The following is the final post in Baxter’s Story…  If you’ve been following the story, you know that these were initially presented as a series of Facebook Notes back in January & February of this year.  If you haven’t been following and want to catch up, here’s a link to Part 1


I’ve held off writing this final entry for Baxter’s Story, probably because I was so hoping to be able to put a nice pretty bow on this story. We Christians like to do that sort of thing… put Happy Bows on sad stories. I think its because we don’t like to embrace suffering as part of the Christian experience. Way back in 2010, we took a small group of college kids to Passion 2010 in Atlanta and in one of the breakout sessions, Francis Chan forever changed my perspective on this… He started with the book of Matthew in the New Testament, quoting scripture from each book of the New Testament on Holy Suffering… He made it all the way to 1Timothy before he admitted that there was in fact a book of the New Testament with no mention of suffering. And then he goes on to quote NINE instances in 2Timothy that referenced Holy Suffering. Its all there… just google Suffering and New Testament if you’d like to see for yourself.

Yet somehow, it doesn’t get a lot of play from most pulpits… or in your typical Sunday School or small group… You can find a handful of books on it in your local Christian bookstore, but they’re largely overshadowed by much shinier, happier books like Your Best Life Now… I believe it is this lack of transparency in the Christian experience that turns off so many that choose not to believe. Western Christianity sells the shiny & happy BIGTIME… diminishes the much harder topics… and the end result is a perceived experience that does NOT match at all with the trials we face daily on this side of Eden. People either can’t buy into it at face value or they give it a try for awhile & when the results don’t line up with the promised prosperity, they move on… We’d reach far more people for Christ if we were just honest about things… The truth is… SALVATION IS HERE!… But it must also be “worked out with fear & trembling” (Philippians 2:12)… And it is not always shiny & happy… It is in fact, quite messy and humbling…


SIX DAYS after “R” witnessed Baxter’s brutal death at the hands of two pit bulls, the above picture was captured by my brother-in-law… R & his pit bull Bo… That picture gets me through A LOT these days… Its a LOUD reminder of what God is capable of… You see God built the universe in 6 days… And he healed some deep wounds in R’s heart in that same amount of time… #BeautyFromAshes

That is not to say that things for R are perfect. She waffles between periods of being her vibrant self, followed by periods of deep sadness. She passes the location where his crate used to be… SADNESS… We walk by the pet food aisle in the grocery store… SADNESS… She still won’t sleep in her room alone… BUT… She is not terrified by the images from that day… She is not afraid of dogs or animals in general… She is still R and for that, I am grateful..

There have been SO MANY acts of kindness that have come out of this tragedy. Flowers… Cards… Gifts… Some for all of us… Some just for R… So sweet… and SO NECESSARY!… Every one has been precious…

Likewise, the breeders have been so awesome… Even though they have more expensive bloodlines than the one Baxter came from, they’ve guaranteed us first pick of whatever litters they have this Spring…

Response to these stories I’ve written has also been overwhelming… My hope in sharing all of this has been to move people… get you to consider the things that have happened in your own lives and re-consider them in a new light. Some of you responded publicly… Some of you have responded privately… Some of you haven’t responded at all, but I know you’re reading… 😉 I won’t go into any details here, but it is so good to know that it has connected with so many…


REGRETS… For my wife’s birthday, I put together a picture book of Baxter. I scoured every electronic device in the house for pictures that we’d forgotten about. R’s ipod was a treasure trove. My wife’s ipad as well… I even got pictures from some dear friends that saw Baxter in the park the weekend before. It was excruciating & it was necessary… so many happy memories.

One thing that became obvious as I pulled it all together though… I didn’t have one single picture of me & Baxter anywhere. That makes me so immensely sad on so many levels. I despise having my picture taken with a passion that’s probably way beyond healthy. And in this case, it cost me… leaving me with nothing but memories now. There’s a lesson in all that and I’m not sure I’m really ready for it. But there it is…


And on that sad note… The Enemy continues to be loud & active… So many of our closest friends are being attacked in ways I can’t explain. Just know that it is exactly what I said in Part 2… He is relentless in his pursuit to take us out. We either confront that head-on or he wins…

This latest round has impacted my oldest “A” the most… She lost it last night in a way I haven’t seen before. Probably the culmination of Baxter & everything else that is going on. Thank God it finally all came out…


This weekend, our family is starting a study of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters… If you aren’t familiar with Lewis’ works, please check them out. His ability to wrap the realities of the Christian struggle into works of fiction are both spot on in their accuracy and yet completely disarming because they are NOT overtly churchy. I specifically picked this book because it dives deeply into the spiritual warfare happening all around us.
You see, I’ve come to realize that while scripture does promise us beauty from ashes… Our reality is this… IT MUST BE FOUGHT FOR…

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