Saturday, August 31, 2013

Failure of Nerve: Wedded Bliss

(This is part two of a series of blogs on failure of nerve. Click here to read the introduction blog.)

Marriage is a complicated relationship and one that takes a great deal of investment to thrive. I
believe that almost all couples enter into this covenant with a firm desire to make it succeed. We are willing to share, meet each other's needs, encourage each other spiritually and emotionally, and work through any circumstances. As time goes by we can become less focused on the things that made our marriage better and they fall by the side of the road on our journey. Husbands and wives find themselves trapped in self-made, cyclical prisons of routine and life demands and neglect the positive habits that kept them together. When conflicts arise we are left with two choices: engage in the difficult conversations and work through the raw emotions to heal or shove everything aside and pretend nothing is wrong. It takes courage to make things right when they've been wrong for so long. Failure of nerve in our marriage leads to an unhealthy, isolated relationship.

Have the courage to humble yourself, remember how much you love your spouse, and do the grunt work to make your relationship better.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Failure of Nerve

Have you ever seen an opportunity to do something right (even if it might be difficult) and chose to walk
away? Failure of nerve is when we don't have the disciplined courage to take action when it's necessary. It is a reflection of our own spiritual immaturity, apathy, selfishness, and fear. I can write about this with some authority based on my own failings. Far too often I have refused to address wrongs or walk away from situations I disagree with, but simply hoped they would get better on their own. I have been guilty of seeing someone with a physical need and turning my eyes away. I didn't have the courage to speak truth to someone in a loving way so I chose to ignore them instead. I'm not proud of these moments, but I recognize when I have allowed a failure of nerve to prevent me from taking action.

What questions  are we afraid to ask? What actions are we afraid to take? What risks do we avoid because we aren't sure of the outcome? This can be a pervasive problem and usually cannot be constrained to just one area of our life. It's time to explore potential pitfalls of fear and address them if we want to grow.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


As I was driving this morning I passed a billboard for a local car dealership that had the tagline, "You deserve it!" I understand their rationale--they want you to come buy a car and are trying to convince you that it's okay to spend the money. It's a deeper root of personal satisfaction that they are trying to influence however--the principle of self-entitlement. This is the underlying cause of so many of our current problems. We think we are entitled to a new possession so we go into debt. Men & women justify their infidelity based on their unhealthy marriages and claim that it is perfectly fine to stray. We rationalize our eating habits and laziness based on our busy schedules and stress levels. We spend time online or in front of the television each night instead of with our families because we've worked hard and deserve the down time. 

The phrase, "I deserve it!" becomes a crutch for poor decision making and abandoning principles that are important to us when it's used selfishly. It might seem acceptable (and even beneficial) at the moment, but the results can have lasting effects.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Peeking Ahead

I drove to Macon this morning and stopped at a little restaurant on the way called The Little Blue Box. I had been there a couple of times before and had been looking forward to having their pork chop, egg & cheese biscuit. It's kind of sad that I was anticipating something to eat quite so much, but I still managed to enjoy my breakfast (and will do so again when I make my way by there again.)

It's important to have some things to look forward to. It can be something simple like a good meal or watching a movie with your family. It's anticipating time on the front porch with your wife at the end of a long day. Sometimes it's just the comfort of knowing there is nothing planned for your day off. It  can even be a circle date on the calendar as you celebrate two friends marrying each other.

Positive anticipation fosters hope and gives us things to look forward to even on the most mundane days. Build the big and small events in and enjoy the moments when they arrive.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Position Change

Depending on what level of athletics you are competing in, it can be tough to switch from one position to another. If the two are somewhat related it is easier, but several factors affect the difficulty. An increased level of competition, the length of time you have played your original position, the difference in necessary skills, and the amount of time for transition can all contribute to an uncomfortable change. It's best to prepare for this adjustment by being as flexible as possible, having the willingness to invest in the change, and persevering through the transformation to find success.

