Monthly Archives: January 2013

Pride and Transparency

One thing in my life I have always struggled with is pride.  Through out a lot of my life things were given to me.  Because of who my brothers were, my athletic gifts, social status, and other things I never really had to work for anything.  I developed this "inner pride" or "false humility".  I would get uncomfortable when ever someone complimented me but in my head I would be like, "duh, I am awesome".  It sounds terrible, but that's how I was.  I would then proceed to point out some minor flaw of mine to maintain an appearance of humility.  But my pride and arrogance where in everything.  They were in how I carried myself, how I spoke and how I treated people.  I thought humility was pointing out a minor flaw to show that Ithought  wasn't perfect.  One of the crazy things is I actually thought I was humble and I didn't like prideful people.  This didn't just last through my years of "doing my own thing".  It also was present in my life seeking after the Lord.  I thought I knew the way to pray, hear from the lord, and how He worked.  Pride always showed up in my life in the sneakiest ways.  When it was finally brought to light, it wrecked me.  I was so in shock that I was prideful and how blind I was to it for all these years.  The Lord really has shown me two powerful ways to combat this in my life.  One is through true humility.  Which is agreeing with what God says, and not just pointing out my faults.  I need to declare who god says I am over my life and walk in that.  That's another blog ha.  The other is through true transparency.  When I wanted an example of what this looked like lived out,  I went to the best source ever, the Bible and Jesus.  I found myself reading about when Jesus is in Gathsemane before his crucifiction.  a few things stood out to me.  He was before the Father pleading that this cup be taken from him, referring to what was to come.  He was so torn he was even sweating blood. But in that moment he said that He wanted His Father's will and that's what mattered.  No matter what is going on in my life, I need to get on my face and be honest before the Lord.  Let him know where I stand and how I feel.  But even more I need to have my heart be for His will before any other, including my own.  Easier said than done.  I believe getting to that place is from just getting to know Him and His will.  Then I will taste how good and perfect His will truly is.  And when hard circumstances or struggles arrive I can take that step of faith that is needed to trust him.  But it takes faith.  The other thing that struck me is that, Jesus had people with him.  He let them be apart of that moment.  That's when it struck me.  My heart is to conform to the image of Christ and be like him, so do what he did. So now when I am in my moment of struggle or hurt, I let people in.  Jesus asked His disciples to watch and pray.  They sort of fell asleep, but that's people.  But the invitation was still there.  I now invite people to watch and pray with me through things that I am going through.  I show people my heart and where I am at so that they can too go before the Lord on my behalf.  The Lord has given me wisdom in this and I don't go around broadcasting everything to the world, but he has really shown me the importance of becoming transparent and the power behind it. 

His Goodness

I was talking with someone really close to me and they asked me a a question that, to be honest, shook me a little. They asked, "through this whole thing, what has God been teaching you?" I didn't know where to start or how to put it into words. I had been reveling in what He has been doing in me but never had to verbalize what was going on in my heart and mind. The question shook me because I want to be able to tell people what exactly I was experiencing, so I could share my testimony and glorify him and I found myself at a loss of words. I have thinking and praying for the right words to explain everything that I have been experiencing. I felt like The Lord told me to start writing and he would pore here I go. I have shared my story of where I came from and all that he has saved me from. God's goodness ruined me then when he chose me. I was strung out, with no self worth, hope, or even faith. He looked down from heaven and said, "Mike, you are worth it. You are worth me dying on a cross. I want to be in relationship with you so bad and I love you so much, I am going to come as a human, be persecuted, and die. I am going do all of this with no guarantee of you choosing me, but I have I chosen you." What an honor. What a great God! This has changed my whole life. The only way I can respond to this is by giving my life back to him. I finally tasted His love and His goodness. I want to give him everything of me, fully and completely. That is enough, enough for me to give him my life forever. No turning back, no reservations. When I think of of all the things He is doing in the midst of this chaos, I become undone by His love again. Jesus is so much more than just a savior. His goodness was fully demonstrated on the cross but it doesn't end there. He wants to give me life abundant! Not to just live, but live in blessing and prosperity. A blessing a prosperity that transcends all circumstance and situation. There I was lying on a mountain side full of fear, and even though He has done enough for me, He broke through and have me a peace and security that I can't put into words. I have doctors telling me I will never walk again and my life will never be the same. He has renewed my hope in him and tells me otherwise. I see bills of how much this is going to cost and He raises up people to to go above and beyond anything I could of ever asked for to support me. My flesh tells me this is to much and to give up, His spirit empowers me and gives me victory. His goodness has yet again changed me forever. The cross is the most beautiful thing. It's the picture of my God and savior. It is so much more than just to save, it's for an exceedingly and abundantly life. Not just for me, but for you. He loves you more than you can comprehend. He set aside his divinity to save you and it doesn't stop there. He wants to rain down his love and favor on you forever. He wants to, not change circumstance, but change you in circumstance. I believe that as I continue to walk this out he will reveal more to me, and I will make sure to share it.

