Merry Christmas

I know I have been MIA on here and I will make up for that in 2017 I promise!! Life has been crazy to say the least. So much has happened since tour and I plan to fill you all in soon. For now I would like to leave a gift of song to everyone who has supported us on this journey. There is absolutely no words to measure our gratefulness to all of you. 

This song invokes the emotions of how hard this last year was. Spiritually , emotionally and financially, it was the biggest challenge we have ever been thru. I feel the words of this song will be a motto for pushing forward in 2017. "War is over, if you want it. War is over now" I love y'all and hope your holiday is gifted with joy and rest.

Go Fund Me is Live!!!!

So this is it. Don't get scared now.... OK so I have to admit I'm a little scared. Here is the link to our Go Fund Me. It explains what every dollar will be going towards, as we ask for your help to support this dream. I'm sure you may get tired of seeing these posts as we ready for the release and living room tour, but I hope that our vision is made clear. Please feel free to share this thru Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Xanga, by yelling it from the rooftop of your house, or any other way you think people will hear. We are confident in the work and time that wentinto preparing this, and are hopeful the final product will reflect all those efforts. Thank you to everyone who has prayed, gave a word of encouragement, and just simply been there thru all of this. We are so thankful and humbled by your words and actions. So much love to you all!!!!!

https://www.gofundme.com/29dbzqs

Copy this link to share, or click on the picture to take you directly to the Go Fund Me Page!!

Dear Father,

Dear Father,

I've looked for you for a long time. As a kid, I thought that each new man that came into the yellow stained walls of my trailer house, might be the person that I clung to. The person that taught me how the world works, and the basic necessities of growing up.

Each time you failed me. You made me feel worthless. You abused me. You tore my heart up with words and actions so unthinkable I blocked them, clear into my adult years. I needed you and you were not there. I lost hope in finding you. I remember the day I found out my wife was pregnant, wishing you had been there to prepare me for that moment. When I would become the thing I so longed to have. I had no clue what to do, how to be, or even my purpose in this child's life. I despised you, and most of the time I hated you. I was pissed that you never taught me how to love and care for another human. How to lift up and raise a child with morals and instill worth. I was so bitter, I couldn't see the truth.

When I finally stopped looking for you, I realized the father I was searching for existed. He has been living inside of me. Every demaening word that was planted in my heart, from your mouth, was a lesson in what words NOT to use to my son. Every birthday you didn't show up to, was a reminder of how much the memories we make in these moments matter. Every ounce of love that I didn't receive from you, helps me to see and acknowledge the love I have for my own child every day.

So to you, my nonexistent biological father, I say, you are forgiven. Thank you for letting me see the qualities that I will try every day to deter from. I thank you for the search in finding a worldly father, because in doing so, I have found something way richer. I have found God the Father, a dad has never failed me. A father that loves unconditionally, and inspires me to do the same. The huge failure that I had in my worldy dad, teaches me that my minor failures as a father are ok. I turned out ok and by grace, so will my son. I'm thankful to be surround by friends who are fathers who show this same kind of love to their children. To be inspired by and learn from each other, has been a solid foundation on becoming the father I have so desperately searched for all these years. 

Lastly I want to say you were wrong. I am worthy, I am a good father, and I am capable to raise up a generation that will be free from your lies. I will make mistakes, but unlike you, I will own up to them, ask for forgiveness, and learn every day to be a better father than the day before.

Your worthy worldy son,                                                                                                                           Tim-

-The Hope Choir-

  The Watchmen

This song was brought to life one night a few years ago after a @___forthesilent outreach we were on. Feeling the burden of women in the sex industry, and the oppression that pimps weigh so heavily on them brought us to a helpless state of mind. What can we do? This problem is too huge? No one either cares or believes sex trafficking even exists in our little city. With that we went to petition the lord with prayer and worship. The words that came out became an anthem for us at For The Silent. 

 

"We are the watchmen of the night. Give us strength to win this fight. Tear down these walls of shame. Reclaim the broken in your name!"

 

After years of fine tuning and perfecting this anthem we have finally decided to record and release this to the world. There are so many levels this song advocates for. The broken, the hurting,confused, the weak. This song serves as an anthem for anyone in search of hope. 

In turn by purchasing this song 100% of every download will go to For the Silent to help fund their after school program. This 10 week program educates young girls to know the signs of trafficking and equips them with the knowledge to avoid these situations.

Available on every online market. Please share this with as many people as possible. The more downloads, the more girls they can help!!!

