When I was asked to write this story, I was not sure where to
start. Our seven-year-old son, Sean, had just gone into the
hospital with a blockage in his right lung…and to say the least,
writing out a testimony became a bit of a distraction. As I
struggled to get something written down on paper in the midst of
this trial, I became intensely aware that I have not given true
thanks to the Lord in a very long time. My wife and I are so
busy with all of the demands of daily life; first and foremost
all the responsibilities of having four small children, three of
which are diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.
Quite often, we find ourselves in the deficit column of coming
to our God with true praise and worship. It seems as if the
enemy is working overtime to keep us off balance.
The truth is we have so much to praise Him for. We began our
marriage paying no attention to God whatsoever. We came and went
with no regard to all the gifts and opportunities we had been
given. Looking back, there was a measure of success that I had
in the Country Music business... and yet, there was a frivolity
to it all because of the absence of any reverence to God on my
“Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build
it; …” Psalms 127:1
Be sure of one thing… when I was quite unlovable, He loved me.
Even though I had ignored His call for years, He never stopped
reaching out to me. I will, therefore, ask you to indulge me as
I use this opportunity to say Thanks to my Heavenly Father.
Thank you, Lord, for the numerous ways that you reached out to
me and kept me safe even before I answered Your call.
Thank you, Lord, for each of my many failed endeavors. Looking
back on them makes me glad that you’re in charge, and I’m not.
Thank you, Lord, for setting aside the wife of my youth… she is
a treasure. I’m sure I don’t fully appreciate what a gift she
is. An excellent wife who can find? Her worth is far above
rubies. (Proverbs 31:10)
Thank you, Lord, for the gentleman that we met at the truck stop
on the way to Nashville who handed us a one hundred-dollar bill
to help us on our way.
Thank you, Lord, for the man I gave a ride late one night when
he ran out of gas, and the money he slipped into my pocket,
which was exactly what we needed to pay the rent.
Thank you, Lord, for the prayer that Pat Robertson invited me to
pray with him as I wept under conviction and asked Jesus to be
my personal Savior.
Thank you, Lord, for that first prayer that Diane and I had
together when we surrendered the course of our lives to you.
Thank you, Lord, for all the houses we looked at thirteen years
ago and for the one that we were finally able to buy and for the
next-door neighbors who bugged us to death about going with them
Father, Your ways are perfect! I think about how the first
church we ever went to was perfect for my wife and I. You saw
fit to lead us to a place where our Pastor was a teacher, and
our Sunday school teacher always encouraged us to daily be in
Thank you, Lord, for that night in front of the TV watching
Ricky Skaggs talk about his faith in You while in the music
business and being a ‘Fisher Of Men’ and a ‘Silent Witness.’
Thank you, Lord, for both of our Moms. They deserve so much more
honor than we give them.
Thank you, Lord, for the many prayers of grandparents, aunts,
uncles and others on my behalf.
Thank you, Father, for your hand upon us the day that Jeffrey
was born with a hole in his intestinal tract.
Thank you, Father, for a wife who desired to quit work and stay
home with Jeffrey, and for her workplace taking up an offering
that amounted to over three thousand dollars at Christmas that
Thank you, Father, for the envelope we found on our dashboard
one time with $350 inside and the words “He provides” written on
Thank you, Father, for the guy who showed up at our door and
explained that You had told him to come and give us a check for
two hundred dollars.
Thank you, Lord, for Marylynn Ellis who traveled from Brentwood
to Mt. Juliet every work day for two months to baby sit with
Jeffrey. She did this to help until Diane was able to quit work
and stay home.
I praise you, Lord, for Sean being born without a hole in his
intestinal tract even though he was also diagnosed with Cystic
I praise you, Lord, for Freddie Sayers taking an interest in me
and talking me through hundreds of jobs while teaching me how to
be a carpenter.
I praise you, Lord, for the hundreds of jobs that you have kept
me safe on since then and for the trust that some really good
people have placed in me as I worked in and on their homes.
Thank you, Lord, for the grace and forgiveness that I’ve needed
to ask from some of them.
Thank you, Lord, for knowing that I needed some character
building which, in my case, would come with swinging a hammer
and learning the absolutes in reading a level and a tape
Thank you, Lord for the song “The Work Of A Carpenter” that you
gave me to write about Freddie Sayers as I drove home from his
Thank you, Lord, for the failed amino fluid test during
pregnancy that caused us to lean totally on you for the results.
The doctor called it a ‘bizarre’ occurrence.
Thank you, Lord, for your Word that talks about a time of
abstinence in marriage that builds a stronger seed.
Thank you, Lord, for Katie being born and not being a carrier of
the recessive gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis.
Thank you, Lord, for the favor that you’ve given us with Leslie
Shepard and her college friends that have helped so much with
Thank you, Lord, for the man in Australia who heard Don Taylor
talking about our cause on the radio and sent us fifteen hundred
Thank you, Lord, for leading me to record each of the songs on
the CD and for providing all that was needed to get it done.
Thank you, Lord for the eight or nine months that Jeannie
Mitchell prayed for the McDougals to be able to get into a
better house that might… ‘help their children be healthier just
one more day’. She didn’t tell us about her prayer until after
we launched our project…ahouseformykids.com
Thank you, Father, for the wonderful group of friends I met at
the Christian Country Music Association’s convention and for all
of their encouragement since then.
Thank you, Lord, for the acre of land that was donated to our
Thank you, Lord, for that night when the back of Jeffrey’s shirt
caught fire and he was not even singed (although my hand was
blistered from putting it out).
Thank you, Lord, for the forceful prompting you gave one night
that caused me to get up and check on the kids. I am amazed when
I think of how, just two seconds before that, Katie had fallen
in the pool and was not able to swim. I got to her because of
Thank you, Lord, for the night that Sean went to the emergency
room with a bowel obstruction which needed surgery and for the
next morning when the doctors declared that they could not
explain why it was not there anymore.
I thank you, Lord, for the extra measure of grace you gave to my
wife when she struggled through our youngest daughter being born
and also being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis…I could clearly
see you working in our lives then…
There is so much more to thank you for…
I have shared these things for several reasons. One is my desire
to be faithful at ‘shouting it from the rooftops.’ Another is
that I want everyone reading this to know that my wife and I
came to God’s throne with very broken lives, but our God is the
one who “takes the years the locusts have eaten…and makes them
new.” (Joel 2:25)
Notice also that not once did you read that God twisted our arms
and forced us to come serve Him. He won us over with his love,
grace, mercy, and long-suffering.
He tells us: ’Lean not on your own understanding, but in all
your ways acknowledge the Lord thy God and He will direct your
path.’ (Proverbs 3:5,6)
He sent His promise
He sent His Son
He sent His provision
He sent His Word
He sent His Love
One more thing…I wanted to remind you of a time when the God of
creation reached down and touched your life. Stop right now and
remember just one of those times and give Him praise and glory.
He is able, and He is worthy!
I have boasted in no one but the Lord here and ten more pages
could not hold the many supernatural things that He has done in
our lives. I know that He has done the same kinds of things in
your life. How do I know that?
Because that is just who He is… and He has prepared a place for
us to be with Him where we can forever tell Him… Thank You Lord!