What’s Your Faith Story?

We all have a faith story.  Some of your faith stories may be more elaborate, and some of them may be pretty vanilla.  But your faith story consists of more than just the day you became a Christian.

Someone taught you.  Someone showed you.  Someone helped you.

And your faith story may just help someone see Jesus.

One of the easiest ways to be a disciple is to live out your faith daily.

What is keeping you from sharing your story of faith?

Garbage In – Garbage Out: The One Where We Cut the Cable

Sometimes, you just have to make a change.  So we made one – and while not a big deal for some, it’s a pretty dig deal for us.  We cut the cable cord.

More and more folks are cutting the cord.  Most people seem to be doing it in the name of saving money.  I’ll admit, that was part of the reason we did it.  We were paying $160 for Frontier’s cable and internet package.  We’ll now be paying about $60 for just the internet.

We had hundreds of channels at our fingertips, but we routinely found ourselves asking, “Is there anything on TV tonight?”

We simply weren’t using it.

But then there’s the other part of it – most of what is on television is nothing but garbage.  We have a few things we would routinely watch, and probably still will continue to watch – but it was time to say goodbye.

I did purchase a 3 month “prepaid” package of DirectvNow – which I can access on my phone, ipad, computer, or through my Apple TV or Amazon Firestick – but honestly, I only did that so I could get a free 4K Apple TV.  3 months of prepaid was $100, and I got a free Apple TV worth $180, and I can cancel at no charge right after that 3 month period.  Which leads me to another point –

All the new streaming services, you can cancel without contract.  Come and go as you please.  Pay for what you want and nothing more.  There are versions of just about anything and everything you could ever want out there – and I by no means am endorsing one over the other.

The only thing I will definitely make sure of is when college football rolls around, I’ll have access to all the ESPNs and SEC Network.

I’ve been a subscriber of DirecTV, Dish, Comcast, Charter, CenturyNet, Spectrum, and Frontier – and honestly, I mostly just watch network television and ESPN, along with the occasional TLC/HGTV/DIY networks.  When Josie was younger, we frequently would watch Nick Jr. and Disney Jr., but now that she’s older, we don’t.

Really, when I think about it, we spend a lot of our TV time watching the old “Little House on the Prairie” episodes we bought on DVD for our daughter.  Those were just great.

So, if you’re thinking of cutting the cord, tell me about it.  Already have?  What has worked great for you?

Build Project #6: A Coffee Table (But I Don’t Drink Coffee…)

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve updated my woodworking projects.  There’s been so much going on, but I finally got around to wrapping up my 6th project of the year.  I’ve finally finished the coffee table for our formal living room.

This project took longer for a few reasons – time constraints, evening meetings, and the table was challenging.  In the end, it turned out pretty good in my opinion.

This table was built by 1x4s and a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood.  I also used a whole lot of wood glue! (not all of this wood was for the table…)  This project was my first entry into the world of using dado blades, which look a lot more intimidating than they are.  I also used a strap clamp, and made some pretty wicked miter joints.

Lots of wood that I bought at a nearby big box home center.

I started off by making the legs.  This consisted of cutting them to length, and gluing them together.  I then cut a bevel into them to put an nice looking angle to the legs.

Gluing up the boards – since I don’t have a lot of clamps, I had to do two sets of legs together with my longer clamps.

Two other sets of legs being glued up.

All 4 legs glued up and ready to be shaped.

I ran the legs through the table saw at an angle to create an awesome looking bevel shape.

After that, I broke out my new dado blades.  Dado blades help cut wide rabbets and dadoes much quicker than a regular saw blade.  I used the dado blades here to cut a decorative top to the leg.  Later on these will be where the frame goes.

Dado blades made quick work of the next step, and aren’t that difficult to figure out. The stack I have is thicker, but don’t fit in the throat insert for my table saw. I need to make my own to use the whole stack.

The result of the use of the dado blades.

More of the shaping from the dado blades.


Next, I cut the frame pieces.  The plans I was using called for just a simple frame, but I wrapped them to have a mitered edge, which makes the table look more symmetrical.  This part took me quite a bit of time, because I messed up one of the cuts, but I finally figured it out and got it put together.

Putting the side frame pieces on to the legs.

A dry run of the frame pieces. Cute daughter tax paid in this picture!

Adding a decorative wrap around the frame pieces. These pieces had mitered corners.

