Catching My Breath

September 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

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Whoops. Looks like it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Didn’t mean to leave you hanging.  I’ve just needed some time to be fully present in my life.

To be candid, the last several months have been incredibly wonderful and challenging at the same time. One experience has been so wonderful, it has taken my breath away. The other situation has been so challenging, there have been times it has sucked the breath out of my lungs. Both require me to catch my breath.  Let me explain the difference.

This last Spring began a life changing season for Megan and I as we adopted little Asher into our family. He’s four and half months now and as happy as ever. He’s brought so much blessing into our home and it’s made my heart so proud to see my sons love each other like they do. The experience has been so beautiful, it has taken my breath away (and sleep too).

Also, this last Spring, I began a journey with a dear friend and brother through a very difficult process that is still unfolding. It’s been a season of lengthy conversations, hours of processing, tears and a lot of prayer. Our hearts have been so tender as our families walk this out together and cling to the goodness of God. There has been so much beautiful fruit in our community, yet there have been times I’ve felt like the wind got knocked out of me.

It’s amazing how life seems to happen all at once.  Rick Warren said it well…

“Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it’s kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.” – Rick Warren

The beautiful moments don’t always wait for the pain to be processed.
The painful moments often come in the midst of celebration.
It all seems to come together in the same package.

This reality calls us to stare every moment in the eyes and embrace it for what it is.  If God’s Presence is with us in all things, then that means we get to be present as well.  We take it all in with joyous celebration, tender compassion, and immovable strength.

So, as I catch my breath, I’m thankful we have a God who supplies us with HIS breath. The Greek word for Holy Spirit is Pneuma which means wind and  breath. Just before Jesus sent out His disciples, the Scripture says ‘...He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit…'” (John 20:22)

The Spirit of God gives us breath to enjoy the beauty and breath to be strong in battle.

Always remember that the people in your life who seem to always “have it together” are most likely experiencing pain in one form or another. And the ones in your life who are obviously discouraged are recipients of the unending goodness and mercy of God.

Either way, the invitation is the same – receive the breath of God.

Pray for Asher

May 13, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_1525Hey Friends,

Megan and I are requesting prayer for Asher right now.  Last night, we had to take Asher to the Emergency Room because of trouble breathing, low oxygen, and an excessive rate of respiration.  They transferred him to St. Luke’s Presbyterian hospital in Denver where we will be with him for several days.  He is in somewhat stable condition as they run extra tests and take necessary precautions. Most likely, he obtained a virus that has become a bronchial infection.  Because he is only 6 days old, his body has to work much harder to fight it off.  His lungs are stressed and are working tirelessly to get air in and out.  He could be taken to the ICU later in the day.

Again, the good news is he is stable, and in a safe place where they can monitor him.  No damage has been done, but it just takes time to for newborns to recover from such a virus.

We ask that you join us in praying to Jesus for complete and miraculous healing.  Pray for strength in his lungs and that this virus it flushed out quickly.  Also, we had a restless night with little sleep and we’ll need strength for the rest of the week.

Thanks for all of the love and support you all have shown us in the last week as we welcomed Asher into the world.  Now, please join us as we pray for a full recovery.  Please feel free to post prayers or Scriptures here for extra encouragement.

UPDATE: May 14th, 9:13 a.m.

Hey Friends,

Following up on my post yesterday, Asher is doing much better today. His breathing has normalized, and they are now trying to lower his oxygen intake to see how well he responds. The doctors were happy to see how well he’s been improving. Yesterday, the X-ray showed a couple small pockets of his lungs had collapsed, but they can give him treatments to open him back up. The doctors are saying his virus has reached it’s “peak” and he will start getting better from here. Again, it just takes time.

Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. We feel so loved and supported.

Megan and I camped out in the room on a queen sized air mattress that our awesome neighbors loaned to us. Last night was a surprisingly good night of sleep!

Continue to keep us in prayers.