While an athletic position switch might not be on the horizon, God is most certainly working in us for change. Our success will depend on how we answer a few questions:
  • How are you positioning yourself to see the calling that God has on your life? 
  • What areas do you recognize that you need to grow in?
  • Are you willing to be humble enough to see your areas of needed growth?
  • Where is your devotion increasing? 
  • What are you asking God to reveal to you as you look to the future?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Old & Familiar

I needed to fill a cooler with ice for our life group picnic yesterday and went to the kitchen at the church. I
opened the ice machine and scooped the ice into the cooler and was mentally transported back to my days working at Mainland High School. The distinctive sound of ice falling from a metal scoop to land in a plastic-bottomed cooler with a loud, "BANG!" brought me to the hundreds (if not thousands) of coolers I filled throughout my career in athletic training. It evoked memories of sweltering days of August football, blustery Saturdays filled with soccer, and prepping for five different events at once. I could feel myself in the environment of the old athletic training facility with gold & royal blue cabinets and tables. The bustle of athletic training students and athletes coming in and out fills the with air with conversation and laughter. Intermittent announcements blare over the intercom as we shout over them to get people's attention. The line of athletes waiting to be taped & treated starts to lengthen. Eventually the room clears as practices begin and buses leave for road trips. These are some of my fondest memories of great years in my life.

It is said that the old & familiar is an anchor to the soul. It applies to the meaning found in an old song, the sound of a loved one's voice, the noise of a car that signals a father's arrival from work, the comforting creak of a floorboard in a family house, or a jingling collar as a family pet trots to the door. These noises are all a key part of our memories and the unexpected sound of them so many years later can quickly transport us on a sweet ride down memory lane.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hunger Pangs

What are you hungry for? We desire victory, affirmation, reputation, prestige, wealth, respect, admiration, and responsibility. While we might want these things (and even genuinely feel that we need them) our deepest desire can be summed up in one word: acceptance. It's this deep hunger of our heart that leads us to spend our whole lives searching for fulfillment. Our relationships become the source of our acceptance, but when we exclude God from the equation we find ourselves lacking what we desperately need.

Our enemy recognizes this and tries to convince us to look at other sources. He makes sure that the buffet table of temporary satisfaction that he serves from has an appealing aroma and the appearance of everything we are searching for. It's only when he has us locked into a chair at the table that we find that what we are served is much less than advertised. 

Anything less than God will prey on our sense of longing and appease our appetite, but never satisfy our hunger. That can only be found in an authentic, humble journey with our heavenly Father who never abandons, never gives up, and will work tirelessly to give us what we need.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Fear of Failing

I know that failure is an excellent teacher. So many times people will say that "failure is not an option" but it most certainly is. We will fail at some point and can choose to learn from it or to ignore the potential lesson and find ourselves doomed to repeat the same mistakes. I've learned a great deal from my personal failures and from observing the failures of those around me. 

I don't discount those learning opportunities, but will also readily admit that I fear failure in some circumstances. I fear disappointing my wife by not being the man she believes that I am. I fear failing my children by damaging them so severely that it impairs their future relationships and ability to cope effectively. I have a fear of failing my daughters by not preparing them effectively for their future. I fear failure in ministry by missing an opportunity to provide the truth of the Gospel to someone who is desperately receptive to it. I fear failing by disappointing the people in my life that are important to me.

While I can learn to embrace certain types of personal failure as an opportunity for growth, there are other areas of failure that motivate me to keep doing the right thing each day. Learning from one and avoiding the other keep us humble and focused on what is right.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Home Cooking

Aspiring to greatness is a noble desire. Whether it applies to our character, our achievements, or our influence, the pursuit of the extraordinary is a worthwhile journey. As we strive to find excellence however, we need to remember that true greatness starts at home. High levels of success are not genuine or sustainable if we don't begin with our own family. It's a rare person that is able to maintain increasing degrees of influence in society and industry while ignoring the responsibility of leading your household. Even though my driven personality might try to argue differently I would easily trade personal prominence for family greatness.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Loose Connection

It's easy to get frustrated when we feel that we aren't getting an answer to our prayers. We've continually asked God for a solution to a problem or for divine wisdom and are left empty-handed. A very wise friend of mine (Tony Fraley, a lead pastor at another local church) shared his thoughts on that today over lunch. He said that if we continue to pray and feel that nothing is happening, it might be time for a self-evaluation. He likened it to having a battery problem in your car. If you know you have a brand-new battery and you still aren't able to start your car you might want to check your cables. When your battery cables work themselves loose they'll start to corrode and even though your power source is good you won't go anywhere.

