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Entries in Christ (7)

Wednesday
Apr102013

brilliancification 

I was always very arrogant about how "smart" I was. And as a friend recently pointed out, I've recently gone the other way, falling into extreme self deprecation, pointing at myself and saying, "me not so smart after all." He actually chastised me about this, telling me, "God has blessed you with intelligence. Don't demean that by tearing yourself down." I'm paraphrasingthe conversation went on for a while.

So here's where I stand: I believe I'm pretty smart, and I believe I have been pretty arrogant about that in the past. And I believe that God has blessed me with a talent and an ability that, until now, I have used selfishly and foolishly. I'm a learner. I'm a grower. I'm a son of God, and I'm trying to be humble without demeaning the gifts God has given me.

What about you?

I think a lot about you. Most of you, I don't even know. I've never met you, and we've never corresponded. But I hope you realize how much I love and respect you, and appreciate you for being in my life. I thank God for you, because you are strength to me. You are a source of energy when I need it. I write this blog for God's glory, but the goal is to reach you and help you and show you what I learn as I learn it. And I also want to learn from you. I want us to interact and be a strength to each other in God's name and under His eye.

What I'm curious about right now is, what is the talent God has blessed you with? What is it you bring to the table, that you can learn to hone and improve? How can you maximize the potential of what God has given you? 

I am constantly working on improving myself and my life. I want to learn and grow. I do this because I want a better life, but I recently discovered that I can accomplish my goals better and faster by helping you learn and grow as well. In that pursuit, I've discovered a trove of treasures that help me meet my "learn and grow" goal, and I want to share some of these with you now. Use them to start your own journey.

  1. Pray for change. Ask God, every day, to create change in your life. It can be a simple prayer: "Lord, change me." You'd be surprised how far this, alone, can take you! 
  2. Pray for wisdom. God blessed you with a mind, and it is amazing. Has anyone ever told you that before? Do you believe it? You should! Think about all the things you've learned to do in your life! Now pray for increased wisdom, every day. Ask God to show you truth in everything you study. Learn to look at everything—from books to television shows and movies to conversations with friends to everything you encounter in life—with your "discerning heart." Pray about everything you encounter and learn, and ask God what you need to take with you from the experience.
  3. Pray for increased faith. Did you know this was possible? I didn't. I always worried that my faith wasn't strong enough. I wasn't seeing miracles in my life, because I didn't believe enough. But then I read in Luke 17:5 that disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith, and suddenly it hit me that faith, like anything else, is something we can ask for and nurture for growth! So pray, every day, that God will increase your faith. 
  4. Pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When Christ went on to bigger and better things, He told the disciples that another would come and be their strength. The Holy Spirit, the third person of God, is God's agency on Earth. He is there, waiting for you to acknowledge Him, to let Him roll up His sleeves and get to work in your life. But He won't take over uninvited. You have free will. So you have to constantly put yourself in check, and ask the Holy Spirit to take the wheel. Surrender, and let the Holy Spirit act where you would have tried on your own before. Ask, every chance you get, to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  5. Read, study, listen, learn, grow. I've never understood why people felt such dread about learning. We do it every day anyway! If reading isn't your thing, try podcasts. Watch documentaries and indie films. Watch television programs on a topic that interests you. Have a conversation with someone about a topic they know more about than you do. King Solomonwho wrote the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, and who is considered to be the wisest man to have ever lived—studied more than just the writings of his faith. He studied works from Egypt and other cultures. He studied everything he could get his hands on, hungry to learn something new. And he applied his "discerning heart" to it. He viewed every new fact through the lens of his faith, to see how it lined up with the truth he knew about God. We humans all learn in essentially the same way—we connect what we're learning to what we already know. That's how learning and growth happen. So go out, learn something new, and think about how it connects to what you knew yesterday!

Here's a prayer you can pray every day to help you keep all of this in mind:

Lord, change me. Increase my wisdom and increase my faith. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Give me a discerning heart, so I can learn and grow and glorify you in all I think, say, and do. Amen.

That prayer, or some variation of it, can be your mantra in daily life. It can be your road map for personal growth, and for Christian growth. 

And as you grow, share! Sharing what you learn with others is a sure way to cement it within yourself. Others will test you, debate you, argue with you. They can also support you, give you more information to consider and use for growth. Take it all.

When approached with debate that you can't answer, say, "That's interesting. I have to look for an answer to that. Thank you!" And then go look for that answer. Don't just pay it lip service.