Asher’s First Day

May 8, 2013 — 1 Comment

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Wow. What a day.

Yesterday started earlier than expected with a 2:30 a.m. wake up call. We were told that Gabrielle was being taken to the hospital because she was having contractions that were close together and strong.

Fortunately, all our bags were already packed and we were ready to go. It took us about an hour to get to the hospital where we met both of the birth parents. Labor was indeed in full swing.

Our dear friend Ally met us there shortly after to help as a birth doula during the labor. I don’t what we would have done without her. She’s a prime example of the difference between a cheerleader and a coach. We had some sweet cheers for Gabrielle, but Ally brought the graceful instruction needed to put Gabrielle at ease as she endured her contractions.

After a short walk around the halls of the hospital we came back to the room and were surprised to hear that Gabrielle was almost ready to start pushing. Only two hours after arriving to the hospital this was about to go down! Originally, the plan was for Gabrielle to be induced at 6 a.m., but Asher decided to arrive 20 minutes early. We can’t help but wonder if that was the first indication of a competitive personality!

Asher came so quick and strong that he retained some fluid in his lungs that usually gets flushed in the journey through the birth canal. At first, it created some issues with his breathing and oxygen, but after several hours and a couple good cries everything normalized and was great.

The rest of the day was to be expected. Many visitors from Gabrielle’s family paid us a visit to see Asher and welcome him into the world. Being an open adoption, there were mixed emotions among the visiting parties. While some were delighted to say “Hi”, others were preparing to say “Bye”. Even with a few emotional moments, there is no doubt Asher knew he was surrounded by A LOT of love.

I’m no psychology expert, but throughout the day I couldn’t help but think about the importance of our first day on earth. Our tiny brains are informed by the immediate environment we are brought into. Synapses and neurons are making connections based on whether or not basic needs are being met. In our first moments, our brains are asking “Am I safe? Am I warm? Am I dry? Am I tended to? Am I noticed and heard? Is there someone here for me? Will someone hold me?”. The answers to these simple questions set a life long trajectory and provide our brains and bodies with the information we need to know how best to respond. If our world is safe and full of love, we are free to be cared for and comforted. If our world is hostile, we learn quickly that we need to spend our days fighting for ourselves.

The name Asher is a name we liked even before we knew the meaning.  We were excited when we found out it means “happy” and “blessed”. Even later we found out that Asher is a biblical name and he was the second son of Leah’s servant Zilpah (Gen. 30:13).  Leah named him Asher because she was happy to love him as her own.  The very name comes from a story of adoption.

As I held Asher against the skin of my chest, we were able to listen to the song “Abba” on repeat. I was praying that the reality of Asher’s new environment would settle into his tiny brain, heart, and spirit.  I prayed that he would feel adopted and chosen in the very fiber of his being.

Later in the evening, it was a highlight to watch Noah meet Asher for the first time. He was super excited to meet his little brother, but was clearly more excited to open up a brand new Transformer truck “given” to him by Asher. Noah’s gonna be a good big brother.

Thank you for all of your prayers and encouragement over the couple days and several weeks. We’ve been blown away by all of the support coming our way. Altogether, with our Adopt Together fund you all have blessed us with over $4,200. Astonishing.

Good days are ahead!!

Read: Big New for the Humbrecht Family
Read: Our Adoption, How You Can Help

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Photo by Josh Elliot, LightStock.

Last week, I handed over my rights to the title “twenty something”. Gotta be honest — it was hard to let go, but more than ever I feel ready to charge into a new decade.

The best part is — I get to start my 30’s with an exciting story unfolding right in front of my eyes. Recently, I shared the news that my family will be adopting a baby boy sometime near the end of this month. As we’ve spread the word, we’ve been so encouraged by the support, prayers, and genuine excitement coming from all of you.  It all feels like unknown territory to us, which is both exciting and nerve-racking.  All together, we can’t shake the sense that we’re in one of the most important seasons of our lives!

