It’s been a pretty big Summer for our family. Big seasons can mean big stress, and this was no exception. Granted, much of it was good stress, but even too much good stress can wear a guy out. Summer started in a big way with Jaxon’s being born just three days into it. He’s wonderful, and we’re so grateful to have him. I was sure we’d only have one kid, because Jakob’s pregnancy was very difficult on Sarah, and she was pretty sure she’d only ever have the one. She decided it would be good to have a second, and as feared, it was a terrible pregnancy once again, but the ends justify the means in this case.
Two weeks after Jaxon’s birth, I got on a bus with 29 awesome students and leaders and headed to Louisville. It was an amazing trip, even if my heart was half at home, and my mind was occupied with thinking about the next big thing. We were supposed to close on our house on July 18, which was one week after I would return from this trip. Of course, as many of you who own homes know, it never goes as planned. Then we were supposed to close on July 25, but again, it didn’t happen. Finally, we were to close on July 31, the last day on our lease, but again, it didn’t happen. The builder/seller was gracious in allowing us to move in that day, anyway, a full week before closing. We ended up closing on August 7 on a home that was built as though we had given the builder every detail of everything we needed and wanted in a home. God worked in ways we didn’t expect, including ways that frustrated us greatly. He worked through the government’s incompetence – apparently even that is redeemable – and a builder who doesn’t know us. All along he spoke to us through our realtor, who is a good Christian of great faith, that we thought we just happen to get. We look back now, just a few weeks later, and we see how God was orchestrating everything, and we are grateful for what He did. We also feel a little sheepish about the times we got frustrated and began to doubt.
If you were in church at KCC on Sunday, then you know something big happened at work for me. It was announced on Sunday that I am the new associate pastor here, which means additional responsibilities, work, and trust (much of which has been in place for months anyway). Most of you found out Sunday. I’ve known for a while and have been excited but haven’t been able to talk to many about it. But for me it was also a frustrating process, even though it didn’t take too long overall. I talked to Dave about my frustrations a month ago, and he explained that he sees that I’m a microwave guy. I want things done in 30 seconds or less, and when they are not, I get frustrated, I begin to doubt and get scared. I don’t sit quietly in waiting very well for very long. He’s right.
Now it is the end of Summer as far kids in school and their parents go (that’s us now!). As I look back over the Summer, I am grateful for Jaxon, our home, and my promotion. That seems like it should be obvious. But I’m also grateful for the hiccups, speed bumps, twists and turns. With the house and the promotion, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn patience and faith at different levels. I’m glad that the house buying process was so frustrating and strange, because it shows God’s hand clearly. I’m glad for the testing of my faith there, because it gave me an opportunity to stand tall in my faith and not lose faith in exchange for worry, which I’m glad to say that I did.
You know what else I’m grateful for? I’m not going anywhere for a long time. In case you missed the subtle hints, I thought I’d tell you that. I just bought a house. I wouldn’t have done that without seeking God and being confident that we’d be here a long time. My job is changing and expanding in ways that will allow me to grow, recognize that I have grown, and use the gifts I’m passionate about using. I’m grateful I don’t have to leave a church that I love to experience this. Most youth pastors have to leave a church to grow into a new position. I’m grateful that the leaders at KCC see where I can grow, change, and be used here. I am grateful that I’m not seen as just the goofy youth guy, at least by those leading the church. Sure, I am the goofy youth guy whenever I can be, but to them I’m also a pastor capable of more than pranks, funny videos, and jokes. But don’t worry. Just because I’m capable of more doesn’t mean I’ll forsake my roots. I’ve got a funny video coming you won’t want to miss.