BREAK FREE

 Sorry I haven't written much lately on the blog--I've been busy adventuring and breaking free...but I need to tell you about it now.   Here recently, we have been scanning hundreds of old pictures, drawings, journal entries and clumsily worded drug-induced poetry from my childhood to place all throughout the book. This will invite the reader on more of a visual journey with me and my family. Those tangible elements will open up another dimension to the past and present of  The Family Portrait . Plus, books with pictures are way more fun.   It's true that great adventures are always full of discovery, exploration and challenges. And sorting through the memories of my past and rediscovering the person I used to be has been just that--a great adventure. While it has been exciting to dig up all that old stuff, it has not come without it's darkness.  I was lied to so much as a kid that the image I had of myself had become a LIE . To see it all now as a transformed adult makes me question a lot of these lies that were instilled in me. Through this adventure,  I am learning to break free from my false identity.   This particular writing came from a very dark time in my life at about 16 years old:  

Sorry I haven't written much lately on the blog--I've been busy adventuring and breaking free...but I need to tell you about it now. 

Here recently, we have been scanning hundreds of old pictures, drawings, journal entries and clumsily worded drug-induced poetry from my childhood to place all throughout the book. This will invite the reader on more of a visual journey with me and my family. Those tangible elements will open up another dimension to the past and present of The Family Portrait. Plus, books with pictures are way more fun. 

It's true that great adventures are always full of discovery, exploration and challenges. And sorting through the memories of my past and rediscovering the person I used to be has been just that--a great adventure. While it has been exciting to dig up all that old stuff, it has not come without it's darkness. I was lied to so much as a kid that the image I had of myself had become a LIE. To see it all now as a transformed adult makes me question a lot of these lies that were instilled in me. Through this adventure, I am learning to break free from my false identity.

This particular writing came from a very dark time in my life at about 16 years old:  

Looking back I see that I was a hurting, lonely boy in search of a deeper hope to my existence.  I really believed my life was just a "mass void of endless disappointments." I had no self-worth and I would constantly drown myself in these lies and numb myself with drugs. I needed "something I could never have" and that was, LOVE. I never felt worthy of receiving love. The fact was I truly BELIEVED all these things about myself because people were constantly telling me I wasn't good enough.

I remember a moment when I was about 5 years old, being scared after falling asleep on the couch. I ran through the dreary trailer house hallway, to my mom's bedroom, smelling the familiar sour odor of dirty dishes and spilled alcohol. The door was locked and I could hear a man's grizzly voice on the other side as I beat on the door with tears streaming down my face. As he opened the door, I recognized his weathered charcoal-face and yellowed teeth as one of the members of mom's satanic cult. He took the back of his hand and swung it up into my face with such force that it knocked my back into the hallway. "Worthless shit!! Get out of here!" he said with a gnarled intense growl. I sat in the hallway crying as blood from my upper lip dripped into my mouth and then I heard my mom screaming at him, "GET OUT!!!!" He left that night but sadly wouldn't be the last time we would meet. My mom sat on her bed crying and I asked her what was wrong. She said "You!! You kids are my problem!" Something that I didn't realize at the time was how deeply those words took root. They became my truth.

Situations and conversations like this were a constant in my childhood and adolescence. It seemed the harder I would search for acceptance, the further from it I would get. Like in my journal entry, I truly felt that "happiness was a disease." When I was happy I would just be on edge waiting for the tables to turn...to be disappointed, to have happiness stolen from me again. I needed love and acceptance so I kept trying and just kept getting dissapointed. The lie that I was unlovable and unworthy had sunk so deep in my heart, that it became truth I had to swallow daily. The crazy part is that when I was living in this lie, I didn't realize how it was effecting my daily life. When you feel worthless, you act worthless. I then began making decisions based out of the 'truths' I believed. These falsities guided my narrative, my story, into places I never wanted to go. 

Now as an transformed adult, and as a follower of Christ, all of those lies are completely gone and nothing bad ever happens and life is perfect and I live on a rainbow and crap glitter sprinkles...NO.... THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS! The same lies of years and years of past abuse come into my life on the daily. Even though I'm healed from the weight of past, and I've learned to forgive myself and others around me, it doesn't stop the lies. Now I just know how to fight them. Every day I am aware of God-given grace (something I never that I never fully believed in) to endure life's hardships and discernment to filter the lies from the truth. I am worthy. I am full of life and love. I am not the Timmie I thought I was.

And quite possibly you are not the 'you', you thought you were either. BREAK FREE and live out the truth of who you really are. 

