Hi, everybody, this is Daniel. Welcome to another episode of Parkinson’s, Parkinson’s and Faith. This podcast is about an individual that is dealing with their diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and the continual struggle to fight against the progression of the disease. However, fortunately, I am not alone in many aspects of life, but in this aspect I have brought along my brother, Brian. You doing alright?
Well, Daniel, I’m really interested in getting into this topic because as your older brother I know faith has played a very important part of your life journey. for several decades now. You were thought of as a leader in your youth group. You took me mission trips you express yourself creatively through music and performing arts. So I know that this is something that you really want to talk about. And I want to encourage our listeners, we’re not going to be preaching at you. There’s no altar call at the end. But this is something that my brother has found a lot of value in. And through our discussion, we’re hoping that you get some value as well. But Daniel, I know this is something very important to you. Can you kind of give our listeners some of the reasoning behind why you wanted to do an episode about faith?
It’s kind of the heart of this podcast, my faith makes up so much of who I am.
You’ll be even more challenged to find this topic mixed in with faith on the web. there’s just not a lot of material out there with it.
This could make someone really apprehensive to listen to the episode that oh, well, great he is going into religion which goes into politics and we heard enough of that. But I want to share an incredible source of strength and hope, that has made all the difference in my life.
So let’s just get it out there. explain to the audience what do you believe?
I’m constantly learning that God is so much bigger than the box that I continually put them in. The core of my beliefs is, I’m a follower of Christ Jesus. That can bring about mixed reactions. Boiling that down, Jesus came down from heaven to live, die and rose from the dead, to remove the consequences of sin. It’s a gift and we need to receive this gift of everlasting life. This obviously includes so much more than everlasting life, but that’s the core of what I believe.
So this what you believe, why do you believe it?
There’s always been something in my life that is bigger than I am. A director of my steps. I remember clearly as a child, knowing that there was a presence there, and it was always looking out for me, and seemed to always be knocking at the door wanting me to let him in. I’ve questioned my faith. I believe questioning your faith is very important. That’s what actually makes it a faith that’s worth living now.
So Daniel, I know that people in our audience and including myself are probably thinking,this had to change just a little bit when you were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. And some people would probably say, you know what, I’m done with God because of this diagnosis. What has Parkinson’s disease done in your faith journey?
Receiving the diagnosis and beginning to understand what this disease entails, I’m going to be very honest and say that my faith was hit extremely hard. Because when I ball up in the shower, my body is shaking uncontrollably. With just agony and anxiety. I’m crying out to God, I, I had to honestly say, what’s going on here gone. Are you still there? And I needed God to step up and step out of my poorly constructed box that I’ve made. I haven’t experienced the Why me, Lord, and I emphasize yet, but there’s definitely a rethinking of re evaluating. And honestly, just a heart to heart with God. What are your plans now?
But you said you haven’t experienced Why me Lord yet? Once you kind of expand that for your audience because I don’t think that is would be the normal response. I think most of us would be screaming Why me Lord after this diagnosis.
Thinking about the future, it really dawned on me watching and observing throughout my life, that there are really bad things that happened to really good people. It doesn’t seem to be fair, bad things are going to happen to me. I’m no exception to the list. It’s not like, because I serve God that we have some secret pack underneath the table handshake of all serve us. So you take care of everything. For me. I’ve been given a great life, and I am thankful for that. And I don’t want it to be over. I certainly have a lot more in me. I guess. I’m not immune to suffering. So why should I think it otherwise?
So it’s almost like instead of pushing away your faith, which has been a great source of strength for you over the years, you have more of a need now for more than ever.
Yeah, I was thinking of this illustration, this metaphor, the other day. Being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease is similar to being tied to a railroad track. You can’t move and you can’t go anywhere. Your eyes are open and you see this, train heading for you. And the realization kicks in that train is coming for me. Now, I don’t know how far off that train is. Also, I don’t know how fast it may be going. But that train is coming for me. And if something doesn’t take me out first, there are dark, dark times ahead. And as the train gets closer, you can say that you don’t believe in something. But for me, I have a train coming at me and I need a savior. I need something supernatural, something bigger. That goes beyond my understanding. I’m convinced I have it. And I’m learning. I have to put my anxieties on him because that’s what he offers for us. A song that I really like, says it well, that he’ll take the burdens while we We receive His grace that we are not big enough to handle these burdens in our lives, financial death, Parkinson’s, we’re just not big enough for this. So yeah, I need a savior.