When approached with new and additional or even contradictory information, say, "That's interesting. I need to think about/read about/watch something about that and learn more. Thank you!" And then go learn about this new thing! Every new piece of information is a chance to grow and change your life.

And be sure to share it with me! I need it! I need to hear from you, to learn what you learn, and to grow as you grow. We'll support each other, because that's what God wants for us. All for His glory.

We're all brililant. Just like God intended us to be.

So ... chat with you soon?

 

Thursday
Mar282013

wisdomification

I'm 40 years old, and I'm pretty sure I haven't done my best at being a steward of the gifts I was given. Some, yes, maybe. I've definitely nurtured skills such as writing, marketing and strategy, self improvement, knowledge about innovation and technology and leadership thought. My education in those areas isn't "complete." There's always more to learn and more ways to grow, but that's true of any field of expertise. I spend a lot of time growing in these areas.

I've fallen short in a couple of major areas, though. Money ... that's a big one. I had a lot of wrong-headed thinking about money, all through my 20s and 30s, and that has lead me to be deep in debt, with nothing put back for rainy days or long winters. I'm changing that now, growing in my financial education and developing the long-abused self discipline I need to be better with my finances, and to build a better future.

I've also fallen short on my health. I'm actually pretty "healthy," in that I'm not suffering from anything debilitating or inhibiting. I do have a pacemaker, but that's actually improved my health and physical stamina, rather than be a debit to my health account. Where I've fallen short is in diet and exercise, of course. I'm about 70 pounds overweight. I get winded walking from my truck to my office, or taking small flights of stairs. I'm chronically fatigued a lot of the time. I suffer from indigestion and other digestive irritations. In general, my energy and my stamina are low, and the way I look actually impacts my self esteem. I'm working to change these facts, too, by changing the way I approach food and by taking opportunities to move more, any chance I get. 

In both of those areas I have a ways to go. I have miles and years of damage and abuse to undo. Maybe some of it will never be undone, but I don't think that's true. I think that if I turn to the source of my strength, if I trust and rely on God's strength instead of my own, I'll be able to accomplish anything that brings good and joy into my life, and the lives of others.

The other area where I see need for change is my ego. I am utterly self-centered and selfish, much of the time. I know that my focus should be on loving and helping others, as often as possible. This is my mission from God, the commandment I can't avoid whenever I open my Bible or simply look around me. If I'm going to glorify God in all I do, I have to start with the one indomitable command He's given. I have to love others as I love myself. I have to help others the way I would want others to help me.

If I concentrate on that, it's possible ... more than possible, likely ... that the other areas of my life will fall in line, and even with all the work I'll have to put into it, they'll seem easy to me. 

This morning I started reading Proverbs (actually, I started listening to it from the Bible Gateway app ... worthy). I've read through it before, but this morning I approached it with new focus. I had read about Solomon, who was told by God that he could have any one thing he asked for. He could have asked for long life, or for all the earth to come under his command, or for more gold or more power, or for any number of things that might be attractive to anyone, even a king. But what he asked for was wisdom.

The result of that wisdom, beyond becoming a ruler who has become the benchmark for wise rulers throughout history, was the book of Proverbs. It's a treatise of Solomon's wisdom. It's written in simple language that, somehow, hides more truth than it reveals, and that can only be dug up through repeated reading and study. It's a guide for anyone who wants to improve his or her life, to get on a path that leads to greater life, to better health, the increased wealth. Looking for the ultimate self-help book? It was written a few thousand years ago, in the format of a letter from father to son. 

In Becoming a Millionaire God's Way, Dr. C. Thomas Anderson writes that if you want to improve your life in every avenue, if you do nothing else, read, study, and dwell upon Proverbs. Follow the wisdom there and you'll start seeing positive results in your life. I already am.

It's not all about money, obviously. Money is just a tool for reaching goals, helping others, serving God. It's not all about health, either. We need strong health to have the energy and physical reserves to do what's good for us and for others and for God. Really it's all about gaining wisdom, and using that wisdom to glorify God.

Pray for wisdom. Ask for it right now. I pray this prayer throughout the day:

Lord, change me. Give me wisdom. Increase my faith. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Show me how to glorify you in all I do. Amen.

Pray. Study. Pray and study. 

And it's not just about the Bible. Solomon studied the literature and wisdom of Egypt and other nations. He wrote about it all extensively, along with his insights and interpretations and ideas. He used what I call the REAL Word of God.

