22 April 2006

Years ago, while attending a workshop, the speaker used an ice-breaker-initiative to try and get us in touch with our "inner poet". Kind of touchy, very feely. Anyway, here are the opening lines of the love-sonnet I wrote to my treasured bride Teresa that morning ...

Who would have have guessed
that a man on a self-centered quest
would have been chosen by someone like you ...

My little ode of love went on to express my love to my dear wife in ways that would have made Mr. Hallmark blush, Helen Steiner Rice chuckle, and Bill Shakespeare get out his red pen. But the sentiments I wrote that day were true and came from a resolute understanding that I'd married above my position, that any "success" I'd had in life had more to due with the support of my wife than with my own tenacity or talent, and that I'd not only love her all of her life, but that I'd love her all of mine.

Which brings me to what I want to write about this evening – the reality that these past thirteen months of uncertain quest would never had been possible without Teresa's steady whispering to me, in ways simple and quiet, and in ways complex and insistent ...
  • That God had a plan ... even when we couldn't see it.
  • That together we could seek God's plan and find God's plan ... even when it would require more faith that we'd ever had to draw upon.
  • And that together we would walk this road and not give up ... even when we were discouraged, tired, separated, or ticked off.
And so tonight I want to let everyone know how blessed I am to have Teresa as my wife. Here are just some of the words that describe her: graceful, tenacious, attentive, wise, gentle, unselfish, consistent, thoughtful, prayerful, and peppy.

Please keep praying for Teresa as she holds down the Newberg fort during my time in Michigan. I leave again for three-weeks this coming Monday at 6:40 a.m. She continues to do some property management, cook monthly meals for a dear Christian sister here in Newberg who is developmentally challenged, and she also cleans two homes besides ours. This is all hard, and mostly thankless work, and she needs to sense God's calling and provision during these last feel months I am in Michigan.

Please pray for Ian as he tackles the final two months of his Junior year at Newberg High School, and as he wraps up the last two weeks of an Old Testament Survey class he's taking at George Fox University. He's also playing rugby, involved in Young Life and needs to hear God's voice and know God's presence as he's the "man of the house" in my absence.

I am continuing to have good conversations with three churches about whether or not God is opening the door for me to be their new lead pastor-teacher. Thanks for your ongoing prayers for this process. I wish we knew right now what door I am supposed to walk through. But we do not. I haven't heard any new updates from the two churches in Hawaii for several weeks, so I'm assuming that this is not the direction the LORD has planned for us. But here are the three churches I'm talking with ...
  1. 2nd Street Community Church, in Newberg, OR (my hometown)
  2. Emerald Bible Fellowship, in Eugene, OR (100 miles South of Newberg)
  3. Foothills Church, in Stayton, OR (25 miles SouthEast of Newberg)
And so we will keep trusting Him, waiting on Him and believing the undeniable truth that almost nothing significant has ever come about within the Kingdom of God without a significant time of waiting preceding it. And so our waiting is not in vain. Nor is it empty. God is alive in our waiting ... and He is shaping us, pruning us, and creating us for the place He has created for us.

To be honest with you, it really wasn't all that long ago that I was a man on a "self-centered quest." Sure I'd like to think I moved past that way of thinking the moment I realized Teresa had chosen me, but I didn't. But what I can confidently say is that I'm not the man I was a year ago. And so for the work God has done and is doing in me, and in Teresa, and in our family, I will always be thankful. God knows what He's doing. He always has and He always will. Godspeed.



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