Check out the miters! In truth the inside frame pieces and the outside frame pieces weren’t necessary. But I messed up on the inside ones, and covered them up with the outside boards. Worked out well!

Closer shot of the frame pieces. You’ll also see the shorter frame pieces connecting the spots cut out by the dados.

The bottom of the table, completely assembled.

Heading into the final phase, I had to do the table top.  In essence, it’s a large picture frame with a sheet of 1/2″ birch plywood as the “picture.”  I cut a large rabbet, and then added a shadow line to it, which is a neat feature that adds some depth to the piece.

Using the strap clamp was not easy.  I had a lot of frustration with it.  But it did work well.

The frame for the top. I did a dry run with the strap clamp before I glued it up.

On all of the miter frame pieces, I cut a large rabbet for the table top to sit down in, and then the smaller rabbet is called a shadow line.

The frame glued up.

Trimming up the plywood for the insert. The tape is to minimize chipping.

Using my Jawhorse for the cut.

After putting some support pieces on the bottom frame, I flipped the table top upside down, lined everything up, and put the table together.

Using the support pieces, I screwed the top onto the bottom while the table was flipped upside down.

The plywood has been glued and screwed.

The process of gluing in the table top.

I finished the piece by using Danish Oil.  I put down a coat of natural wood color, and then put two coats of dark walnut color.  After letting that thoroughly dry for about 3 days, I applied a spray polyurethane, about 4 coats of it.

Finally putting coats of the Danish Oil finish on to the table.

I’m really proud of this piece.  I had a lot of struggles with it.  I think it looks really good inside our living room area.

The family loves the new table!

Once again, I’d like to thank Steve Ramsey for doing such a great job teaching on his Weekend Woodworker course.  I would have never had the ability to do this without his teaching.


My 40th Trip Around the Sun – Thoughts on the First 39 Years of My Life

Tonight is my last night to be in my thirties.

For some of you, you’re probably thinking “Oh shut up, I’d love to be turning 40.”  For others of you, you’re saying “Geez – 40?  You’re ancient!”

I’ve done a whole lot in my 39 trips around the sun.

  1. I was born.
  2. I’ve been to Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Belgium, Amsterdam, China, Japan, Jordan, and Israel.
  3. I’ve lived a lot of places: Lebanon, TN; Henderson, TN; Houston, TX; Ashland City, TN; Memphis, TN (technically I lived in Olive Branch, MS too); Guntersville, AL; back to Houston, TX; back to Nashville, TN; and now in Tampa, FL.
  4. I’ve owned a 97 Pontiac Sunfire, a 2002 Ford Taurus, a 98 Ford Explorer 2 door Sport, a 2001 Honda Accord, a 2004 Honda Pilot, and now a 2006 Honda Civic.
  5. I’ve been a telemarketer, a camp counselor, an intramural referee, a chapel checker, a pizza maker at Pizza Hut, construction worker, bible teacher, speech teacher, choral director, theater director, head volleyball coach, assistant girl’s basketball coach, campus minister, youth minister, associate minister, worship minister, and preacher
  6. I’ve been married for 14 of those trips around the sun.
  7. I’ve been a father for 9.
  8. I’ve paid off all of debt except for my mortgage.
  9. I’ve struggled with anxiety and very low self esteem.
  10. I’ve played rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and drums in a band.
  11. I’ve been in 14 plays, musicals, etc.  I was one of the lead roles in about half of those.
  12. I’ve only owned my own dog for about 3 years – Chloe, our little black pug.  I really hope to own another dog one day.
  13. I only ever attended a Christian school.  Friendship Christian and Freed Hardeman.  I also taught in a Christian school – Westbury Christian.
  14. I’ve never had a cup of coffee.
  15. I’ve never had a sip of alcohol.
  16. I’ve never smoked.
  17. I’ve never seen Terminator, Die Hard, or The Godfather.
  18. I’ve driven a bus from Tennessee to Canada and back.  It was a 26 passenger bus.
  19. I’ve been on television at least 4 times that I know of.
  20. I’ve seen the Great Wall of China.
  21. I landed in Tokyo the day the great tsunami hit Japan on my way to China.
  22. I’ve seen Les Miserables in London 3 times.
  23. I’ve never tasted lobster.
  24. I’ve been bald since I was 18.
  25. I’m afraid of aliens.
  26. I can’t sleep without a fan.
  27. I once bench pressed 225 lbs.
  28. When I was about 5 years old, I sang “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” as loud as I could while showering the bathhouse at a campground.
  29. My family called me “Motormouth” when I was a child, because I never stopped talking.  I’m being punished for that now because my daughter does the exact same thing!
  30. I asked a White House security guard while on a tour if there was an underground bunker for the president to hide in like on the show “24.”  He was not amused.
  31. I have been bullied as a child and also as an adult.
  32. I have a really hard time saying the word “rural.”
  33. I have preached from the same pulpit that Alexander Campbell once preached from.
  34. I’ve watched “The Office” from beginning to end probably at least 9 times.
  35. I took a selfie with Kirk Herbstreit.
  36. I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes
  37. I’ve prayed at least a million prayers
  38. I’ve found that surrounding myself with positive people makes life a lot better
  39. I have hottest wife in the entire world.

