On Saying Goodbye…

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David Dendy and his 90 year old “girlfriend” Bettie Lively!

The anticipation was great. At 10:04 am yesterday morning with bated breath I knocked on the door of her apartment. I heard her approach. The door knob turned and the door swung open with my girlfriend’s fifty-seven inch tall frame standing there with her bright eyes looking up to mine. Her sweet upbeat voice sounded exasperated as she said, “Where have you been?! I’ve been waiting all morning for you.” (I was four minutes late.)

Her arms shot up in the air as I bent my seventy-four inch tall frame down to meet her diminutive stature. We embraced and as we parted, her ninety-year old hands clasped the sides of my face as she planted a “smooch” right on my lips. We laughed in spite of ourselves.

We sat down in our usual spots and the hour long conversation began.
I gave her a signed copy of my book (Seeing God at Work Every Day – The Forty-Day Challenge… available at Amazon.com). She was thrilled to know that I had undertaken the task of writing a book. It fit perfectly on her little lap and she held on to it the whole time we talked as if it were some treasured family heirloom.

I told stories that I have told her hundreds of times before. Because of her memory loss issues, each retelling of the same ol story is met with glee, wonder and awe as Bettie many times replies, “You don’t mean it! Did that really happen? Oh my…”

Yes, Bettie, they really did happen. And that is what is so wonderful about our relationship. It is built on 20 plus years of laughter, tears, unbelievable and ridiculous stories of frivolity and much, much more.

One of my favorite stories of Bettie that I will take to my grave is about eighteen years ago she said to me, “David, I am old enough to be your grandmother. Twenty years earlier I would have been old enough to be your mother. And twenty years before that I would have run off with you!” I have no doubt we would have!!

The conversation came around to “what else is going on in your life David.”
And then I broke the news…
I am moving to Las Vegas to be the pastor of the Mountain View Presbyterian Church.
Bettie’s arms went up in the air as she proclaimed, “Oh that’s wonderful!”
She followed that up with, “When do you leave?”
“This Sunday” was my reply as I watched the wheels in her ninety year old brain churn away, processing the timeline of what I had just stated.

Her eyes moistened, her face became a little scrunched and she looked right at me through her spectacles and said, “So…this is the last time I am going to see you…”

I hesitated in my response and then finally said the word that was on the tip of my quivering lip, “Yes…”

We both cried in the reality of our impending circumstance. She waved her hands in front of her face as some women are wont to do, as if the waving of the hands in front of our teared up eyes will somehow make the flowing tears dry up.

The conversation continued for another twenty minutes or so..
She told me about how great her life has been and how she is ready for the Lord to take her.
She said, “David, every now and then someone really special comes along in your life and you never want to say goodbye. You are one of those people for me David.”
I nodded in agreement.
Bettie lives in a retirement home and she lamented about the population of the home by saying, “It is so hard here in some respects. Every day someone is dying and it is so hard to say goodbye over and over, day after day.”
I nodded in agreement. (What else was I going to do…)

I knelt before her and I took her little hands into my big hands. Feeling the softness of her aged hands against mine, humbled me to the core as I contemplated the number of years those hands had lived and clasped in prayer and reached out in love and held others in sweet care.

How blessed am I to have been held by those hands.
I offered a prayer through choked up tears.
We walked to the door and kissed each other and with me standing on one side of the threshold and with Bettie on the other side holding the door exactly the same way she held it one hour before, I looked down at her and she looked up at me and with great love in our voices we said, “Goodbye…”

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday…

What is it about saying, “Goodbye” that is so difficult?
If I spent a good thirty minutes on this I have no doubt that I could articulate an answer in a way that would strike at the heart of the matter. But in another sense, if I did that I just might be limiting my experience and your experience by the confounds of some written down English words.

So… how about if you let your own mind and heart ponder that thought…
What is it about saying, “Goodbye” that is so difficult?

I have had to say “goodbye” to a number of people recently. It is difficult, heartbreaking and challenging.
Even when Jesus went to the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus wept. (John 11:35).

