Saturday, October 31, 2009

Superman- by Jacob Hutchison

Hello,  I am Derek Hutchison's son Jacob Hutchison.  But for the people who do read this blog your probably already know me because you know him or are related to him.  But for those of you who are looking at this for the first time I encourage you to read what my dad has to say.  He is an incredible man and his words and thoughts can make you cry, make you laugh, remind you of your family, and perhaps save a life. If you have read this blog befor then you already know about the unfortunate surgeries that have been in Derek's life.  You've heard it from his view, now you can hear it from his 13 year old son's perspective.

When his problems first started I was around 6, 7, or 8 I cant really remember, but as all boys that look up to their fathers I thought he was Superman.  It really didnt bother me as much at it would have if it would have happened now.  I can remember waiting in the waiting room asking when dad would come out.  I remember and wish I could take back getting mad because everything was taking so long.  I didnt really understand why mom was so scared and always crying and being by herself.  However I didnt go the whole time without reality hitting me.  I distincly remember sittting in a hall, next to my aunt and cousins, and basically the whole family, and it felt like a wave came over me.  A wave of fear, anguish, and love for my father.  It still puzzzles me to this day how a young child can understand so much in one single instant.  My worst fears were not realized, however, and superman is still here with us.

That was the story of what happened before the surgery, this is the story of life for the Hutchisons right now.  Afterwards he had to learn...well... everything over again.  It was strange at first when a tumbleweed would blow across the street and he called it a cottonball.  Or when he would forget how old i was.  But I never really looked at him as anything less then a father.  He was still the same Superman as he always had been.  Our love for him had never been changed and it will never be changed.  He still has headaches, he still sometimes cant play catch, he still sometimes forgets, but even though its a little different then most peoples lifes I can still say something that no one else can say.....My dad is Superman.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Amazing Grace


I want to let you all know that I am feeling better and have kept my fever down for 24 hours!  Mostly, I write this because my mother reads my blog, (my biggest fans her and Dad), and I know she will be happy when she reads I am feeling better.  Mom, if you are reading this on Friday I want to let you know I tried to call this morning and no one was home!  I love you!

During my journey home I have found that God amazes anew each day.  Look at today's verse of the day to the right and you will see what I mean.  If you are reading this on another day, go to Ephesians 2:8-9. Immediately follow my surgeries I was very down.  I was frustrated in thinking that my pain would never go away and the left side of my head would never have any feeling.  Guess what?  I was right, at least up to today.  My pain hasn't gone away and I don't have any feeling on the left side of my head.  So, what is different about me?  That's easy, amazing grace.

You've heard the old saying that "God may not give you everything you want bu He sure does give you everything you need".  I know exactly what that means.  I know that God may never relieve my pain or give me feeling back in my head.  He might also decide to never let me win the lottery or to lose the ten pounds I so desperately need (want) to lose.  I might never get those things but He does give me the grace to realize that as long as I concentrate on Him he will take care of me.

The great thing about that is that I don't deserve that type of love and attention.  You might not want to hear this but you don't either.  That is why it is called grace and mercy.  We don't deserve anything we receive from God because we are sinners.  Yet, thanks to Christ on the cross we have that grace and mercy everyday of our lives.

I don't know what you are going through today.  I don't know what life is throwing your way.  I do know this, God sent His son to die on a cross so that you and I might have a path back to the Father.  And if God is willing to give up His son and that son is willing to die for me then I have a responsibility to live the best life I can.  Pain may come and go and situations come up where you think you can't go on, but you can.   I did, and you can too.  Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.

I want to challenge you to look at the world with new eyes today.  Look at the world through the eyes of God and find it in your heart to give grace and mercy to someone else. Until tomorrow!



Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to the Journey


It has been a while since I last posted.  I had a very busy week last week providing pastoral care for a member of my congregation.  She lost her husband due to a heart attack and the funeral was last week.  Not to mention the cold, flu, whatever I have had this week.  I feel as if I am on the mend.  In any case I am back on my journey.