When you have faith you have no doubt that your power source is good, so if we consistently find that we're not connecting we'll need to check ourselves. The pace of life sometimes shakes us loose from the truth and we find that the corrosion built up from unconfessed sin, refusing to offer forgiveness, and deliberate sin inhibit a genuine interaction with God. It's a guaranteed fact that He's never the problem, but we can be. It might be a good habit to check ourselves regularly to make sure we aren't doing anything to interfere with our connection to Him.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hopeful Anticipation

I don't know that many of us look ahead to our future and are filled with anxious anticipation. Instead of seeing our potential in God's plan we paint a gray, dreary picture of mundane activity and habitual drudgery. We can become easily consumed with the dim prospect of facing the same struggles we are facing today, but with a different date on the calendar and more gray hair. 

In 1 Corinthians 2:9, Paul writes that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has conceived the things that God has prepared for those that love Him. This is a verse of hope for our future! It's a tantalizing promise of excitement that God offers for our coming days. It means that He is excited about our future like a father that can't wait to give his children a great gift they've been anticipating. It should change our perspective as we realize what 
God is waiting to share with us-it should give us hope for something more.

What would it take for us to embrace a hopeful future that we look forward to with great anticipation of God's delivery?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

High End

I want to be a high capacity leader. Even as I aspire to be this kind of leader I understand that it is a process that cannot be rushed. It involves moving from having potential to making things a reality in my personal life and calling. There are several areas that fall under this concept of "high capacity" but there are a few key areas that came to mind as I meditated on this:

  • Ability-actively honing strengths and limiting weaknesses
  • Character-consistently striving to be above reproach
  • Execution-able to get the right things done in the right time frame
  • Humility-honoring others and not self-promoting
  • Speech-encouraging other people and building people up even through constructive criticism
I will readily admit that I fall short of these ideals. Diligent focus on these qualities with an eye on personal development will bring me closer to where I want to be.

Monday, August 19, 2013

To Sum Up

We are the sum total of our life experiences. Each positive or painful memory, small thought or grand idea, encouraging or unkind word, minuscule habit or overpowering addiction have all formed who we are today and the person we will become tomorrow. 
I don't know that many people recognize the impact of these small decisions and our reactions. I believe that we tend to move forward without giving intentional thought to the pieces that are building our future. To find maturity and the greatest growth we've got to take a step back from the small picture so that we can begin to understand how our whole life fits together. If we neglect this step we'll find ourselves on an unintended road with confusing surroundings and no idea how we can change our circumstances.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Finding Joy

You only have to read through newspaper headlines or watch five minutes of a news broadcast to find unfortunate news. Stories of human triumph and genuine compassion are typically outweighed by the negative tale. Sadly, this often shifts our personal perspective as well. We begin to only see misery in everything and quickly criticize every experience as soon as we walk away from it (and sometimes in the middle of the moment.) We have become so jaded with the condition of our world that we have become effusive with complaints instead of compliments.

We can moan about the minutia of our lives or we can choose to find joy and strength in unlikely places. It's a simple matter of shifting what we are searching for. The truth is that we will find exactly what we look for no matter where we look for it. Imagine the difference in our demeanor, our spiritual health, our personal interactions, and our community involvement if we began to look for joyful moments instead of sorrow.

"The reward of choosing joy is joy itself."  Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The People

Ultimately the church is about God. It is His creation and His desired agent for sharing the message of hope
to a broken world. For the church to be effective however, we can't forget that it is about investing in people. Fulfilling our purpose is tied up in getting people to see who God is & how their lives can be transformed. If we understand this truth then we are forced to carefully evaluate everything that we do through the lens of honoring God and helping people. That may sound extremely obvious, but I have watched churches forget this principle even though it seems absolutely fundamental to their existence. 

Thinking about this made me remember the old children's game we used to play with our hands: Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors, there's all the people! 

If you're going to be a church you can't forget to invest in people.

