I have been doing my share of thinking for the past few days. In a week and a half, I will take my last final for this semester and begin to prepare for the J-mester and then the winter semester. After this semester, I will only have eight classes left and as of Spring 2004, I will only be five classes away. I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future and even more about the past. 2003 has definitely been the most turbulent year that I have had since I moved to Michigan.

The year started out very discouraging. On the Sunday between Christmas and New Years, my wife and I were asked to resign as youth sponsors at our church due to doctrinal differences. After much prayer, we also resigned our membership three weeks later. At the time, I was taking a class called Spiritual Formation. Little did I know at the time that this had to be ordained of God. I was challenged to develop the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation.

I then learned, just a few weeks later, that there was a possibility that my school may close. I was (am) a senior and if I had to transfer, I stood to loose a lot of credits. I was discouraged as I scrambled to find another school. At the eleventh hour, my school, William Tyndale College in Farmington Hills, Michigan affiliated with Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Many of you may know this school because of Pat Robertson. As scary as this was, it also reenergized me to get my degree finished.

In November 2002, my wife and I moved into a five-bedroom home that belonged to my in-laws. My father-in-law had lost his job just before Christmas 2001 and had subsequently accepted a job in Canton, Ohio, where their family is originally from. Eleven months later, the house still had not sold and we moved into it to house sit. In July, my wife and I were given the opportunity to purchase a mobile home. We jumped on it and moved out of the house. The entire summer, we maintained both the one-acre property of my in-laws and our own fixer-upper mobile home. It was challenging and I learned my share of how to do landscaping and fix things. Needless to say, when the final grass mowing came in October I was very happy.

This fall, I began to take three classes including a 300 level Biblical Literature class, my first semester of Greek, and a class called Philosophy of Church Ministry. Believe it or not, but the church class is harder than my other two combined, but it has been challenging and has really stretched my ideas concerning church. I took all three of these classes in addition to working full-time, being married, and tackling several nagging health problems. I also had to try and tackle a pattern of sin in a particular area in my life that had got way out of control.

As I look back on this year and this semester, a saying comes back to mind that I heard a while back. “Life is hard, but God is good.” I have learned some valuable lessons and I continue to grow spiritually and I have learned that all of that cost something. That in itself was a valuable lesson.

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