A Banner Year
The word “banner” as an adjective, is defined as leading or foremost; outstanding. As I look back over the year 2012, I can say without hesitation that 2012 was indeed a “Banner Year.” Of years previous, I can say with humble sincerity that 2012 was in fact “outstanding.” And it’s by God’s grace that I am even able to say these things.
This year would be a full year of spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional growth. In late 2011, I had a life changing experience and God began to work in me and through me in ways that I had not experienced before. My wife Brandi and I would experience some of the most difficult challenges a couple could face as God began to show me areas of my life that needed a divine change.
As 2012 kicked off, my wife and I made a decision to switch from conventional food to all natural/organic foods. We also committed to taking an all natural vitamin called “ACE” (Appetite Control and Energy), exercising, and being more active. It was great and we could see and feel a noticeable difference right away. During this same time, we were being challenged spiritually.
My wife and I both taught classes at the church we called home for several years. We both taught 3rd -5th grade students. She taught in the girl’s class, I taught in the boy’s class. There wasn’t an opportunity for us to be a part of a small group because of our schedule with the kids classes so the Children’s Pastor created a small group that would meet on Sunday evenings for a few weeks so we could go through the same curriculum as the small groups on Wednesday nights. Unfortunately Brandi was unable to attend due to her work schedule, but I still went.
This small group would challenge me spiritually. The content of the curriculum we went through was hard to hear at times. At other times it was inspiring and motivating and sparked a desire within me to want to do better and be better. It wasn’t long after this that I would be challenged in a new way.
2012 was a missions year for our church and we had opportunities to go on 1 of 2 or both of the missions trips the church had planned. I had never considered going on a missions trip before. I never considered it something God wanted me to do, but I was challenged not only by the small group, but also by the content of a book I read called “Radical.” After one of the missions meetings, I sensed right away God telling me to go to Honduras which would be the construction trip in August. I knew I couldn’t come up with the money on my own, but I wanted to be obedient to what I thought God was calling me to do. So I made the commitment to go and immediately sent out letters to raise funds. God was faithful and provided every penny I needed and then some and I was able to go to Honduras with a great team of people to help a man make a Godvision a reality. It was an incredible experience.
As my wife and I were making health and lifestyle changes, I was motivated by the missions trip and began working out very seriously. I would have to prepare myself physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, but I knew that with God’s help I could do it. As August approached, there were some unforeseen challenges that my wife and I would face in our marriage that would test not only our covenant to each other, but also our faith. As we dealt with and worked through these challenges, God remained faithful as always and we remained faithful to each other and to God. God worked in our marriage and by God’s grace we were able to overcome the adversity that the enemy used to try and destroy a God ordained covenant.
August had come and gone and the missions trip was a huge success. It forced me to grow stronger in my faith and I was a different person because of it. The first 8 months of the year were exciting, challenging, and fruitful as we tried to do our best to seek God and His plan for our lives, but there was something on the horizon that would cause us to really test our faith and force us to see if we were really serious about doing God’s plan for our lives.
Shortly before the missions trip, I had gone to a church in Lebanon a few times for a worship service they offered on a Saturday night. They were great experiences and God showed up on those nights. A few short weeks after the missions trip, I was approached by the Pastor at the church in Lebanon and was asked if my wife and I would be willing to join their ministry team as “youth pastors.” After some prayer and fasting and a couple of meetings, my wife and I made the decision to step out in faith and accept the invitation.
This decision would affect a lot of things. We were still ministering at our home church and we didn’t really want to leave. We would be moving farther away from friends and family and it would be more difficult to see them all on a regular basis like we were used to. We would be entering an area of ministry we hadn’t been a part of for several years, and there were several challenges in finding housing. As usual, God was faithful and provided everything we needed to make this transition and move in that direction of ministry. Our church blessed us and sent us out, our family and friends were sad but excited for us, the housing and moving came together and we were in it. No matter what, we had made the decision and we were in it.
As I sit here and type this, my eyes start sweating and I get overwhelmed when I think about what God has done for us, in us, and through us “while we are still sinners” in need of a savior. 2012 is without a doubt a “Banner Year.” I’m so excited to see what God will do in 2013. The best is yet to come. Blessings!!