I believe my story is best told in the context of what God has done and is doing in and through me over the course of the years that have brought me to what is likely the fourth quarter of my life.
Having been born at a very young age, the firstborn of a young couple who loved God first and foremost, and loved each other deeply. Our home was a place where love was unquestioned, money was scarce, and faith was the filter through which life was viewed. Ten of my first 12 years were spent developing a view of life in a Mennonite community in southern Manitoba. The other two of those 12 years were spent in Omaha doing kindergarten and first grade while my father attended Bible College.
When I was 12, my family moved to Omaha, NE permanently (yes folks, we had green cards). I attended a Lutheran (Missouri Synod) grade school before heading to Omaha Central High School. After two years at Central, I was developing a circle of friends who were counter-productive to my profession of faith. My parents and I agreed that I would be best served by completing my high school in a Christian school setting. Over the course of a few weeks, Meade Bible Academy in Meade, KS was selected as a good environment for me. That summer decision had a profound impact on me, that continues to bless me to this day. It was there that I grew in my faith and it was there that I met a girl (Judy) who won my heart instantly, and continues to be the love of my life to this day. Following high school the path led me to the University of Omaha where I started down an Accounting major but finally settled on business management before leaving to focus on providing for my family.
From the point of our marriage in 1966 (you can do the math to current date) the Lord blessed us with three girls. The first precious child (Cheri) lived only 52 hours and is resting in the arms of Jesus. The other two (Debbie and Cari) and their fantastic husbands and families both ended up living in the Colorado Springs area for different family reasons but obviously influenced by their love for each other. Once they both had relocated to the same community, Judy and I left our home in Atlanta and joined our grandchildren in Colorado.
From a “what did you do” perspective, fast forward through a 3-year career as a newspaper carrier, a 5-year career in hair products manufacturing, a 30-year career with IBM, an 7-year stint with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an interim gig with Compassion International, and an on-going 6 plus-year consulting engagement with National 4-H Council all interlaced with a variety of involvements (mentoring, teaching Bible studies, serving as elder, etc.) in our church families. It is critical to note here that there is a “but God” story behind each of these stories, and there are a multitude of “but God” stories within the stories. Today, in my spare time, I am actively involved in the family cheering on two dads who are leading their families well, loving and supporting my daughters, and interfering in the parenting process whenever possible as a grandfather of five of the best grandkids anyone could have. We’ve also been blessed to be involved with friends in our neighborhood, hopefully providing a splash of love and encouragement here and there along the way. And finally, I enjoy and still have the privilege of helping people become the person God intended them to be.
I think the thing about every bit of this story that is important is that it is a continuation of God’s work on me that began at the moment of my conception. Psalm 139 says that God knit me together in my mother’s womb and created my inmost being. God’s work was not just a nine month effort. It has been an on-going work of building, shaping and molding me even after I emerged from the womb. He has directed my paths and put me in a wide variety of both Christian and secular settings to uniquely form me into the man I am today.
Along the journey I’ve often slipped and fallen, returned my gaze to Him, and He has pulled me out of the miry pit. I’ve faced trials, many self inflicted and some brought on by a fallen world. Early on in my story, my faith became my own through searching the scriptures on issues and asking God for wisdom. He has been true to his word in providing wisdom and understanding for the asking.
I’m sure this story will be updated over time to be more inclusive of some details or concepts, but for now let’s leave it as it stands. To God be the glory for the great things He has done.