Let me throw this at you because I know some people of faith might want to bargain with God, or seek a miracle from God or a healing from God. Has this been something that you have pondered on? , certainly,
Oh certaintly, I have my hands up right now where I’m recording and saying, I am ready to be healed. If the Lord wants to do that, I will receive it. And I will make it known to people however, I’ve got to go with I know that he’s capable of healing me, I’m just not sure about if he will heal me. My good friends around me when I told them of my diagnosis, their first thing was to pray for healing. I’m all about that! I’m not expecting to be healed. Maybe it’s my coping mechanism. Maybe it’s my way of handling it, which very well may be the case. It’s tempting not to go, Lord, if you heal me, I will be the best person. I’ll be your best spokesman. I will be all over the news. But I don’t think you can make that arrangement with God. As tempting as that may be. So if he wants to heal me, that will be glorious. But if he doesn’t, the question comes, will I still serve him? Well, I still believe my answer has been Yes. as tough as that is to answer. It’s been an honest Yes.
In the previous episode, we’ve talked about how is your faith a source of hope for you?
It has to be the foundation the anchor to my ship that is in a very stormy sea with waves crashing in around me. I’d say it but I don’t find much hope in the world that we live in now. That’s not to discount that there is so much beauty in people and places is so beyond comprehension. But it’s not enough. There has to be something more. This life doesn’t make sense without the Lord. It just doesn’t. Now that hope is that the Lord has a reason for me having Parkinson’s now what he’s going to do with it, I don’t know. It’s imperative to choose how I’m going to face the day. Why am I giving up? Is there a hope beyond just a cure now, very influential artists in my life, a musician really had a great way of expressing how I want to get up in the morning.
It’s how we choose to live our day. To me, there’s two postures I can take when I wake up in the morning. I can choose what I call the passively jaded posture, which is sort of lean back, arms crossed eyes sort of rolled Okay, I’ll give you my day today today, I got to get on a bus and drop the Liberty. today. I got to get in front of students and sing early for me because I normally don’t sing till night.And then tonight, I’m going to run out because I start my tour tomorrow. And I got to FaceTime my kids, I got to make sure I do that. To me, that’s the passively jaded day of tobymac. Then there’s the other day I can choose the other posture I can choose that you can choose. And it’s where you get out on the edge of your seat. And you say I, today I get to get on a big old bus with some of my best friends. Drive to Liberty University where I graduated from speak to some students love on them. I get to do some songs that I wrote and that I love and hopefully they love. Tonight I get to go to Roanoke and rehearse for a tour Rama give him Everything I got tonight, I can use technology on my side and FaceTime my kids and look them in the eyes and say I love you. How was school today? What was the best part of your day? That was the same day. It was just two different postures. So when we choose to get on the edge of our seat, eyes wide open with wonder of what is God going to do with this day. That’s the posture I want.
An insightful clip from Christian artists, Toby McKeon, someone who has definitely had an impact in your life. So Daniel, what do you take away from that clip?
Toby was clear about more of our default tendency is to see a day that has to be endured versus waking up and going, Lord, what do you have for me today? I want to choose that that comes with having hope.
Phase definitely seems to have an impact on how you view things in your life. Does that include finances as well?
Yeah, with young onset Parkinson’s, I still have a way to go before I’m of retirement age. Finances has really been a factor of external pressure. He made something clear to me a couple of years ago, before I was diagnosed. He is the Lord of my family’s finances. Now, that’s maybe an interesting way of thinking about it. But to me, he said, Daniel, I write the checks that the money comes out of my account, which does not have a limit or doesn’t run out. It is mine to give. So I can only say for me specifically that the Lord says to me, I got it. I’m the Lord. That is tough, because I want to take control of that and make it my own and figure out a solution, I guess, make it to retirement, to provide for my family and not to live with little future from my, my son and my wife. That is something that I struggle with too. I have the faith to actually believe that they can I let go of this, but that’s what he is asked me to have faith that he has that and faith is believing in things that you cannot see. So I’m going on the record, I’m putting all my chips in. because number one, I’m all in. Number two, I really don’t have a choice that I’m all in. I don’t have any other strategies.
