Thanks to my friend Christie Harrison for the great reminder of what the power of Love can do. Christie came up to me last night at the Dixie National Rodeo and reminded me about the story of Sr. Airman Richard Heuer (Star, MS). Airman Heuer was critically injured in a freak accident several years ago after a run-in with a deer! One of the deer antlers punctured Mr. Heuer’s neck leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
Outside the Mississippi Coliseum last night, time stood still for several minutes as Christie recounted the details of the story. I vividly remember trying to rally support for this family as they asked the Star community to come together to build a new house for the Heuer’s. A year after Mr. Heuer’s injury, they were able to move into their new home that allows Richard increased freedom.
Fast forward four years and this American Hero was able to attend the Dixie National Rodeo for the first time since his injury.
As my friend Chuck Stewart says, “Nothing we do catches God by surprise.” So to say it was no surprise that Christie would walk up to me and share that story on the same night that I would have the attention of the entire arena…just more proof that God shows off when He wants to.
It moved me to tears walking off that stage seeing the thunderous standing ovation Sr. Airman Heuer received from a packed out coliseum. Country music performer Jake Owen was waiting near the side of the stage as I walked off. He rushed over and said, “Man that was stout. How am I supposed to follow THAT.”
It’s another in a long line of moments that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I’m so grateful for Christie and her heart for this hero. Her time and effort resulted in a beautiful moment.
Some people walk through life wondering if God really has a plan for them. The answer is a resounding YES! Through God’s awesome sense of humor, sometimes it’s a difficult and painstaking process to try to discern what He’s trying to say. This has been especially evident in my life. I admit it, I stink at listening. That’s why what’s happening in my life right now is so profound. God is shouting!
The message I’m getting is coming in loud and clear.
I told my wife several years ago that I felt the Earth rumbling under my feet. I felt like something really big was happening and I just couldn’t figure out what God was trying to say. Then along came a boy in my son’s 2nd grade class (2 years ago) that helped get my attention. This little guy that I’ll call “J” lost his dad to cancer that year. Over the last two and a half years, “J” helped open my eyes to the world of kids in our area who have no father figure in the home.
Mississippi is the # 1 state in the nation for kids growing up in a home without a father.
More than 80% of prisoners were raised in fatherless homes.
Kids are 60% more likely to commit suicide if their dad is not involved in their life.
So here’s the GOOD NEWS. The CJ Stewart Foundation takes the first step today toward building a place called “Camp Chosen.” The camp will be right here in the Jackson area serving kids who need to know that just because they don’t have a father in their house, they have one in Heaven that wants them to know how much He loves them. Please be in prayer for the CJ Stewart Foundation today! Thanks and God Bless You!!
One of the greatest joys of my life is being a dad. As I get older, I'm constantly amazed at how I react to things I experience on a daily basis. This weekend, I was honored that my 18 year old daughter asked me to come along to see the "photo shoot" for her senior portraits. If you have kids, you may have experienced the "dad is no longer cool" moments where your kids want nothing to do with you. That's why this moment was so profound to me. "You mean, you actually WANT me to come along?" I said. "Of course daddy!" came the quick reply.
The week leading up to the photo shoot was pretty stressful. I was (also) asked to tag along for the shopping spree to get ready for the photo shoot. (Grrr...) My wife and daughter HAD to make sure they had several "perfect" outfits. So I quietly carried shopping bags and endured the process. In the end, the day of the photo shoot would be one that I'll never forget.
We met our friend and uber talented photographer Charlotte Stringer downtown near the Governor's Mansion on Sunday afternoon. Brittany turned on that million dollar smile, the camera started clicking, and the tears started falling. As I stood there watching, thoughts started racing through my mind about my toddler that's now a beautiful young woman. Dance recitals, softball games, school festivals, aching shoulders and back from carrying her around for weeks on end at Disney World and Talladega, father/daughter dance, selling Girl Scout cookies together, first days of school, the first time a boy called and came over to the house. It all came rushing back in the blink of an eye.
And there she was...looking as beautiful as I've ever seen her before. Then she says, "Hey dad...only 15 more Mondays til school's out." Then the mental slideshow started all over again and the tears just wouldn't stop. The lense kept clicking and all I can think of is, "Have I been a good enough dad?" Just hoping that I've poured enough into her that she'll make the wise choice when difficult decisions come her way.
As we drove home, I challenged myself to think of a word that I could use to describe her. Here it is: Breathtaking. I can't wait to see what God has in store for her...but whatever it is, it's going to be Breathtaking!