Ten years ago today, July 24, 2003, was a very different time for Jennifer and I. Ten years ago today I had just turned 26. Jennifer had turned the big 2-6 a couple months earlier. We were leaving the early twenties and entering the late twenties. I promise you it is a significant life shift going from the 18-25 category to the 26-35.
But things were very different for us 10 years ago.
- 10 years ago we had only been married for 14 months. Just newly weds.
- 10 years ago we were living in the original cow town, funky-town Fort Worth, TX. Home of more steaks and fajitas than a man could ever eat. Glory!
- 10 years ago we lived in a 525 sq. ft. barracks-like, seminary apartment, which has since been demolished and been replaced with beautiful condo-style apartments. (Jealousy)
- 10 years ago we were both finishing seminary, both taking full loads, both studying and writing papers, plus working to pay the tuition bills.
- 10 years ago we had no children. We were DINKs – Dual Incomes No Kids. We actually bought clothes for ourselves.
- 10 years ago I drove a turquoise blue Mercury Contour (called the Aquarium), Jennifer drove a white one. Neither of them were paid for and both were pieces of junk.
- 10 years ago I was the youth minister of Trinity Baptist Church. We had just came back from a mission trip to Denia, Spain and youth camp at Falls Creek, OK. Those were wonderful days.
- 10 years ago Jennifer was the primary bread winner of our family working as a Case Manager for Cornerstone Comprehensive Care Prog. (3CP) – one of the finest non-profit organizations in the nation.
- 10 years ago I was hoping a church would consider me for a full-time ministry position. I was sending resumes all over the country and getting no response. I was willing to follow God’s leadership any where he wanted us to go, but nothing was turning up.
And now 10 years later, much has changed.
We left Fort Worth in December 2003, moving to Alexandria, KY and then to Campbellsville in 2008. I did get a full-time ministry position at one of the best churches in KY, Main Street Bapt. Church, and then a faculty position at my alma mater Campbellsville Univ.
God blessed Jennifer and I with two beautiful, healthy baby boys, Isaac and Ethan. One looks just like his momma and one looks just like his daddy. We’ve made it 11 years together in what I consider to be a very healthy marriage, with our share of bumps but a growing friendship and love that is palpable.
I finished my doctorate; Jennifer is halfway through hers. We own a home, mini-van, family sedan, and 25 year old pick-up truck named Pa-Paw.
I have served on multiple church staffs as an interim pastor, preaching nearly every Sunday for the past 5 years. I have been a ministry consultant with churches, state and national denominational groups. I’ve traveled to the Israel, Jordan, Greece, and Turkey studying the places and times of the New Testament.
I’ve preached twice in the Van Ness Auditorium of LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville (for Educational Ministry folks, this is the mother ship). I’ve written curriculum for CentriKid camps and been rejected 5 times on a kid’s ministry book proposal.
All this to say that in the past 10 years, GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD! HE HAS BEEN SO FAITHFUL! HE HAS BEEN GRACIOUS and KIND! He had a plan and a purpose for our good, which was far better than anything we could have ever imagined (Eph. 3:20).
Ten years ago, I might not have been as able to see His hand so perfectly and delicately working in my life. I was probably fretting over finishing seminary, finding a job, and making money to pay off my student loans. Unfortunately, I was caught up seeing the immediate, the present, the now.
But God, in His abundant love and grace, had already laid the plans He had in store for us. Isaiah 55:9 Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 years later, I think it is good to look back and reflect. 10 years later, I recognize that I need to lean and trust more on the ways and thoughts of Almighty God. 10 years later, I need to stand utterly silent and be exceedingly thankful for that He has done in our lives.
10 years later, I need to remember Jeremiah 29:11 is true. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Thank you Lord for the past 10 years.