For some, like my children, I am now getting old. For others, like those older than me, I am still young. For me… well I’m thirty! One of the things that amazes me in this life is the course of life itself. Over the past week I have been thinking a lot about the past thirty years, at least the times I can remember! I consider myself blessed beyond measure when I think of all I have experienced during that time. I want to take a moment to share a few of those memories with you, and hopefully they will inspire you to recollect some of the memories that have brought you joy over the years.
The first one is a general memory of the love given (and still given) to me from my mother. She has always been their to pick me up and comfort me whether it was a bicycle accident, a bottle exploding in my hands, various ailments, or just simply having a bad day. She has shown me the love that only a mother can show over the years, and I thank her deeply for her guidance in becoming the man I have become today.
Another memory is that of a childhood best friend who departed this earth rather early on in life, Justin Hoover. While my other friends and I found many (and I mean many) rather ornery things to do, Hoover always did his best to guide us in the right direction. He was only a kid, yet he lived an example that has inspired me even as an adult. His tragic death taught me at a young age an appreciation for life. His example continues to encourage me to enjoy life and friendship today.
Next came the military. If you would have asked me about that experience around four years ago, I would have given you a much different opinion than what I am about to give you now! If there was one experience that has changed my direction in life, I must say it was the eight years of my life spent in the service. Yes, there were trying times indeed, but I learned about brotherhood, faith, hope, integrity, pride, patriotism, leadership, and life during that time. I developed a respect for people that I still cherish to this day. It was also during this time of my life that God’s seed would be planted in my heart.
One of the fondest memories I have of my father are the words he greeted me with when I returned home from Boot Camp. ”I am so proud of you son.” When I think of that moment today, it still creates a knot in my throat. I remember well his embrace that day. Dad, I know I ran you through the gauntlet as a teenager, but during that time you taught me what it meant to be a father, a husband, and a man. Your comment that day has meant more to me than you will ever know.
Of course, there are the memories that have lasted the past eleven years now of my amazing wife. Over the past eleven years, we have continually grown closer and closer. We have faced and overcome so many trials, and each of them has left us in a better place than where we started. She continues to offer her undying love day in and day out. She gives her all to me, and I am truly thankful for this wonderful blessing from God. She is a remarkable wife, mother, and woman.
Naturally I must mention my children as well. Rylee has grown into an amazing energetic young lady over the years. She has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever witnessed, and she is an exact image of her beautiful mother. Kadence is such a beautiful little girl as well. She was blessed with her father’s hard-headedness, but luckily it is balanced with her mother’s gentle nature. Then there is Zeek! I thought God broke the mold after me, but I have learned that He just set it aside until Zeek was created! Oh how I love my little man. God has truly blessed me richly in these three young children.
I would like to finish with the memories I have from the last ten years of my life spent in the ministry of God’s Word. I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people. I have met veterans who gave their all for the freedoms I experience today. I have met survivors of some of this world’s most awful diseases. I have met widows and widowers who have inspired me with their hope. I have met preachers who have guided me in my life’s work. I have met godly men who have raised the bar for me, and I have met godly women who have taught me about love and commitment. I have been blessed in ways that words fail to express during this time, and my prayer is that I will have many more years in His service!
Obviously these are just a few of the fond memories I have the last thirty years. Time does not allow for the many others I could share, but I promise you I cherish them deeply in my heart. Yes, I have been blessed, and for that I am thankful on this day. Thank you all for the times we have shared, and I look forward to the times yet to come. I leave you all with the words of the Apostle Paul…
“I thank my God every time I remember you” (Philippians 1:3).