Yesterday, August 1, marked two years since we pulled a U-Haul from Santo, Texas to Louisville to start a new chapter in our lives. That last day in Texas was a Sunday, so I preached my final sermon at the church I’d been pastoring, we had lunch with the congregation in the fellowship hall, and that afternoon we made one final pass through the parsonage to gather up any loose ends. We locked the door, handed over the keys, climbed in the idling vehicles, and drove onto I-20.
And today, August 2, marks two years since we arrived in Louisville, Kentucky. We pulled up to the townhome we’d be renting (and still are!). Wise or not, the day of our move-in was the first time we’d been inside it. Unloading felt strange, jarring. The reality was sinking in that we’d left our families in Texas and our familiar lives behind too. Louisville was now home.
It’s been an adventure for sure. Jensen was only a year and a half old, Stacie and I had been married five years, and we were journeying to a city where we had no relatives, close friends, or a job. We’d been saving money in order to garner time for me to find ministry work, and that interval of time would give me the chance to focus on doctoral work as I began a PhD in Biblical Studies.
Now, two years later, Jensen will soon be four years old, we have a one-year-old named Logan, and another Baby is due in February. Time has flown by, life is crazy a lot of the time, and our house is very noisy. Though sometimes the decibel level is a mental strain, I’d much prefer that to the alternative. On one occasion I was here a week while Stacie was away with the kids, and the silence soon became unbearable. I love my little boys with their whackiness–probably because I was just like that when I was a kid. (Stacie would say I’m still like that.)
Stacie and I just celebrated seven years of marriage, and both of us will soon leave our 20s. I feel like I’ve known her forever, and there’s nothing like being married to your best friend. We both agree that life in Louisville has been tough at times, but it has been such a rewarding and exciting season too.
We’ve seen the Lord provide financially through several part-time jobs, though a full-time ministry position is still what we’re praying for. Not every month has been as demanding as some, but right before this summer there was a span of months when I worked four part-time jobs simultaneously: as a teacher at a Christian academy, a grader for several classes at Southern Seminary, a sales associate at the LifeWay bookstore on the seminary’s campus, and an interim pastor at Kosmosdale Baptist Church.
The Lord is good, and somehow I’ve found the time to complete all my doctoral course work in the two years we’ve been here. My townhome office (which has no door) is ten feet from the living room, so I’ve managed to hone a particular set of skills. I can exegete a Greek passage with “Green Eggs and Ham” on the television, I can study Hebrew flashcards with my three-year-old holding them up and then putting them in a separate stack, I can write a sermon through the shrill cries of a baby throwing fits, I can write and edit large sections of a research paper with either boy in my lap, and I can read long books in the living room as long as I stop intermittently to also read “Good Night, Moon” or a tale of Curious George. Why bother with an office door at all at this point?
But Southern Seminary is worth it. It’s an incredible school with an outstanding faculty, and I’m so blessed to study under the supervision of my friend and teacher Jim Hamilton. The Lord used his classroom teaching to impact me greatly in Texas in 2005, and his writing and preaching continue to do the same to this day. I’m so grateful to be at SBTS, and now my studies have an end in sight. There’s a set of comprehensive exams I must pass, and then there’s a dissertation to write. Lord-willing, sometime next year I’ll be done.
It’s simply not possible to recount all the blessings we’ve experienced while we’ve been here. But we have two working vehicles, which is amazing, considering that my car is from my high school days and has 250,000 miles on it! The other, a van completely paid off, was an unexpected gift from a family member, and it has been such a tremendous resource and has made a hundred things easier and more efficient.
We’re also grateful for Kenwood Baptist Church, which we soon began attending when we arrived in Louisville. Their elders and leaders are tremendous men of God who love their families and the church. For several months now, due to my interim pastorate at Kosmosdale, we’ve been away from Kenwood, but the Lord gave us such good friends during the time we were there. Kenwood was a fountain of great refreshment and rejuvenation each week we gathered, and we commend the wonderful preaching and various ministries of that place.
I could go on and on, but I’ll force myself to stop right here. We love Louisville and are so glad the Lord opened the door for us to come here.