Category: Whitney (Page 3 of 10)

Whitney is 24

WhitneyDrinks (768x1024)To my oldest daughter:

For your cheerful personality that brightens up every room,
for the loyalty you show all your friends,
for your selfless acts of service for others,
for your dedication to your job and your co-workers,
for the ways you live and die with your stupid Cowboys,
for your richly embedded competitive nature that lives to win and hates to lose,
for your unquenchable love for our Lord and his people,
for your little quirks that crack me up and bring me so much joy,
for your patience and perseverance when things don’t go your way,
for your deep blue eyes, your tiny ears, and your quadruple-jointed fingers,
for your loving heart and your generous spirit,

I am so very proud of you.WhitneyPinkHat
I’m so blessed to be your dad.
And I love you more than I’ve ever been able to express in words.

Happy Birthday, Whitney.

Central’s Resurrection Video

(Here’s the link to the video — “We Believe” — that goes with the following thoughts from the end of our sermon here at Central this past Sunday. Thank you to everyone who participated.)

“I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!'” ~Revelation 21:3-4


Some of us are battling the challenges of old age. Some of us are bravely struggling against cancer. Some of us are mourning the death of loved ones. Some of us were born with disabilities that have impacted every single minute of our lives. Some of us have been limping for years because of something that happened a long time ago. Maybe your life is marked by some kind of tragedy, some past event. Maybe something really dark. And it still impacts you; it’s shaped your whole life. Some kind of violence or abuse, I don’t know. But there’s a wound in your soul, a deep scar. It’s this cloud that’s hanging over you every day — it’s there when you wake up in the morning and it’s there when you go to bed at night. For years. It’s always there.

“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice in what I will create… the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard no more.” ~Isaiah 65:17-19

No more fight. No more struggle. No more disappointment or depression. No more battling every day trying to forget and move on. Perfect healing forever. The Lord says, “Write this down. These words are trustworthy and true. It is done!”

We put undo hope in things that can’t deliver. We don’t rely on God like we should; we put more trust in ourselves and our stuff. It’s not because we purposefully downplay or reject the promises of God in Scripture. I think it’s because we don’t slow down enough to allow ourselves time to really reflect.


Imagine your own resurrected body. Perfectly healed. Inside and out. Top to bottom — body, spirit, soul, heart, mind — all of you, made perfectly new, completely whole. Can you see that? Whatever the ailment, it’s gone. Whatever the physical limitations, whatever the emotional issues, they’re gone. Whatever walls there are between you and your spouse and between you and your children are gone.

Imagine sitting across the table from that loved one who died years ago and eating and drinking together. And laughing. Imagine introducing me to your grandmother. I can’t wait for you to meet mine. Imagine all the cancer and all the worrying about cancer gone. Imagine the guy in the wheelchair running and jumping and rejoicing. Imagine the friend with Alzheimer’s looking right into your eyes and knowing exactly who you are and remembering perfectly everything you’ve ever done together.

Imagine my daughter not wearing hearing aids and hearing my voice clearly, her almost-surgically-repaired feet made completely whole and not killing her every day, being able to communicate everything she wants to communicate to me, and me being able to understand everything about her the way I want.

And imagine nothing between any of us.

“He said to me, ‘It is done!'” ~Revelation 21:6



23 Skidoo!

WhitBlueEyesShe got her deep blue eyes from her great grandmother. She got her tiny nose and tiny ears from her mom. Her love for game shows and weather casts comes from her grandpa. Her enthusiasm for life is fueled by her many friends. Her passion for sports and her surprising talent for trash-talking is all from her dad. Her fashion sense is continually being shaped by her sisters. Her double-jointed fingers, her obsession with time and schedules, and her uncontrollable laughing? We don’t know where that came from.