SLEEP IN HEAVENLY PEACE, PLEASE.

For those of you that don't know about certain details of our life, my 13 year old son is severe on the autism spectrum. Non-verbal, but an AMAZINGLY funny and talented little dude. For more of an intro on his story you can read this blog, STRENGTH & COMPASSION 

Life has always been hard with autism, for him and for us...but we are entering uncharted territory here--the teenage years.

THE TEENAGE YEARS:

 I hear a lot of parents talk about their kids and say things like, "just a few more years and they'll be out of the house and in college." Or they are not fully aware of our situation and say, "at least you had a kid when you were really young, you will be 'done' sooner." But that's not our story. I don't see a time where our son won't need us. He will most likely always need us for the basics--food, going to the bathroom, getting dressed etc. and we assume he will always live with us as long as we can take care of him. I'm not saying that a miracle can't happen where he becomes completely independent of us, but in the foreseeable future, I just can't fathom it. Instead, this seems like the beginning of a new stage; an even harder, more aggressive stage for my son. Now there is: puberty, hormones, wanting independence but not being able to voice or function in the way he desires without our help. I know for him, this has to be so frustrating. 

EXTREME HITTING: 

So here's what's new...or at least new, again. Extreme hitting. Not directed to me, my wife, others, just himself. He used to beat his forehead against the floors and walls when he was 2-4 years old. And it stopped--for a minute. (That's when he started smearing his poop everywhere for about 9 years...different blog about the CRAP YEARS one day, I'm sure) But these new teenage emotions have been coming out in a new more powerful, self injurious behavior or (SIB). A lot of special needs kids deal with it, especially in the autism community. While this behavior isn't new to us, the power with which he harms himself, is. Lately, several times a day (some days less than others) he will get overwhelmed, frustrated or has a break in routine and starts slamming his fist into his head, nose or chin repeatedly and with a mighty force. Of course we intervene--run to the 'rescue' and try to stop him, distract him, anything. But he is strong. If I hold his little arms too tightly I could break his arm as he fights me full of adrenaline. *We have a lot of ways we try to prevent and intervene, if you are interested more about that, comment below or email me and I can tell you ways we try to manage SIBs as best as we can...but let's talk about one night in particular: 

CHRISTMAS EVE: 

One of the hardest nights we have had in a long time was on Christmas eve. We had envisioned the candlelight service at our church to be this Instagram-worthy, beautiful moment where we get to share the pinnacle of the season with each other. My wife helped lead the first service, and so at the second service of the night we saw ourselves taking candlelit communion as a family with our sweet community. He loves hearing his mom sing, has been to candlelight services before and this is a community he knows and loves. He is welcomed here, always. Realistically, we knew there would be hiccups, as with any kid there is always a potential bump in the road. But our son had a completely different vision of Christmas Eve. His plans (obviously) were to lay in his bed, play with his iPad, in his footed pajamas all night, and ALONE. As soon as I got him to the car crying and yelling the entire way and shut the doors, I knew we were off to a bad start...

There were so many people at the church that the normal parking spot we go to was taken. As simple as a thing as that sounds with autism routine is key. As we parked in the back and I carried my 5 foot, 90+ pound son up two flights of stairs (that he refused to walk up) I immediately began to question myself, "why I am even going this far?" I ignored myself and thought: Just get him in; once he sees and hears his mom singing it will all be ok. WRONG. He went to the front and started screaming, blowing snot and tears all over his face, and taking his tiny fist, slamming it as hard as he could against his chisled chin. I held his hands against his body as I slowly counted to 10 trying to ground and calm him, but to no avail. We weaved around strategically between chairs that were placed in every overflowing section of our church. I saw looks of sympathy from so many of the members of our church as they could most likely saw defeat painted all over my face. After the grueling hour, the snot and tears stopped for a brief moment to enjoy and take in Silent NightThree short minutes of peace where I prayed for relief and patience. 

IS THE GRASS GREENER? 

But that was over as soon as the song and we made the executive decision not to stay for communion service, as the impressive snot-infused meltdown continued all the way to car. Me and my wife were defeated, felt isolated from community, and just bummed. We drove in silence for a bit, frustrated at the outcome. In a cold silence we sat though the screams and wails from the back seat. We almost had huge fight, but we both chose to communicate our desires instead. We both longed for a change in the routine of our life. We wanted life to look different, be less difficult and just to be able to do stuff together! Why is that too much to ask?  Parenting comes with more struggles than any book, website or class could ever prepare you for--then it's amped up 100 degrees when your kid is special needs. If we compare all of these terrible moments, to what raising a "normal" child looks like in our head then: the grass will always be greener on the other side. In reality, it's the same grass no matter what side of the field you are living on. We are finding more and more, the key to our happiness is perspective. How we process these types of situations (in the moment and after) will determine how green your grass actually is.

