2010 was a BIG year…

13 12 2010

As I sit here looking at the Christmas tree and surrounded by folded laundry just begging to be put away, my mind wanders to the events of this year.  It has truly been a very challenging season for Sara and me, but when I think of all that has been accomplished, I realize how much God has been with us through every bit of it.

I just want to take a little time to give glory to God for some of the highlights of the year…

In the fall of 2009, I began to feel God leading me to further my education.  I began to research graduate schools online and had two schools to choose from.  After seeking counsel from my pastors, I decided to go with Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.  I completed all of the necessary paperwork and enrolled.  Classes started on January 18.  I had signed up for full-time status (2 classes per 8-week term).  Even though I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of reading and writing assignments, I loved every minute of it.  After receiving very positive feedback from my professors, I began to see that I was going to succeed and surpass my expectations.  Although I have had to have student loans to attend graduate school, I somehow know that God is going to provide.

I began seriously running at the beginning of the year.  My goal was to complete the Gusher Half-Marathon.  In the process, I went to Tyler, TX to run the Tyler Azalea 10k with a friend of mine that I met on Twitter, Caleb Canal.  It was a really great run, and I exceeded my time goal!  I made a great friend and found out that the hills of Tyler were rough on the hamstrings!!

Gusher – I still cannot believe that I completed the Gusher Half.  13.1 miles without stopping…  I would have never dreamed that I would have completed such an insane event.  I can remember that I trained all during the winter/spring for the event with great weather conditions.  We had a cool winter with relatively no humidity.  The morning of the Gusher, we had an unbelievable amount of humidity, and it was HOT!  My body was not happy, thus my time was not great.  Hopefully, I can beat my time next year.  Even though I was a little disappointed in my result, I still can’t believe that I ran the race!!

In May, Sara and I moved one step closer to adopting our boys.  I can’t discuss any details of the case, and we’re still in the middle of a long battle; but I just know that these are our little boys forever and ever.

The summer of 2010 was a great year in our music department.  In May, I sat down to plan the entire summer’s music selections and gave all of the material to our phenomenal band leader.  Martin took all of the stuff and got to work with the band.  The vocal team worked very hard, and the end result was a power-packed summer of fantastic music and intense worship experiences.  To cap it all off, in August, we introduced a song – “You Are Worthy”.  It really was an amazing moment and one that I will not soon forget!

Also in August, Sara and I were able to participate in Israel Houghton‘s worship conference, A Deeper Level 2010.  This was my third year to attend and second time at the One Church Worship Academy.  God always meets us in a special way at this conference, but this year somehow seemed different.  The weight of the deposit from the Holy Spirit was just unbelievable.  I am still gaining strength from what we experienced this year.  Thanks, Iz!!

In September, I decided to join Triumph Church Physical Training as a part of the “Challenge”.  It is an military-based exercise program that’s just insanity defined.  We met 5 days a week at 5:20am at that Nederland track for 10 weeks.  Our instructors led us through some really intense regimens that challenged me physically, mentally and spiritually.  I got hurt at some point in the process and thought I was out for good, but the instructors made some adjustments to the program to allow me to be a part and ultimately graduate.  Speaking of graduate, the final challenge was AMAZING!!!  I don’t know how long it lasted that night, but I really felt like they were going to kill us.  As much pain as I was in, the feeling of accomplishment at the end was worth every minute.  I can’t believe that I was able to do all of that at 35 years old.  Either I’m stronger than I realized or am just plain STUPID!!

That brings me to December…

Sara and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary.  I can’t believe it has been 6 years…  I have the most amazing, talented, strong, funny, interesting, beautiful wife on the planet.  Thank you, Sassy, for being my best friend and love of my life.  You are an incredible mommy, too!!

Last Saturday night, Sara and I went to Grace Church of Humble, TX to attend their Christmas Concert directed by Pastor Hector Soto.  Pastor Hector and his wife Roxann have become dear friends and mentors of Sara and me over the past year.  God placed them in our lives, and I will be FOREVER grateful.  Anyway, the concert was BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING, WONDERFUL, SPECTACULAR, etc…  The musicianship was unbelievable.  I’m still just amazed at what we saw.  That truly was a highlight of my year.