And so in my ever increasing desire to be like Jesus, I will do the same…
on saying goodbye to Bettie…
and to many others…

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not! (Cry often too!)
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

PS – I have included a video by one of my favorite artists, Michael W. Smith singing, “How to Say Goodbye”

One Single Keystroke…


My wife Julie is perhaps the most organized person I have ever met. Everything in its place and a place for everything. Her computer files are no different.
She has multiple files in her email account for a host of various things, from cleaning products to devotionals to popular authors (I am waiting for my name to be added to the list!!).
Last night I was watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament (aka March Madness) while Julie was organizing and cleaning up some files.
All of a sudden her face became all scrunched up and the words “oh no” escaped her lips like they were in slow motion. Everything sort of became “slow motion” as if watching some sort of train wreck. “Oh no” once again rushed out signaling what was thought to be an impending train wreck was indeed a massive pile up of train cars spilling every which way all over the track.
All of her email files had been deleted with “One Single Keystroke…”

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday…

I made my way over to the other couch to look over her shoulder…
The cursor on the screen hovered over the “Personal” file folder…Zero messages!
The cursor quickly made its way down to the “Business” file folder… Zero messages!
The cursor quickly made its way down to the “Devotional” file folder… Zero messages!

And so this frantic moving of the cursor continued over and over with the same result in EVERY file folder!
Every email message… GONE!
I mean… gone, bye-bye, see ya, adios, and don’t let the door hit ya on the behind on the way out!

Did you know God has a “Delete” button when it comes to our shortcomings, our mistakes, our mess ups, our hang ups, our sins?

It’s called Forgiveness…

Check this out…
We all have tons of file folders for our sins…
Greed
Judging others
Gossip
Pornography
Dishonesty
Lying
Cheating
Envy
Pride
Gluttony
And the list goes on and on…

And here’s the remarkable, literally mind blowing fact…
When we ask God for forgiveness, He erases every file folder of sin with:

ONE SINGLE KEYSTROKE!

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
    and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8: 12 ESV)

“I, I am he
    who blots out your transgressions for my own sake,
    and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43: 25 ESV)

Find that hard to believe?
Yeah, me too…
But, it’s true!
The file folders are empty, the weight of the burden has been relieved!
We are forgiven!
We are free!
We have a God who remembers our sins no more…all because of one single keystroke called the cross..

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

ps – Now, if we could only find Julie’s files…

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Hold On!!!

The Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show is the world’s largest such event. For three weeks each year the city of Houston is inundated with “Cowboy” lingo and rodeo happenings. The Rodeo is a charitable event that raises millions of dollars every year for educational scholarships. Everything from art, to pigs, goats, steers, bulls, cows, rabbits and sheep are offered on the auction block with dedicated philanthropists offering thousands upon thousands of dollars for the cause.

Each night there is a concert held at the NRG Stadium (where the NFL Houston Texans football team plays), The other night our whole family went to the rodeo and enjoyed a rousing performance by famous country singer Alan Jackson.

Each day in the late afternoon before the concert, a full blown rodeo takes place…
Calf scramble, barrel racing, calf roping, bareback bronco riding, steer wrestling, mutton busting and team roping all get the crowd of 70,000 people worked up in enthusiastic applause.

But…
But…
But…
Nothing gets the crowd worked up into a frenzy like the last event of the night…
Bull Riding!

Here’s the goal of the event.
Jump on the back of a writhing, wiggling, animated, angry, two thousand pound bull while holding on to a rope with one hand and remain on this bull’s back for 8 seconds.

Count ’em… eight seconds…
1…2…3…4…5…6…7…8…
Not very long.
However, in bull riding eight seconds is an eternity!

Eight of the strongest, toughest and experienced cowboys that you would ever meet lined up to test their strength, willpower and ability against eight bulls.

Over the eight cowboys that participated I noticed a pattern with the crowd of 70,000 strong..
With the bull rider right out of the gate there was modest applause.
Two seconds later people were leaning on the edge of their seats.
At four seconds the applause and screaming was borderline frenzy. The fact that the rider was only halfway through the ride was beside the point.
At six seconds everyone was on their feet, pounding the ground with their feet, yelling at the top of their lungs.
At seven seconds the deafening applause and sound was overwhelming as the crowd was becoming apoplectic!
At seven and half seconds you could not hear yourself think. The crowd is collectively thinking, praying, screaming, yelling, “Hold On for a half a second more!!!”
At eight seconds, the horn blares signaling that the rider has “won”. No one in the crowd hears the horn. A bright red light goes off letting everyone know that eight seconds is up. At this point it is as if this cowboy has hit the winning shot in a NBA championship game. People are going crazy with high-fives, laughter and simple, pure amazement.

