So I realized the other day that many of you all read our updates and may not know our story. More specifically, how on Earth did Josh get so lucky to marry Amy? (Aside from God’s amazing mercy and providence….I have no idea). Then a couple of things happened to nudge me to write this update…. 1. Our friend and co-worker at Praying Pelican Missions got married last weekend 2. Amy’s birthday was this past Friday (30 years old), and 3. I re-read our wedding vows that I wrote (a thing I do from time to time to see if I am living what I told Amy I would live out).
So anyway a story of us. Complete with many pictures really….
Amy and I met my senior year and her junior year as she joined the same co-ed honor’s fraternity (NERD ALERT) that I was in. She came in and I thought (YOU ARE FINE!!). The first night we actually met, my friend Cortney and I jumped into a swimming pool with all of our clothes on when it was 55 degrees outside.
I proceeded to flirt mercilessly with her that included but was not limited to hitting her on the bottom with one of my folders from school (smooth). We went camping with our Nerd group and I tried to put my mack on. At this time in my life, I was dating a long time girlfriend again (against the advice of my all-knowing roommate – Andy). Amy was dating someone as well. Our first conversation we talked about the plus / deltas of Bojangles and Biscuitville, ultimately settling that Biscuitville has the better actual biscuit but Bojangles better chicken biscuit. AND that we were both going to marry those individuals we were dating.
Time passed…mostly for me in blur due to my lack of Jesus leading my life during that season. For Amy time passed observing me acting like an idiot….All of it culminated to one long long long weekend in Roanoke. Details of that weekend are left to all the people that were around for the three day party but should not grace this blog. Amy and I did take our first picture together then. (unfortunately, surrounding scenery in the picture is not appropriate and therefore not going to be posted).
Fast forward to New Years / post Christmas that same semester. I had returned early to Raleigh in plans with my roommate (yep same one….we lived together a long long time) to go to the beach and have a big New Year’s party. I spent the days leading up to the New Year’s bash planning it and flirting with Amy mercilessly through AOL instant messenger (for those under 30…this was before Facebook) and listening to Eamon “I don’t want you back” (do yourself a favor and don’t listen to that). For reasons that I still don’t understand, Amy due to her surgery at that time was always around on IM (cool slang I know) and I convinced her and she convinced her mom to go to this party, which by the time she was coming, the beach had fallen through and we were partying in Raleigh.
Fast-forward again to New Years Day 2004 and I asked Amy in some sort of moment of clarity “Do you think Jesus has an Afro”. Our conversation went something like this….
Amy: “Say what you know Jesus?”
Josh: “Yep, why?”
Amy: “You sure don’t act like it.”
Me: <silence>, “you wanna go out?”
Amy: “I’m going to church, you can come with me if you want.”
Ultimately, Amy and I ended up deciding to go to Hope Community Church. I can’t really recall what was first, our first date to Macaroni Grill or going to church but in some order those things happened. And it was at Hope Community Church that the Lord got a hold of me <Almost all of you know my testimony.>
We started to date which really meant we hung out all the time. We even got a cute little nickname like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did. They were Brangelina. We were Jamy. Great! Here are some pictures from that time.
Now our relationship was and is by no means perfect. In fact it was and is far from it. We struggled then with selfishness, inherent sin, and loving each other as God loves us. But we were making progress. We knew early on that we loved each other and told each other so, relatively early. It was probably so early that if Madeline were to repeat that same behavior in a relationship, I would scoff at the idea. And in December 2004, we went to church, our favorite eatery (518 West) and Pullen Park where we got engaged on the swings.
And our life has been one whirlwind ever since…
2012 – Move to Belize 2012 – see previous posts for those early day pictures
We are not perfect and don’t pretend we are. We struggle for sure. There are times when I am standing in front of the sink doing the dishes now and I think to myself “I am so sick of serving her this way.” The Lord nudges me and says “Do you think I was sick of serving you when I was on the cross?” I get the message loud and clear.
Our story is filled with ups and downs like anyone else’s. We strive to make Jesus the center of our house. Simple ways by playing praise and worship music when cooking or praying before meals. And more complicated ways like teaching the kids about the resurrection or moving to Belize to be missionaries.
Why did I write this for you all….
See, I have been reading Exodus through Joshua and I was struck by how many times the Lord says “When you go to the land that I will give you.” The Lord stated that it was a matter of fact, which of course it was.
Exodus 33:1-2 “The Lord said to Moses, “Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your offspring I will give it.’ I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.”
Look at those words, “I will.” There is no doubt. There is no if. The thing about the Lord is that he doesn’t say “I promise or I really really meant it, or I swear.” The Lord just says and it will be. He spoke with supreme confidence because he is the same Lord that spoke the world into being. He spoke with supreme confidence and asked Israel to step out because of His word. And look at how Joshua ends.
Joshua 24: 16-18 “Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods,for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
The Lord delivered just as He stated. The Lord has delivered time and time again in our life. That’s the beauty of our story. The Bible is full of statements of fact from the Lord. Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:5-6, John 14:12 to name a few.
Before we had our story, we had my story and her story. Two people in different relationships with God going through life. God took the muddiness of that and began to knit together our story. Now here we are believing God’s Word that He desires greater for our life, that He came so that we can have full life, that He will make our paths straight. Two imperfect people putting God first and letting Him shape The Story of Us.
We hope you have enjoyed the trip down our memory lane. We wanted to ask What’s your story? And are you ready to rely on God’s promises, put him first and watch him knit together the rest. He WILL blow your mind.
- Financial Support – We are in the process of examining our financial support going into next year. We are in a good spot right now. However, we will be contacting some new individuals in the coming weeks. Please be in prayer for open hearts and generosity.
- If you are interested in contributing a one time gift or monthly gift visit http://www.prayingpelicanmissions.org/donate scroll to find our name and click either “Donate” (For a one time gift) or “subscribe” (for a monthly gift)
- Village Involvement – Amy and I have been praying for some time to get “more involved” in the village. We feel God calling us to start a small group and launch a children’s ministry (of which the village has none) on Saturdays. We are excited to have lunch with Pastor Mark’s family within the week to talk about these opportunities.
- School’s starting – School is getting ready to start for Madeline. Pray for her to be able to listen and obey, play well with others and adjust to a more scheduled day!
- Amy had a great 30th birthday!
- We found a store that is almost like Target back home (as close as we are going to get here). And we found hummus, quinoa, arrborio rice, and polenta at the store the same day we went to Belize Target!!!
- I had a great lunch with some friends from Holly Springs who were passing through on a cruise. Thank you Karen and Chris! And if any of you are passing through on a cruise, let me know if you want to get up.
- The Lord is up to great things here in Belize! Praise God for a great summer and the excitement in the local church here and the teams that have returned back home and are deciding to come back to Belize and continue on the relationships they started!