The Tooth Fairy, Jonah, and the Lighthouse

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

It was 0347 one cold, damp June morning. By 0348 I had put up the bounty. The hit was for waking me up so early.

“Mum, the tooth fairy came, the tooth fairy came!” The noise came from the tent across the grass path. The tooth fairy could not collect enough teeth to ever compare with the price on her head. I rolled over and went back to sleep, which was a good thing, as I knew I would spend much energy walking around the immense grounds of the Christian music festival I was attending that weekend.

Sleep was short-lived, as I heard the enthusiastic voice of the young boy talking about various things that mattered so little to me. “Ah, that’s the same voice that sealed that Dental Diva’s fate.” It was before 6am and I wasn’t happy. Should not the responsible parent tell the boy to quiet down so early in the morning? She did not.

I got up out of the tent, getting myself wet in the grass by crawling out as gracefully as my non-bending leg and prosthesis would let me. Some of my campmates were there greeting me for coffee and breakfast.  Naturally, I moaned about the sleep disruptions, imitating the boy’s voice, recounting all that he said. No one else heard it, which made me sound even more grumpy.

I was in the campground for three nights and four days. As time went on, I learned who the little boy was.  He was a very clean-cut kid, and ready to cautiously mix with anyone who would give him the time of day. I learned that he was on the autistic spectrum, and I suspected ADHD was also at play.

I began to feel a bit like Jonah. There I was, having unpleasant thoughts about this young lad (let’s give him a name: Eric). One can be so focused on negative behaviours, any thoughts of sharing Christ are crowded out. I didn’t want to do any acts of Godly charity, I just wanted him to be quiet so I could sleep. I could sleep. I…I…I.  He was the Ninevite in my life. I did not care for his future. His family did not matter to me, I only wanted peace and quiet. What if his family heard me complaining about him?

Oh, my grumpy soul.

The last day came. Campers were packing their wet tents and bags. There was a quiet, peaceful buzz. People seemed occupied with their tasks, but not too hurried. Then I heard Eric’s voice again. He was no longer rejoicing over the Tooth Fairy. He was singing a song by Rend Collective, which he undoubtedly heard two nights earlier. “My Lighthouse, My Lighthouse…”. It was a repeated phrase. Ben, one of my fellow campers, joined in chorus, helping Eric with his words.

Later, I was sitting in my own little tent, rolling up my sleeping bag, my legs sticking out of the flap. Eric came close, curiously looked in, and began singing:

“My Lighthouse, my lighthouse…” he paused.

I smiled. “Shining in the darkness, I will follow you,” I sang, pointing back at him.

“My lighthouse, my lighthouse…”

I continued: “I will trust the promise, you will carry me safe to shore”

Together “oh oh oh oh oh oooohhh.”

One person in that duet was the same as he was going into that camp. It wasn’t me. I had gone from being a grumpy fairy-hatin’ fool to someone caring about this boy’s soul and his future.

As I continued packing my damp belongings, I came across my headlamp. Eric had flitted off somewhere else by then, and I was seeing the obvious. I strapped the headlamp on my head, switching it on and off one last time. It went to my pocket while I carried everything else to my van. I went back to the site one last time for a look around.  On my way back out, there was Eric, with a young lady who may have been his mother.

“Hey, young man, it’s been nice to meet you.” The lady smiled. I asked, “Who’s your Lighthouse?” Not sure about my question, he answered “Rend Collective.” Excellent observation, I thought. “Well, I hope one day, you’ll find Jesus as your lighthouse.” You can be like this light right here. I showed him my headlamp and he said “wow, can I have it?” This was not a rude question. Eric was very quick to see things and he saw that I was giving it to him. As I showed him how it worked his mother said, “God bless you.”

I don’t know how long Eric will keep that light. He could lose it tomorrow, break it, throw it away or keep it. I have Hollywood movie-type images of him getting it out as an adult, the song in his head, thinking about the not-so-grumpy guy who gave it to him just before he goes out to preach a sermon from John 8:12.

