Three Words.

Three Words.

Even though Micah is a little older than three years old now, he has struggled keeping up with his various developmental milestones. This has been extremely discouraging, hard to explain to others, and even hard to accept that it’s not Sarah and my fault as parents. This has been especially true in regards to his speech. As a parent I have seen nearly all of the kids his age fly past their milestone markers while I have had to deal with many of the tough and often hurtful questions from people about his behavior or his lack of speech.

It’s hard. I’m not going to lie. It’s really hard. Seeing kids younger than him spouting off sentences or sitting quietly at a restaurant. I get jealous. I really do. It’s just hard not to compare him to others his age.

But I am so thankful for Micah. I love him more than the world. He is healthy. He is constantly full of joy. He is more tenacious and curious than any person I’ve ever known. And with every word or accomplishment, I am so incredibly proud of him. He loves people. He loves animals (especially dogs). He loves dancing and jumping and cooking me “soup” from his kitchen.

Up until today I have never heard him use three words in a row. He rarely even uses two together. But today he told me “I love you” after dinner. I have waited over three years to hear that from him. And my little guy said it tonight for the first time. And it melted my heart.

An Example of Vulnerability and Empowerment

Recently at my church here in Omaha, we had a video presentation from a married couple at our church. It was a very honest and vulnerable story of their marriage — and the brokenness they have experienced in it and the lessons they’ve learned through it.

Here it is:

After the video played there was a definite sense of heaviness that filled the room. I doubt there was a dry eye to speak of. People clapped in appreciation of their transparency and their vulnerability. When the pastor got up on stage afterwards he recognized the sense of heaviness that was present in the room. He appropriately told us to all take a deep breath in, and then a deep breath out.

After the sermon we have communion together as a church. There are about six stations where two people hold a loaf of bread and a cup of wine/grape juice. I noticed that Roger and Denise were at one of the stations. I thought that was a beautiful thing.

I thought it was beautiful because it exemplifies what I believe to be empowerment. They put themselves in a vulnerable spot. They bore the darker moments of their lives with us as a congregation, and now to the world via the internet. Yet, vulnerability is not simply sharing personal, shameful, or embarrassing information about yourself. It is a reaching out for connection while telling such information, not knowing how others might respond. But having Roger and Denise serve communion (a sober celebration and reminder of the death of Jesus Christ and an anticipation of his coming again), it allowed them to serve the people of the church to whom they just bore their souls. It allowed the church to affirm them as our fellow brother and sister despite their messiness. They were empowered as they served communion to others in the church and spoke “this is Christ’s body, broken for you” and “this is the blood of Christ, shed for you” to their brothers and sisters in Christ.

A beautiful thing. And an example of what empowerment looks like. The leaders of the church created the environment for this couple to be empowered, and the congregation truly empowered and affirmed them as they came up for communion.

Smile Moment: Taking Out the Trash

Sometimes I experience or witness something that makes me smile to myself. There’s not really a place to mention it in person with people, so I thought about writing about these moments on my blog in a series entitled “Smile Moments.”


On my way home from work yesterday I stopped by my Trinity’s campus to grab mail from the mailbox I still have there and to pick up a couple rolls of quarters for laundry.

As I was walking back to my car, I noticed a young girl attempting to carry a large bag of trash. Clearly she was intending to walk out to the dumpster in the parking lot and throw it away. But this girl, probably about six or seven, could barely carry the thing because it was as about as big and heavy as she was.

As she struggled to carry the bag, grunting and moaning, looking at the distant dumpster, probably 50 yards away, with a sense of determination, I asked if she’d like some help.

“Hey there. That looks heavy. Would you like some help?”

I didn’t know if this was a chore or potentially a punishment given by her parents, so I didn’t know if I should say anything, but I couldn’t help myself.

Without even looking at me, eyes still fixed upon the dumpster, she replied,

“No, thank you.”

By this point she was practically dragging it on the cement sidewalk. It looked pretty heavy.

“Ok, then.”

Right then I realized another girl about her age walking up to her. It must have been a friend of hers. As she walked up to the girl struggling to carry the trash bag she told me,

“No, but thank you for asking and for your consideration.”

I was a bit stunned by the girl’s response to me. Her response was so polite and mature. I hadn’t even asked her. It made me chuckle to myself.

“Well, you’re welcome.”  I replied.

I gave her a smile. The kind that a parent gives a child they’re proud of.

As I got back into my car and began to pull away I saw both the girls holding the bag together, sanguine-faced and shuffling their feet under the weight of the bag. I thought about taking a picture, but even as a photographer I determined this was a moment for me to take a mental picture of rather than a digital one.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I drove away at the image of the two girls working together to carry that trash bag in my rear-view mirror. .