What will 40 bring?  Who knows?  All I know is, in the words of Conrad Birdie, “I’ve got a lot of living to do.”

For all of those who have been an influential part of my life up until this point – thank you.  Bring it on 40!

Taking Your Life Back From Social Media


You’re driving in your car, and you pull up to a stop light.  You have time to kill, about 30 seconds or so.  Instead of just taking a moment to breathe, reflect, or better yet – pay attention to traffic, you decide to pull out your phone and check Facebook.  Before you know it, cars are moving, the light has changed to green, and the guy behind you is laying on the horn for you to go.

Listen – I love Facebook.  Why?  I live in Florida with my wife and daughter, while the rest of my family lives in Middle Tennessee and North Alabama.  It is a simple, easy, and fun way to send pictures and update each other on life and activities.  However, recently, I’ve noticed that social media is starting to take more and more of a stranglehold on my time.

Ephesians 5:15-16 says “Be very careful then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity.”  Time is a treasure we’ve been given by God, and I dare say He didn’t plan on us spending our days glued to a screen staring at social media.

Recent studies done by various time management groups show that as of March 2017, adults ages 18 and over spend 2 hours and 51 minutes on their smart phones every day.  Now, if you’re doing business, that’s one thing – but most aren’t.  In fact, 1 hour and 56 minutes of that time is spent on various social media outlets.  Broken down –

  • 40 Minutes on Youtube
  • 35 Minutes on Facebook
  • 25 Minutes on Snapchat
  • 15 Minutes on Instagram
  • 1 minute on Twitter

Now, your mileage may be coming from different sources, but reality is – this is a problem.  Over a lifetime this equals upwards of 5 years and 4 months spent on social media.

Do you want to know what I think are the real dangers with things like Facebook, and other social media outlets? It never ends.  When you read a book, eventually, there’s a final chapter, a final page. When you watch a show, or a movie, it ends. But log into social media and start scrolling — and there is no end.

Recently, I rediscovered something that is very useful in social media usage – and it’s called “Social Fixer.”  If you’re using your desktop/laptop to scroll through Facebook, I highly suggest you download this today.  It will take back your time, while still allowing you to scroll through and enjoy.  In essence, it gives you control of Facebook.

For example, in the top left corner of your facebook page, you can set your stories from “Top Stories” to “Most Recent.”  But did you know that Facebook will automatically reset it to Top Stories after a while?  Why?  Because if you have it set on Most Recent, it doesn’t keep popping up as much new material for you.  And you know what that would do?  It would cause you to stop scrolling.

Social Fixer – along with having some really cool filters, fixes it so it maintains that “Most Recent” setting, along with a lot of other great things.

  • It can remove the ads that are on Facebook.
  • It can filter out posts – such as political posts, posts with certain words, etc.
  • You have the ability to “check off” that you’ve read a post, therefore keeping it from popping up again.
  • You can set how many posts it will show you, to keep it from going into an infinite loop of regurgitating things.

For example, look at this screen shot.  This shows how it hides ads, how I’ve read a post and it minimizes the post, how I’ve hidden something I don’t ever want to see again, but most importantly – it shows how it has stopped loading stories for me.  This is a GREAT tool on how to limit your time on Facebook.

Social Fixer will allow you to check off stories you’ve read, will hide ads, will filter content, and will keep you from mind-numbingly reading the same things over and over again.

I’ve seen people “quit” Facebook.  I don’t think that’s a great idea.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – these are all great tools if used the right way.

