When God Is Nowhere To Be Found

Dear Lewis,

One thing I miss about living in an apartment is how everything is in close proximity. Our area at grandma and grandpa’s isn’t huge, but it’s laid out more like a house, naturally, since it’s in the basement of one. A long hallway separates the bedrooms and living room. I’m not lazy. I just think it’s a waste of space for a family of our size. Then again, it’s new to me, having lived in tiny apartments for the past 13 years, so I’ll probably change my mind.

One nice thing about the hallway is it gives you a long stretch of crawling space. Over the past month you’ve become a pro, so we don’t pick you up every time we need to get you from one place to the next. We walk ahead and you crawl behind us like a madman.

You have this habit, however, that’s frustrating, mostly because it’s taught me something about myself.

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Why It’s Pointless To Bargain With God

Dear Lewis,

Our family has spent the past few weeks getting ready for a major change. For the next several months we’re going to live with your grandma and grandpa. I don’t want to scare you, but I do want to be honest with you – you’re going to live in the suburbs for a while.

Lewis, sometimes you have to spend seasons of your life in places you’d rather not be. I can assure you, if God leads you there it will be worth it, and you will get far more than you bargained for.

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It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times

Dear Lewis,

Yesterday you embarked on an epic adventure. You left the apartment around 9:30am and walked 8 blocks to the train stop. As you rode along, you watched the world around you with wide-eyed wonder. Your first time on the train you rode the rails like a pro. Two trains, one transfer, and forty minutes later you arrived at the airport.

But your adventure had only just begun.

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Why Every Father Should Be Scared To Pray

Dear Lewis,

This world is a dangerous place. Every second people are being killed in wars, uprisings, riots, and over stupid things – like energy drinks.

Before you were born your mom and I asked the question: “Do we really want to bring a child into this world?” I’m sure my parents had the same fears, and their parents before them.

Now comes the hard part. Now comes the part where I tell you why, in spite of the state of the world, we decided to have kids:

We believe you can change the world.

I’m not patronizing you, Lewis. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky platitude. This is the most terrifying confession of my life.

This is why I’m scared to pray.

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The 135-Day Life Of My Hero: Corbin McHenry

Dear Lewis,

I have a handful of heroes. Most of them you’ll meet at some point in your life. There are three, however, you probably won’t. I’ve never even met them. But they’ve changed our family forever.

Corbin, Kara and Shane McHenry came into our lives while you were still in your mom’s belly. Corbin was born on April 4th, 2013 with a rare genetic condition called Trisomy 13.

Trisomy 13 affects almost all the organs, so doctors say the condition is incompatible with life. The doctors told Corbin’s parents he had less than a 1% chance of being born alive.

Lewis, with God, statistics can be overcome.

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The Plan Of A Lifetime: A Letter From Papa

Dear Lewis,

I’m in an airplane as I write this, flying with your Nani to see some good friends in a country called Guatemala. When you get older you and I will go visit them, and we can climb a live volcano and throw stuff in the lava just to watch it burn (your Uncle Nik and I did that once and it was awesome – except when I burned my eyelashes and eyebrows off and thought for a minute that I was blind).  We’ll tell your mom that we’re going to Ted Drewes for ice cream – by the time we’re found out we should be halfway to Mexico.

Anyway, I wanted to write you to tell you about something that I am just now beginning to understand about God, something that I would have never begun to grasp if it weren’t for your dad and you.

Here it is: the God of the Bible is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It may not sound that exciting to you, so let me tell you what I mean.

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When We Recognize God’s Voice

Dear Lewis,

It finally happened. There’s not a doubt in my mind. It took 5 months and 11 days, but it happened.

Your mom called this afternoon to talk about buying a basket she’d found to hold your toys. When I responded, she couldn’t hear me because you were making loud cooing noises and excited squeals. It took her a minute, but she got you to be quiet, and we finished our conversation.

A few hours later she called again. And, again, she couldn’t hear what I was saying because of the noises you were making.

Right before I left work your mom called to ask if I’d stop off to get a pizza for dinner. As I tried to ask what toppings she wanted you started in with your high-pitched squeals and Gollum-like cackles.

Your Uncle Josh called while I was waiting at the pizza place. We had a good chat that ended right as I was opening the door to our apartment. I stood in the entryway, arrested by your bright eyes and broad smile. That’s when your mom said it:

“He recognizes your voice.”

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Why You Shouldn’t Trust “God’s Plan”

Dear Lewis,

One of the most important things I can teach you applies both to writing and God’s plans: don’t get too attached to your original idea.

When you get a flash of inspiration for a story, sit and write about the idea for 10 minutes, and watch how the original idea evolves. Then do it again for another 10 minutes, then another, and then another. In a short period of time your original idea, which is still in there somewhere, will be so much bigger, deeper and greater than you first imagined.

My point is your idea of the story is never the whole story.

Especially with God.

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