Davey and Kristi Blackburn Wedding Film

We know many of you were unable to enjoy this day with us, so we wanted to share it with you! I know it’s been a year but we had some difficulties getting our video footage produced, but thanks to the incredible film-making and story-telling abilities of our friend, @_melbox, we were able to get something put together. I’m sure it’s at just the right time to encourage someone who watches it. Enjoy!

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Passing the Baton

I know the two of them would have had much to talk about. Both loved basketball, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and photography. Both ran competitively in their teenage years, Amanda with the cross-country team in high school and Kristi the 4x400 relay in high school as well as cross-country in college. Both felt freest when they laced up their Asics and strode out on a country road for a couple miles. Kristi in particular was an incredible long-distance sprinter, posting a 59.2 second 400 split with a baton in her hand.

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Thriving in Trial

You never know when you’re about to face trial. If only trial would call you up and warn you when it was coming into your life. 

“Hey man! It’s your old friend, trial! Yeah! It has been a while. How’s your mom and them? Good, good! Hey listen, I was thinking about moving in for a bit starting on the . . . . hmmm . . . let’s see . . . the 13th of this month? How’s that sound? Your calendar clear? Ok great. We’ll see you soon!” 

If only it would happen like that. Then maybe we could prepare for adversity. Then maybe we could, as my friend Pastor Levi Lusko writes in his book Through the Eyes of a Lion, “train for the trial we’re not yet in.”

You never know when you’re about to face trial.

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Why We Flipped a House

Kristi and I just flipped a house! I know, I know, before the Chip and Joanna Gaines comments begin to flood this post (especially since my wife looks strikingly similar to Joanna) I want to tell you why we did it. It certainly isn’t because we were bored or had an abundance of free time on our hands. That’s the furthest thing from reality. It isn't because we're looking at house-flipping as a new career path. I’m still pastoring and hopefully always will and she’s still in PA school. And no, we didn’t flip the house we live in. We flipped a rental property. And we have a strong reason for doing so even amidst the chaos of our lives. 

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Full Circle in Israel (Part Two)

As I stood on the banks of the Jordan River for the first time since April 2016, God brought me back to all the feelings, all the tears, all the stomach clenching pain that accompanied my first trip to Israel. And as I walked away from the muddy waters of the Jordan I saw things clearer than I ever have. God had just brought me full circle. Back to the Place of the Crossing. Back to the healing waters of the Jordan. In a very short amount of time He’d allowed me to experience the loss of the most precious person in my life, suffer through the aftermath of that, find hope and healing in Him, and then bring someone precious into my life again . . . God’s redemptive story for my life coming full circle once again. 

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Around a Kitchen Island

The enemy would love for you to believe you’re alone in your journey — that you’re the only one dealing with the pain you’re currently undergoing.

The truth is there are hundreds, maybe thousands of people who are walking through very similar trials as you. When your eyes are opened up to this, it makes your problems seem much smaller in the light of the larger picture of pain in this world.

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Our Family's Word for 2018

Every year for the past several years I’ve identified a word for the year. I used to only choose a word for our church. Now I choose a word for our church and a word for our family. In the past the word has often been based on a concept or an idea that I couldn’t get off my mind. It usually spawned from lessons The Lord was teaching me the final couple months of the previous year. I’ve always want this word to provide us with a unified sense of purpose and direction for the coming year - in one case for our volunteers and staff, and in the other for my family.

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Amanda's Trial and My Book Release

Last Friday, October 27th, our family stepped into a significant season of this journey. As many of you may have heard, Jalen Watson (one of the men on trial for Amanda’s murder) officially submitted a plea agreement. I purposefully took a little time before I commented on this because unless you’re walking through it it’s impossible to understand what something like this does to you emotionally.

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WHY I'M GOING BACK TO ISRAEL

On January 22nd, 2018 my father-in-law, Phil Byars, and I are leading a 9-day tour in Israel. This will be my second trip to Israel. My first was with NewSpring Church and was led by Perry Noble and Brad Cooper. They invited me to go April of 2016, five months after Amanda passed. It was so amazing I decided I had to go back and lead a trip! I’d love to invite you to come with us, but let me first tell you why I’m going back:

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My Friend Andy

You see I truly believe The Lord does something powerful through relationship and connectivity. I believe it’s one of the main ways he shows us He’s in our situation with us. I believe it’s one of the best ways to show us He’s walking through the valley of the shadow of death with us. Although we can’t tangibly see God and not many of us have actually heard his audible voice, He places His representatives—His ambassadors—other Christians with similar stories in our paths to remind us he sees us and knows our situation. He wants us to know He hasn’t left us alone but that he’s working it all out for our good in His master plan.

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Weston's First Day of Preschool

This morning I dropped Weston off for his first day of preschool. 

Let me tell you what may have just happened to every school-aged mom who read that sentence. Immediately your senses flooded with the gamut of emotions you felt the first day you dropped your kid/s off at school. How is it in one moment you can simultaneously beam with pride, lament how fast he’s growing up and how time seems to be slipping away from you, and grimace in pain as nervous knots tie up your stomach while you wonder how he’s going to do?

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What is Heaven Like? PART 2

When we got back to the hotel that afternoon I began thinking more about it. I felt like I had just experienced a little taste of what heaven will be like. I believe that every moment of awe we experience on earth is just the appetizer for heaven. You and I could spend every waking moment of our lifetime seeking new adventure and discovering new places and never tap into the full creative expanse of God. He is a master creator, and I believe both science and scripture point us to the fact that God’s creativity is limitless.

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Two Birthdays & A Wedding Anniversary

I peered over the horizon and thought about the significance of the sunset in front of me, a symbol of the closing of a perfect day. I silently begged the sun to stand still right where it was. If I just stared straight at the sunset I could almost imagine being there 10 years earlier with Amanda. I wanted to freeze that feeling, but as the sun continued to fade that feeling fled from me. 

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What is Life Like in Heaven?

I’ve been thinking a lot of Heaven lately. Maybe it’s the turning of the harsh Indiana winter into a soft spring and warm summer and the fresh blossoms swaying in the breeze that transports my senses to the celestial paradise. Maybe it’s because I had a lot of time to sit by the ocean last week while on vacation and think about what our final resting place will be like. Maybe it’s because the week before vacation was a marking day in my healing journey—May 18th my unborn baby, Evie Grace, would have turned one year. Whatever the reason, the peaceful pace of vacation had my brain spinning with what life’s like on the other side. 

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Graduation - Guest Post

It was our senior year of college (Amanda completed her two year degree), and we were graduating on the SAME DAY (with our awesome brother James)! In the week leading up to graduation, Amanda and I decided we needed a haircut. We walked into the salon, and the lady at the front desk asked if we were twins. (We get this a lot).

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Rest, Margin & Sabbath

I’m confident one of the most instrumental components to a healing plan is rest. I know this seems obvious but you’d be surprised how few sufferers of tragedy and trauma actually practice rest. Over the last eighteen months I’ve struggled with resting.

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What Do I Say?

I wonder if you’ve ever felt the same way. Whether you have or haven’t lost someone close to you, you've probably known someone who has. You’ve probably been faced with a moment like this. Perhaps not having to speak publicly to a group of grieving folks, but maybe you’ve walked across a room to console someone face-to-face and with each step searched for the words to say that could bring some kind of comfort, answers, and reasoning for their pain.

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