Life is full of milestones. A milestone is simply a marker designating the distance one has traveled down a certain path or road. Life is lived on a path. The choices we make today will cause the milestones we pass in the future. Too often in life we like to say that the milestones we pass are simply there because of what has happened in life versus seeing that those are most often caused by our choices. The decisions we make cause the paths we live.
The path I live is one I enjoy very much. It is filled with its share of heartaches and trials and stresses but it is also filled with blessings and joys and successes. I realize that along the way I have made some good choices that now lead to joyful milestones.
Sunday I celebrated a great and joyful milestone. On January 3, 1998 the Lord blessed me with the privilege of marrying a beautiful, courageous, and faithful woman. As much as I knew her and loved her that day, I must admit that 12 years later who Wendy is still amazes me. I can say many things that declare her strengths, but today I will share one thing that I believe is true of Wendy that perhaps has the greatest impact on my life as her husband.
Wendy has a tenacious belief in me. She has seen the worst that exists in me. She has been the recipient of my ugliest moods and overwhelming stresses. She has seen me succeed and fail. She has seen my spirits rise and fall and in the midst of all of that her belief in me never waivers. It is almost surreal to me. Even in the moments that I think my church leadership is the poorest or my leading of our home is the worst it has been, her belief that I will be who God designed me to be and do what God has called me to do does not change.
Wives, I encourage you to give such grace and confidence to your husbands. I, honestly, believe this might be the greatest embodiment of submitting unto your husband. The truth is that her undying belief in me is not really because of me. This confidence that she has is her faith in the Lord. She believes in the Lord and she believes that he is the Lord of me. It is her faith that drives such confidence and belief.
And her confidence and belief drives me. There have been many days in my life that I thought I could not accomplish the things that God has called me to accomplish. In all those days there has been one person I share the depths of those struggles with and in each of those struggles her belief in me has not changed. Her confidence in me is simple and pure. And when I get through ranting over how I don’t think I can do it, I look into two beautiful eyes that tell me I can because God can.
Wendy, thank you for this underserved but greatly appreciated gift. I pray that I never again give you any reason to doubt me, yet I am fully confident that when I do you will not.
The second meaningful milestone is today. Eight years ago today Fellowship Church had its first public worship service. 32 people (14 of which came for that one Sunday to help out from our sponsor church) gathered together in an old fire department rental hall to worship the Lord. The events surrounding that day were interesting. Our first mailout had gone out but had only hit about ½ of the homes the other ½ got there the next week. I had stayed up all night the night before holding my 3 week old son in a position that would allow him to breathe as he was fighting the fever and cough of RSV.
I remember that the day was exhilarating and exhausting as well as encouraging and disappointing. Looking back the things that encouraged me still do. I saw some lives that needed Fellowship in them that day. I met some people who made the commitment of helping make this vision a reality. The exhausting part has changed. I no longer have to set up stage and screen and projector to have a worship service, but exhaustion still comes at times. I am still exhilarated by the possibilities of what Fellowship can be and can do. And I am still disappointed at times when I envision something working and that not happening as I envisioned.
But overall I am now simply awed by what God has done. Each week some 330 plus people worship together in two services at Fellowship in its own facility. Our church is now being involved in planting another church. I can’t remember all the mile markers as clearly as some, but today I am simply grateful for being allowed to walk such a path. I realize there were some decisions I made and the Lord led me to make that started me on this path and have kept me on this path, but I am grateful for it.
We have climbed some mountains and walked through some valleys on this path. But the coolest part about this milestone, is the community of believers that will pass it with me. It is not simply about the number growing. It is about the changed lives that will pass this marker with me heading into the future of Fellowship Church. Lives that were once filled with addiction and are now living in freedom. The lives that were once full of mourning that are now filled with joy. Lives that once were set in the wrong direction that are now focused on the glory of Christ.
Those lives lived in community in Christ is what makes this milestone special.
I don’t know what milestones you are looking forward to experiencing in 2010, but take some time to enjoy them. If you realize that today you need to make a decision to walk a new path, then do it. Maybe 2010 needs to be the beginning of the path or a great marker in the midst of that path that leads to the milestones God has planned for you.
And when you arrive at some significant milestone, enjoy it. Praise God for it. And then pass it by. For there are more ahead.