“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1 NIV)
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35 NIV)
I am a husband; father; grandfather; uncle; great-uncle; great-great-uncle; son; brother; nephew; cousin; friend; retired Director of Christian Education; ex-theologian; recovering procrastinator, perfectionist, and people-pleaser; recovering emotional/binge eater; bipolar disorder and panic attack struggler/survivor/thriver; dreamer/schemer; jack-of-many-trades; seeker and practitioner of shalom; sinner/saint; and writer. Encompassing all these things and more, I am a beloved child of God and a follower of Jesus Christ!
Sometimes incongruent, controversial, and/or clueless, I am a work in progress! My mission in life is:
“To walk humbly, yet courageously with God, do good, love and encourage myself and others!”
I’m passionate about God and people! I strive to follow two main rules in life which I learned many years ago in my work with a children’s midweek program:
I also live my life with a deep, dark secret, namely that my name is really, Ralph! Born Ralph Michael Freed, I have always been called, Mike, because my Father and Grandfather were also named Ralph. In fact, it wasn’t until I changed schools in 5th grade that I even knew my full name. The teacher was calling the roll and she called, “Ralph?” I didn’t answer. “Ralph Freed?” she said, and I sheepishly responded, “That’s my dad’s name.”
I have made peace with the name, Ralph over the years. Ralph means “wolf” or “wolf counsel,” Michael means “who is like God” and Freed just means “freed.” Put it all together and you get “The Wolf or Wolf-Counselor, who is like God, Freed.” I rather like that! It’s a great reminder that all of us are freed in Christ to be our best possible selves; the unique and precious beings that God planned for us to be in unity and community with Himself and others!
I have one book to my credit, Drummer Boy's Lunchbox. I contemplated listing my full name or the dignified derivative, “R. Michael Freed” as the book’s author, but the simplicity and familiarity of “Mike” won out. My manic vision for this book was of course, that it would become a bestseller! After almost 25 years of false starts and trying to make the book “perfect” it occurred to me (I’m a slow learner at times.) that “done” was perhaps, better than “perfect!” I believe that the revised edition of the book, though still not perfect, is an improvement over the first edition, and as my former therapist often reminded me it’s “about progress, not perfection!” Though this edition of the book, likely, will not live up to my initial far-fetched expectations either. I remain confident that it, like all of us, is “perfect” for God’s purpose and that God will use it and the author as He sees fit.
Currently, I am more or less retired. I have been married for over 40 years. I have two daughters, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters. My family is one of my greatest joys and highest priorities! In addition to writing, creating graphics and cards, and spending time with my family, my hobbies include, fishing, gardening, house plants, walking, working out in the pool. and tinkering with computers on occasion. In addition to my family, my priorities include sharing God's amazing love, letting go of some excess weight, and working to improve my spiritual, mental, and physical health.
I am content and happy in my current circumstances and yet, I still occasionally aspire to become a full-time writer, speaker, and/or life coach. So, I to do my best to discern where God is leading and to follow! And yes, I still hold out hope for a “giraffe cookies and red juice in a ducky cup” continuation of this adventure! (See Drummer Boy's Lunchbox, Chapter 5)
May God bless us and keep us, may He smile upon us and delight in us, may He enable us to grow in love, forgiveness, and understanding of ourselves and others, and may He envelop us in his shalom!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34 NIV)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… (John 14:27 NIV)