According to John 1:1-5 The Word was with God in the beginning. It was God. Ultimately, the Word became flesh in the form of Jesus, the Christ. So the Word is more than just the Bible. It has existed, exists, and will exist in all of creation and eternity. Which means you can find the Word, and wisdom, anywhere you look. So look broad and wide. Think about what you're seeing, consider it through the lens of your faith, and suddenly Wisdom starts to show herself.

Wisdom is the path to wealth, health, long life, and happiness. Wisdom is the road to God's kingdom. Trade everything for it. Forget feeling low about the failures of your life. Learn from them, grow from them, use them to cultivate a nice crop of wisdom. Every garden needs fertilizer.

I'm working on those rough patches in my life. I'm praying for God's wisdom and guidance, and that I wil receive increased faith and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And ya know, I can see it happening. I'm making a lot of progress, every minute of the day. I'm already well beyond the man I was just a couple of months ago. I'm grateful for God's touch on my heart and my life. I feel sorrow for those times I let Him down, and grieve the Holy Spirit, but I feel joy in His mercy and grace, and in the wisdom I'm seeing build slowly in me.

Wealth, health, and happiness come from love, righteousness, and wisdom. God wants us to seek all three, and he wants us to help each other in the search. I'll help you walk if you help me walk. We'll make the trip together.

Wednesday
Mar132013

christian lifestyle design (or "how I spent my 40-year vacation")

I first came across the term "lifestyle design" in The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss. This book changed  my perspective on work and career, especially when it comes to "retirement." It helped me figure out a better way to handle outsourcing and contract work (both as a contractor and as a contractee), and it has served as a catalog of resources that I can draw on when I need it. I've read this book dozens of times now, and I learn something new every time.

(Just a side note: I highly recommend listening to the audiobook version as well as keeping a print and/or ebook version around for reference. Scott Brick does an outstanding job of narrating this book, and I've found that LISTENING to a book like this has more impact than reading it from the page)

The short definition of lifestyle design might look like this: Instead of locking yourself into a "typical" 40+ hour workweek for 40 to 50 years, working toward a cash-strapped "retirement," you should use every resource at your disposal to create a more "unconventional" lifestyle and career, and take lots of "mini retirements" along the way. 

The REALLY short definition might be: Use your brain, be creative and innovative, do what you love, and work becomes a joy instead of something you endure.

I love that whole concept. It's rooted in learning and growing, experimenting and playing by a different set of rules. I've used a lot of the techniques I've learned about marketing and strategy to make my career more unconventional than most. Even now, as I work full time as the Marketing Creative Director for a software company, my career is on a different track than just a few years ago, and it's far from conventional. 

But there's been a slight deviation from the 4-Hour plan. 

I really didn't see my lifestyle change much until I made a couple of key choices. It's hard to say which of these came first, because they're both so intertwined. I know which is the more important of the two, and which is the stronger guiding principle in my life now, but I can't remember exactly when I made the commitment to either. So I'll just list them from least important to most important.

Positive attitude

 How cliché is that? Very. And for 35+ years I felt it was too obvious, too pat, too eye-rollingly bleh to give it any real consideration. I agreed with the idea, and all the adages. "Your attitude determines your altitude," and the like. I agreed 100%. I just wasn't putting it into practice.

Actually, I did TRY to put it into practice. I just wasn't very good at it. And that's because I was missing the point.

Having a positive attitude isn't the full story. The real power behind this little "secret" is all about your choices (this sound famliar?) Being positive in a general, Pollyanna sort of way gets you nowhere. Eventually the smile you have plastered on your face will fade. The internal dialog of "just feel joy!" will peter out. Nothing about this empty, hollow decision to "think positive" has any power at all. 

Real positive attitude comes from making a conscious choice to put the needs of others above your own. It's called "love." And when you exercise it, the thing gets muscles like you wouldn't believe. If you're only focused on yourself, your own needs and goals and desires, you can only stay positive for so long. Eventually greed and selfishness and self-centeredness become the rules of your life. Eventually you get your true, deepest wish, which is to be alone with yourself, with no one bothering you.

Making the effort to put someone else in front of you, to do whatever you can to help someone else achieve what they want or need out of life, puts you in a different head space. It's the most positive head space you'll ever manage to reach. Your heart is in it. Your very soul is in it. 

I love to quote Zig Ziglar on one specific topic, and anyone who knows me will know what's coming next:

"You can get everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

How can you not be positive, when you're thinking like that?

God as the center of your life

This was the biggest change, the most important change of all. And it has made all the difference in my life and my career.

