You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22 NRSV
As we grow older things in our past not only shape, mold, and define us, they sometimes lead to renewal. For years, July 19th, 1992, has cast a great shadow of dread on me. At times the thought of that year would paralyze me. For those of you who don’t know what happened, I will bring you up to speed. At 3:30 p.m. I went down a waterslide, and when I entered the water my left leg went into the pool, while the rest of me went forward. Needless to say, I was torn in half. I spent 28 days in the ICU, three months in the hospital after that and another year in a hospital bed recovering at home. The man I was, had died, and now my family, friends and I had to live with this new person.
Every year about this time I would begin to have night terrors and phantom pain. I wouldn’t sleep well and would long for the days when I could do those things that used to bring me such great joy. My wife and children had to go through changes too. It was hard to explain to people what was going on. Depression became a constant companion and at times I felt useless and helpless.
Then, just a few weeks ago, around July 19th, I realized in a new way that I had been given this great gift of life…a new life and that God had never left me, and in fact, had renewed me.
I remembered that I had been able to experience all three of my children’s graduations from college, I shared in the celebration of their marriages to phenomenal people, watched them begin their careers, and start families. I had been able to meet my wonderful four grandchildren. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and renewed our wedding vows. I have to say that I am more in love with her today than any other time in our life. But one of the most wonderful things that has been afforded to me, twenty-one years after that horrific injury, was to be able to continue to serve my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ through the ministry of Hope at the Beach.
Lin and I have been privileged to have met and ministered to some of the most wonderful people on earth and continue to rejoice with them and you, our true sisters and brothers in the faith. I realized that God had blessed me beyond my understanding and I can tell you that the fears and night terrors have left me this year. The pain continues, but it no longer controls my attitude about my ability to minister. When I am weak, He is strong! My spirit has truly been renewed. Thanks for all your prayers on my behalf, they are working.