Tomorrow is my boys’ 4th birthday.  I wish I could talk more about them online, but privacy laws prohibit it.  Just know that I could not be more proud of them and all that they have accomplished this year.  They are still dealing with the effects of the events of their lives before they came to live with us, but they are doing so good and growing up so fast.  They’re my BOYS!!!

I know there must be more that I am missing, but these were the moments that really stand out.  Thanks for reading about some of my all-time favorite moments of 2010.

2011 is gonna be even better!!!!





How did I miss this?!?!?

21 07 2009

We got the boys on Thursday, May 7th. I distinctly remember putting Nate down for a nap on Saturday, May 9th. We had had some issues those first few days that caused us to realize just how deep the pain was for these boys. What was worse was that they were so afraid, they couldn’t tell us what was wrong. They didn’t trust us at all! All they could do was cry and act out. Once he FINALLY went to sleep that day, I ran out of the house into the backyard and cried, screamed, threw things for a while. I was angry. Not at our situation. Not at Nate or Nick. Not at Sara. I was angry that these boys had been through hell. Why did these little boys have to endure that kind of pain? I just wanted nothing more than to scoop them up and protect them forever. Let nothing ever hurt them again.

Somewhere in the midst of my outburst of emotion, I felt an overwhelming wave of God’s love. I didn’t know where it was coming from and honestly, I was too involved to really understand what He was doing. I was too wrapped up in my circumstances to stop long enough to hear what He was trying so desperately to tell me. All of a sudden this morning, when I sat down with my iced tea at Rao’s, He showed me what He was doing that day.

It was a picture of how He feels for us. We are His kids. Eph 1:5 says that “in love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Christ Jesus, in accordance with His pleasure and will.” He decided to adopt us. We are kids that have been abused. Whether by someone else or by our own choices, it’s no matter to Him. The has enemy beat us up. Made us feel as though we are good-for-nothing. Abused us mentally. Taken advantage of us. Abused us in every way you can imagine.

Then, Jesus comes along and rescues us and says that He wants to be our brother. He says, “I have a Daddy that will take care of you. All you have to do is relax and realize that He will protect you.” See, that’s all I want – for Nate and Nick to relax. They are so afraid that someone is going to leave them. Afraid that someone is going to hurt them. They are so wrapped up in fear. My heart is screaming to them – JUST REST IN MY LOVE FOR YOU!!! You don’t have to be afraid anymore!

What an incredible picture of God’s love towards us. I can’t even write this without crying. His love is so much bigger than anything we could ever imagine. He gets angry when He sees what has been done to us. He gets angry when we can’t seem to trust Him. He looks past our outbursts and sees why we are acting this way. He sees that we respond to Him based on our relationships with our family and friends. He doesn’t take it personally. He just loves us. He knows that if we will just allow His love to overwhelm us, it will change everything. After all, He loved us so much that He gave us His Son. What greater love is this?!?! Eventually, once we surrender to it, His love will completely overwhelm us and change us from the inside out. (The worship leader in me gets flooded with 1000 songs about His love. Dottie Rambo’s “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Need” is ringing loudly this morning!)

I love my boys. (Ultimately, I realize that I may not have them forever, but I have decided to lay my heart on the line and act as though they WILL be with me forever.) Sara and I have a meeting this week to discuss the boys, and last night, we had to force ourselves to remember their behaviors and how they were when they came to us. They have come so far. I can remember quite vividly that Nate wouldn’t smile. He would start to and then catch himself and clam up. He would scream and cry for no reason. He wouldn’t talk to us. He would try, but the trust wasn’t there and he would just run and cry. All Nick could do was just be bad. He would giggle and do some crazy stuff and run away. There was no light in either of their eyes.

Now, we can see a light. We can see that they are beginning to trust us. There is a twinkle in their eyes that we haven’t seen before. It’s amazing to see the outward signs of what is happening on the inside.

Bottom line, we just need to drop the act. We need to surrender to Him and fall head-first into the ocean of unconditional love.

God, thank You for this love. Thank You for looking past the junk and mess and see the needs in our lives. Thank You for being passionate and angry at our enemy. Lord, we are accepted; therefore, we obey. We love You and want to be loved by You. Oh, how he loves us! Oh, how he loves you and me! Give us the boldness to share this love with others. Start with me!

Thank You, Daddy!