Mother’s Day Letter

31 05 2011

Here is the letter I wrote to my mom for the 2nd week of our “Modern Family” series:


I don’t think there would be a better way to start this letter to you than to say “Thank You”. I cannot begin to tell you how much I respect you, appreciate you, look up to you, and love you. I feel blessed to grow up in a home where I had a mom who really loved me. You provided, cared for, watched over, released, and waited for me. You’ve taught me a lot and I won’t forget any of it.

You’ve taught me what it means to conquer. You’ve always been authentic and transparent with Brittany and I when it came to the eating disorder you struggled with for so many years. We didn’t really see it when it was bad but because you are so open and honest with us, we knew it was difficult. Now when I see you invest and care for people all over the country who struggle with the same issues I know that God’s using your experience to advance His Kingdom. You overcame a huge obstacle in your life and that means a lot to me.

You’ve taught me what it means to persevere. When Aunt Jen died I was only in third grade. I didn’t quite understand what it would mean to lose a sister well before it was her time. I know you had questions and you were angry with God but you made it and you were a rock for the rest of our family. I don’t think Grandma and Grandpa would have gotten through that without you.

You’ve taught me what it means to love. You’ve always put the rest of your family in front of yourself. There is nothing selfish about you. You and dad have shown Amanda and I what a healthy marriage looks like and I hope we love our kids as much as you love us. (Just a side note, there still isn’t a kid on the way quite yet, sorry). You’ve laid down your life for me and helped me understand Christ’s love in a way that I wouldn’t have experienced with you.

And with that love, you’ve taught me what it means to forgive. I know I kept you up late at night because you were worried about me. I know I caused arguments between you and dad and I caused a stress on your relationship for a while. I know you knew I was going down the wrong path and I know somehow you allowed me to fail. Thanks for that. I can’t tell you how sorry I am for letting you down so many times. I wish I never caused you pain but I know I did.

But with that, thank you so much for not giving up on me. Thanks for challenging the lies I lived. You were a constant example of what it meant to follow Jesus Christ and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Your purpose was to bring me back to my Maker. God used you to bring me back to him.

Thank you for helping me realize that where I invest my love I invest my life and I desperately want to invest my love in Jesus Christ and you helped me get there. God used you to awake my soul. I love you mom and I will forever be grateful for you and all you’ve poured into me.

I don’t like mom all the time…

17 05 2011

Here is a staff email I shared with my team this week:

Hey team,

I’m sure you’ve seen this video but if you haven’t watch it again real quick:

As I watched this a few things came to my mind:

1. Kids are hilarious. Enough said.

2. Sometimes I feel this way about our students. Not that is has anything to do with cookies (I mean that helps), but there are times where I definitely LOVE our students but don’t like them. I mean there are times where they bring my joy and laughter and I’m so proud of them, but they can be frustrating, irritating, and annoying. In the midst of all that, if I ever feel like I don’t LOVE our students I will step down from any sort of paid ministry position. I don’t care where I’m at in life and where I’m at in the church, if I don’t love students I know I will be living outside of what God has called me to as His follower. This generation is the next generation of the church and we should always be caring for them. I hope you continue to love our students. Your presence, your commitment, and your care has shown them that you do. Keep moving forward with them even during those “I don’t like you” times.

3. I know our students feel this way about God sometimes. Some of our students think God is just there to give them a cookie. They love Him and they are thankful for Him, but they are young and don’t have a full grasp on who God is or know how we respond to our Father. I hope we are communicating a God of love, sacrifice, presence, wisdom, power, Knowledge, grace, abundance, etc. that is worthy of our praise and worship. Not a God who is there to give us a cookie when we want it.

4. I hope there are times you feel this way about me. Again, probably doesn’t have too much to do with the cookie. I hope you feel the freedom to disagree with me, but I also hope you trust me through the process. I want to do everything I can to earn your trust and if you don’t agree with me on certain things, I’m totally ok with that and we can talk through those things. But I hope you trust that I am trying to make the right decisions for the ministry and our students. I hope you know that I care about you and love you enough to be open to conversations that involve healthy conflict or disagreement. I want us to be a team that relies on one another and has the freedom to be in healthy dialogue with one another. We are different and we each have strengths we bring to this team. Let’s make sure we get all those strengths working together to make the best HSM possible.

We are already doing a good job you guys. God is working and moving in this ministry. Let’s continue to grow together while we invest in our students and care for this ministry and church. I love you and am blessed to serve with you.


Just wait until your father gets home…

5 05 2011

I love to talk back. Even if I know I’m wrong, I really love to talk back. I guess I enjoy the argument. I remember talking back to my mom once when I was in third grade. I said something really rude and hurtful to her and it caused a moment of anger I didn’t see too often.

There is something you have to understand about third grade Steve. I was a BIG boy. I think I weighed something like 120 lbs and was about 5’2″. My mom is also 5’2″. Except she only weighs 100 lbs. So, in this moment of anger when my mom went to smack me in the face for talking back (it would have been well deserved), I channeled my inner Bruce Lee and grabbed her hand mid swing and said, “Don’t smack me.” Pretty courageous for a 10 year old right? It was, until she said those words I always dreaded. “Just wait until your father gets home.”

Crap. That was never good. My dad’s build was a bit different than my mom’s. 6’3″, 200lbs of belt wielding fury. (***I just want to make it clear that my parents did not beat or abuse my as a kid…they didn’t “spare the rod” but they were very fair.***)

All that to be said, I was a punk. I still am in a lot of ways. Not only did I keep my mom from disciplining me, but I gave her PLENTY more reasons to have that same reaction for quite a few years to come. My mom did plenty of disciplining, but she never failed to communicate love. I know she cared about me regardless of how poorly I treated her. I knew she would always be there for me even if I wasn’t always there for the family. And I knew she loved even though I didn’t care for anyone but myself.

After all of those trials I guess I learned a lot and turned out O.K. My parents had a lot to do with that. This weekend I get to share a little bit more about my experiences growing up with our JH and HS students and their moms. The fact that my mom will be standing on the platform right next to me is the most exciting part. I can’t wait to teach with her and let our students and moms see what a healthy, consistent, loving mom really looks like…