October 14, 2021

The past couple of weeks, the past couple of months, the past couple of years, the past couple of decades, have been, well, I think each would have its own adjective to add to the list.

But this is not about the past. This is about the pause.

When we only focus on what is unclear, suspicious, damaging, and fail to celebrate what is good, we end up out of balance.

For what God created is good. 

Rooted in truth.

Birthed in love.

And He created all.

Regardless of the past and present swirling or sinking, through the looking glass of my own frustration, loss, anger, sorrow, and failing, I was at Northland at 7 p.m. on June 15 to celebrate what God has made in His image.

And I think we need to pause.

Let me tell you a story about Mark.

When COVID entered the scene,

Mark was in his special needs group home in Kissimmee. Our family had a system. Every other week, someone would visit. Laundry and linen swap, shampoo and toilet paper refills, bathroom cleaning, haircut, nail trim, and a guaranteed trip to Chick-Fil-A for a chocolate milkshake.

Then, suddenly, no more visits.

Months went by.

Our system broke down. And so did Mark.

Quarantined for two weeks,

Fully isolated though asymptomatic.

Covered with facial lesions from 24/7 mask wearing. Hospitalized for over a week with non-COVID issues. Permanent internal damage.




The first family dinner we had at my home, Mark spoke in halting sentences about hospitals. And death. He’d panic and make grunting sounds, then say out loud to no one in particular, “I’m okay. I’m not going to die.” As if trying to reassure himself. One of Mark’s housemates died from COVID. His friend went to the hospital and never came back. Who knows what Mark thought when it was his turn to go in the ambulance?

When we only focus on what is unclear, suspicious, damaging, and fail to celebrate what is good, we end up out of balance.

For a long time, he didn’t make eye contact with anyone other than Mom. And even that was only out of the side of his eyes. The terrified soul of a child desperate for safety.

No turning back now. He was here for the duration. However long that was.

Weeks of rehab went by, trips to specialists, strategic medications, in-home physical therapy, extra helpings at dinner, the body strengthened, the soul still stagnate.

And who stepped in? Jesus. You. Northland.

While the online ministry never stopped, Access Ministries and the Community Arts Connection quickly offered in-person day programs for those with special needs the moment it was deemed safe. Suddenly there was art, singing, music, friends, fun, purpose, and gradually, Mark began to reappear.

On June 15 at 7 p.m. in the Main Sanctuary at Northland Church in Longwood, there was a musical presentation of "Aladdin" performed with more heart and soul than you can imagine. Mark played the role of Jafar, the evil sorcerer out to conquer the world through the power of the magic lamp.

You would never have guessed what he had endured.


Regardless of what has happened... Regardless of what is happening... Regardless of what will happen...

I was at Northland at 7 p.m. on June 15. thank and support those who not only acknowledge but love, honor, and cherish ALL as Imago Dei. celebrate the artistry, the work, the effort of the performers. bask in the uninhibited joy of their accomplishment. cheer for my brother, Mark, who came back to us lost and now is found.

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