2,833 Hours!

Captain America and me were driving around the other day.  That’s the name I’ve given to our old, faithful car that we’ve had for over a decade.  Yes, my wife and I have a disagreement on whether or not a car should have a guy or girl name, but that’s a discussion for a different time.  For now, I’m sticking with “Cap”, as I call him.

As I glanced down at the odometer, I did some quick math and realized we have driven  Cap for over 170,000 miles since we bought it used many years ago.  At first, my mind embraced the thought that the vast majority of those miles had been free of major car repairs.  That’s always a good feeling.  But then, as my car shifted to a different gear, my mind did, as well.

WARNING:  The following math is subjective.  For the record, I have no idea how fast I was driving for every mile Cap has traveled.  Glad we cleared that up 🙂

Doing some quick math, I figured that if each of those miles represented a minute of time (some miles went quicker, some slower), Sara and/or myself have driven that car for 2,833 hours.  That’s basically 3,000 hours of memories, give or take!

And then the actual memories started flooding in:

  • The faIMG_2664ct this was the vehicle we placed our first child into as we headed home from the hospital.
  • The Native American young people we transported across the great state of Arizona, and the amazing conversations we had with them along the way.
  • The nervous yet faith-filled conversations Sara and I had about the health challenges our second child was facing, and the countless trips back-and-forth to the doctors in the months awaiting his arrival.
  • The memory of pulling over to serenade Sara with “Annie’s Song” by John Denver on the 1 1/2 hour drive from town to our home on the rez.
  • The heartache for those we were leaving behind, yet the excitement about what was ahead, as we loaded up the car and moved from Arizona to Arkansas.
  • Bringing our youngest child (starting off life at 10 lbs., 10 oz.!) home from the hospital a short couple of months after settling into our new home.

There are so many more, from what seemed to be simple conversations to moments of uproarious, tear-inducing laughter.  The fact is, those 2,833 hours are filled with moments that have helped knit my family together in inexplicable ways, and helped shape us in ways that only God truly knows.

And that is what really gets me – so many minutes filled with such rich memories, and I definitely have missed some of them as the mile markers have flown by.  It’s easy to get distracted by what’s around us, isn’t it? It might be frustration from a traffic slowdown, or a missed exit, or dissension in the back seat…which rarely happens, of course 😉  But, I have a God who loves me in mind-blowing ways, and that same Heavenly Father uses those very distractions to weave a beautiful tapestry across the miles.

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

He slows me down in unexpected ways, He fills the air with life-giving laughter, He challenges my faith with medical news, He shapes me as a dad as I play games or act as referee.  But maybe most importantly in those 2,833 hours, He has consistently grown the love in my heart as I’ve glanced at my bride riding next to me, and as I’ve snuck a peak in the rear view mirror at the full quiver He has blessed me with.

We have another primary family car now, and there are a million memories that have occurred outside of Cap.  But for now, I’m grateful for the 2,833 hours of memories in that vehicle.  May none of us miss out on the moments, wherever they may spring up.

“Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances.” 1 Thess. 5:16, 18a


Topsy-Turvy Christmas

My children recently convinced me to try some one-of-a-kind bumper cars. You start out by getting strapped into a cage, which should have been my first clue to run.  Then, there was a “Give Up” button, which should have been clue number two.  But, I stuck with it. In these give up buttonbumper cars, when you get hit, it’s much more than a ‘bump’ – you spin around and upside down until you don’t know which end is up.  Boy, was I ready to get off when the ride was over.

As I talk with friends this time of year, see people posting on social media, and even watch faces in the stores, it’s clear a lot of people feel the same way about ChristmOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAas.  While the songs are talking about joy and happiness, you may be feeling like I did on that ride – your life won’t stop spinning, and it feels like another topsy-turvy Christmas.

But Christmas doesn’t have to be that way.  Whether you’re spinning from stress, disappointing medical news, or family drama, there’s an answer.  In the Bible, we are told that Jesus is the “Wonderful Counselor…the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). That’s right – Jesus came as a baby, gave His life on the cross, and rose again so that you can have peace that lasts. Peace with God. And peace in your soul, knowing you’re eternally safe.

