The last day of 2013 has arrived. As I think back over this year, many highlights stand out. And many of them are school-related because, well, school consumed a lot of time this year!
January: Stacie was in her third trimester, and lots of baby-prep was underway–doctor appointments, baby showers, stuff like that. In some spare time, I wrote an article called “God’s Judgment on His Blessing” for the spring edition of the Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
February: On the 8th, I left my 20’s behind with the 3-0 milemarker. But the big news this month was the birth of Boy #3, Owen Warren Chase, on February 12. My parents flew in for the birth and stayed more than a week for our sanity’s sake. When they left, they took our oldest, Jensen, back with them for a couple weeks. That helped our adjustment a lot!
March: Preparation time for Comprehensive Exams finally came to an end. At Southern Seminary, I took three major exams which were the final doorway to go through before dissertation writing formally began (which means I had some pages written already, just informally). In the final weeks of study, the cries of a newborn often served as background music. On the morning of the final test, which was the third and hardest one, I was late because of rainy weather.
April: At the beginning of the month, I turned in my prospectus for my dissertation to the faculty for approval. Writing was now in full swing. With a detailed outline and a mountain of research under me, I knew what I wanted to say and needed to set aside the time to say it. On April 18, I marked fourteen years of preaching God’s Word. What a privilege and joy to study and herald it.
May: We started the month with a family trip to Texas, which was the first time Stacie and I flew on a plane with three kids (all under five years old, one a nursing infant). After that nightmare flight, the stay with family was great, and I got to officiate my sister’s wedding. I preached at my home church, always an honor. The day after we returned to Louisville, Jensen broke his right arm by falling off monkey bars in our backyard, so off to the emergency room we went. Our niece Sadie came to see us, and she’s the coolest college girl we know.
June: Writing, writing, and more writing. Stephen Dempster agreed to serve as the External Reader for my dissertation. Little Logan, the middle boy, turned 2, and something promptly instructed his personality to act accordingly. At the end of the month was Vacation Bible School, so it was good to spend the final week of June telling kids the Good News about Jesus.
July: The first week of July was spent in Oklahoma visiting family. What a relief to have some vacation time! Later that month, my sister flew to visit us for a few days, and at the end of the month Stacie and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. In important church news, my friend Tim Scott became our Associate Pastor at Kosmosdale Baptist Church, where he serves faithfully and zealously and wears multiple hats.
August: On the 2nd, our family marked three years since we arrived in Louisville pulling a U-Haul from Texas. Lots of chapter revisions this month. I completed the near-final draft of the dissertation. I officiated the funeral of a beloved man in our church named Sid.
September: School started for Jensen, a wonderful program called Classical Conversations. We love it, and he loves it. My parents visited for a week, as I studiously worked to finish the Defense Draft of the dissertation. I realized I had a glaring spelling error in my title on the first page, of all places! I fixed that and turned in copies for my Doctoral Committee at 4 pm on Friday September 20. At home that evening, the family exhaled a huge sigh of relief with me.
October: We scheduled meals with friends. Toward the end of the month, our church had the annual men’s retreat, and Matt Damico did an outstanding job serving as our speaker. Halloween was fun as the kids dressed up and (after they went to sleep) we rummaged through their candy.
November: My dissertation defense was scheduled for Monday, the 3rd, at 3 pm. I made final changes to the manuscript and turned in the final (and I do mean final) version on November 18. Later that week I flew to Baltimore to attend the annual Institute for Biblical Research conference, where I had the opportunity to present a paper titled “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope.” Jensen turned 5 years old on the 22nd. Thanksgiving was a blast, and there was a ton to be thankful for. We spent it in Louisville with family and friends.
December: Graduation at Southern Seminary was held on Friday the 13th. No superstition though! Just amazing grace and gracious providence. My parents flew in for a two-night stint, just to see the graduation live. Then they came again two weeks later for Christmas in Louisville, staying more than a week and a half. Totaling up their days, they spent half of December with us in Louisville! (They must love those grandkids.) This month I worked on winding down and relaxing a lot, even reading some fiction. Owen took his first steps.
2013 was full of challenges, especially regarding parenting and schooling. 2013 also had its important transitions, which will make our 2014 look very different from this year.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him, all creatures here below,
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.