Of the eight bull riders we cheered on only two were able to hold on for eight seconds…
The rest were thrown off like rag dolls.
Some didn’t last two seconds.
One lasted seven and half seconds.
The end result was simple, blunt and to the point – They couldn’t HOLD ON…

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday…

As a pastor I have the distinct privilege and honor of watching bull riding every day.
Let me be clear, I am not watching real live bulls doing their best to buck their respective riders off.
Then again, let me be clear, I am watching real live cowboys and cowgirls riding their proverbial bulls of life and doing their very best with all their strength to do one thing and one thing alone… Hold On!!!

I see cowboys and cowgirls struggle through marriages that are devoid of life, joy and love.
I see cowboys and cowgirls getting jacked all over the place in dysfunctional families, work places and relationships.
I am watching a cowgirl right now ride the bull of widowhood. She’s only a second or two into the ride.
I am watching a cowboy deal with the bull of betrayal and mistrust as a valuable employee ended up embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This list could go on and on…
With each rider my prayer and cheer is always the same – “HOLD ON!!!”

Sixteen years ago I was on a mission trip to the Pacific Northwest. One one particular day we broke into teams of ten and went through a ropes/obstacle course. The idea behind the exercise was to build team work.

Our particular team had a great time going through the obstacle course. The last obstacle was the 12 foot high wall. The objective was to get everyone on team to the other side. At the top of the wall on the “other” side was a landing a few feet down, so as to ensure that no one went flying over the other top of the wall and then had to drop down twelve feet.

The leader of the exercise informed us that no team had ever gotten all 10 members to the other side of the wall.

We strategized and dealt with the smaller members of the team first – We basically just grabbed them by the arms and tossed them up to the top of the wall!! After eight of us had made it over there were just two left. Joe Bill Whittenburg (How’s that for a good ol’ Texas name!) and me.

Joe Bill climbed his way to a standing position on my shoulders. It took several attempts. And then he was able to jump off my shoulders and grab hold to the top of the wall. Soon he was over the top and standing on the landing on the other side.

Now the question remained. How do I get over? I cannot jump twelve feet in the air and grab the top of the wall.
I ran toward the wall, jumped up and placed my foot on the wall and tried to push off. Joe Bill leaned over the wall and tried to grab my hand. We were about six inches shy. The second attempt yielded the same result.

The leader of the exercise stood on the side with a smirk on his face that simply stated, “I told you so…”

On the third attempt I jumped just high enough for Joe Bill to grab my wrist and I was able to grab Joe Bill’s wrist.
I hung there in mid-air with my body swaying and bumping into the wall over and over again.

Joe Bill shouted, “Pull yourself up!”
I laughed out loud. In my exhaustion, all I could utter was, “I can’t. I’m too tired.”

And then something happened that I never thought was possible.
Joe Bill began to pull.
Joe Bill’s biceps bulged and his face turned bright red as he literally single handedly started pulling me up the wall.
The other campers started to cheer! My team was yelling, “Hold On! You can do it!”
Joe Bill pulled me up high enough for me to swing my foot up to the top of the wall. Except my foot fell short. I tried again and another person caught my shoe lace.

I was hanging eleven feet in the air by a strong grip and a shoelace.
Another member leaned over the wall and grabbed my leg and within seconds I was over the wall.
We all jumped up and down in complete joy and exhaustion. Joe Bill and I embraced. Forever in my memory bank he will remain as the true cowboy who pulled me up and over the wall.

Joe Bill and I looked down from the wall at our “leader.” All we could do is shout and whoop and holler in the simple joy of an amazing accomplishment and feat!

Here’s my question for you:

Who was holding on to who as I scaled that twelve foot wall?
Was I holding on to Joe Bill or was Joe Bill holding on to me?

Since I was there and experienced it firsthand the answer is obvious to me…
Joe Bill was holding on to me!

