I suppose I should explain a little bit of how we got where we are….
It is super hard for me to keep it short but here goes. I met my gorgeous husband in high school. I would love to tell you we were high school sweet hearts that never kissed or dated anyone else but that is not how it happened. Jeremy and I sang in the choir together and although we did like each other our lives where very separate. Jeremy was very smart and motivated and I was very cute and social. Our circles of friends were very different and while I ditched school and smoked pot Jeremy graduated with honors and a 4.3 GPA. I was having fun and keeping my options open and Jeremy graduated from text books to diaper changing. Yes, it’s true. Jeremy had a baby without me when he was 18 years old. It was quite a shock but ended up being a wonderful part of God’s plan for our lives. Matthew was born to his teenage parents in 1994 and I went off to college the following year.
I am so grateful our story doesn’t end there.
When I came back from a year of dropping out of college I started dating all of my old boyfriends again. What can I say, I am very loyal…Jeremy was getting ready to graduate from college and we had several starts and stops to our relationship. On November 29th, 1997 we were married and our life together became official. Jeremy likes to refer to the next four years of our married life as “the dark times”. It was surprisingly difficult for me to become a step mother at 19 then a mother at 20, 21, and 23. Luckily Jeremy had his education and was a practicing CPA so we could feed all of these children.
While on the outside it looked like we had it all together a beautiful family, our very own home, two cars and even a dog, our life was not so happy. We had much success but we really wanted significance. We were Christians and attended church regularly heck, Jeremy even taught Sunday school, so why weren’t we happy?
We had both brought some baggage into our marriage. Some things that were hidden but God wanted to heal us. We are so grateful that He met us where we were and loved us through a really hard time in our marriage. We decided we wanted to change our lives dramatically and serve the Lord full time. Jeremy enrolled in Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and we began the very humbling journey into full time ministry. Little did we know it would take four years, three jobs, and nine months of living with friends before we would see our dream become a reality.
Those years were a different kind of hard than “the dark times”. God used that time in our life to teach us firsthand about His timing, His provision, and His grace. After all of those years of struggle and hope and healing we found ourselves living our dream. Jeremy was hired to be the youth pastor of our home church. We could not have asked for a better place to serve God.
Our kids were growing up and I found myself a bit lost. What was I going to be when I grew up….I was a bit surprised to figure out that I was doing it. My calling in life is to be a mother, but with my baby fast approaching kindergarten how would I fill my days? I didn’t have to ask that question for very long. After a series of events in our family, and a dear friend sharing her story, I became aware of the need in our city for foster parents. I had been asking God for years why I couldn’t just get paid to be the mom and here was my answer. Over the course of ten months our family went from four children to seven. Sheesh! That deserves its own story but I will keep it short and tell you that our God is a God of restoration and still very much in the miracle business! Our adoption was finalized just this past November and it was an amazing end to our amazing story.
Just when we were finally settling down from all of the crazy that we had been living God began to stir our hearts again. There is this passage of scripture that I have read many times. But suddenly it began to haunt me. It is the parable of the rich young ruler…Jesus tells the man he needs to sell everything he has to be a follower of Christ. Jeremy had been leading a bible study in our home for his youth leaders and it was very convicting. We were trying to teach these kids about discipleship and God was using it to teach us. It became more and more clear to us that God wasn’t asking us to just be willing to sell everything we have but that HE was really asking us to LITERALLY sell everything we have to follow Him.
And that brings us to where we are right now. However uncertain we are of our future we are for certain that we can and will trust God with our lives. Everything we have and everything we are belongs to Him. We cannot choose to share in only the joy and none of the suffering of Christ.
Isaiah 6:8 (New Living Translation)
8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”