Most people tend to focus on the heaviness of life because thats exactly what it is--heavy.  It weighs down our emotions, thought process and reactions. I tend to want to give up more when things get tough, but I have learned first hand: it will never just go away or fix it self. Learning to work through these emotions with my wife, as a family, and as a father helps me realize that the messiness of life can birth joyful purpose and meaning. I believe that a truer clarity comes from processing, rather than suppressing painful emotions and hurts we face on the daily or even from the past. Our son needs us now more than ever to be his support, his caregiver, and his voice. That's why I pray for the grace and patience to be a stronger parent and advocate for him each day.

I dont know what the future holds for my son or what our family atmosphere will look like in the next 5 years, but I do know I will need to rely on that same grace to get me through it one day at a time. I have to stop comparing my struggles with the fantasy of what a "perfect" life could be.

  //

A few hours later my wife sent me the picture above. He had crashed awkwardly on his pillow and was strewn across his bed from hours of crying and hitting. He finally WAS sleeping in heavenly peace...and for us it was not because he was literally asleep (hallelujah), but we had gained a new inward peace. We CAN do this together, one not-so-silent night at a time. 

STRENGTH & COMPASSION

Sometimes as humans we feel so strong and almost invincible. Other times we realize just how fragile human life is. Pondering on our brief, unpredictable time on earth...I let it get to me. FEAR. 

But here's the good news:  With strength, compassion and God's help...I sent it back to hell, where it belongs. 

 Most of you know my son is 13 and pretty severe on the autism spectrum. With him being non-verbal and having an extreme resilience to physical pain, it's hard to tell when he's actually hurting. For example, he broke his arm a few years ago and we didn't even know until the next day that anything was even wrong. We just thought he wasn't feeling well. Also,  a good percentage of people on the autism spectrum deal with something called SIB (self-injurious behaviors). For our boy: its hitting himself. He started when he was really young banging his head on walls, floors, or any corner he could find with a sharp edge. We recently found with a helmet on (or currently his vintage green trucker hat), he stops hitting his head...but has since moved on to punching his chin repeatedly.

Because of the punches to his lower jaw and since he can't tell us what he is feeling, we thought maybe his teeth were bothering him and scheduled a dentist appointment. All pretty basic stuff so far... But after the initial checkup we had to schedule a simple outpatient procedure. Because of his special needs he must be put under anesthesia even for dental work. His procedure was set for Friday at 5:30 AM and I was totally calm and collected about it.... until Thursday night, when I let fear creep into my head.  

I had just received this text about my mom's mom:  "Granny just had a heart attack or stroke not sure which one yet. They just put her in the hospital," triggering fears for my son. 

It made me realize that no one is immune to the hand of death and illness. Ultimately, its not up to us when the second of our last breath will be. That's an extremely vulnerable thought when it comes to people you love and care for so deeply. Now as I thought on my son and his minor surgery, I re-read in my mind all the warning waivers I nonchalantly signed-off on for him to be put to sleep. I kept re-citing all the warnings and possible death hospital jargon until FEAR just completely set in. I just wanted to cancel the procedure that was bringing these thoughts to my head. 

That night I fell into a dream where I relived a tragic event from one of his previous minor surgeries gone wrong when he was only about 3 months old. It was a close call with death and I had just seen it all in my mind's eye, again. I woke up scared and unable to voice the dream--no nightmare, out loud for fear that I would "jinx" our son. If that's even a thing. My wife picked up on the way I was acting and kept asking if I was ok, but I kept blaming the pre-sunrise appointment time on my behavior.

There was a  tenseness to my demeanor that seemed to spread throughout the environment of the extra chilly hospital room. We waited for a few hours in that tiny tiled white room as the sun started coming up. Then our son started resisting the drowsy medicine, the nurses, my wife and anything that got in his way. When the moment came to wheel him back to the operating room it took 3 nurses and one doctor to hold him down. He was screeching, crying with panic and fighting like a tiny incredible hulk begging without words to be taken off of the stretcher. That is a sight that sticks and it made us feel utterly helpless and heavy. Emotional tears and comforting hugs from the hospital staff swarmed the area until we were back out in the waiting room.