Maybe. Or maybe one day he won’t have that light any more, but vaguely remember the seed that was planted many years ago. Maybe that seed will grow into a living faith. As for me, I am thankful that I did not have to sit in the shade of a giant gourd, only to have it eaten by a big worm. Instead, I drove home in the rain, thankful for Eric and God who gracefully worked on my heart.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. (Matthew 5:14)

My Life is a Sock Drawer

Recently, I couldn’t close my own sock drawer after diving in there for a sock. It was then that I reflected on the days when I used to pair my socks together. I coupled up sock brothers for decades, just as my mother did. One sock’s opening was folded over by the opening of its brother. They stayed together this way. When my right leg was removed, this was no longer necessary.

Or so I thought. Now my sock drawer has descended into complete chaos. Monumental mayhem. As I ventured into this anarchy the other day, it dawned on me that this is how my life feels. So let’s go with this muddled metaphor for a minute. Let each sock represent a piece of my life, and let’s see how you can relate. I will pick one sock at a time, in no particular order (because there is no order in chaos).

Let one represent housework. Another can be Rejoicing Bones blogging, one is YouTube creation, and another is the podcast (this is the short sport sock). One is the charity work I’m doing. Oops – here’s a Christmas sock – let this one be the game I play on my iPad – too often. Another is pain. If this had a brother, it would be pain management. A few of these can be family. One is paying bills. I’ve also got one that represents something like property management.

But wait – what’s this I see as I dig my way to the bottom? (I know I’m not the only one that stores miscellaneous objects in my sock drawer, am I)? What do we have here? A beautiful stone that means a lot to my wife, Kathy, and me. It has one word written on it: Peace.

Maybe it’s time to pair my socks up again. It seems to be tidier. It feels more organized and space-efficient. My drawer sure could use this. So could my life. So could my brain. And so could yours.

Let me encourage you to check your own sock drawer. Is it in dastardly disarray? Does your life feel the same? If so, then I suspect you don’t have peace. I can’t suggest how to empty your life of things that consume your mind. I can’t guide you to unto organization. Not now anyway. But I can suggest that you prioritize what you think about and how much time is devoted to which thoughts. Think of God, being with Him and pray. Ask for the Holy Spirit to bring out the fruit of love, joy, peace…Paul said in Romans 8:6 that “…the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

In short, flooding our minds on stuff to do can overwhelm us and distract us from the presence of the Father. Let stuff become small and God be big. Stop trying to think about, and do, everything all at once. Think of one thing at a time. Be still. I had a friend who reminds me that we are called human beings, not human doings.

Let me leave you with these scriptures to meditate on:

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18)

Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Deep Dark Funk, Affliction and Joy

Hello viewers, listeners and readers! I can’t believe it’s February already. I’ve been in the twilight zone for the last couple of months.
I wanna apologise for the lack of content (!!);
though the Rejoicing Bones YouTube channel only has 64 subscribers at the moment, and the podcast has just a few, every single one you are important to me, and so are any people who my stumble across this content.

Why? Why are they important to me? Because I have an excellent message. It’s the message of the Gospel,
but it’s a unique message through the story of joy and affliction.

I’m positive that this is helpful to all people – to everyone on the planet; Christians because they can live a victorious life with joy in God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ – like never before. To those who aren’t Christians, because they may come to understand where the only source of joy comes from.

All this being said, please allow me to explain where I’ve been – why I’ve been away so long.
As some of you know, I had to go to Michigan early last December. This was because of a concerning family situation. Being in Michigan took some difficult emotional adjustments, and taking care of the things I went for was mentally taxing.
Then I got covid. This knocked me on my back for a few weeks.

Meanwhile, while I was there, I got myself off of the two pains medications that I was on.
When I got back, I was feeling pretty good. Pain was low, spirits were up —I had delivered my first post-amputation talk while still in Michigan. It turned out well simply because people were talking about it afterwards and exploring some difficult events and how they can get on with life.

However, after a full-on week when I got back here in the UK, the pain in Sgt Stubby began to rise. By last Friday, it was unbearable. I wept. I felt so defeated. So I had to surrender and get back on the meds.

So, in short, due to the emotional and mental strain of the last few months, and the pain I experience, I’ve been knocked on my back side.

I don’t share this for pity – certainly not! I share this because of what I’ve been reminded and what I want to pass on to you, whether you’re struggling with affliction now, will in the future, or have in the past and are still trying to make sense of it.

The morning after my worst attack of pain, I opened up Desiring God’s devotional, “Solid Joy.” I have to do this to get my mind focused on God when I get up, because, believe me, I don’t want to get up at all.