More than ever, this season has shown us that who we are is primarily a reflection of the people in our lives.  We spent the last week attending birthday parties, hospitals, funerals, and baby showers — all reminders that in the important times of life, the people around you matter.  Megan and I have both been stunned and humbled by who we get to call friends and family. 

A few months ago, my friend John encouraged a bunch of us to dream bigger.  He said, “If your dreams don’t include the people around you then you’ll be alone in your victories and defeats.” The truth is — dreams are best lived out in the context of community.

Today, I am struck by the fact that I get to start my 30’s with my most important dream to date. I get to bring a little baby boy into my family and love him as my own. I get to come alongside a beautiful young mother and help her take steps towards a restored future. I get to do all of this with Megan – my amazing wife and best friend.  I get to do this WITH a community of friends and family that have joined us on the journey.

Now, we want to invite you to be a part of this dream in another way…

When we started this journey, we quickly discovered that adoption costs much more than having a child naturally.  While we have applied for grants and have explored governmental resources, the speed at which our adoption is taking place is creating a challenge in securing the resources and allowing us to be eligible for some adoption grants.

Up to this point, I’ve been hesitant in making a public appeal for adoption support. I’ve had a concern that some would see this as just another cause or special project. This story is intimate for us and I didn’t want to cheapen it by inviting people to “like” it on Facebook.

But as we’ve come closer to the reality of this adoption, my mind has changed. While I never want my son to feel like he was just a “cause”, I DO want him to know there is a community of people around us who believe in him and his bright future. I want him to know from day one that he is not alone. Not only will he have a family, but he’ll have loads of friends, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, encouragers, counselors, and cheerleaders to be with him in every step of his own life journey.

We want him to know that life is best lived in loving community.  I can’t think of a better way to model this for him.

With that said, we’ve recently partnered with a wonderful organization called Adopt Together, which creates an online hub for friends and family to come alongside and financially support adoptive families.  On this site, you can give tax-deductible donations to help fund adoption. Hundreds of adoptive families are working with Adopt Together, and we’re honored to join with them.

Please consider visiting our profile and being a part of the story with us.  Regardless of whether or not you make a contribution, we want to thank you for being in our lives, praying for us along the way, and believing in our new little boy!

Adopt Together

Resound: One Night

April 18, 2013 — Leave a comment

I’m excited for this upcoming Resound: One Night coming on Friday, May 3rd.  We’ll be joined by friends Sean Feucht and Kristene DiMarco as we gather worshippers from all across the Front Range.

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Last year, I purchased Sean Feucht’s album “Songs For Nations” and it quickly became one of my favorite soundtracks for the year.  Though some of the musical stylings were a stretch for me, so many of the songs hit me in a deep place.  Each song on the album was written for a different nation.  Every place Sean would travel, the Lord would give words to sing back to that country.

Continue Reading…

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We’re excited to announce that sometime in the next few weeks we will be adopting a brand new baby boy into our family!

It’s a journey we’ve been on for a year, but have kept quiet from public conversation until now. Many of our closest friends and family have been with us in this process, but we are excited to bring the story to you now! I’ll do my best to keep it short.

Even before Megan and I were married, we talked about adoption. We didn’t know when or where or how, but we knew it was important to us for several different reasons.

We believe one of the greatest epidemics of our time is fatherlessness. The statistics are staggering and affect almost every sphere of life from crime, to education, to homelessness, to abuse. We’re living in a day where it’s impossible to ignore certain realities. The world is small and it’s no longer and option for us to “mind our own business”. We know adoption is not for every family, but we decided it’s for us.