It's funny how things like illnesses pop up right in the middle of the busiest times.  I know I felt that I did not have the time to be sick this week.  I have a number of different projects on my plate and I really didn't want to be bothered with things like not spreading your germs to other people. 

Many people tell me that is God's way of telling me to slow down.  My remark back is that if God wanted to me slow down He wouldn't have given me all of these things to do!  Although, I know that is faulty reasoning.  I do believe that God wants us to rest from time to time.  After my second surgery I had to visit the Mayo clininc in Arizona.  I dreaded driving all that way just to have a neurologist tell me I had a cyst in my brain.  I sure was wrong!

I ended up taking a sabbatical from work for three months and Christine and I drove to Phoenix AZ to check in at the Mayo clininc.  Even though it was a very rough and tiring procedure I had to go through I look back at that time with great fondness.  Why?  Because I got to be with Christine, just Christine.  The business of the work day and the hectic pace of a pastor and teacher's schedules were not there.  For a week it was just her and I.

I think God God wants that from us as well.  Our busy schedules and hectic lives seem to always overshadow our time with God.  Many times we do not have the time to stop and pray or study.  It seems that sometimes our relationship with God is like my cold, "I really don't have time for this right now!". 

I have learned on my journey home that it's ok to stop and smell the flowers.  To be honest there are times in my life when I am moving so quickly that I don't even notice that there are flowers to stop and smell.  I hope I get better at that.  Until then I have Christine to remind me.

I pray that you will find time in this busy week to stop and smell the flowers and give thanks to God for what you have!  Until next time I hope your journey home is a good one!



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sharing the Load


Recovering from my surgeries has not been easy.  As I have shared with you before I feel like I am still recovering.  However, I have found on my journey home that God gives us the things we need to recover.  How many times have you heard the scripture that tells us that God never gives us more than we can handle?  There were times that I was sure that God was mistaken.  Or at least He thought to highly of me!  It has occurred to me, however, that perhaps didn't allow me to go through something that He knew I couldn't handle but, rather, He gave me someone that He knew could help me handle it.

I know very few things for certain in mylie.  I know that the sun will always come up tommorrow- my father taught me that.  I know that there is a God and that I am not Him!  And I know that God gave me a partner in life to share my burdens.  I know for certain that I would have never been able to survive my surgeries if it had not been for my Christine.  My wife is my rock, she is my compass, and she is my partner through this crazy ride called life.

Ever since my health problems began Christine has kept a diary.  This diary has been one part medical history, one part Derek history, and one part sounding board for Christine's feelings.  It pains me to read some of her entries.  It pains me because I know that I am the one who has caused the fear and despair that I, sometimes, read.  She assures me that it was not me but, rather, the situation.  I appreciate her for that.

However, the one thing that I always read in that diary is Christine's belief that God would get us through.  That is why God gave her to me.  She believed when I couldn't.  She prayed when I couldn't.  She protected me when I couldn't.  She was  a father when I couldn't be.  I truly believe in guardian angels and I know that I have two.  One watches over me in the heavenly realm and the other one is my wife!

I truly believe that God brings people into our lives to help bear the weight of life itself.  Who is it for you?  Or, perhaps, are you that somebody for someone else?  Life is hard enough for us to think that we are all alone in our sufferings.  God promises to be with us.  He says, "cast your worries upon me for burden is easy and my yoke is light". 

I don't know where I would be on my journey home if it were not for Christine.  However, I know this, she has been with me each step of the way.  Sometimes leading, sometimes following, but ever present.  Thank you God for giving me to her and her to me!



Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Fellowship


I love The Lord of the Rings.  I particularly enjoy The Fellowship of the Ring which is the first in the trilogy.  I am sure that you have seen the movies or read the Tolkien books.  The Fellowship of the Ring finds nine individuals, 4 hobbits, two men, a dwarf, an elf, and a wizard setting off on a journey to destroy the one ring of Saron in the fires of Mount Doom.  I am sure that if you know the story you are saying to yourself, "Yes! The Fellowship!".  If you haven't seen the movies or read the book you are saying, "What?".   Let me make it easy for all of us.  I love the idea that nine individuals set forth on a common journey with a common cause.