Whitney&DadHer sweet spirit, though, comes from her Lord. Her heart, that seeks first to serve others, that is acutely attuned to the needs of others, comes from her Savior who came not to be served but to serve. Loading and unloading the dishwasher almost every day, helping Mary and Sara and our children’s ministry here at Central every week, occasionally bringing the ministers our favorite flavored iced teas, just doing whatever needs to be done — that’s from Christ Jesus. Her optimism, her faith that everything’s going to work out, her trust that she and those around her are going to be OK, comes from God the Father Almighty, the Maker of Heaven and Earth who created her. So laid back and unflappable, so committed to seeing only the very best in people, so dedicated to giving every person the benefit of the doubt — that’s from our God. Her compassion for those who are hurting, her desire to comfort and heal, comes from God’s Spirit who dwells inside her. She rejoices with those who rejoice and mourns with those who mourn, she hugs the hurting and consoles those in pain, she sympathizes with the less fortunate and is truly happy when good things happen to other people — that comes from the Helper, the Comforter.

WhitneySeniorBleacherOur oldest daughter, Whitney Leigh-Anne, turns 23 today. She is a marvelous gift and a tremendous source of joy for her parents and her family and a great blessing to everyone who knows her. We praise God for Whitney, for the countless ways she reflects the glory of our God and for the myriad ways God works through her to touch others. She’s special. Truly unique. Whit-Pit is one of a kind.

Happy Birthday, sweetie. We love you dearly. And we thank God for you daily.


Double Deuce for Whit-Pit

If you’ve met our oldest daughter, Whitney, then you already like her. You like her smile, her good manners, her willingness to serve, her desire to make others happy, and her warmth. You really like that about Whitney.

If you’ve spent any time with her at all, then you already love her. You love her laugh, her bright outlook on life, her gullibility, her passion for her favorite things and favorite people, her silly trash-talk, her fierce loyalty, and her hugs that last for twelve days. It takes about six minutes with her to experience all of that. You already love that about Whitney.

If you are Whitney’s dad…

…well, let me tell you. If you are Whitney’s dad, there’s so much more to love about her that not everybody knows.

I love how hard Whitney tries to do things right. Whether it’s tying her shoes and hitting a baseball as a little girl or learning to drive a car or sack groceries as a young lady, Whitney wants instruction and practice. She focuses on doing things with excellence, doing things the right way. She’s patient, she’s determined, she’s committed. And I love that.

I love Whitney’s optimism and positive disposition in the middle of pain and disappointment. Our oldest girl has suffered plenty of both in her life. You probably already know a little about the meningitis and the surgeries and the results of that time in her childhood that still impact her today. You know about the hearing aids and fine motor skill limitations and balance issues. You haven’t seen her the day before a surgery or the night before a doctor’s appointment or the hours leading up to an entrance exam or a job interview. I have. Everything’s upbeat. Everything’s positive. Everything’s going to work out fine. And then, because things don’t always work out just fine, the bounce-back. Whitney’s great gift is her bounce-back. Yes, she can wallow in disappointment and heartbreak — for about ten minutes. And then it’s on to the next thing with faith and trust and great joy. Unabashed joy. And I love that about Whitney.

And I really love what God is doing with our daughter and, more surprisingly, through our daughter. Whitney shocks us quite often with her perception of what’s happening around us. She can lead a prayer for someone, as she did this past Sunday night during our small group, that penetrates to the very soul of what’s going on inside that person. Things few of us would have remembered, things few of us would ever say out loud, Whitney remembers and, somehow, ties it all together, and blesses in the name of Jesus. I think God puts Whitney in people’s lives on purpose in order to bless them. It seems to me that the people in Whitney’s life need her as much as she needs them, the people hugging Whitney need those hugs as much as she does. God uses Whitney to bless others. She seems to be increasingly aware of it. She’s paying attention more and articulating more what God is up to in this world and how she’s actually in on it. And I love that.

Whitney is 22-years-old today. And God put her in my life in order to bless me.

I love you, blue-eyed angel. Happy Birthday.


Little Blue Stars

We need to probably revisit the policy here at Central that gives all the ministers and administrative assistants keyed access to all the offices.

I walked in to my study early Saturday morning to discover that the whole room had been desecrated with the metallic blue and silver of Jerry Wayne’s Dallas Cowboys. Blue streamers and silver stars criss-crossing the ceiling, blue plastic on the floors and the chairs, Cowboys pom poms on the printer, little tiny blue stars glitter in my chair and on my phone and SPRINKLED ALL OVER MY STUDY BIBLE! A few dozen balloons, a pair of Cowboys slippers with a funny note, and a large posterboard declaring my allegiance to the football team in Arlington.