And more recently, this journey has been a reflection of our season with the Lord. As a family, and even within the Vinelife community, God has been teaching us about His heart as Father, our identity as His sons and daughters, and His desire for family. There is an unmistakable emphasis in Scripture about these things…

“God sets the lonely in families…” – Psalm 68:6

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress…” – James 1:27

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” – Romans 8:15

All that to say, we feel like this has been less of a decision and more of a response to the unrelenting love of the Father. We count ourselves blessed to be adopted into the family of God. What we’re doing is not a charitable act. In fact, we feel like we’re on the receiving end of this deal.

As we started exploring adoption, some dear friends of ours encouraged to pursue an “Open Adoption” rather than a closed one. First, this would allow us to maintain relationship with the birth parents and be a blessing to them. Secondly, we felt an open adoption would be better for the child as he grows older. He would know us as his Mommy and Daddy, but he would still have a relationship with his “Tummy Mommy”. We felt like this was a better option for developing trust than “breaking the news” to him later on in his adolescence.

Last May, we submitted our first applications to an adoption agency in Oklahoma and one here locally. This is also when we created our first “Life Book”. A Life Book is essentially a photo album about our family – who we are, how we have fun, what we do for holidays, etc. This book was loaned out to different birth mothers as they were considering placing their baby with an adoptive family. Being an open adoption, the birth mother would be able to pick the family they most connected with based on the Life Book.

Most of last year went by and we hadn’t heard anything promising from either agency. This entire time we were trusting in the leading and timing of the Father despite all of the unknowns. We decided to continue on with our Home Study – the process by which the state determines a family is fit to parent a child. We started our Home Study at the beginning of this year and officially finished it in the middle of March.

Within days of the Home Study being finalized, we received a call from the agency here in Colorado and were informed that a birth mother had come in and was going to look at our book. This news was crazy exciting for us, but we we’re still unbelievably nervous. All the sudden, we were asking question like…

What if we don’t get picked?
What if she doesn’t like our book?
What if she thinks we’re nuts?

The good news is – we we’re chosen to be the adoptive family!

On March 23rd, we had the privilege of meeting the birth parents for the first time over lunch at Gunther Tooty’s. As we sat down, the conversation was natural and fun with just a few nervous chuckles coming from the weight of the circumstance. It was clear that we were all in uncharted waters. None of us had any grid for this experience. We had never adopted a random child, and they had never given a child to a random family. Fortunately, by the end of our first visit, nothing seemed too random. It felt right. And there seemed to be grace for all of us first-timers to journey together through our first adoption.

We asked them why they decided to pick us, and the quickly replied with one word.

“Noah”

They explained how when they saw the photos of Noah in the Life Book, their eyes teared up as they imagined another baby boy with us. They knew we would be a safe and loving family.

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First photo taken on April 9th, 2013.

Gabrielle, the birth mother, is a beautiful, smart, and brave woman. I’ve been so proud of her as she has walked through a difficult scenario with courage. She hopes to enroll at the Denver Art Institute and finish out a degree in fashion design or another art study. She has a sweet personality and a sharp mind. Megan and I are honored to parent Gabrielle’s baby and will continue to build a friendship her and her family.

Gabrielle is due on April 30th, and Megan and I have been invited to be with her in the hospital during the delivery. We get to be there the moment our son takes his first breath! Wow.

Over the last several months, as I’ve used this space to encourage my friends to dream big and be filled with bold faith, this has been the story playing out behind the scenes. This adoption is a dream given to us by the Father and we are humbled to be able to walk this out with amazing friends, family, and a community of people cheering us on.

Megan and I want to thank you in advance for all of your prayers and encouragement over the next several weeks and for the next season of our family. We would ask that you continue to pray for Gabrielle and the baby. Pray for grace, strength, and a great delivery. Pray for the hearts of their family as they navigate through the emotional implications of this decision.

Also, please pray for wisdom and provision on our end.  Over the next several weeks, we will be continuing to apply for grants to subsidize the cost of adoption.  We will be inviting our friends and family to join us in this unfolding story.

If you would like to join us in this adventure, you can contribute to our journey on AdoptTogether.org/humbrecht.

