As I write this, I am trying to hold back tears. It’s been a valiant fight the last few months, but tonight it’s a losing battle for me. I am completely overwhelmed with the grace and mercy that my God has shown my family and me since we moved to Fort Worth in 2007. Now, as we are just a few days away from moving, I just want to set up an “altar” to remember and to worship my Lord.
We had planned to attend seminary, but we were in no position to afford it. God had provided a scholarship to Southwestern. We had no connection to Texas at all, but we trusted that if God could provide for us to go to Texas, he would take care of all of our needs.
We moved without a job. We had agreed that my Bride would stay home with our firstborn, Joshua, which drew criticism from some seminarians and their wives, who thought that it was wiser for her to work so that I could focus on my studies (who would focus on our child?!) After over a month of job-searching, criticism, and depleted savings, the Lord provided.
When we realized that we could not make it financially with the job that I had, Annie and I found out that we were expecting our second child, Noah. Then our insurance told us that they were no longer covering maternity under our plan. Then they told us that they could not cover it under any other plan because it would be considered a pre-existing condition. God provided, and every bill was paid.
God has provided for us in ways that we could not imagine. From unmarked letters on my office chair to random knocks on our door, from anonymous gifts from church members to our generous extended family just wanting to encourage us, we have been amazed with God’s grace.
When we moved to Texas, we had no idea if we would ever have friends, having been born and raised in the northeast. God provided us with a network of friends whom we love dearly, and we are so grateful to have received their love in return.
God provided us with a church home, Redeemer Church, who taught us the pure joy of Christ-centered community. Then he sent us to Meadowridge Community Baptist Church, where we learned that this joy must spread to all peoples, even those across the street that are so different than us. Then he sent us to Rosen Heights Baptist Church, where we learned that the grace that God alone provides creates a people who love with his relentless love.
When we found out about our third child, we still weren’t in any better financial situation, but we trusted God. When we lost our third baby, we trusted that God would take care of us. He overwhelmed us with the care of our Meadowridge family, and surprised us with our miracle baby, Mikaiya.
Shortly after Mikaiya was born, I lost my job. Not knowing how my family would survive after the already lean years of seminary life, we again looked to our God. He opened an opportunity for me to preach in Oklahoma, where a small church provided the equivalent of a paycheck for us. Then the senior adults at Meadowridge surprised us with a special offering, not knowing how dire the situation was (but God knew!). Then God provided through churches back home. And then I was asked to become the interim pastor at Rosen Heights Baptist Church, through whom God has most recently taken care of us.
It is because of these reasons and so many more that I sit here with tears in my eyes. How could we have ever seen all of this coming? I thank God for his provision and wisdom. I thank him for every friend that he brought into our lives here, a list that could fill books. I thank God for the pastors and professors who invested in me. I thank God for my faithful Bride, who literally left everything to follow Jesus and her husband. I thank God for each precious child, three of whom were born in Texas. I praise God for this imperfect home, which has been our home longer than any other in our short marriage.
A hymn that has continued to bless us through the years is “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”. I love the last verse:
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow–
Blessings all mine with ten thousand beside!
And the chorus:
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
As we close this chapter and open another in Baltimore (with another baby, Naomi!), we continue to look to this God to continue to amaze and humble us with his great faithfulness and grace.