Yet before I got to that point, a journey had begun in another college town, Tallahassee, home of the Florida State Seminoles! I am going to be brutally honest ... I did not even pray about where I was going to attend college. I knew I would have to attend an in-state school to use a scholarship I had received. I ultimately chose Florida State because it felt like living in a different state with all of the beautiful trees and hills. Within in a short amount of time, I realized someone had prayed about this decision. My life began to radically change at FSU. I share this to say that Father hears every cry of our heart and the prayers of those who love us. Our prayers for others do not go in vain. I am living proof of that. While I was at FSU, I remember walking downstairs to the lobby of my dorm, Kellum Hall, and I saw a table set up advertising Campus Crusade for Christ. I am sure they were used to people trying to sneak by, but I marched right up and signed up for a Bible study. This was the beginning of Father placing a hunger in my life to grow in new and exciting ways. The young lady at the table was named Anita, and she spent the next few years walking beside me and leading me into a deeper understanding of God’s Word. She was the perfect person to work with me because of her gentle, kind, and nurturing nature. She was also an elementary education major which was an instant connection.
So fast forward a few years ... I am in my senior year at FSU, and I am doing my student teaching, and I am MISERABLE (mostly due to working with a rather negative supervising teacher). I knew Father had told me to “love the children,” yet I started to feel the tug on my heart to go on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. I knew this would involve really stepping out of my comfort zone through raising support and moving to a new place. I ended up going on staff and attending staff training in Fort Collins, Colorado, that summer. I met with a Crusade leader named Joe B. to discuss my campus placement. I thought about going to Georgia or maybe North Carolina. He suggested LSU because he said the staff team would be a great fit for me. At that moment my mind thought two things: 1) that is really far away, and 2) isn’t that the school that did that CRAZY skit at the staff retreat I visited in Panama City?! I trusted Joe would do what was right, and I did of course end up at LSU. My staff team was the perfect fit for me, craziness and all ;-). There were four married couples on the team and five single staff members. I was nurtured by the married couples and fell in love with all of their kids. Yet again, someone, including myself this time, had been praying about this decision. When I first arrived in Baton Rouge and entered the campus, I was surprised and relieved to realize how similar the culture was to FSU. I was enthralled by the beauty of the campus and remember being excited about this new journey in my life.
While I was living there, I began to attend Quail Ridge Bible Church (now named Grace Life Fellowship). The first Sunday I attended, I was completely shocked to see a familiar face from Florida State. One of the girls I had attended church with in Tallahassee, Amy, was sitting there in church. We both freaked out and could not believe it. I learned she was getting her masters at LSU. It was just another one of those gifts from Father allowing me to find a familiar friend in a new and unfamiliar place. The pastor at this church is named Frank Friedmann, and he taught me all about who I am in Christ, yet more importantly, who Christ is in me. Up to this point, I knew Jesus was my Savior and my Lord, but I did not know Him as my LIFE. He wanted to live His life in and through me. He wanted to express His life through my unique personality. He did not expect me to jump through certain hoops for Him to love me or accept me. He accepted me based on the facts of Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ, therefore I no longer live. Jesus Christ now lives in me.”
So as I was saying in the beginning of this post, a few weeks ago Kalon and I walked down memory lane in Baton Rouge with our kiddos. We took them by the church Campus Crusade for Christ met in, we drove them by the church we were married in, we took them by our old apartment, and then walked all around the campus. This next excerpt are words my daughter Kaley wrote after I asked her to read through what I had written about my memories so far. This is her writing the story she's heard many times from memory and reflecting on the day from my perspective:
As I read what she wrote, I smiled and thanked Father for the beautiful children He blessed Kalon and me with in this life. I love that Kaley loves to hear our story and wants to hear how Father worked in our lives to bring us together. I hope and pray she and her brother, Camden, see the many ways Father works in their lives each and every day. Take a moment today and stop and think through the ways He has intricately been involved in your life. Walking down memory lane is always a great way to refocus your eyes and remind you that He loves you and He cares for you.
Here is a picture of us with the kiddos by the tree at LSU. Who knew that back and 1994 that He would bless us with such a beautiful family!
Resting in His Love,