Sermonize This.

April 10, 2013 — 5 Comments

Have you ever wanted to preach? Here’s your chance…

When I was in high school, one of my youth pastors would play a game with us to test our preaching skills. He’d point to a random object and then tell us to write a sermon on the spot, doing our best to use that item as our metaphor.

For example, if we were sitting a table in a restaurant he’d point to a salt shaker and say “Go”. At that point, one of us would start a three minute incoherent rambling about how Jesus said we’re the salt of the earth but sometimes you have to be shaken up a bit to realize what you’re supposed to be doing with your life.

Ouch.  I know.

But there you have it. That’s exactly how preachers do it. That’s the essence of every sermon you’ve heard in your life.

Now it’s your turn. We’re gonna throw down right here, right now.  This is a creative exercise that will put your exegetical prowess to the test.

Your mission it to take a look at the photo below and come up with a mini-sermon using roughly 300 words or less. It’s kind of like a caption contest, but with a cheesy life application. You can post your “sermon” in the comment section below.

Ready. Set. Go.

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(As people comment, you can vote which one you like best by clikcing on the up or down button below their comment.)

Scars Tell Stories

April 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

“Let me see His hands and his side.” said Thomas.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bruised, crushed, and crucified Jesus was now standing in front of him almost like nothing had happened. Jesus came to visit His disciples to show them He was alive and well. The best part was He appeared to them by non-chalantly walking through a wall to get into the living room. No Bigs.

I love that Jesus was like all men. The first thing He did after being raised from the dead was come to show off his scars. I’m sure they were impressive.

Photo by Pearl.  Lightstock.

Photo by Pearl. Lightstock.

But all this begs another question – Why would Jesus go to the grave, conquer death, and raise again three days later, yet still be left with scars on his hands and side? Sometimes I wonder if Jesus woke up into his newly resurrected body, took one look at His skin and then said to the Father, “Hey, you missed a spot.” I can’t imagine Jesus was thrilled about having a constant reminder of everything He recently suffered.

Why would Jesus’ body be perfectly knit together, only to be left with the signature of death still engraved on His skin?

Continue Reading…

NoahEvery morning when my son wakes up and comes out of his room I say to him “Good morning buddy, what did you dream about?” Most of the time he answers me by repeating everything I mentioned in my prayer for him the night before or he says “nothing”. But sometimes he tells me about water buffalos and Easter eggs and Mariokart.

Either way, I’m trusting that as he grows up, he knows I care about his imagination.

I would be annoyed if I asked him that question every morning and he responded…

“My dreams don’t matter. I only want to know your dreams.” or
“Not my dreams, but yours be done.”

But so many times, this is how we approach the Father in prayer. We can easily default to a place of assuming he’s not interested. Even if we do tell him what’s on our heart, we quickly change the subject back to His glory in case He forgets that we really do love Him.

Continue Reading…

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

Photo by Matt Gruber, Creation Swap.

I’ve been a little quiet this week while preparing for Good Friday and Easter services at Vinelife.

Today is Good Friday and I’m struck by the idea that the Good News never gets old.  Every morning, this News is there waiting for a moment to humble us with love and electrify us with joy.  Our awareness of this News ebbs and flows, yet it remains constant in the trials and the triumphs.

“But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5

As you take time today to reflect on Jesus and the cross, here are a couple great worship videos created by some dear friends of mine.

The first is by Anthony Skinner from Franklin, TN.  It’s a visual montage set to one of his live performances.   Anthony writes, “It was inspired by the last weeks of a dear friend’s life. I wanted to create a soundscape for my beloved friend to be swallowed up in the beauty of her salvation through Christ.”

It’s a bit longer, but beautiful all the way through.  You can download the video here.

The second video is a song called “You Cover Me” written by Asher Seevinck from Loud Harp.  This guy bleeds tone and fights for the perfect melody. You’ll like this one…