday in early July, our anniversary (9 years) late July, our girls' birthday mid-August, and finally Gillian's birthday late August. That's a fairly full docket.

I missed last year's In Review just because life has gotten away from me. Time is something of an elusive substance; when you have plenty of it you spend it frivolously, and when you are strained for time every moment becomes a decision of great import. Time, I have been learning, is precious. Relationships grow over time but only if we seek to cultivate them. Faith grows over time but only if we are vigorous in the word, prayer and fellowship. This is a constant concern of mine, being aware that daily life so to speak eats away what was once abundant study time for me. Now I know why God made me zealous to read and learn and really delve into the Bible for my earlier years; fatherhood, being a husband, working full time as a manager, and writing fantasy fiction novels takes its toll on the mind and body. More than once I have been turned around and backward on my priorities, but by God's grace I have my head put back together and facing the correct way.

These last two years I began in a new location, managing a prosperous store, which consumed much time. Having three children also is a very full time job, and sometimes my wife and I pretend that we still know one another. Kidding! Although it is true that we don't get as much alone time as we once did, it only means that our current alone time is more meaningful. It goes back to that topic of time itself, and how precious it is. Don't squander it! There is my sagely advice from two years of growth and living. To boot, we have a fourth little one on the way! This is a blessing for us, since Gillian and I both love children greatly.

My writing has been progressing, but it is slow progress. I am almost entirely finished with my seventh fantasy novel and have my sights set on a new trilogy after this book wraps up. But one thing at a time. Gillian is planning to create fresh artwork for the covers and we will release the novels sequentially, including books one through three again.

Health wise my family has taken something of a beating. Gillian's health, while always shaky, has become worse. Her parents are both suffering maladies of some severity, and my own parents are in the same predicament. Gillian's mother could use prayer abundantly; as could my own mother. We're home schooling come this autumn, which means my time blogging may become more sparse than it is now, if that is possible. But I take Solomon's inspired counsel to heart when he informs us that to all things there is a season under heaven. That includes this blog and my own writing. I will continue working on my exposition of James; God alone knows at what pace. No matter the pace, I pray it is a blessing for myself and my readership.

This amount of change and responsibility has certainly managed to periodically hinder my spiritual walk. I have stumbled more in the last year or two than I care to recall, but it is all for my learning and progress (provided that I am willing to learn rather than repeat the same problems). We continue family learning from the Bible and I have found some older authors who are good reads. For casual reading I picked back up Edgar Allen Poe. Never liked him when I was young, but I appreciate his writing more now. Trials often are like efforts to sunder our tether to God; they clip at the line in an effort to separate us. Mind you, God does not desire this, nor does He engineer trials to lure us away or discourage us. Trials, for me, have shown me what I am of myself when I forget or ignore my Lord. If you have read The Pilgrim's Progress one can associate with the protagonist, Christian, whose name was once Graceless. Graceless is still a part of us, and all too eager to emerge and govern the flesh. Rather, we must mortify it and glorify God with both body and soul, which belong to Him anyway. These lessons mean so much more when you experience them, when they become intimate. Perhaps that is one more reason why trials come to Christians. Suffering, deprivation, and the like really drive home so many truths in Scripture; truths that we read and know in our heads, but don't always know in our hearts until we walk through them with our Savior. Head knowledge gives good advance warning, but having fought the war and emerged permits graceful counsel to those likewise suffering, to which we should be grateful. God does not need us at all to comfort our brethren or lift up the downcast, but He chooses to use us nonetheless. Now there is time well spent!

This is hardly a comprehensive overview of my last seven years, or even the last two I largely went MIA, but it suffices for the task. I'm glad to be here right now, sharing these things. I pray that my posts can be gleaned for useful insights, and that I may in the future can contribute further. This is a part of the legacy I want to leave my children, who I pray will benefit from the things I have written since before they were born. As an added blessing, I have met many godly people online who share their message and advance Christ's gospel. If we never meet face to face here we will in Heaven, and I look forward to that day. Until next time, God bless.

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"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," 2nd Timothy 3:16.

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Joshua 24:15

All Scripture is taken from the King James Bible (KJV) or New King James Bible (NKJV). Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.