On my journey home I find a number of people on my path.  My journey towards the cross of Christ is not barren of other people.  My journey finds me, sometims, walking along with others.  Each of us using our different  gifts and talents to achieve a common goal, the sharing of the gospel.  It is good to know that their are others on the path with me.  It is comforting to know that I don't walk this road alone.  Knowing  that there is a fellowship of the body of Christ comforts me.  Just as the indivudals of the fellowship of the ring find themselves in perilous circumstances we, as Christians, find ourselves striving to overcome evil and sin in our world.

I wish I could report to you that the path that leads me on my journey home was an easy one.  I cannot tell you that.  However, I can tell you that we don't walk the path alone.  We have any number of brothers and sisters to walk with us.  And, definitely, we have our savior with us every step of the way. 

I encourage you to step back from your journey home for a moment and take time to recognze the many ways that God has aided you in your journey.  Looking back at my journey from my first brain surgery til today I am amazed at the blessings I received.  From God's holy hand to family and friends who walked with me I have found mercy and grace in the fellowship.

I pray that today that you might see God at work in your life.  Look for Him on your journey home.  I suspect He is all over, He walks behind you to encourage you, above you to watch over you, beside you to befriend you, and in front of you to show you the way!  Peace be with you and I will see you on my journey home!



Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Willing Spirit


Today I want to talk about our spirit.  I'm not talking about that which describes our general attitude.  I am talking about the spirit that lives inside of us the moment we accept Christ.  Our scripture for this day reads,“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:12).  Grant me a willing spirit, that is what the Psalmist is talking about.  On my journey home I have experienced times when I don't think I had a willing spirit .  I recall times, early after surgery, when my prayers to God would not be very willing at all.  I somehow got the impression that God was suppose to heal me without any participation on my part.  He could of easily have done that however, He wanted me to be a part of the healing process.

I think each one of us have gone through times when we just want our prayers answered immediately and without having to do any work on our part.  Many times I have encouraged individuals to do just as much listening in prayer than they do talking. It is in those quiet moments when we hear God speaking to us, guiding us, and giving us instruction.  Those quiet moments are the time when God speaks peace to us.  Yet, for all of our praying, we never take tme for God to respond.

I have found that listening to God is the best way to encourage a willing spirit.  So, the question might be asked, "do we neglect listening to God because our spirit is not willing?".  I learned very early on my journey home that if I were going to recover from my surgeries that I was going to have to do my part.  God wanted this recovery to give Him glory and I was called to do what He told me to do if that was going to happen.  It is in a willing spirit that God is glorified.

What is God asking you to do on your journey home?  Does He want more prayer from you, more obedience from you, or just a little more time with you?  God takes willing spirits and uses them for His glory here on earth.  Do you want to be a willing servant or just expect God to do all of the work.  I found out that God had called me to do some of the work myself.  It took a while but I think I have found my willing spirit again.  It was some time coming...but God waited!

I encourage all of you to find that willing spirit again and go and serve our master, father, redeemer, and friend.  I will see you on the journey home!



Sunday, October 18, 2009

Death Makes Us Live


I apologize for the absent post yesterday.  I was tending to a pastoral duty and could not find time to get to my writing.  It's interesting to see how my calling as a pastor has revealed to me many interesting revelations on my journey home.  Yesterday, I was called to the hospital bedside of a member of my church.  The family had gathered and was awaiting the sad outcome of life... their loved one's death.

Dealing with death is never easy.  Whether it be sudden or whether it works it way out through an illness.  However, the one blessing that I have realized on my journey is this...death is what makes us live!  As my first brain surgery came closer I was faced with the stark reality that I might not make it through the procedure.  I can remember my neurosurgeon advising me about all the things that could, possibly, go wrong.  I distinctly remember her saying that death was not the worse thing that could happen.  There was a chance that if certain parts of the brain were damaged that I could be "locked in".  Simply put it meant that I would be able to see, hear, and comprehend my surroundings but Iwould not be able to move or speak.  I was afraid of that one the most.

