Monday, August 3, 2009

Why I am Filled with Joy and Sadness, Tears and Gladness

clinging%20to%20the%20cross I will warn you in advance; you may get no benefit from reading this.  The truth is, I am so flooded with conflicting emotions right now that I thought it may be helpful to write.  I figure that around the 1st of September I will look back and wonder what just happened.  Much of what I know and love will be finished by the end of this week. 

I take great comfort in the fact that I will continue to be with my lovely wife, I will still have the presence of my amazing son, and more than anything I will still have Christ as the center of my life.  Saying it that way really puts it in perspective.  (Yeah, that picture to the right just about sums it up).

At the same time I feel a great loss.  I absolutely love the people that God has placed in our life.  It was all I could do to choke back tears and a dark depression as I peeled quotes off my walls, packed up pictures, and thought about all the amazing memories I have of the students here in New London.  I love my pastor.  I love our staff.  I love our deacons.  I love our church body.  Of course FBC New London is not perfect, but she is part of the Bride of Christ that is married to Jesus and this makes her beautiful.  A big part of my life has now changed.  As of Friday August 7th, 2009 I will no longer be the youth pastor at FBC New London.  That makes me sad.

Yesterday, I was ordained into the gospel ministry.  My good friend Terry preached the ordination service (yes, the same Terry that blogs here).  It was very convicting.  He reminded me that no matter how much education, training, experience, etc. that I have it will be inadequate.  My only hope and my only weapon is the Word of God.  I have known all of this in my head.  Yesterday, I felt the weight of it.  I have been chosen by God to do what a small percentage of people are called to do.  Indeed I am equipped.  But at the same time I am totally inadequate for such a task.  I sense my deep need for Christ and pray that I am continually reminded of my helplessness.  I am but a child, and will be until the day that I die.

Not only am I sad about what we are leaving, I am very nervous about what we are moving to.  I am very thankful that God has supplied a job at Chick-Fil-A.  But I have to be honest and say that it also makes me sad.  I love being a youth pastor.  I am not nearly as passionate about selling chicken sandwiches.  Yet, God will use me even here.  I wonder how stoked Jesus was about being a carpenter?

I am nervous that we will not be able to make it financially.  It will be tight for us to make it through the first year.  At this point it will be impossible for us to even attend a class the second year.  I am confident, however, that God will provide.  If He wants us in Louisville, Kentucky attending seminary the money will be provided.  No clue how.  No clue when.  But I know that God will provide.  Even if we are homeless God will provide abundant grace for us to be joyful in the midst of that.  Jesus knows what it is like to be homeless, He has more than enough grace to get us through.

I am sad to leave my parents and my wife’s parents.  I also am sad about taking Isaiah out of their life (and them out of Isaiah’s).  Granted it will not be permanent.  Granted many have it worse.  Nonetheless, I love both sets of parents.  I am blessed.  I have never been so far away from family.  It’s a new chapter…one I welcome, but still one that is an unknown.  Yet, in the midst I have confidence that Jesus knows what it is like to leave parents.  His grace is sufficient.  Not only for us but also for my parents and Nikki’s parents.

I am worried about how busy I will be.  I love my wife and I love my son.  I want to see them as much as I can.  I also enjoy relaxing with them.  Will this be possible having to work 40 hours a week at Chick-Fil-A, pulpit supplying, studying, going to classes, and maybe even having to pick up an extra job?  We will find the time.  We will plan the time.  Lord, give me the grace to remember that my wife and son come before school, work, etc. 

I get to study under Dr. Mohler and Dr. Schreiner.  Not to mention all the other professors that I am not as aware of that are probably equally amazing.  (Their light is also borrowed).  I hope I am good enough at writing papers to pass the classes.  I always stunk at writing in Turabian style in college.  Super excited about school, though. 

So that in a nutshell is my life and emotional state right now.  There is more I could mention but this will suffice.  I want to cry because I miss my friends, family, and students so much.  Yet I am joyous about the grace we will experience to fill this lack.  I want to wet my pants and run away in fear.  Yet again, I know that His grace is sufficient for my weakness.  I feel ripped to shreds but at the same time I feel more confident in the God of grace than I did this morning.  All in all I pray that I get to know Jesus more through all of this.  Furthermore, I pray that He is working the same grace in your life. 


  1. I had similar trepidations when I left to go to Midwestern...I hope that your first experiences will be as the eschaton: wiping every tear from your eye and filling you with joy and assurance that you are right where you're meant to be!

  2. You and your family do need much prayer---I hope you urge all of your fellowship in New London to hold you up and that you will remain in contact especially for that purpose (along with others).

    Dr. William Lane Craig has a wonderful talk to and about those of you in seminary. If you go to his website called and click on the audio-visual link on the left and scroll to "talks"--there is one called Healthy Relationships (National Faculity Leadership Conference 2008). It is well worth you listening to it----it gives very practical advice for those in seminary. He says 50 percent of the marriages end in divorse and that if you succeed at acedemics at the expense of your marriage then you have failed. He talks about how to deal with many of the issues you will be facing.

  3. "I will warn you in advance; you may get no benefit from reading this".

    You started off saying this and I quoted them because your article is amazing! Thanks for posting something so real from your heart. As Chrisitians we need to see this type of faith. And, by the way, the picture on the article, it is the picture on my mind every time I pray in those days the only thing we see in front of our faces is the Cross, that is almost everyday. Thanks!



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