Psalm 36:5-6, 7-10 (MSG)
5-6 God's love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.
7-9 How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings, To eat our fill at the banquet you spread as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You're a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.
10 Keep on loving your friends; do your work in welcoming hearts.
Before I publish my next series of stories, I need to set the scene for you. I want to take you to a time and a place where I didn't know the astronomical grace of God. We all have those points and places in our lives because none of us were born into the kingdom of God.
I need the above verses to guide me through the next series of stories. For so long I didn't know His plan. Looking back now, I can see what He was doing in my life. Some things are clear, and some are not so clear. The chapters in my life are being sorted and arranged in this book I have titled Down by The Lake. It deals with many of my innermost thoughts and the twisting turns in my life that have developed me into who I am today.
For the past two years, I have been going to the lake to see myself as I once was and as I am today. As I look into the water each day, I see a reflection of myself, which is transparent, and at times, disturbed deep in my soul. God allowed me to travel the many highways and back roads of our great country to meet the most abused, forgotten, and hopeless people in America. I was allowed to bring a message of hope to these people through the ministry of In His Wakes with the support of my sweet wife, Lisa, and daughters, Sara and Laura. I could mention a host of others who have supported me through this, but the list would be long, and I am sure I would forget someone. My wife, Lisa, has seen me at my lowest points, and the rest of you have seen me at my highest points.
To make this clear, this book is not about the ministry of In His Wakes, but it details the way God used it in my life to bring an image to me of His greatness and the condition of real people in our land. Not only did I see myself in the water’s reflection each day, but at each event, I was able to look at myself and relive my childhood all over again.
I have already written about some of these people, but some of them are still deep in my memory. It's my hope to introduce you to these people and the many who have crossed my path, even before In His Wakes. As I reflect on the events leading up to and before this ministry, I am reminded that it started at the water’s edge.
First at Kennedy Home, then the Haven House in Raleigh, NC, and then to the Boy’s Home at Lake Waccamaw, NC. These group homes, along with the many sessions in the "nut hut," would mold me into who I was and who I would turn out to be, or so I thought. The puzzle of my life was so scattered; it never seemed to fit the way I thought it should. Until one day I was introduced to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. This journey has proven to be extremely difficult, but God is a God of truth and has never let me go. He has always held me tight, even in the most troubling circumstances. I am blessed to write about this great journey I have been on, and my journey is no way near finished.
My plan is to write my story in chapters; they won't be in chronological order, but as God leads me, I will write and release them. I am not sure if the book will ever have an ending, but if it does, it will be a message of hope.
I will change the names of some people to protect their privacy and respect their families. It has taken me over two months to write this. I have several chapters in the works and will publish them here when I complete them.
God allowed me to work with the most disadvantaged and hurting people in the world. People who have names but no addresses, faces but little hope, and fingerprints but no identity. In their eyes, I could see myself as I once was, which was the most haunting experience I could have ever imagined.
I thank God for a loving family who has seen me come through this. To my wife Lisa, who has watched me cry for days and understands the agony I have gone through as I told some of the stories of my life. She has also watched me get so excited that I could hardly contain myself. To Sara and Laura, who were with me the whole way. I could not have made it this far without their love and the love of my wonderful wife.
I also thank God for my closest friends who supported me, even when they really didn't know. They showed me the love of Christ, and they were there in my darkest hours and in my brightest hours. They loved me then, and they love me today. I hope to mention them in the chapters to come. I learned through them that no matter what people do or who they are, they are still just people, all with a past and all with hurts and pain. We are all going in different directions, but we are all inching closer to death each day. This book will take you back to a period that most have forgotten. My intent is not to glorify this period but to give you some insight on what God has done in my life. In Psalm 36:5-6 (MSG), it says, “God's love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic, His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic. Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost; Not a man, not a mouse, slips through the cracks.”
Can you get a hold of that? I had nothing to do with it; it was always God’s plan. Nothing is done in this universe without Him knowing. No thought, no idea, no touch, no hug, and no look goes without notice from our great God. So, for me to say my life has been bad would not be fair. It has been what it is; it has been what God planned.
I write with joy; I write with tears, and I write for the sake of others, hoping they will see there is hope.
A great friend of mine once told me, "George, you can never quit.” I didn't understand then, but now I know what he was talking about. I can never quit! I can never quit telling my story; it has hope for a hopeless world; it has the Gospel of Jesus; and it has all the elements of His grace.
Let’s get into the stories and see what happened Down by The Lake!