I can't say that I ever feared dying.  I didn't want my family to go through that but, if it was to happen, I was ready.  I often tell people tha I would die for my faith but I would much rather stay here on earth and live for Jesus.  I knew after my surgeries that life would be rough and it has been.  However, I thank God each day that He decided to keep me here with my family and my church.  I know that I had been given a second chance, and a third chance, and a fourth chance.  Each time I got up from operating table I knew that I had received a blessing.  I wanted to live and I knew that this thing inside my head was getting in the way of that!

Living with the realization that there was something that was growing in my head that could potentially end my life is somewhat scary.  But, the unknown is often scary.  Just because I have a cyst in my brain doesn't make my life different from yours.  Each one of us face the realization that death could come at any minute.  Although, to come to terms with our mortality gives us great peace of what is given to us after this life.  Exciting as it is to dream of the day that I stand before God in heaven I am thankful that more time has been given to me.  The knowledge that death faces us every day makes us live!

I know that someday God will call me home.  Scripture tells us that "it is appointed for all men to die once and then the judgement".  I am ok with that!  However, until that point God has given me work to do.  I encourage each of us to truly look at death not as something to fear but something to motivate us.  God has given each of us gifts and talents to use for His glory.  He also given each of us a certain time frame to use them.  Be motivated to live for Jesus!  Death  makes us live! 

Until tomorrow may this day be filled with blessings for you and your families.  Live for today because tomorrw is not promised!



Friday, October 16, 2009



As you might notice I have changed a few things on this page.  I have added a counter so that I can track who is following me on my journey.  I have added a picture of me and Christine under my family.  I hope to share pictures of my family each day.  I have also added a description of this page under the title My Journey Home.

I call this page a spiritual journey of healing and wholeness of Derek Hutchison.  What is "healing and wholeness" really mean.  We throw those terms around the body of Christ with an assumption that we all know what we are taking about.  I'm not sure we do.  I believe that what God considers to be healing and wholeness might be different than what we think it is.  I know it is for me.

After my surgeries I prayed mightily for a healing from God.  I prayed that He would dissolve my cyst and remove my headaches.  I knew that He was a God who listened and, therefore, knew what kind of healing I wanted.  He just wasn't ready to heal me in THAT way!  In fact, God didn't take any of my suggestions on the whole healing process.  Scripture says that "God's ways are not our ways", I found that to be, oh so, true.

I was convinced that the only definition of healing that I wanted dealt with a cyst and some pain.  God, on the other hand, saw a greater healing for me.  Instead of healing of my body He chose a healing of my spirit.  My surgeries had taken me to a place where God and I weren't exactly on speaking terms.  God wanted that changed and so He changed it.

On my journey home I have found that our request of healing and wholeness do not always match God's idea of them.  What I have ound is that heaing can from many things, a person, a touch, a word.  And sometimes being healed means dying.  Not just an physical death but a spiritual one as well.  God knew that the circumstances of life had brought to a spirital low and God knew that to be healed physically meant Ihad to be healed spiritually.  He knew that the renewing of health was inextricably tied to the renewal of my spirit.  And so he waited.  He waited for me to get to a place where I could talk to Him again.  He waited for me to approach Him and seek spiritual renewal.  He knew me better than I knew myself and He knows you that way to.  He wants us to be healed, some physical, some spiritual, some financially.  God desires a healing for His creation.

So, am I totally physically healed?  No!  Am I totally spiritually healed?  Not even close.  But I'm getting closer.  That's why it's a journey.  God might show you many different paths for you to achieve healing but the end result is the same..healing and wholeness.  I know God wants me to be healed some day.  If it's healing from brain surgery that's wonderful..if not, that's alright as well.  I would rather have a helping of spiritual healing than physical healing.  Will it happen, I hope so!  Until then, I walk the road of my journey and you walk yours.  Perhaps we will meet one day on the same road, the road that leads to healing and wholeness through Christ Jesus.  Until then, may the Lord bless you!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Earn This!


