Holding the flashlight

By Snow

Last time, I mentioned that living in the same home has allowed me to spend more time with my stepson, who is a young adult. One of the projects we’ve been working on together is replacing light fixtures in various rooms with ceiling fans. While I had done some simpler projects about 15 years ago, he did not have much experience working with electricity. I handled the electrical aspects, and he helped by holding things, handing me tools while I was on the ladder, shining the flashlight, etc.

Credit: Snow

The process has been painful at times – due to a combination of my inexperience, the home builder’s ineptitude, and the fans’ sometimes questionable quality.

For various reasons, the last ceiling fan we came to was the one for his room. He asked if he could take the lead on installing this one. I must admit, I felt a mixture of both pride and trepidation when he asked this.

Within myself, I poked at my fear. It’s not like I would let him hook the fan up without turning off the circuit breaker first or by connecting the wrong wires to one another. “Of course you can!” I said. I also said a popcorn prayer in my mind that it would go well.

Later that day, he began installing the fan, while I took the secondary role. When it came time to turn off the circuit breaker, I told him to come to the garage with me so I could show him which one. “You can just do it,” he said.

“Nope, you need to do this yourself.” So we went downstairs to the garage, and he turned off the circuit breaker for his room.

At one point, about midway through, I noted how he was doing a good job installing the fan by himself, while I was pretty much just handing him things. “Yes, you’re like the little kid who holds the flashlight for his father,” he joked. I had, in fact, really been that kid whenever I helped my dad.

Until I married JC, I had never been a father. So it is a road I am navigating with much prayer. In working on projects with my stepson in particular, I realize that I am distilling information that I learned from my own father as well as other father figures I have known over the years.

My dad had various issues, as we all do to varying extents, but I try to choose from the best of him – because he did have his fatherly moments.

One of the aspects that I wish had been different with Dad, however, is that he never let me move beyond the “helper” role. I don’t learn nearly as well by watching someone do something as I do by actually doing it myself. While I have good memories of watching Dad work on stuff around the house, outside in the yard, or for the car, it has been a struggle at times to do those kinds of things on my own in the decades since his death.

This is one of the reasons I was glad my stepson wanted to lead the way on his fan. The installation itself went very smoothly. Part of that was because we were able to apply lessons learned from the previous fans and part of it was because this fan was better crafted and not as persnickety going up. Thank You, Jesus.

Near the end, though, there was a tricky part that caused him to struggle, so he asked me to double check it. “Hey, I’m just the little kid who holds the flashlight,” I reminded him before confirming he had indeed properly installed the piece.

Once we were done, he was very happy and proud of his accomplishment. He even showed off his fan and its features to his mom when I wasn’t around. He mentioned to me regretfully that, since this was the last fan, he would forget what he learned by the time he had to do one again years down the road.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” I told him. “There’s still a few light fixtures that you can swap out with new ones around here.” His face fell. “And I’m sure some of the neighbors could use your help, too,” I continued joking. He scampered off before I could add more to his imaginary task list.

The whole experience represented multiple answered prayers. It was also just fun to watch someone I love apply things I have taught him. As I said, thank You, Jesus. I am so grateful.

“Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.”
Deuteronomy 32:2 NLT

Murphy vs. Jesus

By Snow

As soon as I click “Publish” on this post, I will have already equaled at the beginning of 2023 the number of Beloved Walks entries I made in all of 2022. I sure didn’t plan to write so little here last year, but I allowed a super-busy schedule to infringe on this blog. Lord willing, I will do better this year.

I am living a blessed life, full of so many answered prayers. JC and I are married now and recently moved into our first home together. We spent much of last year in the construction process – which proved to be both time-consuming and stressful. Needless to say, we chose our home for the land and not for the builder. She is ours now, though, and we are grateful for her.

In the midst of what otherwise would have been the happy occasion of taking ownership of our home, though, a beloved family pet passed away – tears of sadness instead of happiness. I found myself asking, “Why today, Lord?”

We also encountered Murphy’s Law (“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”) in full force on just about every aspect of the move and settling in. I must admit, there were times where I was angry at God for allowing yet another mishap beyond our control but obviously within His.

But you know what, I had to keep truing back to something (certain times I was more successful at this than others). Yes, things were going wrong. Sometimes, horribly so. But I was finally living with my beloved bride and stepkids. How many thousands of times had I prayed for these moments? How dare I allow any earthly problem to overshadow those spiritual blessings.

Credit: JC

Just living in the same home as my stepson, for instance, has allowed us to get closer than when I was a frequent visitor. He and I have worked on a number of projects around the house together. He’s learning to trust me – that I won’t bite his head off or belittle him when something goes wrong. We make any mistakes together and learn from them.

The truth is, I’m not exactly handy. I am more of a technologically-inclined person than a mechanically-inclined one. And even my technology instincts have started to wither as I become older. But, with God’s help, as well as a little Googling, I am able to figure out enough to get by. A home improvement task that should take an hour often takes me four, but I do eventually get there – most of the time, anyway.

I have never been a father before, and I now have three wonderful kids! I love them, and I thank God for them.

Each morning when I wake up, no matter what is ahead on that day, I like to gaze at my beloved bride next to me. How blessed I am. How blessed. No day that begins with her at my side can be all-bad!

So, I won’t let Murphy get me down. Instead, I will focus on Jesus. I am grateful to Him for His blessings of today and, Lord willing, the promises of tomorrow.

Thank you for reading. May Jesus bless you throughout 2023.

“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease.”
Lamentations 3:20-22 NLT

Someday is now

By Snow

Tomorrow, I will return to the office where I work for the first time since March 20, 2020. When I left my desk that day, I thought about how weird it would be not to return for a few weeks or maybe even months. Now, almost two years later, it feels weird to return at all. I have gotten used to working in lock-down mode. As an introvert, I prefer it, and, in some ways, I am actually more effective than I am in person. The world wants its “normal” back, though. Who am I to argue with the world?

Jesus blessed me many times over during those two years, and that is where I want to keep my focus. In addition to staying free of the virus, there are wonderful things happening in my life now that would have only seemed like distant dreams in March 2020 – things that I prayed would happen “someday.”

  • Someday, I will be married to my beloved JC, who is the love of my life.
  • Someday, I will be forming relationships with my stepchildren, who I love no less than if they were my very own.
  • Someday, my beloved bride and I will be building a home together.

There are more blessings than I could possibly list here. Every single one of them came from Jesus. Before I accepted Jesus in 2018, my life was empty. He has been re-molding me back into who He created me to be. This clay still struggles sometimes, but the Potter continues to shape it.

I thank God for Jesus and for my beloved.

Yes, I will be back in the office tomorrow – but He will be right there with me. Like He always has been.

Thank you for reading. May Jesus bless you as He has blessed me.

Credit: JC

“And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. Now all glory to God our Father forever and ever! Amen.”
Philippians 4:19-20 NLT