I have a confession to make.  I hit the “Give Up” button towards the end of the ride (it did nothing, by the way).  Before you hit the “give up” button on the holidays, on your family, or in whatever other area, remember that you are not alone.  No matter how challenging life might be right now, cry out to God and let Him in.  A personal relationship with Jesus has made all the difference for me, and I believe with all my heart He can make the difference for you, too.

Merry Christmas!


(This blog is based on a Christmas radio spot I recorded this year.  If you’d like to hear the audio, please check out: https://hutchcraft.com/resources/audio/christmas-moments/christmas-2017/topsy-turvy-christmas)

Worthless Steps

After wondering what all the hubbub was about, I finally took the plunge.  Yes, a coupKnight Riderle of months ago, I became the proud owner of a Fitbit.  Sure, we could debate whether I bought this for noble purposes, or if I bought it strictly to pretend I was Michael Knight talking to K.I.T.T., but I digress.

This investment has been really good for me as I seek to keep on the weight loss trail.  It’s not that I wasn’t exercising before, but each day, I find myself wanting to ‘beat the Fitbit’ in whatever category.  I mean, really, who wants to be bested by a machine, especially one that fits on your wrist?!

The other day, I made the ginormous error of leaving the house without putting on my Fitbit.  As I walked around town a bit, and as I did the Walmart ‘dance’ of crisscrossing the store repeatedly, the thought hit – “Oh man!  All this walking doesn’t even count.  These are worthless steps!”.  

Yes, I quickly came to my senses.  The steps I was taking were good.  They were helping me.  Just because I wasn’t wearing the fancy-schmancy tech gear on my wrist didn’t mean the steps were worthless.  I just have gotten used to seeing with my own eyes how much my steps matter.

After I got back home in K.I.T.T. – um, I mean our family car – I found myself thinking about the steps I take as a husband and dad.  I thought about how I don’t want to take any ‘worthless’ steps in the areas of my life I treasure more than any amount of gold.  I thought how helpful it would be to have a Fitbit showing me the impact of my steps.

And as the proof ran towards me when I came in the door, I realize that I do.  There is no place else that I can see how my steps as a dad and husband matter than in Sara and my three incredible children.  Each day, I can see in their faces if I’m getting it right, or if I’m missing the mark.

I can directly see when I am taking worthless steps – choosing a Yankees’ game over helping with the dishes, keeping my phone too close when my son wants to tell me about his day, playing video games those few extra minutes too long.  And I can definitely see it in those same faces when I’m making my steps matter!  It shows in the faces of those I dearly love, and I feel it in my own heart.

The longer I walk with Jesus, the more attuned I am to the internal “GPS” He has given me.  It’s His voice that tells me what is the best use of my time, how to be the best dad I can be, how to love SarPsalm 37 23 pica the way she deserves.  And it’s a fantastic feeling when my head hits the pillow that night and I hear Jesus whisper, “Good job today”, and then as He challenges me to do even better the next day.

So, I guess it’s pretty simple – whether when I’m out walking, or focused on my family, I want my steps to count!


What’s in a Name?

I like baseball.  A lot!  I’m one of those guys that has a countdown until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training each year.  This year, there was an extra treat of the World Baseball Classic.  That’s where teams representing several different countries square off to see who can win it all.  And, spoiler alert, Team USA won the 2017 WBC title!

As the scene unfolded after the final out, one of the outfielders was ecstatic as he ran into the celebratory fray.  As he sprinted across the field, he kept pointing to thwbc usa 2e “USA” on the front of his jersey.  This all-star level player who makes millions upon millions wasn’t pointing to the name on the back, or talking about himself in post-game interviews.  It was all about the name on the front of the jersey.

Now, this is something the greatest coaches have talked about for years.  Google holds many quotes from coaches saying, “The name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back!”.

This all got me thinking about the different names I might have on the back of my jersey – Dad, husband, provider, defender, department director, son, brother, uncle, friend… I know a lot of people with a lot of different ‘names’.  We each play several roles in life, and some more than others.

But what about the namename word cloud 3 on the front of the jersey?  Where does my identity really land?

