Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!!

So I am sneaking onto Dad's blog just fifteen minutes before his big day: Arthur Wayne Sudan is turning 54!!! In honor of his birthday my siblings and I (due to our involvement in the blog world) are each writing a post to our dad for the world to see. So from here on out this blog is to you, dad...

Some of my favorite memories come from our family hiking trips through the years, which in part is why I am so excited about the Cascades! However, when I think about particular hiking trips one stands out among the others-- the summer after my senior year of highschool when you and I went on a hike by ourselves in Estes Park, Colorado. I don't even know if you will remember this particular part of the hike, but it has always stood out significantly to me...

When we were half way up the mountain we started to see snow on the ground (it was June in be expected) and as we increased in elevation, naturally the snow began to get deeper and cover the ground. I was trying so hard that hike to be tough and rough out whatever conditions came so that you would be so proud of me. I was never one of the better hikers of the family. But at this point in the hike my history of altitude sickness caught up with me and I started to feel sick and a little weak, but I didn't want to show it. The ground floor was completely covered with snow as we progressed on the trail and it was getting waist deep. You had been on this trail several years before and chose it for us because you remembered the breathe-taking lake and view that was the bowl of the mountain. When the snow was getting waist deep you knew that we were so close to the top it wouldnt make sense for us to turn around, so we pushed through. And it is at this point where my memory stands:

You didn't want me to step into a creek or anything that would permit me to fall through the snow, so you found a small enough boulder for me to sit on as you navigated the path to our final destination. And it was from that boulder that God spoke so tenderly to me. He said "Mary Beth, look at your father. This is who I am to you." (I am not sure if that was the first time I heard God, but it was definately one of the first times.) I looked at you, dad, and I saw you moving slowly from the boulder through the trees, further into the distance without ever losing sight of me. And once you had the path laid out you walked back to me, stepping into the same holes you had made so that you could be with me and guide me while I literally stepped in your footsteps so that I wouldn't stumble and fall.

Dad, that trip was such a healing time for us, and I am so so grateful for that opportunity. We got to see God do some amazing things! It was on that trip that you taught me how to use a single lens reflex camera! (which I am obviously thankful for) But I want you to know how much you mean to me. That picture God was showing me was so special because I have an earthly father who loves me in such a beautiful way- rooted from the love you have for our heavenly Father. You support me in so many areas of my life, you speak truth to me, humble me, teach me and most of all you love me. I know you aren't perfect, but you are the best I could ever ask for.

I love you, Dad! Happy Birthday...God is going to do amazing things this year, I hope you can feel it too!!

Marybeth, 445

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Saturday in the Park

In August my family and I are going to Washington state to the northern Cascades for a family trip of hiking and whitewater rafting. So in order to get Luana physically ready for the strenuous hiking, we are doing some training in Cameron Park. This week we hiked for two hours in 95+ degree heat along the Highlander trail and others. We had a great time and it is really amazing to have such a treat within our city limits. Luana did great and is motivated to be ready.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


As a guy this is certainly not something that I would normally write about, but it is what God has been putting on my heart lately, so I will throw it out there for all to read. In II Cor. 12:9 Paul says that God's power is made perfect in weakness. We all have heard this and memorized it but I for one never really took it to heart. In fact I have spent all of my life trying to show that I was not weak (probably something in my childhood - but we will not go there). I never really felt like I had to be the best, and I rarely was (except for my 12 year old year in little league), but I strove mightily to prove that I was good. And for most of my life by the grace of God, I have been good at most everything I put my mind to do. So where did that leave me? Doing a good job in my own power but missing out on the full power of God.

So God decided that I needed a little help to understand this principle. Out of the blue, He took away my pride in my good health and blessed me with coronary artery disease - and not just one vessel treated with a stent, but with full blown disease treated with a sextuple (that means six) bypass. But I was still slow to convince and I have spent the last 14 weeks trying to get over the surgery quickly, get back in shape faster than anyone else and prove that I was not really weak or sick or ill - just a minor little setback. The word for weakness in the Greek is asthenia which means weak, sick or wasting away. For those of you 20 somethings you would have no clue about this and for those 80 somethings you know it all too well, but for those of us in our 50s we are learning more and more as to what that means. We are all wasting away, little by little whether we realize it or not and our strength is but a fantasy that can be taken away in a heartbeat. So it looks like I have got this figured out and have learned what I was supposed to do. Think again. I now know what the problem is but am still not sure how this all works out in daily life.
Since I have been so slow in learning, God in His mercy has decided I need more lessons. Because I spent all of my energy after the surgery trying to get well physically, I never really dealt with the grieving and emotional aspects of all of this. I just toughed it up and moved on - after all I did not want to be seen as weak. I was so narcissistic in my thinking that I did not work on relationships well and many of them have suffered. Well now I am emotionally and mentally exhausted and on the verge of depression. I have finally admitted defeat and realize that I am weak and need help. This has not been easy for me, but I felt like I needed to get it down on "paper" for others to see before I try to trick myself again. So if you get a chance pray for me and if you have any thoughts on the subject let me know for I desperately want to learn.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


One of my favorite things to hear when I am in England is the automated voice that comes on in the subway when you get on or off. It says "mind the gap" meaning to watch out for the space or gap between the platform and the train. Well lately I feel like there have been some gaps in my life. These are gaps between what I understand theologically in my mind and what I feel/believe in my heart. The first of these is really realizing the depth of my own depravity. Part of it is that I have always been a "good" kid and never really got in trouble or disobeyed my parents. That is not to say that I did not do anything wrong but I was always the one the other kids hated and the other parents loved. The teachers loved me too. The point of all of this is that I have always been able to find lots of people that I am better than. And when I compare myself to them, I feel pretty good about myself and feel that God ought to feel pretty good about me as well. But that is not reality, the Bible does not teach that and when I am compared to God then I fall way short. So I have this in my mind but not my heart and I need to bridge that gap. For as Jesus said " He who is forgiven little loves little". I do not want to be one who loves little but one who loves extravagantly.
The second gap is somewhat similar. It is that I do not fully comprehend the depth of God's love for me. Part of that relates to the idea above where I somehow feel like God should love me because I am a pretty good guy. That is so unbiblical, but I am being honest with you and bareing my soul. I think that if I really understood in my heart how much He loved me, then my worship would be different. My responding to Him in praise and thanksgiving would be different. I would have a greater desire to share the love of God with others. My priorities would shift and I would find my satisfaction in Him alone. Paul prays for his church plants that they know the depth of God's love (Rom. 8 and Eph. 1) because he knows how important it is. And so it is that I pray it for me and you should probably pray it for yourself and the ones you love, to "mind the gap".