The plan

 Today was a great day in our ministry. The past few weeks have been unbelievably bad, but today was a great day. You see, a few weeks ago, right after we found out we were pregnant once again, and a few weeks after Steph and I were named the youth pastor at Sewell Mill, we found out for the second time, that we had a failed pregnancy.

Around the same time, the transmission in Steph’s Jeep went out. A few days after that, the transmission in my truck went out. 2 huge financial bombs dropped on us at once so to say the past few weeks have not been good is an understatement. The close that we got to today, the more that I prepared for this, the harder Satan hit us. Life has not been easy for Steph in the past few days but she has been my rock. She has helped me see the forest when I couldn’t for the trees in the way.

Today however, things turned around. Today, I had the incredible opportunity to preach for the first time ever. Preach. Yes, I said preach. Our pastor had asked me a few weeks ago to start putting together a message and today, I had the chance to allow God to work through me and give the message that He had been preparing me to give for weeks.

That message was on His plan for our lives. The plan that often we don’t understand and the plan that  most people refuse to accept. I was able to share the events of my life, the passions and talents that God has given me and I got to talk about the amazing faith of my incredible wife through the recent events and loss that we have been through.

I take absolutely no credit for today. God gave me this opportunity. He worked it out where Steph taught the youth a great message while I finished preparing for today. He worked it out so that my mom and dad, along with Steph’s entire family, could be there to support me. He also gave me a great surprise when I saw Sam Abney walk in the church to also be there for me.

God took away my fear. He took away my nervousness (to a point haha) and He got His message across the way that…….He planned it.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again…I love it when a plan comes together.

Dear God,

Thank You for Your plan. Thank You that You have a plan for me and that it includes me. Today, You gave me the opportunity  of a lifetime to bring Your message and to have You speak through me. Help me to never lose sight that You are in control, and that You are the master planner.


Faith of a mustard seed

April 15, a day normally known to be Tax day, yesterday came to be known as something else for me and Steph. It may not be the #1 day in my life, but guaranteed it will be in the top three for some time to come and very hard to top. You see, God showed up in a huge way within hours of each other.

For years now, Steph and I  have been trying to grow our family. We have been down the adoption road, the child welfare road and the natural road for many years to come. Last June, we had a successful IUI procedure and became pregnant with what we had hoped to be our first child. God had other plans.

Also for many years, we have been serving in the role of volunteer in the youth ministry at church. Last year, we were interim youth pastor at a local church where we thought we would have a few months to make a difference and get our feet wet in youth ministry. Again, God had other plans.

A few months ago, we made the decision to try another IUI procedure thinking we were ready and everything was good to go. We had the money for the procedure and we had moved on from the miscarriage and the DNC. God had other plans. When Steph had the ultrasound to  begin the process over, a fibroid was found and we were told that until this was dealt with we would be guaranteed another miscarriage. Another bump in the road that has already been pretty bumpy.

With all of these setbacks, an amazing thing happened in our lives. Our faith, although rocked and shaken at times, began to grow stronger.  With each setback, it grew more. Sure we had times that one or the other, sometimes even both of us got down. We are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. It happens but each time we got down, we would rebound even more.

God gave us what we needed to be ready. She got love and support from a women’s bible study written and led by women who were going through what we were. I tried to get plugged in at church but finally realized this was a time that I needed to be still and get ready. God gave me a peace a few months ago to hang on, my time was coming to get ready.

Get ready we did. Steph came up with the idea to step out in faith and call God out based on scripture. We did exactly that. Even though we had no appointment and no plan for another IUI yet, we prepared for rain and painted the nursery. We planned to finish the nursery and God would move. We painted the room the brightest green with stripes and a plan to put scripture and the names of those praying with us on the walls.

Once finished the room looked amazing. We moved in the furniture and set it up.

About this time, God told me to contact a good friend of mine from LMBC about getting back in youth ministry. I contacted Suzan and had an amazing conversation with her. I sent her my resume the next morning and by that afternoon, I had talked with not one, but 2 churches about youth ministry. I had lunch with one pastor the next day and planned to visit the other church on Sunday.

This would also require some help from God if this is what He was doing. Steph loved her study group and I knew God would have to change her heart. He did just that. After meeting the people and youth at Sewell Mill, it was on. God had done just that. She wanted it as much as I did and we began going to Sewell Mill to meet and hang out with the youth there. I was incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to teach them and get to know them even more every week. We were becoming attached at a rapid rate.

We also set up the appointment for the next round of shots and finally another IUI.  We ordered the shots and “bump” more than we expected financially. God provided as He always does. She started taking shots and we were on our way only this time, it was different.

We had always had our friends and family behind us praying all the way. This time, we had a new church praying for us. We told the pastor’s wife at Sewell Mill what we were about to do and she asked if the church could pray over us. We agreed but we had no clue what was about to happen.

The end of the service that day came and the pastor explained what we were going through a medical procedure and that we had asked for prayer. He had also asked for a specific member to come forward as he “would need her help”. This very sweet lady prayed a prayer that I did not expect to have prayed over us. I felt the floor move. It seems like the walls shook. Mrs. Dotty, is a prayer warrior like no one that I have ever met before and she prayed the most comforting and powerful prayer that I would have expected to come from a prayer giant. I looked up and it seemed like the entire church was praying over us as we fought back the tears.

Tuesday morning came and I noticed Steph fumbling with a necklace. It was one she doesn’t wear often. It was a normal looking chain but had a mustard seed on it. All that we needed was faith of a mustard seed and God would move. We had WAY more than that at this point.