In God’s true from, he sovereignly had this devotional waiting for me: It’s called “Five Ways Affliction Helps.” I’ll leave a link below in the description. You can listen or read it or both.
But let me summarise now:
1) Takes away the glibness of life
2) Affliction knocks worldly props out from under us and forces to rely on God (even the medical community, who I’m prone to run to before I even pray!)
3) Affliction makes us search the scripture
4) Affliction brings us into partnership of Christ’s sufferings
5) Affliction mortifies deceitful and distracting fleshly desires and sins. Amen! I see it in my own life now!

So if you’re suffering for some reason – any reason at all, let me encourage you to read in more detail what I have in this devotional. Or listen or both. I’ve found this all to be true in the last four and a half years since my leg-redesign. It was a timely reminder from God that it’s all true.

Five Ways Affliction Helps:

Watch the above script in my video by clicking here:

Or sign up and listen to the podcast:

Let me part with this short verse:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Remember the Lonely

To some, loneliness is an affliction.

It isolates you.

You’re in a room – like some kind of quarantine.

But this is a light and momentary affliction. Remember The baby Jesus was born so that he could go and prepare a place for you in his father’s house, which has many rooms.

To some, loneliness is a darkness. A cloud of obscurity.

You feel invisible.

But the true light of the world has come so that he could call you a friend and brother or sister.

To some, loneliness is a wall. It divides you from others who don’t know or care how you feel.

But Jesus came so that the veil between you and your father would be torn away.

In Jesus, we have a High Priest who is able to empathise.

Jesus was born to become the loneliest man in the history of mankind; all his friends would leave him and he would feel the darkest of separations from his Father. Jesus was born to die.

In this – in this he would purchase a relationship for you with his Father and that takes us into His presence forever. Here is the fullness of joy.

Or watch here

Click here to watch the video:

Or hear the podcast to listen while you follow along:

New Podcast Published

This is just a short blurb to say that I have successfully published the first Rejoicing Bones Podcast.

At the moment, you can find it at Spotify, Amazon and Google. Just go to one of those and search Rejoicing Bones. iTunes should be soon.

You can also listen to the same content on YouTube. Just click here:

The podcast is an explanation of the accident that changed my life forever, a brief explanation of Rejoicing Bones and the name, and the format of future podcasts.

Please don’t forget to subscribe; the content and productions are only going to get better!

Be joyful. Be restored.

Blog to Get Matching Podcast!

Hello, readers! Do have any subscribers left? I haven’t blogged in a long time. This is because I was involved in a legal settlement involving the accident I was in (which you can read a little about here at “Why My Bones Rejoice“). But now I’m free!

Getting the message about the importance (an obtainability!) of joy is so important to me, so I’m using every means possible to do so. So Rejoicing Bones will not be just a blog, but it will be a vlog and Podcast, all done uniformly to tell the same story. Some of my blogs will be read and turned into audio blogs for those like me who struggle to read sometimes.

Together, let’s discover the secret to Invincible Joy. It’s there to be had!

Eternal Mindset for Mental Health

In the last three years since an accident mangled my legs, and in the last five months since half my leg was removed, people have told me that I am an inspiration.  Each time I hear that, different feelings well up.  Sometimes I feel inspiration myself.  I am humbled.  Sometimes I feel confused.  I wonder in what way people are inspired.  Does it mean they will change something? 

Sometimes when I’m told I’m an inspiration, I feel guilty.  This is because I feel fraudulent.  My family has seen how sensitive I can be.  They see how my moods swing increasingly as time goes by.  My wife, Kathy, as seen me crumble and cry.  When I think of this, along with the number of times I’ve fallen while trying to learn to walk again, an inspiration is the last thing I could be to anyone.  Or is it? 

I’ve never tried to inspire someone – it just happens, I think.  But let’s try this once.  Meet me where I am right now – in one of my very low places.  Let’s talk to our souls together and ask “why, my soul, are you downcast?”  Why so disturbed within me?”  (Psalm 42:5). 

Then let your soul answer.  My soul would answer “I am downcast because my body always has pain and it doesn’t work the way it used to.  It’s being fed drugs that don’t help the mood.  I am stressed over a very long, gruelling legal process.  I’m so tired. I feel useless.”  