I know one of the reasons that you’re doing this podcast is for your son to listen to, if he so chooses later and life and it’s no secret that your son is raised in a Christian environment. What do you want to say to him? Has he’s watching you in this critical point of your life, about having faith.
I want him to hear his dad go through the questions through the trials, and to hear that there is a savior that is wanting a relationship with him, and that his dad, despite all of the things, I am sure I am doing wrong as trying to show him that faith that I love him so much, but I’m not strong enough to love him enough. I’m going to embarrass him in front of his friends. This is very hard for me to internalize. As he’s older, if he’s listening, that his dad had something real, that this wasn’t the end of the line, that there’s hope. That’s what I want my son to understand. And are there times to where I will cry uncontrollably and hide it from him. Absolutely. I do that with my son and my wife, but our weakness often defines our strength so hopefully sees both the weakness and the strength comes to the understanding that there is a God that loves his dad that God hasn’t done this as a punishment to me or a punishment to him.
It’s got to be concern that he would almost view his faith and have that perspective of why’d you do this to my dad.
And it’s an understandable reaction. Why did you do this to my family? It’s unfair, but a lot of things are unfair in life. So even through that unfairness, and very possibly the anger that you took my dad from me, that I want them to hear my side of the story, and I don’t believe that is the case. And I don’t believe that is truth.
All right. Daniel’s getting his preach on.
The Bible it says in this life, you will have trouble and that kind of leads us into our final segment. A powerful anthem for you is we go back to tobymac, who had to clip earlier. He wrote a song called the elements in This seems to be your anthem explained to the audience. Why?
The song the elements came into my mind not long after the diagnosis, and I’d like to share the lyrics I’d love to share the song, but there’s copyright stuff that this is my anthem. As I listened to the song, this is what I want to define me. And Toby uses the elements as a metaphor for life. I want to take a little bit of creative licensing and make the elements in this case talking about Parkinson’s and I rally around the song.
I lace the boots up is straight to the door because this is worth fighting for. I get my head right, the heart has got to follow, whisper prayer like there ain’t no tomorrow. Take a breath and exhale slow. I wasn’t made for this kind of cold, the same place that you want to know. These are The elements and telling you bro. They try to break us, break us make us want to give in, lay down arms novocaine us again, lay down a fight I can never relent. And I’m gonna take it all the way to the end. I got spirit, I got faith I may bend, but I won’t break. Father God, let me see it for what it is the isn’t neutral, we’re up against these elements pushed me to the fence, and then I end up on top of it. if I’m not careful to recognize what is pushing in. Open my eyes to these elements stand up and rise to these elements. I’m willing to fight willing to fight the elements. I’m gonna go down swinging if I go down, and I’m gonna go down swinging if I go down.
It’s a great song with a lot of hope to it and a lot of energy. So that’s my rallying cry.
All right, Daniel, that’s a powerful testimony coming from you. But what do you say to those people in our audience that are struggling with their faith, walking away from their faith, or just don’t have that motivation to fight the elements?
The Bible overwhelmingly talks about a God that chases after his children. It’s not the other way around. It’s an act of God of God that pursues and when I came home to understand, but I can’t have faith. This marks us is named a Papa that comes in and we can beat it against his chest and I can say it’s not fair and he’s not offended by that he’s not repelled or repulse, but holds me in those strong arms and says, I’ve got you in that. That’s the good news. That’s great. News. But to avoid getting my preach on Brian, my God has been there through all of my life and he has been faithful. And I believe he will be faithful all the way to the end. And I’m not going to understand why I’m not going to have the answers or be able to to write a book about why this makes sense.
I know we’re not going to do an altar call, but I certainly and I certainly appreciate you sharing this very important part of your life. Now I can only imagine it’s going to stir up things with our audience. So if you want to contact us, we definitely like to to do so in that contact information is coming up in just a moment.
This was as a lot of stuff, a lot of honest and vulnerable stuff for me. I hope I did not come across as preaching as something superficial because that is certainly not the heart I was trying to express it from. Brian, thank you so much for joining me. You’re the one that keeps me on track and more personally in my corner.
Well, my pleasure and certainly hope it makes up for the times I gave you difficulty growing up.
Let’s just say it’s getting theregetting there.
Alright, I’ll take that, for sure.
You’re a great.
I look forward to doing more with you then my brother.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai