"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering." (Romans 12:1, MSG)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Foto Friday (on Thursday!)

Happy 10th birthday to my favorite first-born daughter! Gabrielle, I love you to the moon and back and I am so proud of you!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Gabrielle and my Mom together, taken a few short days after she was born. Since it has been such a milestone week for me this week, my Mom has never been far from my thoughts. So I thought it only fitting to honor her memory while honoring Gabrielle on her special day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trusting God

"The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see." (Hebrews 11:1, MSG)
This paraphrase by Eugene Peterson has been near the forefront of my mind for the past few weeks. In part because I have recently preached sermons from this text at both Asbury Theological Seminary and Spring of Life UMC, but mostly because of its meaning to me as I have been reflecting on my seminary experience.

When I began seminary in June 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. It's probably safe to say that a good number of those closest to me felt the same way...including my wife. I know this to be true because when cleaning out a drawer in my bedroom last night I came across a letter from her stating as much (a letter neither one of us remembered she had written). All I knew was that the compliance job in financial services that I had wanted for so many years was no longer satisfying and this constant tug on my heart that God wanted so much more from (and for) me wouldn't go away. 

Today I am incredibly grateful that the "tug" won. What I couldn't see then turned out to be the most formative and fulfilling experience of my life.

Last Wednesday night at 11:15, I submitted my final seminary assignment. Ever. I sat back in the chair at my desk, exhaled a huge sigh of relief, and felt lighter. I looked at Lenora sitting on our bed typing away at her laptop and thought, "I need to go over and thank her for supporting me. I couldn't have done this without her or the kids." But when I got to her, no words came. I fell into her lap and wept. Literally. Consumed by an unexpected wave of emotions. Joy, sadness, relief, exhaustion...you name it, I probably felt it.

4 years. 

36 classes.

145 assigned books read.

153,671 words of my own theological reflection.

The affirmation I received at the graduate dinner Friday and the commencement on Saturday worked together to show me that the hard work was worth it. Then again, positively responding to God's grace always is. Seminary began as something that totally cut against the grain of what I thought my life would look like and it required more trust in God than I thought myself able to muster. But it turned out to be first-hand evidence to this truth by Corrie ten Boom:
"We should never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
What God has done in my life these past four years is more than enough to forever warrant my faith and trust with my future. Thanks be to God for His calling, His provision, and a life worth living.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Foto Friday

Happy birthday, Lenora!

I want to make sure that my beautiful wife's birthday doesn't get lost in the festivities surrounding my graduation from seminary. So, today I am very publicly professing my love and gratitude for her. God has made her amazing in every way and today I celebrate her life! I love you, Lenora!