I am humbled by the outpouring of love today, my birthday, but not so much because its my birthday. I have been so blessed by God to have had the chance to have some amazing people in my life…
As a kid, I grew up in a loving family, but we had our challenges. My mother was an orphan and when I was eight, she pretty much left my life. I haven’t seen her since, but I was so fortunate to have a father and grandparents that made my childhood one of great memories and with the understanding of love. My Dad re-married when I was eleven and my Mom came into my life. She had a tough job to come into an existing family and yet she has been everything you could ever have asked her to be. I was blessed, and at the same time, God was preparing me for service. Who would have thought?
My Dad’s family has a long history of being Methodist Circuit Preachers and helped to establish many of the Methodist Churches in North Carolina and Texas. My Mom came from a strong Southern Baptist background and we soon moved from the Methodist Church to the Baptist Church as we continued to grow as a family. The public schools in Dallas were starting to underperform and my parents decided to take me out and enroll me in the Catholic School System. I tell you this story, as this background has been invaluable to me as I lead a Non-denominational Ministry. God knew, and He had a plan! Pretty amazing!
It didn’t stop there. We moved to a small town in East Texas, Bullard, where I was able to thrive in athletics and also in school leadership. It helped me develop my understanding of leadership, and dealing with people from all walks in life. As I transitioned to college, I changed my plans at the last second and did not attend my life-long favorite University, Texas A&M. Why? I still don’t know, but for some reason, a little University in East Texas, Stephen F. Austin seemed to be where I needed to go. Little did I know, it was God at work again. Just to be clear, I am still an Aggie, and will always bleed Maroon if you didn’t know that already!
SFA allowed me to continue to evolve, but it did not start out that way. I was fortunate to have thrived in High School, and when I arrived at SFA one of my favorite teacher’s from High School wanted me to join his fraternity. I was not really a fraternity kind of guy, but thought, ok it would be another great college experience. I went through “Rush”, but only went to my friend’s fraternity as that is really the whole reason I was doing it in the first place. The big day came and at SFA it is a tradition called “Steps” where all the “Rushees” line up in a long line, they get their bid cards at the top of the stairs and then run down the steps and jump into the fraternity that offered them a bid and they decide to join. It’s an awesome experience! I was excited and was one of the first in line to get my envelope. I opened it up and….nothing. I did not receive a bid. Huh? Now what do I do? It was difficult to say the least. I had to turn around and walk past the hundreds of other people in line who all knew what happened. I had to walk back to my dorm room to face others that were waiting to celebrate with me. A tough life experience.
Fast forward, it turned out that one of the members of the group did not like me, and thus lead a push to not allow me in the group. Six months later, the group came to me and asked me to come back and I did end up joining the fraternity. I became an officer in the fraternity while there, became President of the Order of Omega (Honor Society for all Fraternities and Sororities), and was Runner-up Mr. SFA my senior year. I tell you this story, not to toot my own horn, but to show you that God is always in control and His blessings sometimes are not readily apparent while you are going through His building process.
I met my precious wife, many life-long friends, and had an incredible learning experience while at SFA and it prepared me for journey. I have so many examples of how this has continued throughout my life, but will not bore you with them. The bottom line is, God is in control….always. He has blessed us greatly and used our life’s experiences to make us who we are today. I am in total awe, and yet committed to His calling into service. My life is His, and I will continue to seek to do the very best I can to honor the blessings He has provided! There is a term used often- “Iron Sharpens Iron” I am living proof of a life continued to be hammered into shape!
Thanks for being in my life, I am honored and blessed to have an incredible wife, kids, and ministry family! Every day continues to be a challenge, some quite difficult, but I will never, ever, lose focus on why God has called me into service and that my life is His to use to further His Kingdom!