We got to the hospital and began what would be a long day. The first part was done by 8 AM and we would have to wait until 10 to do the actual IUI. This gave us plenty of time to respond to an email that David, the pastor from Sewell Mill had sent us with questions that he wanted us to think about. We spent the entire time collaborating on our response and still did not finish until later that night but the time had come for us to complete the IUI process.

We went back into the exam room and the nurse told us that a different doctor would be doing the IUI and not Dr. Spencer like before. Another small bump in the road but God said, “I’ve got this” and a few moments later, in walked Dr. Spencer to our relief.

The procedure went well and now began the painful 2 week wait. During this time, we poured ourselves into Sewell Mill and into the youth every chance that we had in an attempt to keep our minds occupied. It worked some of the time but as I told a close friend, doubt POUNDED on our doors. I quoted more scripture this past week than ever before. Every time Steph would mention something that made me feel like we werent pregnant, something else would happen to make me feel that we were.

This past Saturday, we were invited to have dinner at David and Glenda’s house. We had an amazing time with them just sharing life. Steph on the other hand was fighting nausea and did not want to throw up at their house on our first visit. We agreed that in the morning, 2 days early we would take the test.

4 AM, Steph wakes me up and says “do we take it now or later?” Of course we got up and took the test. While she was taking the test, I was in the nursery calling out the God who had gotten us there. The God who holds our lives in his hands. I quoted scripture. I prayed, I cried, I begged for God to show up.

Show up He did. 2 pink lines. We were expecting once again.

After breakfast together, a trip to Douglasville to tell her parents and numerous phone calls to tell my family and our friends, we went on to Sewell Mill. The pastor preached an amazing message on being obedient and at the end, said, “I am going to show you a great example of being obedient.” He called me and Stephanie forward and introduced us as their next youth ministers.

God had shown up again within a matter of hours. He has answered not one, but 2 of our biggest prayers…..just like we knew He would.


Dear God,

Thank you for your faithfulness and being true to Your Word. Protect our child from this point forward. Help us to reflect You through us not only in our child’s life, but in the lives of the youth You now have given us charge over. Help us to lead them in the way You would have us. Help us to show them Your love through us.

Life and things that matter

Life seems to fly by what matters is taking the time to spend it with those you
are close too
Our jobs give us titles and label us what matters is who we are not what we do
We all make mistakes what matters is learning from those mistakes and moving on
People in our lives leave what matters is never forgetting them
Some people need help but wont take it what matters is continuing to offer a hand
Its very easy to over committ what matters is knowing when its ok to say you cant
Opportunities may come what matters is what those opportunities may cost you
Everyone has a past what matters is not using their past to hold back their future
Making an impact on society could make a difference what matters is making s difference in the life of a child
We are all going to one day move from this world to the next  what matters is the life we live here affects where we live there
There are many ways to measure a successful life whay matters is how you are remembeted when u are gone

These are just a few things that I came up with a few weeks ago. More to come


Become the BEST

I am a Bama fan. I am a Bama fan to the core. Just last, the Tide won their 16th National Championship. It was their fourth championship in seven years and the eighth national championship for an SEC team in the last 10 years. How does something of this magnitude happen by the same team year, same conference year after year?

These teams, not just Bama and even including Auburn, do this by having a plan and following it. I’m not just talking about the play books that the team members learn backwards and forwards. There are plans for recruiting, plans for financing, plans on how to feed and house the players and staff at away games. There are plans on how the team does public relations. If the plan is followed, the teams get the better players, who perform better than others, who draw more fans than others, who earn their school more money for financing, who then displays better images to the public, so that the next round of better players will want to go to their school. And the circle repeats.

Life, like football, basketball, soccer, baseball, NASCAR, and all sporting events, has a plan and a play book. It’s the Holy Bible, the Word of God. It’s been around for thousands of years and has never failed once. Where we fail, just like a team in sports, is when we fall away from the plan. I am as guilty as the next. Something bad happens and sure we all pray in times of distress but once the rough time is over, the playbook starts collecting dust on the shelf or beside our bed.

After spending a lot of time in James 1, I realized that this was not going to be anything like what I have been used to.  Taking this chapter and pulling it apart, verse by verse, word by word, reading it multiple times, in multiple translations with multiple commentaries has been an eye opening experience. This chapter has spoken to me more this week than I have ever known. So many life issues are in this very first chapter and it has given me a peace about what God is doing and what I need to do.

Bring in James 1……..

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

Trials grow our faith. When our faith is tested, how do we respond and how do others see us and our faith during these trials?  Just a few verses answer the hardest question of all time, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” One of the commentaries also said that “Our trials down here, bring us rewards in heaven.” Sure we went through a horrible experience, but we both know where we will be and we have a son or a daughter that we have never met, there waiting for us right now.

Bring on more James 1….

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25

Last year I read through the entire Bible. That is not a boast, that is a failure. You see the key word in that phrase is read. I read through the Bible to be reading it, like I read the Hardy Boys when I was younger. I didn’t study it, didn’t take it in, and didn’t put the words on my heart. I read it word by word so that I can say, I’ve read the entire bible. If the Tide had only read through their playbook, they would have no clue what to do when the ball was snapped. In the same sense, if they didn’t go into action once that ball was snapped, they would have been creamed in the first game. They took their playbooks, committed it to memory, lived out in practice what the book showed them to do, and put it into action during the game and their actions in turn, gave them their reward when it was all over.

When it was all over, because they had a plan, because they followed it, because they put it into action, they have Become the BEST!

Dear God,

Your Word has spoken to me more and louder this week than ever before. Help me to see Your plan in Your Word. Help me to know what when trials come, it is an opportunity to grow my faith. Help me to know that even in times of trials, You are there. You have a plan that is bigger than me, but I am a part of it. Help me to live out Your Word, not just hear it or read it, but to make it my own.