Friday, August 16, 2013


We can strive to keep parts of our life separate, but we'll quickly find that we aren't successful. Attempting to create partitions between our home, work, spiritual, and physical health will eventually bring frustration and a sense of being incomplete. In the same way that one flat tire negates the effectiveness of three good tires, our lives must be kept in balance. When we neglect an area of our life for too long, we will feel the effects of of this inequity and suffer the consequences as we careen off our intended life path. Taking time to focus in each area is the only way we can find true health and life satisfaction.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Big & Nimble

I was listening to ESPN radio in the car today (as I always do) and heard one of the hosts use a phrase that stuck with me. He said, "If you're going to be that big, you've got be nimble." He was referring to big offensive and defensive lineman that have to be quick on their feet or their size will be a detriment. His point was that you can't just be a behemoth--you've got to learn to move. You'll either trip over your feet or figure out how to maneuver as you change.

It's not a far stretch to see that this doesn't only apply to successful athletes. Even as we grow on a personal level, see our family increase, or watch our church get bigger, the principle is the same. We can't expect to do things exactly the same way and still see the same success. We've got to learn to adapt to our new found growth and be ready to adjust or we'll get left in the dust. You can't just grow--you've got to learn to be flexible to thrive.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Give & Take

In the Old Testament, a man named Joshua served at Moses' right hand for years. He studied at the side of a great man, observed his devotion to God, fought when it was necessary, and devoted himself to prayer. When Moses passed away Joshua became the new leader of the Israelites and led them into the Promised Land. Their example brings to mind two questions that all leaders need to answer:

1. Who is our Moses?
2. Who is our Joshua?

There isn't a leader that has "arrived" at the point of not needing a mentor and guide to invest in them. As I am fond of saying, "If you're still here, you ain't done yet!" The second question is equally as important as genuine Christian leaders realize the importance of equipping the next generation. We have a deep responsibility to submit to investment and accountability while we pour ourselves out into others. To do one without the other creates an egotistical, spiritually dehydrated leader that won't last and certainly won't leave a legacy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dream On

Remember the excitement of the dream that we used to have for our lives? 
  • That overwhelming feeling when we first fell in love?
  • The energetic sense of purpose when we discovered our passion?
  • The wide-eyed enthusiasm when we were first called into ministry?
  • The fire of renewal when we were baptized into Christ?
In those early moments we thought we could change the world. Even if the ideals set before us seemed bigger than we thought possible, they excited us. Sadly, our grandiose visions faded in the light of daily routine, disappointing life choices, and uninspiring results. Far too many of us become jaded and cynical of that type of enthusiasm and even ended up dousing the fiery dreams of others in the process.

How do we recapture this passionate motivation? The process of growth means that newness will wear off and we'll have to be fueled by something more than initial uniqueness. The key is in not fooling ourselves into thinking that our own strength is the backbone of our relationships and endeavors. When we take our eyes off of our miraculous God and fix them on our mundane circumstances, we're guaranteed to fall short of our own expectations. It's our fault that we have lulled ourselves into a dreamless sleep. 

Shifting our vision back to God's never ending energy and divinity will restore our excitement for each part of our calling. His sovereign plan and loving supply of vision and energy will surpass all that we can imagine to begin with.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Each One

We have to learn to take advantage of every opportunity to have a positive impact in other's lives. We won't necessarily be able to do this in totality, but we can commit to taking advantage of each one that we are aware of. As we seize these moments and recognize the blessing we are to others (and the resulting benefit that we personally experience) we will miss less of them. It's a stair step effect brought on by noticing people (family, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, community) and eagerly seeking a way to impact their life through blessing. Before we realize it this will not be a chore, but an integral part of our lifestyle.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I recently wrote on the oft-neglected discipline of thinking and how we need to set aside specific time to invest in our mental creativity. I firmly believe in this truth, but also find that we can end up
spending so much time in thought that we neglect our need for action. It's a reflection of our detrimental habit of overemphasizing one end of the decision making "see-saw" to the point of abandoning other equally important disciplines. It's a fine balancing act that involves spending adequate time creatively and carefully thinking things through and then pulling the trigger on a plan of action to bring them into fruition. It's a synergistic relationship that creates positive momentum and brings enjoyment to the journey.