I was always a Christian. I just wasn't very good at it. I spent a large chunk of my life searching for something that would give me inspiration and a sense of purpose, but the only place I was willing to look was inside myself. 

Turns out, that's a pretty limited field to search.

I don't have what it takes to be successful or brilliant or a perfect Christian. Only Christ has that kind of strength. So this whole time, as I've focused on "improving" myself by focusing ON myself, I've really robbed myself of any power to change. 

But recently I made the decision, finally, to turn my life over to Christ. I emptied myself out and chose to study the Word, to engross myself with God, to fill myself ... well, actually, to ask God to fill me ... with the Holy Spirit. I asked Christ to increase my faith. I decided to stop relying on the Power of Kevin and start relying on the true and real Power of God.

Having God as the center of my life, making the choice to glorify Him with EVERYTHING I do, say, think, feel ... that has made all the difference. Three or four years ago ... three or four MONTHS ago ... I might have agreed with this with my mouth, but I didn't agree with my heart or my soul. I believed, if you asked me. I didn't believe, if you studied me. "You'll know them by their fruits." That's the trick. You can't judge a book by it's cover, but you CAN judge it by the impact it's having on the world.

I was an ineffective, loudmouthed, self-centered jerk. I paid lip service to all the good and positive things that I'd always HEARD could make your life (and the world) better, but I wasn't living what I was knowing. God changed that.

I had my crisis of faith. A couple of them, actually. It happens. It shouldn't have to, but it does. And now I know, I KNOW, that the way for me to be happy, to have joy, to achieve more in my life ... it's all in who I'm focused on. 

Focus on me = struggling, sinking, drowning

Focus on God = Standing, Walking, Performing Miracles

Christian Lifestyle Design

I've started putting things together, thinking things through, and I'm coming around to a new idea. I think that lifestyle design is a good plan. It's good to want to accomplish things. It's good to want to have a lifestyle that makes you feel fullfilled, that brings you joy. It's good to want wealth, even. Its good to want to do as much as you can.

It's better, so much better, to want all these things to bring glory to God. 

True lifestyle design, effective and empowering, will only come from glorifying God with everything you do. So that's what I'm going to focus on. I'm going to use all of the things I've learned, through all of my years of study into marketing and strategy and innovation, and I'm going to apply all of those to the principles that God has laid out for me in His word. 

And I want you to join me. I want to help you get what you want out of life, what you NEED out of life. That's the mission God has put in front of me, and this blog and my books and all the things I do an create, they're all tools for that mission.

So let's get started.

 

Tuesday
Feb262013

choiciness

This morning, despite hitting snooze a couple of times, I actually managed to get myself pulled together and out the door a little earlier than usual. I decided to detour from my route a bit and drop by Starbucks. This always takes me about 12 to 15 minutes out of my way. Sacrifices must be made.

On the drive out of my neighborhood, down a long, heavily populated street, walled with nice homes and manicured lawns and well-groomed trees and medians, I had a chance to see the full moon. It hovered slightly to the right of the line of the street, and it was an enormous, shining disk in a slowly brightening blue sky.

It seems so long since I've left the house in daylight on a work day, so maybe the slow sunrise made things a little more special. Or maybe it's the crisp, cold air, the cloudless sky, the light breeze. Before I climbed into my truck I heard owls in the distance. I heard leaves rustling in the breeze. I felt the chill of the air, and it made me feel pretty good. 

I worry about things, sometimes. All the time. And it's tough to get out of that habit. Because worry, fear, anxiety—these are killers. They're sins. Maybe not the kind you're used to, like lying or sexual immorality or stealing. They aren't the sins you normally hear about in a church sermon. But they represent a choice you make, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis. And that choice tears you down, makes you useless and pointless. God doesn't want that for you.

This is one of the things I struggle with, pretty regularly. It's what I'm struggling with right this second, actually. There's a fear, trickling down my esophagus. A worry that's starting small but threatens to widen. An anxiety that is slowly sinking its claws into me. "Will I turn off my readers? Will the people I know roll their eyes, turn away, think less of me?" See that? Fear and worry and anxiety that I'd NEVER feel about anything else I'd say or do, but for some reason fear when I'm talking about my faith, about sin, about God.

And that's a choice I make.

So I'm making a different choice. This morning is beautiful, and that's a gift. Every moment is beautiful, and that's also a gift. And right now, I'm choosing to be dead to the sins of fear, worry, and anxiety and alive in Christ. I'm asking God to show me how I can server him better. I'm asking for wisdom, for a light on the path to righteousness and love. I'm asking how I, wretched sinner, can make a better choice.

