Four years ago today I got out of bed at Courtney’s cousin’s guest house in Dallas. It was early, and mornings and I are not always on the greatest terms. I had a trek ahead of me. The first stop: drive close to the DTS campus and pick up my friend, Jeff. There was no issue at all figuring out which vehicle was mine. I rolled up in the 17-foot U-Haul, loaded up the night before by some great friends (and, if I remember correctly, we ate pizza that night as well). Our six hundred(ish) square-foot apartment had been emptied, our U-Haul packed, and our sights set on Baton Rouge, Louisiana–where I had just accepted a job doing Lord knows what.
Toby and I doing what we do best: not moving boxes and looking tough. (PS-Toby and his wife had twins about a week ago.)
A lot has changed in those four years. We’ve added two children (with a third coming August 12th) and endured the first one staying in the hospital his first month. We’ve done big kid things like plan for our future and the inevitable end of being gainfully employed, buy a house, get life insurance (well, I [Hans] have), pay bills, and gain weight (though Courtney has an excuse, I don’t). We’ve developed an entirely new network of relationships out of the church. And I (Hans) have had I’m not sure how many job changes (when you don’t have a job description, you aren’t really sure what is and isn’t your job). But I’ve been in my role as teaching pastor of The Oaks for over a year now.
I have many thoughts on the past four years, but, for your sake, I’ll limit them to four. . .
- I would’ve never guessed I’d (or we’d) be here. I’m a bad five- and ten-year planner. Had you told me five years ago to project where I’d be now–better yet, had you told me that I’d be where I am–I think our current role at the church would’ve been put in the “pipe dream” category. God does much more than we expect, and you can’t schedule Him. We might pick a path, but He directs the steps. (To be honest, I’m not sure I’d have accepted the path that I’ve walked the past four years if you had showed it to me ahead of time. I may have tried to avoid it.)
- Jesus builds His church, and He knows what He is doing. When people at The Oaks ask me if “I’m doing what God wants me to do,” I do not often answer well. I say something like “I think so” or “I hope so.” (Note to pastors: it does not instill confidence in your congregants when you say things like that to them.) What I have above all of this is confidence that God is in charge. Jesus promised He will build the church, not me. So I want to trust Him to do the work He promised and not interfere.
- Family brings unexpected and undeserved joy. I came to BR with no kids. I’m about to have three (which is not as many as my buddy who is about to have his 10th). A lot can go wrong during the day, but you know what? I get to go home. And I get to go home to kids that still want me home, who like to wrestle around, and who want to play hide and seek. That wins out.
- There’s much to be done and much to learn. I’ve now finished my first term (speaking presidentially). I couldn’t have imagined how inadequate I’d be and feel. I need Jesus.
I’m glad that God has given me (given us) what He has and want to gladly take what He gives in coming years. Who knows what the next four (should God be gracious and give them) will have in store? I’ve looked at starting a Ph.D. I wonder if more kids will come. Will I ever get better at preaching? Only God knows.
However, I do know He has been good thus far and want to say now that, whatever may come, He will be good then, too.