Sunday, October 18, 2009

How Did I Get so Lucky?

- or -

In Praise of Sons-in-Law
Named Jonathan
Who have a wife named Jenni
And a son named Noah

[For all of you who faithfully follow my blog (modest cough here), you may remember that last year about this time I wrote a shamelessly sentimental tribute to my daughter, Jenni, on the occasion of her birthday. I just reread it, and you know what? I can't improve on it. And it's all still true. So scroll down this blog until you get to October 2008 (if you're reading this on fb, you'll have to click on the link to my blog on my profile), get out your kleenex, read about wonderful Jenni, and then quick hop back here.

Are you back? Good. Okay, here we go.]

Like most parents, from the time my daughter was tiny I prayed about the man she would someday marry. Now I have talked to moms who had a shopping list of requirements they laid before God in regards to their future son-in-law. Intelligence, education, vocation, family background, hometown, sense of humor, favorite football team...
I don't remember getting that specific in my prayers. I prayed that Jenni would marry the man the Lord had prepared to be her husband. I prayed that she would marry the man for whom the Lord was preparing her to be a wife. I longed with all my heart that Jenni marry someone who really, really loved the Lord and really, really loved Jenni.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you ask God for something, he graciously gives you exceedingly more, pressed down, shaken together, and running over?

Let me introduce you to Jonathan David Carroll. He really, really loves the Lord and really, really loves Jenni. He works hard to take care of his family. In my book, that makes him a great son-in-law right there. But Jonathan has done so much more than that. Not only has he shown wisdom and sensitivity in accepting me into his life, he has often gone out of his way to make sure that I feel loved and welcomed into their family. Jonathan seemed to understand from the moment he married Jenni that there would be times that I would need -- well, a son, and he willingly stepped into that role, whether it was to offer a helpful male point of view when I needed advice, or to change that 12-foot-off-the-ground, burned-out light bulb in my townhome. Even now, sometimes I find myself sending a frantic e-mail or iChat message to Jonathan from Africa, asking for help with my Macbook or Jenni's birthday present. And he's always there for me.

But see, if that's all I say, I'm not really giving you a true picture of Jonathan, because in addition to all that, Jonathan just happens to be the coolest, funnest, best-sense-of-humor-est son-in-law in the whole world. He's talented, funny, and much too witty for his own good. Spend a day with Jonathan, and you'll never be bored.

Jonathan's birthday comes on October 22, exactly one week before Jenni's. So this year, when you give Jenni that hug and tell her that her mom loves her more than life itself, please give Jonathan a hug as well, okay? Tell him that Jenni's mom loves him and is exceedingly grateful that he is her son-in-law.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

So I guess Dr. Don's to blame?

It is 2
006. I am office manager at Brown Pruitt Peterson & Wambsganss, and I am in Don Ferrill's office, waiting to ask a question. He ignores me to finish reading something on his computer, so I shamelessly peek over his shoulder to see what is so engrossing. Ah! It's a newsletter from Phillip Shero, giving the highlights of the recent University Advisors' Summit held in Mbale, Uganda. I sigh. "Oh, how exciting! I would sure love to be a part of the work God is doing to build a university there."

It is 2009. Joy, Diana, and I are standing in a small booth (eventually to be a sound booth) at the back of Mbale of Church of Christ. In front of us are neat stacks of 50,000-shilling notes counted into one-million and five-million shilling bundles. We look out the sound booth window at the group of about forty landowners, mostly couples, who will be coming back to us in a moment to collect their money. But right now each person is waiting their turn to meet with Phillip and the solicitor to sign a contract selling their land -- land on which someday, as the Lord provides, LivingStone International University is to be built. I think of my wish three years earlier, and I think of where I am now. I sigh...

God is good.