How Am I Doing?

My friend Byron Borger (the owner of the greatest bookstore on the planet - Hearts & Minds Books) asked me in an e-mail concerning the latest news about my heart and the looming surgery:

"I guess I was asking, if you care to share, how you're doing with all of that, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, your family. I hope you're hanging in there, and feeling okay about your lot in life, hard as it is....."

What a caring e-mail. It is representative of what many have written me and have expressed in person and on their blogs.

Well, here's the answer. For those of you who hate blog posts that talk too much about a person's life and woes, you can hurry and just move on to another post further down the page.

It has been quite difficult. I fear that I may die. And it isn't about me that I fear. It is for my children, and in particular, my little 8-yr old boy Trey. He is at this stage in life where he needs me--he needs a man to direct his ornery nature in the right direction. He and his mom are always going at it (he is not very respectful of her these days), but he looks up to me and listens intently to my direction. He is struggling with figuring out how to yield to the Lordship of Christ...he is very selfish by nature but wants desperately not to be that way.
What if I am not here?

I also worry tremendously about my wife raising three children alone. She is a remarkable woman. What she has been through would break others, and yet she has remained strong and steadfast (glory be to God!). But that does not mean that she wouldn't struggle if I were not to survive this coming surgery.

Lastly (and I know cognitively that this least important, but emotionally it has been a great burden), I am struggling with feelings of, for a lack of a better term, directlessness. Before this happened, my life seemed going in a wonderful direction:
  • I had found a ministry in the CCO as Area Director that matched my gifts and passions (I got to lead, manage, develop, train, and mentor campus ministers as they are reaching the current college generation with the gospel of the Kingdom of God).
  • This ministry had opened an opportunity to teach at a local Christian college (where I could use the gifts God's Spirit has given me to teach, mentor, and engage in critical thinking in order to shape a group of young people).
  • I saw my role on the web grow and expand as I was having about 2,000 - 3,000 readers a month here at the blog.
  • I thought we could find a local church in which I could help in local ministry with a holistic gospel message.

Fortunately, I can still sit here and read and study and write my thoughts about stuff on the blog. It has been a wonderful thing to dialogue with you folks about very interesting topics. Thanks for your friendship (people who don't blog don't get it--but it's a whole lot of fun to create these friendships with people in the blog world. It's like a coffee shop where everybody sits and thinks deeply about things and talks. My favorite thing to do!)

But since my heart problems, all the other things have suffered greatly. I have not been able to develop my CCO ministry like I have wanted (not even close!), I have given up two semesters of teaching (and wonder if the window of opportunity at the college has closed), and my family has been unsuccessful in finding a local church.

But God is good.

Linda and I remember and repeat the favorite passages that got us through the first time. Here's one:

Have no fear of sudden disaster
__or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
for the LORD will be your confidence
__and will keep your foot from being snared.
(Prov 3:25-26)


Anonymous said...

Cool pic, I posted about Boyd's book after getting a copy...

Ted Gossard said...


Thanks for your openness in sharing this. It's a privilege to be praying for you, and to be in blog fellowship with you. You're a blessing! And surely God has great things in store for you there in Ohio/Pennsylvania and beyond.

Deeply sorry about what you've been going through lately. And so true, your children do need their daddy.

We've seen the Lord bring you through in the past, and will keep engaged in faith that he will see you through in the future.

Keep sharing with us as on this post. It does help us in praying.


Bob Robinson said...

My friend Matt led worship tonight for Oasis, and started out with this song. Thanks Matt!

I cry out for Your hand of mercy to heal me;
I am weak and I need your love to heal me;
Oh Lord, my Rock, my strength in weakness,
Come rescue me, oh Lord.

You are my hope,
Your promise never fails me.
And my desire
is to follow You forever.

For You are good,
For You are good,
For You are good to me

For You are good,
For You are good,
For You are good to me

Bob Robinson said...

Thanks Ted for your blessing of friendship and prayer!

L.L. Barkat said...

By sharing about your heart, you've broken mine... yes, how we all fear leaving our children. I share this verse with them sometimes, because none of us really know the day...

"If my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me up." (Oh, somewhere in the Psalms, I think.)

Of course, I hope and pray that you will be taking your children up for years to come.

Bob said...


I've got six year old boy and couldn't imagine not being around to see him grow up. May God be with you in this time

Miche said...


Dr. Phil C. said...


I have attempted to contact you several times (alas, I am not a "pro blogger"), unsuccessfully I guess. I am one of the many warriors who regularly prays for you and your family, as did "your class" this past spring. I have no doubt that many of them continue to do so.

There appears to be little doubt that prayer got you through this far; can we be equally expectant with the unknown future? I pray so! It just doesn't make sense to my simple mind that God would put you, and your family, through all this, miracle after miracle, only to now call you home.

Sometimes when life doesn't make sense to me, I recall the wonderful times I have walked the beaches of Sullivan's Island. Always, at some point in my walk, I bend over and grab a handful of dry sand. Slowly those little grains will sift through my fingers. I glance up, my gaze piercing through the blue sky to a vast universe beyond as I try (unsuccessfully) to comprehend the reality of more planets existing than all the grains of sand on the earth. "My God," I think, "my toes just walked over millions of grains of sand. How can you keep order among the cosmos? Why is it that I doubt your ability to do likewise on earth among your most prized creation?" Often I will cry at my finite faith, rededicate my life and my family back to Him, wondering how, in a chaotic world, "it" (whatever "it" is) will work out. In my heart I KNOW it will. So why, sometimes, does my mind not want to believe?

"I'm living the next five minutes like these are my last five minutes 'cause I know the next five minutes may be all I have..."
Steven C. Chapman

Well, Mr. Chapman, I have not quite reached that place in my faith, but, through Christ, I continue to breath and try.

A friend and brother in the Lord,

Phil Christman