Friday
Feb032012

15 Feet of God

Kara was sick recently. Really sick. The kind of sick where she literally said to me, “I am in hell,” just before bursting into sobs.

I sat just inches away from her, and yet in that moment she was utterly, completely alone. I’m no expert, but from what I’ve read and heard about hell, that’s the very definition of it. Alone. Isolated. Absent from the Grace of God.

Only she wasn’t. God’s grace is endless and boundless, I’ve read. We have it, even though we haven’t earned it. So it was a conundrum to me, as one who is just recently starting to reach out to hold the hand of my Lord as I walk through this kind of wacked-out life. If God’s grace is endless and boundless, why does Kara feel so isolated from it?

That’s a question only she can answer. I’m not qualified to ponder her personal feelings. The important part for me, at that moment, was to keep asking myself and God, “What do I do?”

All I knew to do was pray. It’s pretty much my one trick, my one trump card. It’s my hammer, and every solution is a spiritual nail. You know … kind of like those nails that pierced the flesh of Christ and pinned him to a cross, all because 2000 years later I would be incapable of getting my act together and being obedient.

I digress.

So on a particularly bad night for Kara she was sleeping on our sofa, because it’s the only place where she could sit up and be comfortable enough to sleep without going into a coughing fit would agitate the thousand other medical issues she was having. I had work the next morning, and it was already somewhat late, so I told her I loved her, I hoped she’d feel better,  and I turned in. 

But before I got into bed I knelt on the floor, like a toddler before bedtime, and I prayed. “God, please heal her. I know that you could do it with just a word. Christ healed the sick with a word, with touch of the hem of his robe, with just the most casual bit of attention. I know you can heal Kara, whole, with just a glance. Please heal her.”

I turned in, still hoping and praying that God would answer my prayer and deliver my wife from the hell she was suffering.

A word about sleep for me.

These days, it involves a complex apparatus known as a CPAP (Constant Positive Air Pressure) machine, which goes over my nose and straps around the back of my head. This gizmo keeps me from snoring loudly through the night, and keeps me breathing uniformly and continuously. I started wearing it at the insistence of my lovely bride, so that she, too, could sleep through the night. So now it has become a habit, and I wear it even if I don’t have to. So there is some complexity to sleep for me these days.

Also, I don’t handle sudden wakeup calls very well. In fact, when it comes to sleep I’m the grumpiest bear in the cave. If I’m tired and something is preventing me from going to bed, I get downright snippy. If I’m asleep and something suddenly and unexpectedly wakes me up … well, the polite way to say it is “I get angry.”

About 30 minutes after I dropped off into dreamland, Kara came in and woke me up. “I think we need to go to the hospital,” she said. “I’m having trouble breathing.”

And it was true. I could see it. Her chest was heaving, her throat looked swollen, and her eyes were wide with fear and brimming with tears. I didn’t hesitate, I stumbled out of bed, feeling like I had battery acid for blood, and I pulled on pants, grabbed my wallet, and was ready to hit the road. And I was not happy.

On the drive to the hospital I prayed, and it wasn’t a nice prayer. “God, why didn’t you heal her? I prayed in the name of Jesus! I asked, just like you told me to! Aren’t I supposed to receive? What went wrong, Lord?”

The whole drive, I was ticked off at the creator of everything. I was mad because even though I had prayed as earnestly as I knew how, nothing had happened. God had ignored me. Was He even listening? Worse, was He even there?

We got to the ER and I walked Kara in through the sliding glass doors. We were in Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land, a place I’ve driven by many times and mostly hoped I’d never see the inside of.  We checked in, and Kara actually filled out the forms (I felt a little guilty about that, but she insisted).

There wasn’t much of a wait. In fact, within minutes we were led back to a room where Kara was put on a comfortable table and given an IV. Soon after, several nurses came in, administered tests, gave her something to drink, and generally just made sure she was being looked after. I sat in one of the side chairs, drowsy and maybe a little grumpy, trying to figure everything out.

Eventually the doctor came in with some of Kara’s test results. “They’re … interesting,” he said.

Interesting.

In the history of language, at no time, in any part of the world, at any moment of modern history, has the word “interesting” meant something good when you were hearing it in a hospital emergency room.

“We don’t know what’s causing your allergic reaction just yet, but your white blood cell count is unusually high.”

In that moment, I felt my own blood go ice cold. And silently I willed this guy to shut up. I knew what was coming next, and I frankly just didn’t want to hear it. Worse, I didn’t want Kara to hear it.

