Separation Anxiety

I don’t know what I have done. I have invested a few years into a relationship and now I have let it go just because I got into an argument that I could not see my way out of without physically leaving it.

I want to spend a lot of time tearing my friend down, and at the same time I am hurting because I know that I should have found a way to handle things differently. I blame him for being defensive but isn’t that why I wouldn’t give in either.

It is made worse by the fact that…. well a lot of things. I had neglected a lot of other friendships to build this one. I lose out on a lot of other possible (and actual) friendships in leaving this one. This was my primary human source of accountability.

Now as I go forward I wonder how will I know that I can trust other people? How will I know that they can trust me not to harm them the same way? Should I just huddle hide and wait for someone to come make things better?

But I do still have friends. I have neglected them but even as I reach out I have received warm responses even though it has been a while. Maybe I can be loved. Maybe they are true friends. They have been there for me in some hard spots before, maybe it can happen again. Maybe I can be there for them too.

That is what I wanted in this whole mess: I want to be a friend I wanted to love and aid healing, but I did something wrong. I hope to learn. Maybe that brokenness can heal, but how do you resolve when two people think that each is attacking the other? This isn’t my most hopeful post, it’s my I can’t sleep at 3-4 am post because this is messing me up.

Please God help.

Reflections on Romans 5:6

This was an assignment from my church for the advent devotional this is the text of the verse I was given.

6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Initially this looks like a reiteration of the crucifixion: Jesus died.  It is a reminder of our sin and great need.  Of course, there is the hope that we could never provide on our own: Salvation.

But then there is more to it than his death.  He came “at the right time” which was apparently while we were helpless, not once we had life figured out.  He “died for the ungodly,” not because we were such good guys.  It is easy to think he covered the preachers and missionaries, but the fact is, a little later in the chapter it says this was “while we were still sinners” even “while we were enemies.”

So then in our weakness, at our worst, even while we are in opposition, God’s loves us. And He does not change.  This is not a sign of one who wants to pour out his judgement and shame on us.  It isn’t the sign of someone playing favorites.  This shows us a Father who welcomes his child or a shepherd who seeks his sheep and celebrates upon the return of what he has lost.

While we seek distraction in the screen, get our caffeine fix, or feed other addictions, how much time is wasted in shame or fearing judgement when we could be enjoying the Father’s love?  What would it take to stop fighting, accept His ways, and delight in Him?  May we be able to take the time to breathe the breath He has given, pause long enough to hear Him say “I love you,” and allow it to soften our hearts.

Letter of Recomendation for Richard Jinks

When I was in high school, I worked for a man named Richard Jinks.  A couple times asked for a letter of recommendation.  Over the years, I would remember … but then forget.  When he passed, I remembered his request.  This was initially published in my mom’s column the El Dorado News Times and she keeps it on her blog called, I wanted to share it on my blog, too.

To whom it may concern:
 I understand that Richard Jinks is up for promotion. I hope that you will consider what I have to say.

Richard Jinks is amazing in many ways. I have known him from my youth. He is a good leader. He demonstrates a desire to develop community through work at church. I could tell stories of his ability to draw or develop men of character by taking boys into the woods and showing them survival techniques. His lawn service demonstrates his diligence in providing for his family.

However, that is not the best understanding of Richard. Initially I thought his character would be summed up in his ability to tell a story, but still there is much more. The first day I went to work Mr. Jinks clearly demonstrated his character better than any other synopsis I have seen.

It was early in the morning. I was used to my old push mower at home, so once I started the mower, I knew to push. But I dared not push the lever because I did not want to kill the motor. On that first job, there was a hill that was better for demonstrating gravity than for pushing a professional mower across.

Richard observed as I pushed, that the mower drifted downhill rather than making the nice smooth back and forth cuts I was supposed to make. He said, “Hey, Nate, why don’t you push that lever?” I responded that I did not want to kill the engine – but I gave it a try at his admonition.

Rather than die, as I had expected, the mower practically jerked out of my hand, surging forward to cut the grass. Cutting the grass on the hill afterward was easier because the mower did all the work as I walked behind it.

This makes a fun story, but we are just now getting to the reason for this recommendation. Richard’s character really shines in his reflection on this mundane event.

He pointed out that I “was cutting grass without using the self-propelling mechanism in the same way people sometimes try to push through life, on their own, doing it without God. Trust in God will not kill mojo, rather He is the power for life when circumstances are pulling us down,” Richard said.

In a way, Richard’s insight animates what Jesus meant when he said “my yoke is easy.”

That lesson sticks with me, and the application is so universal that I share this story in many situations. When I am trying to be good enough on my own, rather than trusting in Jesus’ sufficiency, this is my reminder. This letter of recommendation is unnecessary for him now that he has passed on. Besides, his life serves as a pointer to Christ – He is the true letter of recommendation. Richard knows that even more now than he did when he was with us.

Since Jesus took care of Richard’s letter of recommendation a long time ago, I share this letter here to encourage others with Richard’s lesson. Embrace life. Love your family. But most of all rely on God and listen for His word however it comes. We are leaving a legacy. I hope that mine and yours point to Christ in such a marked way as Richard Jinks.
 Nathan Hershberger