Sure, it could be whatever role I like the most.  Or it could simply be “Brad” or “Hutchcraft”.  I dig both of those.  For some, it might be their job where they find the most meaning.  For others, their religion, or even their politics.

Playing for Team USA must have been memorable for these men.  But soon, they will be back playing for their regular team.  Logos of the Yankees, Rangers, Cubs, Dodgers, will be proudly worn once again.  Earlier in life, I changed ‘jerseys’ too many times, playing for someone different each day.

And then…Jesus.  He changed everything!  That’s the name that I proudly wear now.  It’s the name that all my other titles come under.  At least that’s the goal.  It’s the only name that I know will last.  Jesus.

It’s not about a set of rules, or a specific church, or whatever ‘religion’ that might come to mind.  And it’s certainly not about a political party!  It’s about this relationship that I started many years ago.  I was created to have a relationship with God.  The Bible says it best – I was “created by Him and for Him”.  We all were.  But I tried running my life my way instead, and I didn’t do a very good job.  Fortunately, God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay my penalty so I could have a chance at real life.  Eternal life with the One who created me.  I just had to choose Him.  So I did, and that has made all the difference.

Those other names?  I really like them.  I love being a dad, a husband, a friend, and the list goes on.  But those things can be challenging at times, and I wouldn’t be very good at them if not for the name on the front of the jersey.  For me to get it right, I’m going to stick with the strongest name there is:

“The name of the LORD is a strong tower…”(the Bible)


My Painted Tree

We have a tree in our yard that is one of my favorite things.  Sure, a tree might be no big deal to some, but it means a lot to me.  I have always loved the changing of seasons, especially seeing the leaves change color each autumn.  I think it started with the story my mom and dad would tell me growing up.  They would tell us that the angels came out to paint the leaves at night when the weather got cooler.  That was always such a cool picture to me.  It didn’t help me ace my science exams, but still a memorable story from my childhood.

I love seeing the changing colors of the leaves, but I haven’t always been able to do that.

In 1996, I moved to where God called me – a Native American reservation in Arizona.  God said “Go”, and I went.  I lived there until September 2010.  These were absolutely amazing years with some of the most incredible people you’d ever meet.  But, if you know much about, well, the desert, you know tall trees with leaves are kinda tough to come by.img_5669

For almost 15 years, autumn came and went without seeing much color.  Sure, there were times I’d be driving out of state and see some of the leaves, but didn’t get to see the unfolding handiwork of the “angels painting”.

When God said “Go” again in 2010, my wife and I started looking for a house in a new place.  Having lived in other peoples’ spaces for many years, we definitely had a list of things we were looking for.  We had ideas about a yard (mowing lawns wasn’t a big business in AZ), a basement (moving to tornado country), and other things.  However, nowhere on the list was a tree.  Of course, we wanted trees, but we didn’t have specifics in mind.

A few weeks after we moved, the angels started painting.  The area around us lit up with color, and it was amazing.  But no tree was amazing as my tree…and that is true to this day.  See, even though we didn’t know it, God led us to a house that has a tree right next to it that turns an amazing red every fall.  Without fail, it’s one of the first to get ‘painted’, and one of the last to lose all its color.

As I drove out of my driveway the other day, I put the car in park and just looked.  It was stunning!  The way the sun was hitting the leaves, the bright red of the leaves.  Stunning.  And I was overwhelmed with God’s faithfulness.  I have seen His handiwork time and time again – in hospital rooms, in financial provision when funds were so tight, in bringing Sara and me together.  But I see it in what many would call the ‘small things’, too.

And I see it in my painted tree.  God knew how much that tree would mean to me.  We looked at some good houses when we were searching, but it was clear this was the one for our family.  God is so good.  He picked that house for us, and He grew that tree, and He sends His angels to paint those leaves year-after-year, bringing a smile to my face.

He’s faithful to me, He’s faithful to our family, and God – who created you, too – will be faithful to you. The Bible says it best: “For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5). It might not always look like what you think it should look like, but God’s got a painted tree waiting for you, too.