It's not easy coming back from illness.  On my journey home I found strength through scripture.  Even though God and I weren't on very good speaking terms at the time I found that His word comforted me.  I found many characters of the Bible that I could relate to.  Job was one of them!  Although I believe Job handled his situation with a little more maturity than I did I saw something in him that I saw in myself.  It didn't have anything to do with his character, but his belief.

Much was taken from Job and yet his belief that God was soveriegn and righteous enabled him to endure his sufferings.  My journey home has been a long journey yet, throughout my journey, I have always believed that God remained true, just, and merciful, a soveriegn God.  And because He is sovereign it means that His way IS the BEST way!  I have not always understood, agreed, or supported the decisions that He has made for me but I do know they are the right ones!

Many of us have obstacles to overcome.  Be it health, financial, spiritual, or otherwise we all struggle in this world with something.  It is during those times when we can remember that the will that God has for each of us are true and the best decisions for us.  We don't always have to like them but we do have to honor them.

As I continue to struggle through my life I have made myself a promise, to honor God's choices.  The reality that it was very real that I would not get up from that operating table gives me encouragement.  God, in His infinite wisdom, gave me another shot at life.  I want to earn it.  I want to live my life knowing that God has more plans for me.

I am reminded of the movie Saving Private Ryan.  Towards the end of the movie when all of the soldiers that have come to rescue him begin to die Tom Hanks takes Private Ryan by the shirt and, with his dying breath says, "Earn this!"  I pray that those of you who read these words would seek to live a life that gives God honor.  He chose to give His son for me that I might have victory over death, so I might know Him.  I can imagine Christ on that cross and with His dying breath looking at me, and you, and saying, "Earn This!"  And, although we can never earn our salvation, we can honor it.

I pray my journey home gives honor to God.!



Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Walk to Remember


As I have mentioned in my earlier posts this blog site is really for me.  I hope that if there is anyone out there reading that my story might bless you in some way.  For the past 10 years I have been the solo pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, CO.  We are a small group but we are dedicated to the gospel.  It was merely one year after I arrived at First Pres that I had the first of my mnay trials that were to come.  I had a motorcycle fall on me and break one of my vertebraes.  I would like to tell you that I am a big motorcyle rider and that I, merely, encountered one of the numerous injuries tough bikers work through.  Sadly, I can't tell you that!  Actually, the motorcycle was my broth-in-law's and it was in my shed when it tipped on me while getting my wee whipper!  That story does not seem as galiant or macho.  Nevertheless, it's the truth.

It was from that moment on that I ended up on the operating table almost every year for four years.  During one of the most angirest prayer times I had with God was when I questioned Him about sending me to Las Animas.  I often joke that with all the surgeries I've had since coming to this church I wonder if the devil is tempting me to turn from God or if God is punishing me for coming to Las Animas.  Sometimes we don't know.  However, I know that no matter what I have gone through, whether back surgery, brain surgery, sinus surgery, knee surgery, or even tonsillectomy, God has gone with me.  Don't get me wrong I probably would not have said that in the midst of the surgeries but it's easier to realize now.

That is one thing we have to realize about our creator, He loves His creation.  I am sure that God did not enjoy the times that I lay on that operating table.  I am also past the point thinking that it was, necessarily, Him that put me there.  But, the devil or God, good or bad, on purpose or accidentally, God met me where I was and gave me strength that I did not know I had.  He can do it for you.  He will come right beside you and walk through the deepest valleys and the highest mountains.  He wants to do that because He loves us.

I never thought that my ministry in Las Animas, CO would be like this.  If I did I am not sure if I would have sighned up. I do know that I wouldn't trade it.  My God, my family, and my church is what has gotten me to where I am today...on a journey home.  I think I have a lot more walking to do on this journey...but what a walk to remember!  Talk with you tomorrow!



