First, I am blessed to have such a fantastic wife. Janice has put up with me for more than 19 years now. I have no doubt she's the only woman in the world with enough patience to do that! For many of those years, I wasn't easy to live with. Heck, I'm not easy to live with now. But still, she joins me in races near and far, and let's me indulge this obsession to run. She's been with me through the good times and bad, the lean times and fat, traveled the land of want and the land of plenty. Through it all, she stood by me, and still does. I am definitely blessed to be married to the love of my life.
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies." ~ Proverbs 31:10
Second, I am blessed to run. When Amanda was killed, I found myself in a state of despair like I didn't know existed. Never before had I believed I could sink so low, into such a pit that I didn't want to climb out. When my friend Jesse challenged me to run the Marine Corps Marathon that year, it turned out to be a life saver. It gave me a goal, a mission, a focus on something productive that would allow me to honor my daughter and continue to live for my surviving family. God has given me the desire, the motivation, and the strength to continue to run, to continue to honor Him, and Amanda, and to draw attention to the dangers of teen substance abuse. I don't know where I'd be or what I'd have done if He hadn't. But I do know, I am extremely blessed to run.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us," ~ Hebrews 12:1
Third, I'm blessed to teach. Like running, teaching gave me something productive to do after Amanda's death. It gave me kids to influence, not just to teach math, but to witness to and really influence them. The opportunity to teach these students them what they think they can't learn, to encourage them to try what they believe is impossible, and to inspire them to believe that anything is possible, keeps me excited and alive, filled with energy to continue on this race marked out for me. The kids, the parents, the colleagues, and everyone else I've come in contact with through teaching have blessed me more than words can say. I'm certainly blessed to teach!
"Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. ~ James 3:1
Finally, I am blessed because God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die so that I might live. Because my sin earned me an eternity spent in the flames of Hell, Jesus came to suffer the horrendous death on the cross, a death that I deserve, but He didn't. He died so that I can live, eternally in Heaven with Him. It's because of Jesus' sacrifice that I know I'll see Amanda again. When my time on this earth is over, I'll ascend to Heaven and be reunited with my beautiful daugther, forever. Eternal life is possible, eternity in a place without pain, without suffering, and without death, only because God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. So I am blessed beyond measure that God loves me so much, He sent His Son as a sacrifice, as my Savior, so that I might live.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing ~ John 15:5
So as Thanksgiving approaches, I'm grateful for so much, thankful that God has blessed me so.
If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.