After 30 minutes or so we got a call from the doctors telling us everything was going exactly as planned, and within another few hours we were in the recovery room listening to him hard-core snore. As he slept, my wife gently stroked his hair and started putting lip balm all over his cracked little lips from the procedure. Seeing the tenderness and compassion she has in these situations inspires me to live life with that same kind of pure heart. When he began to wake after about 2 hours, he again started fighting and we couldn't keep him in the wheelchair for discharge. We tried putting his flailing body on my wife's lap in the wheelchair but she couldn't hold him down. I scooped up his angry and confused body and carried him across my shoulder. 

As I carry his squirming dense 90 pounds to the car, I realize how much of a team me and my wife are: strength and compassion.

When we got home a Frost Family Nap ensued, and all of the worries and fears I had the previous day had disappeared. In my dream instead of horrific images from our past I was greeted by a man in a red coat reminding me of my future. He said:

"I will hold you in my strength, and reveal the promises I have for your future"

 I woke up the same day that all the fear and confusion had taken place, and remembered only the truth that God revealed to me in that dream. He held me in his strength, both physically and in other ways. He carried me through as I carried my own son. God cares about his children and their future and I am a child of God. Today, and until I need it again, that's what I will hold on to.

 

MUSIC MONDAYS

So I decided (by suggestion of my amazing wife) to do a Music Monday post either here, or my social media accounts because music is what drives me every day (and honestly I am just learning to write). I wake up with music and go to sleep with songs in my head. I even have dreams where I write songs, and wake up the next day and record them...Or at least bits and pieces of them until they are stored away to be reawakened at a later time. Music has always been a comfort to me and a go-to when things get painful. Basically, music is woven into every part of my being. 

 When I was a kid, and still to this day, my favorite band was The Beatles. My mom had a cassette tape of The White Album  and it felt like I was being let in on a secret world that no one else in my circle knew about, or maybe it was the copious amount of drugs I was on, either way I was sold. I loved music. Her old tape player reeled out Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and classic Elton John to name a few. I couldn't press fast forward to skip over unfavored songs, or the string would unwind like unravelled paper streamers all over the floor. So, I'd get high, press play and listen start to finish on both sides...all day long (with small amounts of school in-between). 

Even more than listening to music, making and creating it was one of my main coping mechanisms. I could create to make up for what I lacked in self-worth. I would mask feelings in notes, that way they didn't show themselves through my outward insecurities. 

In the early nineties my oldest brother had a guitar with lots of effect processors. I was barely double digits but I remember getting so high while he was at work and just strumming the strings as loud and obnoxiously as I could. The vibrations that bounced their way through the air and into my ears, gave me the sensation that the notes were alive. These terrible, clanging, high-pitched rings, were tangible feelings that I could contort and shape, even though they made no sense to anyone else.

After about a year of  learning to make different piercing sounds the noise got to be  too much for my brother and he finally taught me how to read guitar tabs. Once I got the hang of it I read through all of his old Def Leppard and Metallica books and learned every riff, scale, and solo in there until I starting becoming a halfway decent player. But the technical metal stuff was never my thing. It was when I discovered Punk Rock and Grunge that I gained a whole new world of playing and writing skills. Dinosaur Jr, Nirvana, The Dead Kennedys, Sonic Youth--these guys played with those same terrible clanging high pitched rings that I was making in my room. But they wove them into powerful music too overwhelming and exciting for my little brain to even take in. I was inspired and I began writing songs and tapping into a creative place that would eventually become a full time obsession

My step-dad dj'ed for KMOO, an old country radio station and they were tossing out an old tape-recorder. That day, my recording "career", if you will, began. There is still a tape floating around of a stoned 10 year-old-me. My two first singles were "Oprah Winfrey" and "Peed on the Floor". If found, you could hear these pre-pubescent gems of me screeching about my love for Oprah, and the 9 minute jam about my hatred for the little kid who peed on my floor. *spoiler alert: the little kid was me

From that used 80's cassette tape-recorder, to my digital 4-track, and now my professional home studio...I've been recording ever since.  For years I only put out the "joke" songs and kept the "for real" ones tucked away. It was a lot easier for me to cover real emotions with mockery and jokes than to expose my true hurting-core. The past few years I think I've finally become comfortable enough in my own skin to share the "for reals". These are the ones that have my heart and emotions on full display. These are the ones that represent my history, where I've come from and where I am going.