The Accident

I thought I would share with everyone about my accident and the weekend it happened. I had been invited to the Freeman's cabin, amazing friends that are more like family from Tacoma. The cabin was in Orville WA. I invited some friends to come along for the weekend to enjoy the snow, snowmobiling, hot tub, and great vacation time. We were all so excited to go and as we started the trip our excitement grew. The drive was beautiful! My brother and I marveled at the bigness and beauty of our God who created this amazing place we live in. It was close to a 5 hour trip and because we were so far "out there" we lost service for a majority of the drive, in turn loosing out navigation. It was fun and came back before we really needed it. We arrived at the cabin Friday December 28th. It was great to seeing friends and meeting new ones. We were excited to get on the mountain so we didn't waste time. A group of us got on the snowmobiles, took a quick crash course on driving, and were off. The beauty of this place was unlike any I had ever seen before. We made it to the top, where we witnessed a sight that made me start to yell with excitement. We were above the cloud line and with mountain peaks surrounding us, we watched the sun set. The setting sun created what seemed to be a fire in the sky reflecting off clouds below. All I could say or yell really was "HOLY CRAP GOD, YOU ARE SOOO GOOD AND SOOO BIG"!!!! I was in awe of the grandiosity of what God had created and in that moment I felt him say, "it was all for you". My heart melted and I began to just praise him. We made out way down the mountain back to the cabin to enjoy some great food, friends, games and the HOT TUB! I have to give it up to Dan and Milt who worked tirelessly to fix the hot tub for us, thank you! The night was amazing! As we all enjoyed the night, friendships seemed to turn into more like family. We shared our stories, hearts, dreams, and boasted on Jesus. When it was time to go to bed, I laid there marveling at where I was and who I was with. I felt so at home and looking back I know God was making supernatural bonds between all of us who were at the cabin. The next day when I woke up I felt pretty close to the same as when I went to bed. We ate a great breakfast and read some morning devotionals and relaxed. I have to say again thank you to Val and Sheryl for the hard work and amazing food!! We went out on a morning drive on the snowmobiles and loved every minute of it. I had brought a snowboard a long so that I could do a little riding. I had gotten to go behind a snowmobile a little but what I really had wanted to do was build a jump somewhere. I always loved doing that in the past. I love the snow and the outdoors and the scenery in back country is my favorite. I had looked around a little the day before for a place that looked good and found one. So in the late morning my brother, friend Daniel, and I got dropped off to build the jump and hang out. It was great. We had a blast laughing and joking together and would stop every so often to soak in God's creation. The place where I had decided to build the jump was over a snowmobile road. It wasn't too far, it had like a 35 foot gap. Something in my younger years I would consider small. It had been awhile since I had ridden hard at all but I figured this was just right in where my skill set probably was. After I made the jump I tried it and didn't quite get far enough. It didn't hurt too bad but the jump needed to be a little bigger and the runway a little longer. So we made the modifications and got ready for round 2. I went off the jump again and this time everything went wrong. I am pretty sure that half of the jump collapsed when I went off it, based on the pictures I saw after. We aren't exactly too sure what happened but what seemed to have happened is I didn't make the gap and I turned a little in the air. When I landed on the hard compact snow I was leaning forward and it my head hit the transition for road to hill knocking me out. The momentum flung my body forward over the road and onto the hill. When I came to and my back hurt and I couldn't feel my legs I was pretty sure I knew exactly what had happened. From growing up snowboarding and landing on flat hard ground before I knew the risks. I knew that I had probably broken by back and I had a good hunch that my legs were paralyzed. I was filled with fear immediately. I don't remember every detail but I remember just asking people to pray and saying Jesus over and over and over. We were waiting for the paramedics to arrive and most everyone was gathered around me praying. Friends were holding my hands to comfort me, while others laid hands on me and were crying out for The Lord. I remember looking into the eyes of my friend who was holding my hand trying comfort me and all of a sudden my friends started worshiping. At that moment Jesus showed up and changed everything about how I was feeling, who I was before, who I was at that time, and I who I will forever be. I felt this peace fall on me. A peace that truly surpasses all understanding. I knew in that moment everything was going to be ok because God has me. Since that moment I have never known more that I am in His hands. God did a rapid maturing in my heart and mind in that short time. I experienced freedom from things that I had been struggling with and cleared everything that had been in the way of our relationship. His mercy still blows me away. I was on that hill side for close to 3 hours waiting, just because we were so far out there and it wasn't very accessible. I sledded down to the ambulance and was taken to the nearest hospital. There they realized they couldn't do much for me there and I needed to go to Sacred Heart in Spokane. They couldn't air lift me so I was going to have to make the drive. After that news, people started praying and the funniest thing happened. The weather lifted for just enough time for me to get on an airplane and get to Spokane, and it don't last a minute longer. Thank you Jesus! Sacred Heart doctors told me that I had severely broken by back and damaged my spinal cord. I had surgery the next day and after my follow ups with my surgeon I found out that I would never walk again. But my God is the ultimate physician. He is going to heal me. I will walk. He has said it and what he says is truth that surpasses any facts. I don't know when that day will be but with all the great things he has done and is doing in this situation, I trust that whenever that day comes it will be just the perfect time!

