If you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you may have noticed that I don’t often call people out by name. I may refer to an issue or reference an event, but rarely do I insert the names of people involved. Maybe, if it’s a national news story where everyone already knows the key people, I’ll use names. But as a rule of thumb, if I quote from Facebook I won’t name a name or if I reference something that happened to me, or even something I witnessed first-hand, I won’t call out the other people involved. I do this for two reasons. First of all, the purpose of this blog isn’t to create or promote controversy as much as it is to challenge its readers (and writer!) to live the life of faith. There are already a bunch of great bloggers out there who are tackling issues, naming-names and shedding light on controversial subjects. I’m grateful for those who can interpret current events and offer awareness and a biblical perspective on those stories. This blog isn’t that type of site.
Secondly, I generally want to receive grace in my life when I make mistakes, and I feel an obligation to offer that same grace to others when they make mistakes. That doesn’t mean ignoring sin or just sweeping those things aside, but it does mean I don’t have to bring each of those details into the light. I can still reference them in a blog or a book, without having to identify who, precisely, performed that particular action. My own life offers plenty of examples to learn from, I don’t need to depend on others for material!
Today, however, I’m breaking my own rule. Today I’m naming-names in hopes that doing so, we’ll all have something to learn. Too much has happened, and in the last six months in particular, too many people have been impacted for me not to say something. If this offends you, it’s probably because this reaches some place in your heart that needs to be addressed, take time to check yourself. If you’re named in this blog, it’s because you deserve it, and now that this is published and people are reading it, everyone will know what you’ve done. I’m sure more people should be named today, and maybe a future post will expose those that were omitted.
Pastor John Gleason, you know who you are and what you’ve done. Pastor Craig and Kori, likewise, you were among the first to invade our lives after everything hit the fan, don’t act innocent. Tom and Tammi, don’t get me started on everything you’ve been involved in lately – your kindness, hospitality, friendship and everything else you’ve done. Pastor Larry and Deann, did you really think letting us live in your house for ten day would go completely unnoticed? Oh, Katie and Drew, you probably thought a weekend of loving on our family would just be swept under the rug, didn’t you? Not a chance!
Pastor John and Tami, don’t think you’re innocent either; spoiling us for a weekend when we were really feeling things. Yeah, we noticed. My sister Naomi and brother-in-law Ramiro...really...providing an Oasis for our family so we could relax, unwind and let the cousins play 24/7...what were you thinking? As long as we’re talking about family, I suppose the list of offenses could go on and on: Both our parents have been ridiculously generous, and our siblings have stepped-in, in pretty amazing ways to help carry us thru all of this. Dan, Phil, Tamara, Jocelyn, Margaret and Nate – time to own what you’ve done and stop pretending you didn’t get involved!
Danny and Kim, don’t think you can hide from this list. Your list of offenses might extend throughout the entire time we’ve been walking through this garbage. Andy, you’re on this list too, and Jodie, your little hospitality stint has made your hands guilty! Speaking of hospitality, Duane and Sharon, did it even occur to you once, just ONCE, that giving us eight weeks in your house on the lake would somehow go unmentioned? You can’t just open your home to a family for that long and not expect us to become friends, or not expect our kids to want to come back and visit. This is on you!
Another buddy of mine and his wife Janelle are equally guilty of trying to just pass off their kindness, generosity and hospitality as “nothing.” Whatever, the whole world knows now! Bob and Em? guilty of offering unsolicited hospitality without expectation of pay back! Brandon and Rachel? Ditto!
I’m blowing the doors off this little scandal of grace: Jim and Barb, Gina, Chad and Kendra, Peter, Tim and Beth, Pastor Scott and Jayne, Khristi, Dan K, Vic and Donna, Mark and Shelly, Bill and Barbara, Mitchell, Hannah, Kendy, Pastor Rick, Catherine and Jake, Sonny, Bruce and Lyndsay, Mandi, Marty and Colleen, Becky and Nico, Thora, Chad and Lisa, Larry and Irene, Pastor Tim and Marcy, Brian and Kammy, Tim and Jessie, Pastor Steve and Jan, Bill, Bethany, Kevin and Kim, Brent and Sue, Taylor, Andrew and Lyndsey, Pastor Steve and Jane, Jeremy and Andrea, Pastor Bryan and Ginger, Jerry, Scotty, Rhonda, Doug and Amy, Marc and Kaye, Pastor Michael and Stephanie, Stan and Judy, Chad and Aimee, Michael, Tal and Joan, John and Joann, Pastor Dave and Brenda, Aaron and Rose, Jeremiah and Sara, Wes and Mary, Justin and Terase, Brittney, Alicia, Jeromy and Jennifer, Glen and Lynette, Traci’s Bible study small group and Thailand team, Pete and Deb, Al and Dianne, Michelle and Kenny, Brenda, Frank and Naomi, Sharilyn, Pastor Christian and Megan, Matt and Kristi, Kevin F, Pastor Landon and Sarah, Lisa, Mark and Charis, Bev, Courtney, Pastor Terry and Jen, Matt, Cal and Lisa, Matt and Lisa, Uriah and Damara, Russ and Krista, Gail, Peter, Clay and Lisa, and you, yes, you, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, you know what you’ve done! I’m sure I’m missing a few names, but don’t worry, I’m confident that in time, you’ll get what’s coming to you, too!
All of these people are guilty. Of what, you ask?
Six and half months ago, when I was released from my job, and facing the reality of losing our primary source of income and housing, Traci and I came to believe in this truth: If God had called us to Michigan, and if that calling was still in effect, then we knew God was going to meet our needs. We just didn’t know how. Looking back over this past season of life, we’ve seen him provide through so many amazing people.
Financial gifts have shown up, sometimes anonymously, frequently unexpectedly and always at “just the right time.” Groceries have been delivered, meals have been provided and special date nights have occurred because of the generosity of others. People have opened their homes to us, let us house-sit while they were on vacation, invited us to “move-in” while the kids finished up the school year and taken care of our whole family during this period of transition. Even hotels rooms, condos and resort properties were made available to us.
Letters of encouragement have been sent in such large quantities, we cut down half a forrest to get enough paper to print them all and display them for our whole family to see. Drop-in visitors brought encouragement and ice cream, and blog readers offered a reason to keep writing each post. Several of you came along side and gave me a kick in the pants when I needed it, and countless hours have been spent talking through Overboard Ministries’ future dreams and goals, and many of you gave a listening ear and wise advice.
We just finished spending six weeks on the road, staying in the homes of friends and family who fed us, provided us with a great vacation experience and gave our family a truly unforgettable summer while we tried to raise support and grow Overboard Ministries. Several people have provided business help, tax help and ideas to keep us moving forward during a time it would be easy to shrink back. And dozens of people have joined the monthly support team of Overboard Ministries to help us get this thing off the ground.
And most of all, prayers on our behalf have gone up to the Throne of Grace from which God has heard your requests, and answered them in extraordinary abundance. You have blessed us. You have pushed us. You have humbled us.
To all of you, THANK YOU for your friendship, kindness, generosity and help. THANK YOU for reaching out and being dispensers of God’s grace, living out 1 Peter 4:7-11. THANK YOU for running with us, as we seek to see God’s will be done with our lives and the future of Overboard Ministries. Most of all, THANK YOU for using your gifts and resources to carry on the work of the Lord in its various forms -- you challenge us to keep living the Overboard Life!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is fuller, richer, and better on the water! (And just look at these names...you’ll have good company out there!)