Neither step is necessarily more important than the other, but ignoring either step will leave you flat on the ground or stuck in the air desperate for movement.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Bit By Bit

We had a clean up day at Northridge today with 35 dedicated souls, which was extremely productive
for a three hour period of hard work. It gave us the time to get some new things done, but to also deep clean and spruce up areas that had been neglected for some time. It's often easy to let things go for a while, but eventually the mess becomes great enough to do something about it. The problem with waiting and allowing it to progressively worsen is that it takes longer to get it back to normal. If we'd just work at it a little bit at a time we'd find it stays in better condition and doesn't take a comprehensive, intense cleaning session to improve it.

Sounds like a lot of different things in our lives, doesn't it?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mind Games

I believe in the positive impact of conversation. I find that I am sharpened in the interaction with
other like-minded (and not like-minded) people and the differing viewpoints we all bring. I am also challenged by the things that I read whether it be in books, blogs, or articles. New ideas and interesting glances of old standards cause me to reevaluate the way that I look at things. I also expand my horizons through my own writing whether in blog or journal form. All of these are good ways to change my mindset and steer me in new directions.

These other principles are key for mental development yet the discipline that we often forget to emphasize is the practice of thinking. I don't mean using our thoughts as we run through our day, but focused time that is set aside to meditate and cognitively create. It's a directed, intentional process of meditation that allows our creative juices to flow and stretch the boundaries of what we normally think on. An effective leader will carve out quiet moments to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and imagine the future. It's this time of thinking that inspires us and gives us glimpses of a potential preferred future. For success in our thoughts that results in productivity we will need to intentionally schedule "think sessions" and use our mental capabilities more effectively.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


In my different areas of calling (restaurant, teacher, athletics, ministry) I have noticed a common theme in most people that I interact with--they possess an innate desire to be better. I think that it exists in all of us,
but some people simply choose to ignore it. When it grips us we find ourselves torn between the reality of our current state and an ideal that we are striving to live up to. It can be an ambition for personal/group success, the drive to be a stronger leader, or an overwhelming passion for becoming a better parent and spouse. It can be measured in sales and income, athletic records and championships, relationships with other people and transformation in demeanor and expressions of personality.

The dividing line of success and failure is found in those that refuse to overlook this inner tension, but are willing to create patterns of life change that appease this hunger. Conquerors of mediocrity will seek the counsel and accountability of others to help them through the process of transformation while being actively involved in personal, disciplined behavioral changes. 

Addressing the desire for improvement is merely an appetizer to the main course of diligent, directed faithfulness that facilitates growth.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


I am as guilty as anyone of emotionally and spiritually berating myself for poor decisions that I have made. I reflect on the damage I have caused to myself & those that I care about and sometimes allow it to paralyze me with shame. I find myself imagining the possibilities of "what could have been" if decisions had been made differently. 

This is a devastating cycle of refusing to find forgiveness and moving forward in the newness that God promises. Part of the process of healing involves our genuine confession of those things to God and a willingness to seek a change of direction. The supernatural transformation comes to us as God creates beauty out of the ugliness of our past choices. Refusing to accept that gift is a dangerous game as we find ourselves drowning in regret and missing the opportunities for brand new beginnings God is desperate to give to us.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Keep Watering

We put sod down at Northridge around the sides of the expanded children's wings about ten days ago. We have also had the wettest summer since our arrival in Georgia with great amounts of rainfall. Naturally, the rain has now ceased since we put the grass down and I am concerned for its survival. That has led to a repetitive pattern of watering, moving the sprinklers, and watering again. I truly didn't think it was going to make it, but we are slowly starting to see shoots of green that give me hope. Of course the watering will have to continue--a few sprigs of green grass doesn't give us clearance to stop doing what's necessary for growth.

Unfortunately we often take that approach in our relationships. Things can become dry spiritually and emotionally so we start doing the things that we know will make it better. Once we see signs of correction and healing we assume that it's going to be okay and stop doing those positive steps. It doesn't take long for things to dry up again and the relationship emergency to return at full strength. Diligent, faithful efforts will bring results that have deep roots and are able to withstand the changing climates that are certain to affect us. We have to be willing to nurture the important relationships in our life with God and other people for sustainability and health.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Better Half

I enjoy writing, but will readily admit that I am nowhere near the writer that my wife is. She is truly
brilliant and able to carry you along a journey of thought and emotion like few other writers I know. She wrote a blog today that reminded me again of why I fell so deeply in love with her. I will give you one sentence in particular that left me saying, "Wow!" and then simply link to her blogpost for today for you to read. I couldn't begin to think of outwriting her and won't even try. Read for yourself and catch a glimpse of the intelligent and beautiful woman I am lucky enough to be married to.

