musings of a 29 year old …

I’m sitting here on the eve of the celebration of my 30th birthday, and several things are going through my mind.  I’ve lived a very blessed life that has included everything that has shaped me to be the person I am today.

I wouldn’t be able to skim the surface if I tried to blog about every life-molding event I’ve had in my life, but I figured I’d hit a few of the ones which have had a profound impact on my life … in no particular order:

1. My hometown.  Population 425.  Rural Missouri at its finest.  There were times that I cursed growing up “in the sticks” but I know I am who I am because of the people there, a great school which provided amazing opportunities to hone skills and talents in sports, music, drama and academics, a super church home . . . the church isn’t the little white building on the corner lot, it is the people who helped to form the concepts and ideas and beliefs that I hold dear today.

2. My family. I don’t take the opportunity near enough to let my mom, dad and brother know how much they mean to me.  If I had the opportunity to pick my family, I’d choose them a million times over.

3. Mrs. Dove.  Matt was my best friend growing up, and his mom Cheri became a huge part of my life.  I was always staying the night at their house and such.  She was a teacher in our school district and as a junior higher and high school-er she not only poured into me as a teacher, but as an advisor and mentor and friend.  She believed in me, encouraged me and challenged me to look beyond myself.  During my senior year Cheri was diagnosed with cancer and passed away that following summer.  She taught me a lot about the value and brevity of life, and how to make the most out of it.  I hope that I can make an impact on lives the way she did on mine.

4. SMSU.  It will always be Southwest Missouri State University to me. I spent 4 years there (yep it is possible to graduate in just 4 years).  While there I made friendships that will last a lifetime, further developed skills and studied things that I will never use … ever!  But among it all, it was the life experiences that probably taught me more than anything.  It was during my time there that I got involved with the Baptist Student Union and got my first taste of ministry, and it was during my college years when I first felt God impress upon my heart that He wanted to use me in ministry.  It was there that I met “the clique” who will be my friends for a lifetime and beyond.  Although I wouldn’t be able to tell you half of the things I STUDIED in college, I can tell you that I LEARNED a great deal.

5. NLQ  After college I traveled for 5 1/2 years with a ministry called No Longer Quiet.  There aren’t enough blog pages for me to recount the experiences I’ve had with those people.  Traveling from state to state to love students and to share Christ’s love with them was an unbelievable opportunity.  We laughed hard, cried hard, and dare I say it … sometimes fought hard.  Being involved in NLQ provided my first, second and third overseas experiences as we traveled to South Korea to lead worship. 6 of us lived together in a house for a yaer (Jared and Dawn, Chris, Earl, Seth and I). We rolled a 15 passenger van and trailer in the middle of I-44, and walked away from it.  And have met some of the countries  best youth groups and student pastors. There aren’t enough words to say how those experiences and those people have shaped who I am today.

6. A broken engagement.  I never would have guessed that I could have grown as much as I have as a result of something like a broken engagement.  God is faithful and even though there have been times when I’ve still questioned why any of it ever happened, I know that He is sovereign and trustworthy.  I know that she and I are both better people because of it, and I know that as much as I believed at the time that it was right, God has something even better planned for me!

7. Church at Finley Crossings.    God orchestrates things so brilliantly.  I wasn’t looking for a new church when I came to CFC to meet with a friend nearly 3 years ago, and now I’ve been on staff there for 2 years.  There is no such thing as a perfect church.  We don’t claim to be perfect, but only to serve a perfect God.  I believe that I have grown a lot in the last two years, and although I still have a long way to go, I know that my experiences at CFC have helped me to make major strides in my ministry journey.  Again, a church is not the building … it could be gone tomorrow, but I know the relationships that I have made and the people that I care of and have grown to love will still be there.

I could go on for hours writing about the way that a multitude of people (many of you reading this included) have impacted my life and helped shape me into the person I am today.  So thank you to everyone who has played a part in my life so far in it’s 30 years.  As I paused tonight to look back at those years and see what God has taken me through, I can only look forward in anticipation for the next 30 years to see what else He has in store for me!

So, here’s to the past 30 years, and to those that are yet to come!30th-birthday-cake-with-candles

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Comments
2 Responses to “musings of a 29 year old …”
  1. fran says:

    Happy Birthday – Hope your day is great!!!!

  2. bobbie says:

    yay for life experiences. 🙂 so glad that I’ve known you for some of those 30 years….have a fabulous birthday, eric douglas barb. 🙂

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