Psalm 90:10 tells us that are days are numbered – 70, maybe 80 years – they quickly pass.  And in verse 12 it tells us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Use social media, but use it the right way.  If you need to delete it off your phone – DO SO!  If you find yourself spending countless hours scrolling through something that simply doesn’t matter in the long run, get rid of it.  If you get upset over what your friends are posting – don’t look at it.  Unfollow people if necessary – or simply learn to appreciate other people’s opinions no matter how different they are from yours.

But at the end of your life, don’t look back and say “I should have spent less time scrolling and more time _________________.”


The God of Comfort: Words to Prepare Us for Hurricane Irma

In times where people are anxious and nervous about the oncoming events of the storm, people need comfort.

You usually hear sermons of comfort after something tragic has happened – usually, a death, at a funeral, – or after something horrible happens in the world.

But you know what?  I certainly can use comfort pretty much every day of my life, knowing that God is with me, and knowing that He is in control of all things.  Every day, one of us needs that reassurance.


Isaiah 66:13 offers an encouraging, comforting passage – where God says “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.”

This conjures up an image of a loving mother drawing her child near to her, wiping away tears and singing a soft lullaby.  God is saying that he is there for us in the same way.

In the New Testament, a word is used – the word is parakaleo – which means “called to the side of.”  God offers us comfort by calling us to walk beside Him, and He gives us the Holy Spirit to be with us.  He is with us always.

And who better to have by our side than one who is immovable, unshakeable, always constant, always there, never wavering?  Who better to have by our side who is described like this in Psalm 46:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

God loves His children.  And we are His children.  God is great and wonderful, and most worthy of our praise – and regardless of what may come our way, God is in control.

As we face the storm, I am reminded of scriptures throughout where God stills and calms them.  Today, I pray for God not only to still and calm the oncoming storm, but I pray He will still and calm our spirit, our wandering minds, our fears.

In Acts 27, Paul finally sails for Rome, but along the way, they ran into a storm.  Acts 27:13 describes that it started as a gentle south wind, but before long, a wind of hurricane force called the northeaster came down from the island of Crete.  The ship was caught and they threw anchor for fear they would crash into the rocks.  The bible tells us for 3 days, they threw things overboard, and didn’t see the sun nor the stars.

In verse 22 – Paul gives us the men this message that I want to leave with you this morning:  “But now I urge you to keep courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed.”

After the storm, and a shipwreck, and even after being bit by a snake, he walked away and arrived at Rome.

Through this storm, I can’t promise you that things won’t be destroyed, but if they are – as Paul said – only the ship will be destroyed.  Our course is set to Heaven – and when we follow this great God of comfort, I promise you we will arrive.

Be safe everyone!

~Lane Widick

How to Build Your Own Floating Shelves

For the longest time, we’ve needed some shelves in our small bathroom.  Our Master Bathroom is one of those that has a small closet toilet room – and that’s where we needed shelves.

We had looked around for some shelves to add, but the walls have a funny angle to them.  Had we bought just some normal shelves from Target or Amazon, we would have had some practical shelving that just wouldn’t have looked all that good.

So I decided that I was going to have build some on my own.

I started off by buying a few supplies –

  • a couple of sheets of 1/4 inch Birch plywood sheets 2×4
  • 2 8-foot lengths of 2x2s

Some 2x2s and some 1/4″ birch plywood sheets.

To do this build, I simply needed a circular saw, some clamps, a drill, and some glue, screws, and I used some small panel nails since I don’t have a brad/finish nailer.

My simple tools of choice – Irwin clamps and a Black and Decker Cordless Circular Saw.

I wanted to use 2x4s, since I had some of those left over from the bed I built earlier, but the simple fact is that it would have made some giant shelves that wouldn’t have looked good in our small area.

After measuring the angle of the wall, I cut the plywood pieces.  I then clamped them together, and sanded the rough edges.  I used my handy Rockwell Jawhorse to hold them together.

Clamping and sanding the shelves.

After that, I assembled the 2x2s into the shape I needed.

Assembling the bracket for the shelf. I would have put these on the outside too, but the studs in the wall were on the outside.

It was time to assemble the shelf cover – I decided to put in some extra 2×2 pieces on the outside to help the structure/support of the shelf.

Using an extra piece of 2×2 to support the shelf. I forgot to take a picture of the front edge during assembly, but I used panel board nails and screws (on the underside).

It was now time to put the brackets into the bathroom.  You can see now the strange angle, and how a straight shelf would have looked awkward.