My Story round 3

When I was back in jail I was honestly pretty shocked. I went to my PO for help and this was the answer? I was pretty hurt. I was devastated when I received my paperwork from my PO with her recommendation to my judge. She asked that I go back to prison and do more programming. I couldn't believe it. This was a hard time for me because I knew I was different than I was before. I truly believed I made a mistake, a huge one, but I don't believe I was going to turn back into that old person. I was a new creation. I didn't know what to do. I was faced with some challenges. Do I go back to survival mode and prison mentality like last time I was incarcerated? I decided to believe what the bible said about me. I decided that I would put on my new nature that God had given me. So I stayed out of the "politics" of jail. I started a bible study and a nightly prayer circle. It was pretty hard, they both started with just me. My time there was filled with reading the word, serious intercession, and still some cards haha. I saw something strange happen. My bible study started to grow and the prayer circle blew up. I found myself walking laps with people just listening to their story, just loving them. By the time I left there were no fights, a miracle, the bible study had a consistent 15 people, and the prayer circle was filled with most of the 50 inmates in my pod. I saw people get saved, miracles happen, and many prayers answered in totally supernatural ways. It was crazy!!!! God did a major thing in my pod, something I had never seen before. When I went to court, the court room was packet with support. I had people from all over come and support me. The judge took notice, and had mercy. He decided to not do what my PO wanted and instead let me do a faith based treatment in CDA. I went to the Good Samaritan Rehabilitation program. It was 2 months of hanging out with Jesus and getting in his word. The entire time I was there God showed me so many things about his character that I had seemed to just skip over. For example, the fear of The Lord. I kind of missed that one and it's a big deal. Truly understanding and getting revelation on that helped me build a strong foundation in my relationship with Him. I learned all about submitting to authority, even when I don't agree, in the best way possible. How he truly has placed all authority, and submitting to that is honoring him and another form of worship. I could go on and on about the awesome things he showed me in our quiet times together. Since I graduated the program God has opened and closed so many doors. It has been great! I am teaching a class about freedom at that same rehab, teaching bible study's, leading a discipleship home, and all sorts of things I would have never imagined. God has saved me from so much. I am eternally grateful for all the things he has done for and through me. He did all this for me when I didn't want it. He saved me in spite of my rebellion and resentments towards him. He is so good! I have hurt so many people through out my story. He has been redeeming so much, replacing the years the locust have eaten away. I still sometimes hurt because of the things I've done but when I take off the old nature and out on the new one, I am able to grieve what I have done but have Godly sorrow which leads to life.
This is the krux of my story up until the accident. I hope something has grabbed ahold of your heart.

My story continued

I left off my in my story where I was about to encounter The Lord in a way that would change my life forever. He did it during a time when that was the last thing I wanted and thought I needed. It happened when I was in Spokane county jail waiting for a transfer. I had no idea when that would come. All anyone would tell me is that Whitman county had 60 days to come and get me. Because I was waiting transport, I never left intake. I was in a cell 24 hours a day with no shoes!!! I worked out to pass time but with no shower and just a sink to clean myself it was pretty awful. Intake is medical isolation as well. There were people who were sick and people with mental illness in the cells next to me. There was constant screaming and crying day and night. I had blood stains on my walls. It was the worst experience I've ever had. I had different roommates that would be there for just one night. All sorts of people came through. One had smuggled drugs in and used the night to get them, which was quite grows. I had been there for 4 days when I couldn't take it any more. I had a "wrestling" match with God, like Jacob. I didn't hold anything back. I told him how I really felt in the language that best described how I felt. I told him about all the wrongs he had done to me and let him know that it was his fault I was where I was. After I had no more tears, words left, or a voice, something broke. I started repenting for thing I've never admitted out loud and started praying for my family and what ever He put on my heart to pray. I woke up the next day a different person. I no longer wanted to do the things I used to. Everything in my heart had changed. I spent the next three days reciting scripture I had once memorized, and praying and worshiping The Lord. I was there for a total of 7 days. As soon as I was transferred I was released at the other county. When I was released I wanted to be different but still struggled for a few months with drugs. God being so faithful broke in again to show me the how. I became plugged in with my church and started running as fast as I could toward The Lord. Close to year after my release for jail I had become so prideful in my relationship with Christ. I see how in so many ways I became Ike one of the pharacies. I thought I knew the right way to pray, they right way to minister, I had it figured out. Because of my pride and with the help of a couple unhealthily relationships I relapsed. God don't let me get to far and just asked me a simple question. He asked if I really wanted to go back to how it used to be. I didn't. So I did something I have never done before I, I told on myself. I told my pastor, discipler, family, and my probation officer. All were very supportive and wanted to help. My PO however, wanted to help in a different way. After I told her what was going on I found myself, once again, back in jail.
More to come.