When I was fifteen years old, my mother got it in her head that my older sister and I needed to be baptized. She kept pushing and pushing and pushing until it came to a head one Sunday when she announced she would not be going with us to church if we were not going to be baptized.
We left her at home.
The sermon that day was on how forcing children to be baptized was as much a sin as being baptized and not meaning it. We told the preacher about all this and he swore he had no knowledge of this Erickson family argument.
I became pretty convinced the Big Guy Upstairs was real, not that I’d ever doubted. The first story I remember ever hearing was Daniel in the lions’ den. I sat on my grandmother’s lap as she read it. It left a powerful impression on me that God would take care of us. At fifteen, that lesson became reality.
When I was nineteen I was getting ready to drive home from Georgia to Louisiana for Christmas break. The Sunday before I left, my preacher preached on tithing — give and God returns in greater number (more details than that, but that’s what I remembered). That following Sunday, on my way home, I went to early church, dropped the last $20.00 I had to my name in the offering plate, then drove home using a gas card to buy snacks and gas along the way. I literally had no money, not even a penny, with me. It was a leap of faith. God, after all, was going to give back. At least that’s what I remembered the preacher saying.
Ten hours later in the cold darkness of the rural Felicianas, I drove up my parents’ driveway. My dad came out to hug me. He handed me a $100.00 bill and told me not to tell my mother. At the end of the week, my mom shoved a $100.00 bill in my hand and told me not to tell my father. I headed back to school rich in my mind and pretty darn impressed with God.
There was no doubting in my mind that He was both very real and very involved — not an abstract or detached Creator.
When I was 29 years old, having prayed and prayed that God would open a door to get me out of practicing law and into politics in some meaningful way, we started RedState. In October of that year, MSNBC called and asked me to go up to New York and blog the last week of the election. One of the partners at my law firm came in to my office, closed the door, and asked, “Do you know what the definition of a dumb ass is?” I had no clue.
“You,” he said, “if you are here this time next year. You need to be writing and blogging and fighting in politics, not practicing law.”
Less than a year later, a few months after my 30th birthday, I quit practicing law. Three weeks before my wife gave birth to our first child, after much prayer, I told her I was quitting law to blog. The reaction was what you would expect. Three weeks later she nearly crushed my hand in the delivery room.
But we prayed very hard and God has provided. He has blessed us in ways I could not imagine.
Three years ago a few days before Christmas, I sat curled up in the mud next to my car, rain falling on me, holding my then one year old crying. Doctors had just told me my wife had six months to live. A lung biopsy showed she had a bad form of cancer that had spread to her lungs. I had to go get Evelyn from daycare. The world around me went on whether I wanted it to or not. I got up, cleaned myself off, put Evelyn to bed, and spent the evening waiting for family to show up so I could go back to my wife. I prayed. Prayed some more. Cried. Then prayed some more.
That night the doctors told us that upon further inspection of the lung tissue, it was not cancer, they had no idea what it was, but forget all that about six months to live. It turned out to be a very benign matter the local hospital had never encountered before. At the same time, at RedState we were running out of money. Who wanted to buy an ad on a Republican site when the GOP had just been thrown into the minority in Congress? I had no idea what I was going to do. But while all of this was going on with my wife, Eagle Publishing called. They wanted to buy RedState.
Whew. God is good.
Over the next few days in the hospital my wife and I had conversations like we’d never had before. Along the way she told me she thought I had always kind of served as a catapult — throwing good people and good ideas over the wall and into the fight. Ever since I have kind of viewed what I do and why I do it as being that catapult — my job is to throw good people and ideas into the fight for our culture and politics and then send them the reinforcements they need to win. That’s what I do. That is how I see it.
God has blessed me and my family in ways I could not ever dream.
Now, I probably did not need to tell you all of this, but I did to set the stage. I tell you all of this so you know I don’t do three year and five year plans any more. I could not have told you six month ago that I would be where I am in my career right now. I definitely could not have told you a year ago. And had you told me four years ago that I would be doing what I am now doing and RedState would be in the position it is in, I would have laughed at you.
Lots of my friends lay out intricate plans for where they want to be in life and how they are going to get there. I used to. I don’t any more. I trust in the Lord and go where He leads. He leads me on amazing adventures, sometimes I like the destination and other times not so much. When I lead or when I go off on my own, I screw up — sometimes badly. The dumbest things I have done in life have been absent any thought toward glorifying God — without any thought toward being a faithful instrument of His will and rather doing something just for me.
I am not the greatest of Christians, but I know enough to know that there is a God, He is good, and where He goes, I follow. It is comforting to know I am not in charge. It is comforting to know he provides. It is comforting to have someone greater than yourself that you can trust like no other. He works for the good of those called according to His purpose. He has also blessed me with a wonderful wife who supports me, stands behind me, sometimes chastises me, sometimes pushes me, but who is always there for me and who is as committed to the success of RedState as I am.
That brings me to the point of this post.
You guys have been a terrific blessing to me and my family. I could never have imagined I’d be at the point I am at.
I am traveling crazy amounts these days. I’ve been on too many trips to count and am gone somewhere just about every week or two. Delta tells me I’ve made medallion status, which is really a curse of travel packaged as a blessing. So Christy has decided to quit her job and stay home with the kids. Gunnar turned one last Wednesday. Evelyn turned four at the end of August. My being gone so much and shuttling them to daycare, etc. just does not provide them a lot of stability at their young age. The stress wears on Christy and on me. I find myself often feeling guilty for leaving Christy to juggle two kids, her own job, and a house with laundry, dishes, and toys on the floor.
We are doing this as a leap of faith. It is going to be difficult for us. But we’ve prayed a lot about this. We feel led to do it. We strongly believe God will provide.
I may have to wait tables at night. We may have to cancel cable and go back to dail-up internet, but we are going to make it work. God has provided so much to us and for us, we do not doubt that He will now. We will trust in the Lord, but we are still worried.
I share all of this just to ask if you feel like praying, we’d be grateful. You guys are as much friends and family as I could ever ask for. It is odd, but also reassuring to have such good friends across the digital divide (it’s also an incentive for another RedState Gathering).
A leap of faith is not a bad thing and sometimes a necessary thing. It is now. We’re going for it. Thanks for your prayers and support.
I also share this in the details I have shared on this Sunday because I hope some of you who may be doubting and worried about what is going on in your life may see the ups and downs in mine and consider just trusting God and going where He leads. It is scary, but letting God be in the driver’s seat frees you up to take in the view. And unlike you and me, God never ever fails.
Good Sunday morning to you.