Now listen here…
Earlier in my writing today, I said that when I watch these cowboys and cowgirls ride the proverbial bulls of life my prayer is, “HOLD ON!!!”

To whom do you think I am directing my plea?
I am not praying that my cowboy and cowgirl friends will HOLD ON.
Left to their own strength and devices they can’t hold on. They won’t hold on.
They’re tough and strong, but not tough and strong enough. They will let go. They will get bucked off and land on their butt in the dirt.

My prayer is to the One who will never let go!
Oh dear Lord, you see my friends riding the bulls of their life… Oh dear Lord one plea I pray…
HOLD ON!!!

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:29 ESV)

SeeingGodatWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

Seeing God at Work Every Day – The Forty Day Challenge

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I am very pleased to announce the publication of my first book!!!

“Seeing God at Work Every Day – The Forty-Day Challenge.”

This book/devotional is an interactive journal that stops you from being a spectator in the bleachers of life and places you right in the middle of the field, where God is at work every day.

Combining observations from everyday interactions and encounters we face on a daily basis with scripture lessons and spiritual insights, this book will take you on a forty-day challenge that will change the way you see life and how God is at work every day!

Is God really at work every day through parking meters, dimmer switches, name tags, oxygen masks on airplanes, Gorilla Glue, Wite-Out, state patrol officerss, and Superman?

Open the book, open your eyes, open your heart, and discover the everlasting joy and fun of Seeing God at Work Every Day!

Available now at

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-God-Work-Every-Day/dp/1490868836/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426012946&sr=8-1&keywords=David+Dendy

Thank you for your support.
I thank God for this honor to write about  witnessing His handiwork on a daily basis!

Grace and peace,
Laugh often and Fear not!

David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

You will not believe…

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Her eyes were fixed.
Her gaze intense.
She had me in the crosshairs of her focus.
She had found me at the reception standing up against a wall actively engaged in conversation with a friend.
Her steps were deliberate.
Her approach was straight and direct.
Our eyes met, we smiled knowingly toward one another.
With a smooth, matter of fact motion she stuffed a square envelope into my side pocket on my suit jacket.
Four syllables escaped from her smiling face… “Read it later.”
And then we hugged and caught up as friends do that haven’t seen each other in several years.

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…

Hours later…
after the eating,
after the greetings,
after the meetings
I reached into my pocket and read the card…
On the outside – 13 pre-printed words in black ink…
On the inside – 76 handwritten words in blue ink…

The outside of the card read like this:

You will not believe
how glad I am
that I have met you

My heart skipped a beat. My lungs took a deeper breath. My pulse quickened. My eyesight blurred as tears filed my eyes.
I read the words over again in stunned and moving silence – You will not believe how glad I am that I have met you

Inside the card the flowing penmanship of blue ink offered seventy-six words of gratitude, expressions of thankfulness, thoughts of care and grace.

How long do you think this act of grace and care and love will last with me?
The answer is: FOREVER!

I wonder how often God slips in a note of appreciation in our pockets…(some of which might go unnoticed for days, months and sometimes years…)

David, you will not believe…
How glad I am that I know you and that you know Me.
How thrilled I am to hear your voice.
How fun it is to plan your life and watch your dreams come true.
How rewarding it is to have you invite me to be a part of your day.
How comforting it is to know that you rest in Me.

David, you will not believe…
The loving sacrifice My Son made on your behalf.
The place I am preparing for you.
The joy that awaits you each day.
The love that enfolds you every moment.
The grace that flows like a never ending stream.

David, you will not believe…
The mercy that is more abundant than the stars in the sky
The power of love that is more majestic than the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean.
The vastness of My goodness that stretches farther than the deserts, the prairies and the plains west of the mighty Mississippi river.
The lengths, the heights, and the depths that I will traverse to show you how much I love you!

David, you will not believe…

How about you?

Will you believe?

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8. 38-39 ESV)

SeeingGodAtWorkEveryday…
Laugh often and Fear not!
David!

David@seeinggodatworkeveryday.com

ps – Thank you to my dear friend who took the time to write 76 uplifting words that truly lifted up my spirits and my soul! May we be inspired to offer the same gift to someone today…