You see, about 15 years ago a doctor came out of a room occupied by my Granny, the dearest woman on earth to me, and said, “Do you have any idea why her white blood cell count would be so high?”

I shrugged. “She’s on blood pressure meds, would that have anything to do with it?”

“No, not really,” he said, exchanging glances with his colleague. Which, by the way, is the universal sign for, “Bad. Bad. Bad.”

The result of that conversation, fifteen years ago, was a diagnosis that changed my life and the lives of everyone who loved Granny. Within a couple of weeks Granny passed away, tearing me apart with grieve. And one word become an all encompassing nightmare for me.

I was praying, screaming inside my head, “No! Do not say that word! Don’t you say it!”

“It could be leukemia,” he said.

I could have killed him with my bare hands. But we were in an ER, and they’d probably just bring him back to life again.

There it was, hanging out there for me and Kara to dwell on. And suddenly I was right back at my Granny’s bedside, fifteen years ago, crying my guts out and laying my hand on her unconscious forehead, praying for everything I had that God would please, please, OH PLEASE JUST TAKE ME INSTEAD heal her. Just bring her back. Just don’t take my Granny away! 

And now that word, most vile, most hated, most dreaded, hung in the air over my wife’s head, and it was all starting again.

And God wasn’t listening.

That’s what it felt like. I sat there in cold fear that was turning slowly to rage. How dare God do this to me again? How dare He put me through this one more time? I lost my world when Granny died. Was it going to happen again? Why would He do that to me?

And then …

Calm. Peace. Comfort. I prayed, and it was a prayer without words but full of heart and meaning. I stood and put a hand on Kara’s shoulder as they took yet more blood from her. I rubbed her shoulder as she cried. I said kind words to her. I loved her, even in silence, and I just kept that up. And that was my prayer.

It didn’t hit me until later, when I was catnapping off and on in her hospital room, slugging down coffee and a turkey sandwich. God heard me. Better yet, He answered me. 

Kara’s spirits were slowly picking up as nurses and doctors came in to care for her. She could suddenly breath again thanks to the medication they’d given her. She suddenly could lay there with no fear, in more comfort than she’d felt in weeks. She was at peace. And so was I.

I realized then that God was listening, and doing exactly as I asked. Instead of a miraculous healing, all at once, he was using those doctors and nurses. He was reaching out to Kara in a way that she would understand. In a way, actually, that I could understand, and that others could see.

You know, we spend a lot of our time asking God for tangible signs. We say, “Just show me you’re there, God! Just show me something solid! Show me something I can see and touch and feel!” But that’s not really what we want. What we really want is for God to appear in a ball of light in front of us, let us touch Him, let us be miraculously healed. We want the extraordinary, but all we’re asking for is the ordinary. We want miracles, but we’re asking for everyday stuff.

God heard my prayer and answered it. He didn’t heal her with a glance, but with the ministrations of the medical staff at Methodist. Why? Because that was the best way to reach me, Kara, you … that was going to have more impact.

Think about it.

If I wrote this and told you, “There was a sudden burst of light, and when I came into the living room Kara was healed!” What would you think? Would you believe me? Would I be able to point to any proof? The miracle would be real, but its reach would extend to, oh, about fifteen feet in every direction. It would be for the benefit of me, Kara and our cats.

Instead, we went to the hospital, where the doctors still don’t know what caused her issue. They have no idea, but they were able to help her anyway. She was healed, even though no one even knows what’s wrong with her. Kind of sounds like a healing of Faith to me.

I was angry with God because He didn’t do as I said. I was even more angry when suddenly I was faced with the possibility that I might lose Kara the same way I lost one of the other women I cared most about in this world.  I was mad because God didn’t climb into the box I wanted Him to be in, and do what I commanded Him to do.

He sure showed me.

By the way, Kara doesn’t have leukemia. Her white blood cells were high because of the steroids she was given to help with the allergic reaction. We weren’t told that until nearly 18 hours after she was admitted to the hospital, but by then it was no longer something we worried about. God had our back.

So now I tell this story and the range goes more than 15 feet. God used what was there to answer the prayer. Could He have done it without the hospitals or doctors or nurses? Yes. But sometimes everyday miracles have more impact. And God … well, He likes to make as big an impact as possible.

I’ve already apologized to God for the way I behaved. And He was cool about it. “I took care of it 2000 years ago, don’t worry,” He said.  “Now, try to remember this next time. And Kevin …”

“Yes Lord?”

“There will be a next time. And I’ve already forgiven you for that one, too.”