My DeLorean and me

There’s a part of me that still hopes to see a DeLorean in the sky someday. Sure, it didn’t happen on October 21, 2015, but maybe there’s still hope for a flux capacitor.

Like thousands of others in movie theaters and living rooms across the country, I sat and watched “Back to the Future II”. It was too surreal to not watch a movie from 1989 about the future on the actual day they traveled to in the future (sure, that makes sense) – October 21, 2015.

I expected to laugh, and have some “whoa, they got that right” moments, but I didn’t know what else was coming.

I found myself thinking back to the 16-year-old who first saw that movie in 1989. I don’t know how I felt when I saw “2015” on the screen, but I’m guessing it was something like, “Wow, that’s, like, forever from now.”

But forever came fast.

It seems like the blink of an eye since those days, yet so much has unfolded in my life. I went to college aimage1nd met the love of my life. I lived among incredible Native Americans for nearly 15 years. I’m the dad to three beautiful children.  I’ve seen my nephew need open-heart surgery at two days old, and my own son need abdominal surgery at three-days old. And, through it all, I’ve seen God do some absolutely amazing things.

Twenty-six years passed by. Just like that. It was filled with memories, challenges, and joys that I probably would have been freaked out by if Doc Brown had shown up and told the 16-year-old me all of it.

Finally, my thoughts turned to 2041 – another 26 years down the road. I don’t know what is on the road between now and then, but I can’t wait for the adventure.

And I’m so grateful that no matter what comes, I have a God who loves me, who has a  plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and who I get to spend forever with because of Jesus.

Who knows? Maybe there will be a DeLorean waiting for me in Heaven…


Words I was taught never to say (blog by Sara Hutchcraft)

I give up

Words I was taught never to say

Words I teach my children never to say

Have now become my mantra.

It started when the moose slammed headfirst into our RV, crushing in that window in front of my driving husband, sending glasses and bowls and boxes of graham crackers flying across the vehicle that was my home for a month.Moose windshield

We were spared. Miraculously spared from what could have been something so much worse. Satan must have sent that moose to stop us from our mission to spend the summer travelling and bringing the Gospel to those trapped in darkness. But on we marched. “Now we see through a glass dimly…” Then came the rest of the story. Under that RV was a mess of metal and bolts that were coming apart. Unbeknownst to us, we had been driving all summer with a rental RV that was being held together by only a nylon washer. Tragedy may have faced us hours down the road, had we kept driving. God sent us a moose. He whispered in his ear to meet us on that dark road in the middle of Idaho, and He saved us. He hadn’t saved us from the moose – He had used the moose to save us. “Then we shall see face to face”.

We travelled on, confident in our mission. Confident in how God had spared us. And sitting at a stop light across from Denny’s, waiting to turn left, it happened. A car lost control, hurtled towards us, and slammed into the front of this same, battle weary RV. And this battle weary family shook.

AndAccident 2 we limped on. God showed up in ways we could never have envisioned. Our personal chaos didn’t have to distract from the larger story – but it changed me forever. This time there was no second story. No reason why it happened. Just a moment that ripped my sense of control away from me. And God whispered “Are you ready yet? Are you ready to finally let go?” Now we see through a glass dimly…

I spent the majority of my life looking for answers to the “why”? Wanting to understand – to control my circumstances, to prevent pain and loss. Or maybe trying to form myself into the person I thought God wanted me to be. Twenty years ago, when He asked me if I would go anywhere – to speak His words to whoever He asked me to? Brokenhearted, my insecurity spoke and I stammered “I can’t” … for 20 years He has been walking beside me – gently reminding me that though I can’t, HE CAN. And that’s all He’s ever asked of me.

So that day the crazy driver slammed into our RV? I gave up. He didn’t just shatter our RV– he shattered the illusion of control that had threatened to ensnare me. It’s in our shattered places we find the most healing. I gave up. Not in the traditional sense – I gave up myself. I didn’t need to know why anymore – Then we shall see face to face. The answers will come one day – I don’t need them now. On that day I will be all He created me to be – until then I will just do what He tells me to do and trust Him to be sufficient in my weakness. Just Jesus – that’s all I need to know. And here I rest.

I want to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering…Phil 3:10