I stood there looking back with great anticipation. Butterflies in my stomach not from nerves but due to excitement anticipating the moment. Then the music changed and doors swung open. There she was – stunningly beautiful. My bride stood before me and tears welled up in my eyes. As the rest of the ceremony proceeded all the possibilities of what our lives would look like raced through my mind.
I cannot believe that day was eight years ago yesterday (July 9). It’s fun to look at pictures of ourselves from eight years ago on our wedding day. Of course, the physical changes are always evident (especially for me but Betsy still looks like a 22 year old beauty). However, I want to spend just a few minutes thinking about the Lord’s faithfulness to us in our marriage.
We started out as young, zealous, idealistic believers who wanted to make a profound difference for God’s Kingdom with our lives. Many people’s marriages begin this way especially if they marry right out of college like we did. However, very quickly the cares of the world began their battle for supremacy in our lives but we praise God that by His grace we are still a young, zealous and idealistic couple seeking to do great things in God’s Kingdom. Thankfully over the last 8 years God has brought maturity, wisdom, and testedness into our lives which we believe makes us more equipped to serve Him better.
God has guided our lives in many ways bring us to where we currently are – on the cusp of beginning our training to be church planting missionaries to unreached people. Below are 8 ways the Lord has shaped the course of our life together (one for each year of course).
- While we were still dating I had floated the idea of going to seminary in California after graduating undergrad and casually mentioned to Betsy that she could move out there as well to get a teaching job. She not so casually responded by stating that she was not going anywhere without a ring on her finger. That did two things – 1. Woke me up to the fact that I better marry her sooner rather than later and 2. Convinced me to go to seminary in the Chicagoland area – Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
- After we married I began seminary sooner than we had originally anticipated. We figured that if that was the plan let’s just do it!
- As I was going to begin seminary I met with the elders of a church in Dekalb, IL that I was very familiar with from college and I shared my vision with them for me to be on staff leading the college ministry while in seminary. They took a chance and hired me.
- My relationship with Steve Best began (now the Director of the Center for Pioneer Church Planting with To Every Tribe). Steve mentored me and gave me many great ministry opportunities that many guys I was in school with were not getting. I even led the church while he was on a 3 month sabbatical. We got great experience of how to make a marriage work with little time together since I was taking 16 hours of school at this time as well.
- We served there faithfully for 2 ½ years eventually I became the Pastor of Adult Discipleship and the Lord gave us a love for the local church and showed us the significant role it plays in His Kingdom. He also blessed us with our first child Ethan while there.
- While in seminary I learned about this idea of churches meeting in homes [you can find it in the Bible too :)]. It was during this time that I discovered Christ Fellowship of Kansas City and met Jim Elliff. This was exactly what we were looking for!
- We moved to KC to be a part of CFKC.
- Over the next 5 years the Lord would grow our family albeit with some hardships along the way, surround us with brothers and sisters in Christ who would teach us a tremendous amount about raising children, I would become a bi-vocational pastor which the Lord also used countless ways to strengthen our marriage and ministry together, we would be surrounded by a phenomenal team of elders and their wives who would make us better followers of Jesus and better biblical-thinkers.
To learn how we have transitioned from pastoring a home congregation in a network of house churches to preparing to become missionaries you can read Our Story. Needless to say, the last eight years has been an adventure where our love for each other and our love for Jesus has continued to grow. Betsy has continued to grow into an even more beautiful and godly woman (1 Peter 3:4) along the way and I am so blessed to have her as my wife.
Thank you Lord for eight fun years of marriage and the friends and family You have surrounded us with to make it even better!