Now, one of my favorite music pastimes is recording with my wife. Her voice is a dreamy mix of honesty and soul that I could (and get to) listen to every single day of my life. Going back to that magical, The White Album that I grew up with...the song that we are releasing today, is a cover off that record called "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". With technology today when we record a song, I can compress sound, tune vocals, equalize instruments, and add in all kinds of things to make it sound more "technically" perfect. Sometimes that is cool, but sometimes you can lose the spirit and rawness of the song.  We decided for this one, to mostly let the words and guitar speak for themselves. Please enjoy our stripped down, chilled out version below.

CONVERSATIONS & DISAPPOINTMENTS

I have been disappointed more times in my life than I can count. Honestly, the pain doesn't get much easier and it seems to always sting even if I am expecting it. Like waiting for a punch in the face...just because you know it might be coming, it doesn't make it hurt less.  But I am learning that how I deal with painful blows and disappointment changes me from within and spurs me onward. 

My latest disappointment:

Telling my story is hard, like really hard. It's like opening up the creaky doors and windows of my soul, exposed for everyone to see. My vulnerabilities, shame and doubts are on full display for the public. For the past few months my wife and I have adamantly been working to figure out the business side of getting my story out there. We are learning so much, but still feel like little lost sheep wandering aimlessly.

We have made some amazing connections in the publishing industry, one being a very prominent agent out of Franklin. She asked us to send her a book proposal for the project but we really had no clue what that even entailed. After what we thought was enough research and work we sent her a 7 page proposal and a few chapters of the book. I'm not sure there was one thing good about that proposal. I'm surprised she didn't just throw it away and just give us a "Oh honey, you tried didn't you?" *pat pat pat* Instead, she gave us some  challenging critiques that pushed us to work tirelessly on revamping the entire proposal. We prayed and sought council from friends concerning every section of the proposal. Then we sent the email with the revamped proposal and manuscript and waited...

I checked my email, everyday, sometimes several times a day. I had built my hopes up so high, thinking any moment I would get a cheese-ball response of "Hey! Let's meet, have coffee and get you signed!" not that I even drink coffee but I would for that. Instead, yesterday evening I got the dreaded rejection letter.

Dear Tim, 
Something encouraging. Small talk you don't remember in the moment because it is lost in the excitement , more good stuff that I will have to remind myself of and then the but"How the book is organized as of right now won't work commercially for a publishing program." 

BAM! There it was, my punch in the face.

 She went on with more reasons of "why I will not be accepting your proposal" ...each one cutting deeper. I sat there reading and re-reading the email and tears started to form, tiny ones at first then full sobs rolling down my bearded man-face. My first set of thoughts was: 

I am going to be a disappointment to my wife, family, and friends who have encouraged me and worked so hard with me in this process. How will I tell them my story wasn't good enough? Then, my old friend self doubt swept in like a destructive flood-river full of impaling sticks and debris knocking me down at every turn, gashing me from the outside-in. Screw it, I give up. I'll just keep washing windows. Why did I even think this would work?

I sat there weeping in my mess. Alone. But not. In my weakest moment, with my snotty face, I called on my Father in Heaven who has never left me or disappointed me. "Now what, God? What do I do next?"  He responded tenderly: 

Do nothing. Literally do nothing in this moment.
Rest in the calm that comes after the wave of disappointment.
That silence after destruction.
The moment before the rebuild.
Rest. 

He reminded me that none of this was my plan, anyway. It is His for me and I need to simply trust. 

I sent out a group text to my family of friends to tell them the news and immediately got responses of encouragement:

"You have a choice to let this beat you down or let it be a launching into this new season of your life."
The Father says, "I have you in the process...this is not a stopping point...it's moving this all forward to where I am orchestrating it to go"
"Depend on GOD and keep at it because in the LORD GOD you have a sure thing."

Then about 30 minutes later, my wife and I cancelled all of our evening plans to just be together and share a meal alone. We walked to the park and our quirky music professor neighbor from up North who rarely gives out conversation more than the neighborly small talk, sat down beside us with his old schnauzer, "who knows more cuss words than most people."

After asking us how we were doing and getting a lackluster response from both of us, he inquired more and we shared our defeat. He nonchalantly started spilling wisdom, telling us fantastic and comical stories of his similar past experiences. There was one main word of wisdom that stuck with me. Spoken from his old wise Northern accent he said: "Eh, don't give up, the hard work is already done. You did all the labor. Now you have time to refine it 'til it fits."

He's right, my family is right, and my friends are all right. This is not a quitting point, this is a refining moment. I won't let disappointment define me. I will not have character of hopelessness, but instead that of hope.

Onward.