The dog days of summer…not really!
It goes without saying, our lives have been crazy-busy since our last post – a little more than a month ago. We’ve celebrated another birthday – Caleigh Grace as she turned 7 years old; we’ve had our big outreach for the summer at our church – On Goal Soccer Camp with 225 kids and 25 coaches; we’ve started our new Wednesday Night Worship – Zelos which has been such a refreshing time in the middle of the week; the kids have finished school, and are more than ready for some rest, relaxation and a whole lot of fun; they’ve been to Art Camp for a full week; we celebrated Seph and his open house with about 250 family and friend joining us for his special day; my family visited for five days, enjoying a quick get together – the first time we’ve all been together in ten years; we’ve taken a handful of day trips to Lake Michigan, horseback riding and to Michigan’s Adventure; we’ve been in our pool almost every day in the last month as we have officially solidified in the record books the hottest summer in Michigan since they started recording statistics way back when in the late 1800’s; Jody and Jillian took a five day trip to Traverse City while I stayed home and played Mr. Mom; and this was all in the last month! Now, summer is just about half over and there’s a whole lot which must be done and we’re looking forward to in the month ahead. The kids will be heading to Dinosaur Camp and Sports camp – along with VBS Kid’s Camp at our church; Jody and I will take a quick four day getaway to Nevada where she is a guest speaker at the NCUA National Conference; we will be doing a little painting and switching rooms as the little girls head downstairs to bigger accommodations; and to cap off the month, Seph and I, as well as Jillian will be loading up the suburban and traveling the 11 hours to Lynchburg, Virginia where Seph will be starting his freshman year at Liberty University.
People, in their inquisitive way, have asked me how I feel about taking Seph to college. It is certainly an honest question. To shoot straight, I wish I could go with him. Not to go with him in terms of missing him, although I will, but the opportunities of what this university offers are just about endless. As we were together talking through where Seph would attend college, he turned down opportunities to attend colleges closer to home along with scholarships to run for other universities. We left the decision of college in his hands and he chose Liberty. When I look at a university like Liberty, having an on campus student body of 12,000, I see a university which is second to none. I’ve seen and have been to several universities, and honestly, putting my bias aside, I have yet to find a university the size of Liberty with such opportunities. Although I never got caught up in Jerry Falwell Sr.’s political pursuits, the one thing I appreciated about this man and this leader is the quality of what he was able to build on Liberty Mountain in just 40 years. Liberty is a young, growing, vibrant Christian liberal arts university nestled on the side of a mountain, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. Falwell’s motto was always, “If it is Christian, it ought to be better.” With his vision, they have built an amazing campus with limitless possibilities and opportunities. My encouragement to Seph in these final days has been, embrace it all…embrace it all – and enjoy these next four years of your life.
After a difficult year for Seph in terms of running, breaking both legs at different times, in these last few months, he has set some lofty goals for himself. He still loves to run, but now for fun, and he enjoys working out. He’s up each morning by 8:00 a.m. and heads to the gym before going out for a run some time that day. He is easily in the best shape of his life. He is an inspiration to many of his friends, but most certainly, he has inspired me on many days and on many levels. His passion for health and fitness is a driving force behind his pursuit of a degree in kinesiology, where he has already set his mind on following this up with a master’s degree in physical therapy – all with the aspiration of becoming a physical therapists one day. This is one of the great character traits about Seph – when he places a goal in front of him, he pulls out all stops to achieve his goal. I think I know where he gets this trait from.
In reality, in one month, we will see the first step in what we’ve been teaching and training the last 18 years – to release Seph from our “authority” to allow him to embrace full responsibility for the decisions and choices he makes. The last year has been a steady transition as we’ve given Seph opportunity to make many of his own decisions with just a nudge here or there on our part. He is a passionate, driven young man who has the potential to do some great things. And as we remind him ALL the time – ALL the time, you don’t do these great things for yourself, you do these great things for God. As a young child, you teach and train your children, shaping their lives upon the principles given to us in God’s Word – the final authority for all of faith and practice. As they get older, you pray and pray for your kids. As the time comes, it becomes very, very real – you have to release your children into this world – not to make a name for themselves or get their fifteen minutes of fame, but to passionately do some great things for God. This is our prayer as Seph begins a new chapter in his life. We could not be more proud of our son – a young man who is driven; has some great goals laid out in front of him; possesses some phenomenal potential; loves the Lord, and has a heart to help and serve others. In all of these things, we pray he will honor and glorify God through his life and the ministry God lays before him. Sola Deo Gloria!