Continuing to develop the Attitude of Gratitude.
Chuck Harper·Sunday, October 8, 2017
For some reason this weekend has been a reminder of the blessings I have. Yet it is also a reminder of how easily it could have been so different. I share to you who read these words as a source of encouragement and hope. 7 years ago this weekend I planned my death. After a devastating job loss I felt so utterly hopeless and abandoned by God. Depression took hold of my heart and mind. My wife saw the look on my face not knowing what I was thinking. I think the word she used was I looked so hopeless, I felt empty. It took some time and there was no miraculous deliverance. Like the movie Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks said he would get out of bed every morning and breath in and out. He hoped in time he wouldn’t have to remind himself to breath in and out. That was how I felt. Somewhere in the process some things happened that were defining moments of change and clarity. Passages of scripture and a couple of books came to mean a great deal as I journeyed back into the light.
A lot of things have happened in our lives as I come back into the present moment. The journey in the land between hasn’t been easy but it has been one the God has used to teach me and use me in the lives of so many others.
As I continue to develop my attitude of gratitude my brain and heart are changing. Here are three things that have come from this brokenness.
Every morning I look at the picture of my 9 grandchildren. 7 years ago I had none at this time. What a beautiful gift this is! I get to be papa to these precious children. I get to be in their lives. I continue to get to be a dad and a husband. My family get to have me, warts and all. I look forward to being the grandfather that will be remembered as one who was invested in their lives, despite the distance between us. the grandpa who was known as a Christ follower.
My wife and the years we have spent together. It hasn’t always been easy. Especially living with a guy like me. But it is so very cool that we can have fun together and daily learn how to love each other and our Lord more. I look forward to growing older with my soul mate, if the Lord tarries.
My walk with God. So much has happened over the past 7 years as I said. Too much to say in just a few sentences. God putting in my heart a renewed passion for reaching out to other broken people. My holy discontents. As Bill Hybels calls it My Popeye moments. Because of this God put on my heart the creation of the NOCC (North Okanagan Community Chaplaincy) I kept seeing gaps in the community, lives that needed to be touched. Being able to walk alongside people and other agencies has been huge. My journey back into wellness brought about a sense of urgency that others who were a broken as I were struggling to live. This brought about the creation of the Homeless Memorial here. It brought about the creation of the Street Church here.
As I am now preparing the service for our 4th Homeless Memorial. I think of the number of lives lost to poverty, homelessness and the issues that come with addiction and mental illness. I see a soul sickness in so many of my street friends. A need for healing and hope. I use my story to share with those the Lord brings across my path. That there is hope, there is healing, there is a better future. That comes from just breathing and getting up every morning and starting over. that comes from having an relationship with the lover of our souls.
Today as I was having my quiet time and journaling. I felt impressed to share these words with you. If you are feeling hopeless, lonely, or feel that deep heavy sickness of the soul. Reach out, reach up. He will pick you up and restore you. I am thankful that I get to still help others. That He still uses me. I look forward to the future, watching my family grow.