Since June of this year, I’ve been experiencing a new kind
of suffering. There has been a pain in
my neck, which feels like nerve pain, that I just can’t shake. Despite pursuing several different avenues to
identify, to treat and to manage this pain –it remains a part of me. It persists like air in my lungs. It feels like a knife in the back of my head.
The pain comes as a result of the position of my body. If I go from bending to standing, or laying
to standing, pain stabs me in the back of the head. Sometimes it only lasts for a few seconds,
and sometimes it hangs around for minutes.
This has been an incredible trial for me. I’ve never had to deal with physical
adversity quite like this. I’ve had a
couple of unrelated surgeries in the past, and dealt with getting banged-up in
sports. But this – this is different. This isn’t “suck-it-up” or “walk-it-off” kind
of pain. This is pain that seizes you,
and all you can do is moan and hope it passes.
I have had a lot of question…
I don’t have many black friends. Perhaps that it is just a snapshot, a
microcosm, of the problem we have in America today. We haven’t sought to trust, to understand, to
build relationships, to break bread or to extend hospitality to one another. Doing that requires going into some messy and
awkward places. “Doing life” with
someone allows you to walk in their shoes and see things that might make you
uncomfortable – things that might change your heart. Over the past few years of being in Kansas City, God has put
me in places to start building relationships with a few African American
people. Doing this requires intentionality. It requires me listen
way more than I speak. It requires me to
understand the cultural differences and historical framework that make us feel
like we are speaking different languages sometimes. It requires grace and patience on both sides
for us to get past the road blocks that come up when we converse. It would be far easier to give up and slide comfortab…
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:15-17 MSG Another CuddleCot campaign success! Thank you to each stranger, friend and family member who donated. Adam and I look forward to praying over this new cot's placement. If you know of a bereavement team that could utilize this cot, please contact Amy. With a grateful heart. -The Balentines- Amy, Adam, Teddy, Simon, Thomas and Peter
A video of Simon on 5/18/16, just because.
I am fasting.
It actually started around early February when I started phasing things out of my diet. I've said, "No," to essentially all junk food since then. I wanted to prepare myself for a week of more intense fasting that would take place during the week of Simon's life outside his mother's womb. This is the second year in a row that I've fasted during these sacred 7 days and 22 minutes. I intend to break my fast at 10:17 PM, the exact
time that Simon died in my arms two years ago.
What is fasting?
It might be easiest to start with what fasting is not - at least
in a Biblical context. Fasting is not a
diet, or a weight loss plan. Fasting is
not a cleanse. Fasting is not a
religious ritual on some list of rules that I will use to satisfy my duty owed
to a legalistic God. I know I won’t
be fully “purified”or “enlightened”after I fast.
Fasting is depravity. From
depravity comes refinement. From
Tonight we begin the second anniversary celebration of
Simon’s life. On May 14, 2014 at 9:55pm,
we welcomed Simon Adam Balentine into this world. My mind travels effortlessly back to the moment Simon was
born, again and again. We weren’t sure if he would be alive as we decided to
forgo fetal heart monitoring during labor. We thought if he died before/during labor, it might be
hard for me to continue to labor knowing his soul had been taken already.
He was moving at birth, arms and legs squirming – I didn’t even have
to ask if he was alive. I could see - he was! My doctor placed Simon on my chest and all of the
prayers from the previous five months had been graciously answered in that
moment. He breathed! I shouted praises to God thanking him for his mercy. It wasn't long after his birth that we finally heard his voice. It was heavenly (below video shares his sweet cries). Following Simon’s birth, all we wanted was time with
him. It was simple. We were doing our best in th…
Simon's birthday and anniversary week of life is here again.
It's been two years since we met our babe face to face.
In Simon's honor, we look forward to giving the gift of time to other bereaved families.
Check back tomorrow night, May 14, 2016 at 9:55pm (Simon's birth time),
for fundraiser details.
Adam, Amy, Teddy, Simon, Thomas and Peter
I was recently with a group of mostly non-Christians friends, as I so often am. By "non-Christian" I mean friends that haven't admitted to me, at least, in believing that Jesus Christ is the living son of God. These friends may be privately following Christ and studying the Bible, but I suspect they are not. Some are moralists. Some are Universalists with a mix of Spiritualism and yoga. Some are just angry at a God they don't think exists. I truly love them and I'm OK with their non-belief. I pray for them often. As I was spending time with these friends I became overwhelmed, in the moment, as I contemplated the love and acceptance that they display to me and my family.
Thank you non-Christians, for your grace.
Grace is the free and unmerited, undeserved love you give. Grace is espoused from within. Grace follows a choice to love, but grace is part of your fabric - woven into your DNA. But where does grace come from?
2015 was a year of staggering change for me. Exactly 12 months ago today (Jan. 1, 2015), we gave goodbye kisses to Teddy after dropping him off at his grandparents house in Saint Charles. We were going to spend a week in San Francisco and Sonoma. It was to be a great time of rest, conversation and healing after a heartbreaking and strenuous year in 2014.
Amy and I had much to talk about with regards to my career during our trip to the Bay Area. I sketched out a pros and cons list on the airplane to help measure the opportunities that were in front of me. I could stay at the company I had been with for nine years. This was company I loved and was loyal to since I was a 23-year old, know-nothing peon. This was a company that had some incredibly supportive and graceful people during our journey with Simon. This was a BIG company, with plenty of opportunities to grow, but little opportunity for me to have a large impact on its future or help steer the direction it would go. One o…