The brackets installed. Like I stated earlier, I would have put the brackets on the outside, but that’s the only place there was a stud to attach to the wall.

Now that the bracket is installed, the moment of truth was to see if the cover fit…and it did!  Now you can see the nails I used across the front.

Shelf cover installed, you can see the angle now.

You can see the panel board nails here.

Thoughts from the build:

I wish I had stuck to my 2x4s instead.  It would have offered more stability, however, they were just too large.  The shelves are not what we would call “Super Stable” but they are good enough for what we’re using them for – toilet paper…

Both shelves done. Hoping to finish them with a stain or paint soon. I will secure them to the brackets when we are done.

I’m very pleased with how they ended up looking.  Kristen is going to probably put some sort of finish on them at some point soon, just haven’t decided yet on a stain or a paint.

The Promise: It Begins


A few years ago at the Summer Celebration at Lipscomb University, I was reminded of a story out of the Old Testament by one of the speakers there.  It was a story from Joshua 1, where Joshua reminds the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh that they had promised Moses a while back that they would fight for the children of Israel.

Some of you might be wondering – “Wait, I thought they WERE children of Israel – of course they would fight.”  Well, yes, but back in Numbers 32, they made a deal with Moses.  They had a lot of livestock, a lot of people, a lot of wealth, and as they got to the east side of the Jordan, they decided they wanted to stay there instead of entering into the Promised Land.

Of course, Moses wasn’t too thrilled with this, and he went on a moment where he ripped into them.  So they came up with a compromise.  They promised that if they could settle there, that when the time came to fight, they would send their fighting men in to fight.

Now, why is this such a big deal?  Well – they’re promising that they’re going to fight for a group of people they will never truly know.  They’re promising to fight for a land they know they won’t possess.  They’re promising to give their lives to ensure the future happens for the others.

And that’s what we need to do as well.

Now, in Numbers 32, we see an old passage that some of us may have known for a while – Moses tells the 3 tribes “Listen, this is great you’re promising this – but know this – if you don’t do it, your sin will find you out.”

What he’s stating is simple: Don’t promise something to God you don’t intend on doing.  Don’t make promises you don’t plan on keeping.

I think this offers us  two things:  First, a  wake up call – because it’s time for us to stand and fight for the next generation. It’s time for us to admit that it’s time to do something to make sure the next generation knows about Jesus.

But second, it is a blessed reminder – God takes his promises seriously. God doesn’t fall through on his promises, and He expects us not to also.  And what has God promised us?  Well in Hebrews 13:5, He promises that he will never leave us, never forsake us, and will always be with us.

I think it’s time for us to make a promise – that we want the church to be around for our children, and their children, and people who will give their lives to Christ that we don’t know and never will know.

And that promise starts with us.

5 Things You Should Take Time to Do (And Not Do) on Christmas Day in 2016


Christmas.  From the first of October till a week into January, we spend our time looking at Christmas trees, lights, decorations, and listening to the festive (and sometimes depressing) music.  The day arrives, finally, and due to the fact that we’ve spent so much time hyping it up, sometimes it can be a let down.  So let’s talk about some things you can do this year to make sure this year’s Christmas is the best Christmas ever.

1. Remember the REASON for the SEASON.  Yes, it’s cliche.  But the reason why many gather together for Christmas is because of the birth of Christ.  No, I don’t believe Jesus was born on December 25.  But yes, I do believe it is a great time to talk about Jesus, because so many in the world are seeing nativity scenes, listening to hymns, and are in a joyful mood.  Why not jump on this great opportunity to grow closer to Jesus this year?

2. Go to a worship service, or at least participate in worship on Sunday, Christmas Day, December 25.  Full disclosure, i’m a preacher, and I want people to come to the building at our church and worship God with their church family EVERY Sunday.  I love the connections that are made.  There’s no greater way to celebrate Christmas than to celebrate the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus.

If you’re in the Tampa area, our congregation is moving our worship time to accommodate all the extra time you may need on Christmas morning to get out.  We understand that kids will want to play with their toys, you’ll want to try on your new outfits, and if you have family over, you’ll need an extra hour or so to get every one through the shower and feed them.  So we’ll move from 9am to 10:30am.  We also will not have classes, since we want to encourage togetherness with church family, and with with your family at home as well.