(You fill in the blank here – what would your soul say? __________________________________________)  

Then let’s comfort our souls together and say, “Put your hope in God, for I will praise him, my Saviour and my God (Psalm 42:5).    

Then let’s focus on our very real, eternal future: “My soul, I ‘…do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary afflictions are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”’ (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)  

“And, soul, even if my circumstances were far worse, I could still say the same: that they are light and momentary afflictions or troubles.  The glory I’ll share with Christ forever in person will outweigh them all by far!”    

Now read Psalm 42 and 43 until your soul agrees that he or she thirsts for the fountain of living water — God, my joy and my delight.    

Pain: It’s About the Heart

All trials come down to being a heart issue. Last night I experienced the worst pain I’ve felt since my legs were mangled almost three years ago. It was relentless and prevented me from sleeping. How does one get through these issues? Here are three things that help me:

1. Gratitude

Yes, that’s right, I said gratitude. What’s to be thankful for when you discover phantom limb pains are not so phantom at all? They’re the real deal and your nerves are miss-firing every which way while your brain turns up the amps and tries to find something. Well, I’m thankful:

a. that I’m not experiencing this in a war zone without proper medical attention.

b. for the fact that I’m driven to Christ.

c. that this episode signifies a new chapter and the possibility of thriving mobility.

d. for verses like James 1:2-4 which are even more real than phantom pains. We are sanctified through these things.

How is this all measured? By our response.

In this case, it’s my response to pain and sleeplessness. Do I get grumpy in the morning because my rubber toast is cold? (It must be said that this is my fault – it took me a while to get to my breakfast. The food here is very good). No I must thank God that I have any food at all while I am experiencing this painful thing.

Another thing that helps me is:

2. Eternal perspective

Yes, that’s right – an eternal perspective. This is temporary; a blink of an eye in light of eternity (and a glorious eternity it is!). 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 covers this well and in light of suffering.

One more thing:

3. God’s Word

God’s Word helps me most, accompanied by the Holy Spirit who makes it real and makes the change inside of me. I can’t cherry pick what I think are the sweet promises of God and not go to the rock-solid passages I list below. No, I must get to the heart of what God is doing and He says what that is in the passages like these. I pray you’ll find the comfort I have if or when you are struggling.

God is good and builds us. What a tremendous tool box he has!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope…Romans 5:2-4

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Real Romance: A Tribute

When I met my wife, Kathy, we both confessed to being hopeless romantics. I knew this was a good sign. Our relationship progressed rather quickly. Our claims proved to be true, as our times together included flowers (especially roses), dinner at an Italian restaurant with just the right lighting, dancing with flickering candles to our favourite ballads, and me opening the car door for her.

These were the kinds of things we were hoping for in a relationship and it ticked boxes for both of us. We had normal expectations of any new relationship that seems to be going well. We’d date, get engaged when the time is right, and get married with a big ceremony. The marriage would also be full of romance, we’d pool our resources, and do pretty well from the world’s perspective.

That romantic idea was just an idyllic dream. It wasn’t long before we had a better one. I’d crash my motorcycle (with someone else’s “assistance”), mangle my legs, and end up in the hospital for almost two months. I’d propose to her in the hospital, marry her in the registrars office, and honeymoon in the hospital because of an infection. We’d be apart for over a month after that as I went to a live-in rehab centre.

Our dates from then on involved her driving, loading my wheelchair into the car, and then helping me push myself to our destination.

For almost our whole time together, Kathy has been acting as caregiver to varying degrees (which involved unmentionable help with personal care in the early days). She has gone through every minute of my pain, which has been great pain at times! She has taken part in the struggle to regain some abilities and she helped me figure out how to walk again with crutches. We have ridden the rollercoaster together of hospital appointments and disappointments. Hopes were dashed and dreams were revised.

Kathy has had to relive the single life again numerous times due to extended hospital stays and we kept our hearts warmed over video the best we could. We accepted together that limb reconstruction had failed and amputation was inevitable (indeed, beneficial). There were (only brief) discussions about post-amputation attraction and renewed talk of commitment and loyalty.

Yes, that is romance – romance at its best. This is a romance that shows the love of a sacrificial, servant-hearted God to the world. I am blessed.