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Strength to Care

Lessons from Matthew & Isaac – Our CHARGE Syndrome Journey

Ever “miss the boat…?”

I can identify with this cartoon. It is a popular Hallmark/Shoebox greeting card drawn by artist Dan Regan. I can relate because I very well could be one of those dinosaurs. I can easily miss things the first, or second or the twentieth time I see or read something. I can get comfortable in the routine and often miss the obvious. I took the advice recently from author Dan Miller who was describing breaking habits or being in a rut…he mentions driving a different route to work, trying a new restaurant, reading a book on a new subject to stimulate a new idea or a fresh look at things. I drove different routes to work on several days last week. Instead of the same boring commute listening to mindless chatter on the radio I saw some amazing things. A new strip mall nearly full that I never noticed before, deer in a different field, turkeys in another, a housing development that is now almost full. I noticed because I pulled myself out of the routine. The best part of this exercise…all of the new things I just mentioned are on my “normal” route.

I am having fun thinking about the many times Matthew has a moment of “I get it!” When he see’s something new and puts two things together for the first time. He gets a confident smile, almost smug. He did this recently after our trip to Tennessee and our stay at a hotel with a pool. We don’t get out much and It has been a long time since we have stayed somewhere with a pool and hot tub…Matthew loved it! Especially the hot tub where the water was warmer. A few weeks later we were reading a book together. It was one of his alphabet letter books that he has read more than a thousand times. This one was the letter “S” with all the pages and subjects beginning with that letter. We breezed throught it several times and he placed it back on our entertainment center where the rest of the letter books are stored and went to his room. About 20 minutes later he came out, grabbed the “S” book from the shelf, walked over to me, opened the page to the word “swimming” with the painting of a boy swimming…with a confident smile on his face and a giggle he signed “like…swim”. I laughed with him, signed it over and over with him and carried on for several minutes…all while having a glow in my heart and a HUGE smile on my face.

While re-reading, for a third time in the past few years a book by Dr. David Schwartz named The Magic of Thinking BIG, I was drawn to his chapter on being an effective leader. He talked about different styles of leadership…the most effective leader is the one who puts the interests of those he leads in front of his own.

It is amazing how this one line and a little reflection in my prayer/quiet led me to pulling my family aside and appologizing to them for not being the leader I should be and for not living up to the confidence they put in me. I explained to them that even though we are all doing the right things outside our home…it is often the hardest and most demanding to do all the right things inside our home. Have I ever been missing the boat on this one. Even by doing all the right things It is often easier to serve, to do bible studies, to worship to lead outside the doors of my own home. I need to step-it-up even more when I walk through that front door after a hard day at work by living these words from the apostle Paul:

“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:1-4

I would like to think that my reaction to Matthew’s “I get it” moment was somewhat like my heavenly Father had when I opened my eyes to this oversight…to not let my tenderness, compassion and my being united with Christ end when I am done serving for the day and walk in the door of my own home.

My goal from now on…serve and not expect to be served.

Many have asked if it is okay to share this blog about our Lessons from Matthew…not only is okay, but we emphatically ask that you would. We welcome any chance to show how good God is and how he is working through the power of prayer. You may share by using the link buttons below. I would also love the opportunity to speak and share Matthew with your group, small or large and share our family story. Check out the “Want Kevin to Speak at Your Event” tab at the top of this page.


  1. Kent Julian


    Thanks for sharing your family’s life with us. The insights gleaned from reading your posts are usually profound, yet simple. Isn’t that just like life? What is often the most profound are the simple things in life.

    Also, I love your focus on serving. I just presented at a Future Business Leaders of America Conference in Philly this past weekend. One of my sessions was on “Goal Setting.” I talked a lot about how self-serving goals are “dead” goals…and that the only goals worth pursuing are ones that focus on serving and adding value. Amazingly, if we “sow” goals that serve and add value, over time we will “reap” a harvest of value in our lives as well. Amazing how that works 🙂

    Again, thanks for sharing!

    Kent Julian

    1. Anonymous

      Thanks for the kind words Kent. We do tend to complicate life…Matthew has a way of showing us how to simplify things.

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