Now, I can appreciate a clever prank. I love a good joke. The more creative and surprising, the better. And this one was pretty good. What topped it off, though, and made it almost borderline genius were the dozens and dozens of little pictures of my head taped to all the pictures of the Cowboys players on the walls. These perpetrators were not content to just paste my face to my existing décor. They came in with their own doctored up photos and plastered them all over the walls, too. Some of these were downright hilarious. A couple of them were almost creepy. But it was all really, really funny Saturday morning.











However, I am now finding little tiny blue stars everywhere. Everywhere. I thought I had cleaned all of them off my phone. But at 1:45 this afternoon, fifteen minutes before Ralph Hill’s funeral in the chapel, I’m leaving a meeting in Greg’s office when Mary starts laughing and pointing at my left ear. A little blue glitter star right there in my ear! I’m glad she caught it before the funeral; I’m not sure how I would have explained that. Knowing one of the pranksters and her style, I’m certain I’ll be finding little pictures of my face and little blue stars in weird places in this office for the next several months.











Hannah, Aleisha, and Whitney: Congratulations. Well played. Very good. But, I’m on to you. Your day is coming. Maybe not this week. Maybe not this month. But your day is coming.

Now, how do I get this tiny blue star out of the USB port on this laptop?



The Whitster is 21

I love you every day, girl;
always on my mind.
One thing I can say, girl,
I love you all the time.

It was the first song I ever sang to you, Whitney. Holding you in my left arm, holding that little oxygen tube up to your tiny little nose with my right hand, marveling at your thick dark hair, worried a little bit about your purple hands and feet, and looking square into your newborn blue-blue-blue-blue eyes, I sang to you Eight Days a Week. Twenty-one years ago today. Or, tonight, I should say; you took a good long while getting here.

Oxygen tubes. Surgeries. Set backs. Physical therapy. Tutoring. More surgeries. Crutches. Wheelchairs. Casts. Disappointments. Surgeries. My word, we’ve spent a lot of time together in hospital rooms and doctors’ offices. I remember a lot of it. It’s been painful, I know. But I treasure in my heart your optimistic outlook and your positive attitude through every single adventure. You were ten or eleven years old when you and I had a fairly serious talk while sitting on the curb outside our house in Arlington. There’s no way you remember this. We talked together about how God is using you, how he’s proud of you, how he teaches all of us how to be better people through you and what you’re enduring. We talked about how his Spirit is inside you, helping you overcome the things that cause you so much trouble. I guess I was doing all the talking and you were listening. I wanted to encourage you. I wanted to inspire you. I wanted so desperately to help. And you looked at me with that little dimpled grin and those blue eyes sparkling in the late afternoon summer sun and said, “I know. I’m OK.”

You always say that. “I’m OK.”

No, you’re way more than OK. You’re wonderfully amazing, Whitney. You really are. You’ve never let anything ever get you down. Ever. Oh, yeah, you have your meltdowns every now and then. They’re rare, but you’ve wigged out a few times. And then the next day it’s like nothing at all happened. Your optimism is most seen by others in the precious ways you think every spring that the Rangers are going to go 162-0, every winter that the Mavericks are going to win every night, and every summer that the Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl. You never give up on your teams. And you never give up on yourself or on the people around you. You are faithful and loyal, Whitney; just like our Lord. You never give up, Whitney; just like our Lord. You keep trying, you keep pushing, you endure, and you overcome; just like Jesus.

I am so proud of you. And so blessed by God to know you and to be taught by you. I see God in you. And, wow, that’s really cool.

Of course, these are not the only things I appreciate about you, Whit. I appreciate that you beat me about half the time we play Backgammon and, when I lose, you make sure I know I lost. I appreciate your fanaticism for sports and the way you and I share special games. The way you still follow me around the house. The important ways you interact with my friends. Your supreme organizational skills and the fact that you make up your bed every single morning. Your diligence in your job. The volunteer work you do at Central. Your unbridled and barely contained enthusiasm for whatever is happening right now in this place at this very moment.

Are you really 21 today?

I love you, Whitney. Happy Birthday. May our gracious God continue to bless you richly with his merciful outpouring of peace and joy. And may all who know you be blessed by that same peace and joy.


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