"It’s the tiny brush strokes, the lowly eighth notes, the  choice to speak that word, or not, that changes the trajectory of art, relationships, of the future itself."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

More Than Words

There are times when words are difficult to form and cohesive thoughts run apart instead of together. It doesn't always indicate a lack of focus, but often a need for a time of meditation and personal processing. We have the option of pausing to listen to what our King has to say or turning the volume up on life to drown His voice out. God is actively working to stimulate our minds and spirits and if we don't pause to take notice of it, we will eventually condition ourselves to shut Him out.

Be slow to speak and quick to listen. Shut off the technology that captures our every waking moment, put aside the anxieties of tomorrow (and the day after) and turn away from the mindless droning of our entertainment world. Find peace, comfort, and direction in what God is trying to share with you. We will find incredible fulfillment and healing when we can simply be still and know that He is God.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Comparison Trap

We do ourselves tremendous personal damage when we step into the comparison trap. We believe that we are not measuring up to the exact practices set by other men, husbands, couples, parents and Christians. As a result, we see our self-esteem plummet as we become consumed with meeting someone else's standards and failing miserably. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't be encouraged by people who are at different phases of the life journey. We can even find ourselves motivated by those around us to work harder at leading in our personal and professional life. Defeatism occurs when we believe we have to be exactly like someone else that appears to be doing it better than we currently are. Life is better lived when we spur each other to be better leaders and followers. We just don't have to be exactly like someone else or lead in the exact manner that they do.

God doesn't want you to be a second rate version of someone else. He wants you to be a first rate version of yourself.

Friday, August 2, 2013


When you expend a great deal of energy you have to find time to replenish your reserves. Contrary to what we sometimes tell ourselves, we have a limited capacity for leadership and effective decision making. Even if that gift is exceptional we still need to rest to allow our mind, spirit, and body time to recuperate. Sometimes it's as simple as spending a morning reading, enjoying a simple lunch with your beautiful wife, and lounging in a recliner for the afternoon. It's a necessary process of finding peace, reveling in moments of quiet, and re-energizing for the days ahead.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Different Paths

I don't believe in coincidences. I instead believe in the divine, sovereign plan of God who works through our
choices and circumstances to draw our attention to Him and to highlight things of importance. I had one of those moments occur today from two different stories that were both related to my teaching at Mainland High School.

When I left the Athletic Training program at MHS, I was tremendously impressed with the gentleman who took my place. He & I maintained a great friendship and I couldn't have been more thrilled with the work he did there to continue a tradition of excellence. The position just came open again this year and I was contacted by a former program student asking to list me as a reference for the position. I enthusiastically gave my endorsement and was very excited to hear that he had gotten the position. It is a symbolic continuation of carrying the torch from an invested member of our academy and program. I am proud of him and his excellence in his profession and look forward to seeing what God is going to do through his leadership.

It wasn't long after I saw this excellent information that I stumbled across another former student. Her story is very different. She was in my health class for a semester and I vividly remember her and her best friend. I continued to see her around town over the years and it was obvious that she was struggling with life. She wasn't always making the right choices and that was evident from the company she kept. When she became pregnant, I thought she had cleaned herself up and was on the right path of responsibility. Sadly, that did not seem to be the case. As I read through her Facebook profile I saw that she battled addiction, gave birth to another child, and then took her own life.

I was saddened to travel down the pathway of her destruction even from a distance. It was such a tremendous extreme of paths from one highly successful young man to another very-loved young woman who couldn't seem to escape her demons. My interaction with them was very different, but both will continue to be seared in my memory forever.

I don't understand everything God is trying to show me through these two intersecting, yet divergent paths. Perhaps it's a reminder of how important our investment in other people is and yet a powerful indication that our impact is still limited and personal choices will determine their future. I don't know what else I could have done for her, but it certainly encourages me to keep investing in people for the sake of providing even a small ray of hope for a better future.