Just the mention of the word thanksgiving is enough to stir a well of emotions in me. I am not the kind of person who generally thinks of doing those “little things” like writing notes or sending cards or things like that. My wife is the one who has a knack for saying the right thing at the right time or doing the little things that make a big impression. But even I can’t help but stop and reflect on all the good things that God has blessed me with when this day rolls around. There are so many who have had an impact on my life, whether in just the last year or for many years before, I am truly blessed in friends and family and those who love me for who I am. I don’t think I can even attempt to name everyone that has impacted my life, but I want to give thanks to God for saving me from myself and my selfish sin nature. I am not perfect, but He’s still working on me. He has blessed me with a wife who has taught me more about the meaning of selfless and unconditional love than anyone I know. She is amazing and still finds ways to surprise me. I cannot imagine my life without her. She is a fabulous mother to our three kids and they will surely come to realize how blessed they are to have her as they grow older. Those three kids are a blessing that no words can really describe. They are funny and smart and creative and mirrors of our sometime insanity. Despite the frustrations that all parents I am sure feel at times, we are blessed to have three healthy kids who love life and love us as well. I try to remember to cherish even the times that they get on our nerves, for I know that none of it will last forever and the day will come when I will wish for just a minute that I could once more say, “could you please play without yelling?” or some variant of that anyway.
On top of that, there are our families that are far away in Arkansas. We miss them and love them as well. They have helped to make us who we are and have supported us as we have pursued God’s will for our lives, even when it took us a thousand miles or more away. In addition to our physical families, there is our spiritual family. The different bodies of believers we have fellowshipped and worshipped with who loved us and gave us support with their prayers and even money as we embarked on the journey to this place in God’s service. For all the dearly loved people in those churches, we say thanks again and again.
And we also have family here in the Dakotas. We have had the privilege to serve three churches now in the Dakotas. In that time, we have met many wonderful people who have blessed me and our whole family time and again. There are too many names to mention everyone, but if you have been with us at Westside Baptist or Black Hills Baptist or just around the Black Hills Association, please consider this a thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We love you all dearly and miss being in the hills with the people and family that God has given us there.
We are also, so very thankful for the family of God that we have right here in Langdon. The church family that we have come to know and love here in the last year plus is very precious to us. You have shown us love and caring and patience as a long-time youth pastor tries to learn what it means to pastor and shepherd a church family. I am thankful to other pastors who have given of their time and energy to support me with advice and prayer and resources. I am blessed to be doing what God has called me to do in the place that God has prepared us for for such a time as this. On this day and every day, I say thanks. Blessings to you all and Shalom.