I also realize that sometimes, you may have a family member that refuses to go to church.  That’s okay – maybe instead of forcing them to go and making them feel guilty, you stay at home and spend some time in the Word of God, talking about Jesus. I have prepared a “Family Christmas Devotional Guide” for anyone in this situation.  Instead of making or forcing or guilting someone into going, stay at home with them and go over this with them.  While I think it is of the utmost importance to be in church every week for the encouragement and admonishment you give and receive, I think it is just as important to show Christ in any way possible to those who are either non – believers, or have left the church.

I’d love for you to 2016 CHRISTMAS FAMILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE if you are in a situation like this, or if your family happens to be out of town snowed in at a cabin in the mountains.

3. Bless someone with a Random Act of Kindness.  Our family has a Christmas Elf that comes every year.  Her name is Chrissy (short for Christmas, which is what Josie named her many years ago).  Instead of causing mischief though, Chrissy has the tendency to encourage Josie to do kind things.  One year, she left notes for her to bake Christmas cookies and hand them to a few people, so her and Kristen made cookies and delivered them to the local fire station.  We also took them to a house down the street that had really cool Christmas lights, and we told them “You make our drive through the neighborhood so much more enjoyable.”

4. Do something completely selfless.  Last year, a group from church went to “Build-a-Bear” and each kid custom made a stuffed animal.  We then took all the kids over to a local hospital that one of our members works for, and took all the stuffed animals that the kids had just made, and gave them to the children’s section of the hospital.  Our kids knew what they were doing the whole time, and they took great pride in making things just right for the children they were going to get to bless.

5. Make a resolution not to fight or argue with anyone.  Listen, I get it, on holidays, your family gets together for the first time maybe in months (or years) and there’s a lot of excitement.  But sometimes, a discussion ends up turning toward a Facebook post you made a few weeks ago, or a cause you support, or a religious decision you or your church made that Uncle Ted doesn’t agree with.

Instead of bringing those things up, here’s another idea — DON’T!  I made the mistake of doing that not too long ago at a family gathering.  It led to a discussion, albeit civil, that could have either waited, or never been had at all.

Christmas day is not the day to bring up political, theological, or moral differences.  Instead spend the day encouraging, uplifting, and cheering people on in their life.  If someone in your family has made a poor choice in your mind, practice restraint, and if it’s really important to you to talk about it — give them a call later in the week.

So there you go – 5 great things to do (or not do) on Christmas day.  I pray that all of you will have a safe, happy Christmas and wonderful holiday season.

Crying Out for Help


A few weeks ago, my family was dining out at the local mall food court.  I was enjoying a buffalo chicken sandwich, my wife was enjoying a salad from Chick Fil A, and my little gal was enjoying her usual chicken nuggets from Chick Fil A.

We were enjoying a conversation, talking about various things, when all of a sudden we heard a blood curdling scream.  We looked over, and we saw a little boy, probably around 3 years old, running around screaming for his mother.

Mommy!!!  Mommy!!!!

He weaved through all the food court tables, frantically searching for his mother.  He passed by us – I tried to get up to say something to him, but was moving so quickly looking for his mother.  Finally a lady was able to calm him down, grabbed his hand, and  they found the nearest mall worker, who radioed for security.

There was a moment of absolute chaos, followed by a buzz of insecurity from all who were witnessing the event.  It seemed as if everyone sat quiet for about 15 seconds, catching their breath.  At our table, we were on edge, shaken, and took a bit longer.

We took the opportunity to explain to Josie, if she ever got separated from us in a mall, how to find someone she could trust so we could find her.

It was a moment I hope I never have to experience again.

In the Psalms, we see another experience similar to this – in Psalm 130, David says:

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. 
If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand? 
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you. 
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption. 
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

David lived with a tremendous burden of guilt.  He had committed adultery, and he continued in his sin by trying to cover it up.

David, much like the child wandering around screaming for his mother, cried out for his Father.  He felt as if God had left him, as if God was no longer around.  But in this situation, God had not left him, but rather, David had left God.

David’s heart was broken.  His mind was racing.  And from the depths of his soul, he cried out for God.  David was reminded in the moment to calm down, and that God is a God of forgiveness, so long as you seek it with all your heart.

And like the little boy was desperately seeking for his mother, and found a way through kind hearted people, David found the way back to God – through his redemptive grace and mercy.

When you find yourself lost and alone – and feel like no one is there for you, remember that God is there.