Saturday, January 11, 2014

Christmas, 2 Anniversaries, and a New Year

Within a week’s time, Larry and I celebrated Christmas, 2 anniversaries, and the beginning of a new year.  Along with the festivities, we took time to pause, remember, and give thanks for God’s continual faithfulness and blessings to us.  On December 27th, we celebrated our 39th wedding anniversary and on January 1st, Larry's 35th anniversary at Tallowood Baptist Church.

A little over 35 years ago, a staff member and committee from Tallowood contacted Larry about coming to the church to serve as the Jr. High Minister.  At the time, Larry had been the Youth Minister at University Baptist Church in Coral Gables, Florida for two and a half years.  We loved the church, people, and community where we were investing our lives and were not looking to make a move.  Larry told Clois that he was very happy where we were, but would be willing to pray about the decision.  I remember Larry praying and asking God to change the desires of his heart if Tallowood was where He wanted him to serve.  We never had a discontent for where we were, but God began to give Larry a vision and excitement of furthering His Kingdom’s work in Houston with junior high students.  So on December 26, we set out for Houston, with Larry driving one car and me following behind him in the second car.  Fortunately, Mom had flown to Miami to pick up Scott, who was 14 months old, and take him to Houston so he would not have to make the long trip by car.  The second day of our journey was our 4th wedding anniversary.  Even though it was a long day of driving, there were blessings of both of us driving cars, in addition to Larry not having to listen to me talk for 17+ hours.  I still vividly remember several of the lessons from that trip of silence and listening:

* God will remain faithful wherever we live.
* We’re happiest and blessed when we are obedient to where God wants us to be and doing what He wants us to do.
* God equips you with the gifts you will need to do what He is calling you to do.
* You only have one chance to make a good first impression.
* The only comparison that would be beneficial was my life next to what Jesus would do.
* I had a choice of what my attitude would be.

It didn’t take long to realize that God was blessing us far more than we could have ever asked or imagined.  Besides being at a wonderful new church, we had the joy of living closer to family.  Through the years, Larry became the minister to all youth during interim times.  Then God began working in his heart again about ministering to families as well as the young people.  So 19 years ago, Larry accepted the position of Associate Pastor/Family Minister.  What a joy to watch God use the gifts and passions He has given Larry to bless and encourage others on their journey. 

What a privilege and blessing to be part of this church family for 35 years.  It was at Tallowood that all 3 of our sons made public their acceptance of Jesus as their Lord and Savior and were baptized.  They were part of Sunday School, worship services, choir, Vacation Bible School, Preschool, Mother’s Day Out, Mission Friends, Royal Ambassadors, Disciple Now (“Spark”) Weekends, Kingdom Basketball, Tallowood Players, Camp Tallowood, and Mission trips.  They were taught, mentored, loved, encouraged, challenged, and provided opportunities to minister and serve.  Scott & Abby and Chad & Lori were married at Tallowood.  Much of who our sons are today is because of the many ways so many people at Tallowood have contributed to and invested in their lives.   

During these days of celebration, thanksgiving, and remembering, we have continually been reminded of God’s love, faithfulness, provision, care, and blessings to us when we are willing to trust and obey Him.  And we desire the same for our children and grandchildren, even if it means they live thousands of miles away. 

Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
Isaiah 26:8

Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.
Psalm 21:2

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8 

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 
Psalm 106:1
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21

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