Monday, October 12, 2009

God Listens...

Greetings in the name of Christ,

Today I want to talk to you about how God listens.  Following my brain surgeris I had a deep emotional response to God.  No, it was some fanciful appreciation for getting me though the surgeries.  Nor was it a sense of indebtedness to Him for letting me get up off the operating table and conitnue my life as a husband, a father, and a pastor.  And as much as I would like to admit to you that I did all of those things mentioned above it would be a lie to do so.  My emotional response towards God was anger.

That's right, I found myself so angry at God for allowing this to happen to me.  I was angry at God for letting the pain continue nonstop 24 hours a day.  I resented the fact that He had the power to change everything and yet chose not to.  How could this be?  How could He do this to me?  I am the one that had given everything of myself to serve Him.  I went when he said "GO" and followed where He led.  I give all of this to Him and this is how He repays me?  That's how my prayers sounded and it lasted for many years

Yet 6 years after those surgeries I still have pain non-stop.  I still make trips to the neurologist and neurosurgeon.  I still get in the MRI tube or CAT scan doughnut every year to see what the cyst is doing that day.  But, after all of that yelling at God, after all of those arguments at the throne of Grace,  God still listened and He still listens today.

If I have learned anything through my medical trials I have learned that good or bad, loud or soft, repentent or obnoxiuos, God listens.  So as I go forth in my story let me tell you how I knew that God was listening.  See Ya tomorrow.



Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Time of Renewal


I want to start this new day with you by explaining a little bit about this "Journey" that you have joined me on.  As I said earlier I have had three brain surgeries in the past 9 years.  Each one of these surgeries brought new obstacles for me regarding my faith.  Obstacles such as dissapointment in God for letting this happen to me and my family, discouragement that I was not handling this time in my life very well, and a lack of faith that my God would cause one of His children to experience an attack of lifelong pain.  Needless to say these obstacles changed my prayer life or, perhaps, my prayer language.  I spent a lot of time cursing God and letting Him have it everytime I approached th throne of grace.

To be able to deal with these obstacles I decided to journal my thoughts, feelings, and attitudes each day in hopes of recognizing my my life journey with God post surgery!.  These blogs are a way of doing just that!  I pray that a blessing and a time of renewal would fill the hearts of whomever (or is it whomever?) might read, or write, these words.

This is not an excercie in grammar so expect the occasional dangling participle, sentence fragment, and verb disagreeing with the noun type of thing!  Mainly, the thoughts I share with the world that is the internet are for my sake.  Expressing, through words, what I have experienced over the past decade brings me closer to God.  If it helps you to come closer as well then I am excited for you. 

Well enough of the background it is time for me to tell you a story about a husband, a wife, two kids, numerous relatives, and a body of Christ that was challenged to live a life of faithfulness through a time of sadness, pain, and unexpected blessings.  This is my story and this is my first step on my journey home!

Blessings and I will see you tomorrow!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Journey Begins!

It all began...
This is how all stories begin, isn't it? For those who don't know me my name is Derek Hutchison. I am a pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Las Animas, Colorado and this is my story!My story begins in a Dr's office with the have a cyst in your brain! I have to admit that the word "cyst" was much better than the word "tumor" however, at that point I didn't know what all of this meant. So after numerous MRI's, CAT scans, neurological tests and eye exams it was determined that I needed to have the cyst removed.The cyst was the size of a quarter and it was resting on my pineal gland. That gland sits in the middle of your brain and is located in the area where sight, hearing, and, well, everything else transfers from one side of your brain to another. The decision to have the surgery was hard but there was no choice. The neurosurgeon felt that it could be cancer but the only way to know was to go in and see. So, the day after the 2004 Super Bowl I went to Parkview Hospital in Pueblo, CO to have brain surgery! Little did I know that this would be the first in a series of brain surgeries that would take my faith in God on a roller coaster ride!Talk to you tomorrow! Blessings in Christ!