Four years ago (in January), he made the decision with me (after a lot of prayer and counsel) to pack up our lovely home and our four children (at the time 4,3,1, and 7 weeks old) and move two states away from all of our family, or really ANYONE we knew. He has an AAT in photography, but was only able to transfer elective credits in upon admission. He has worked so hard to keep a healthy balance between home, school, and work. While doing this, he has kept a decent grade point average and even managed SEVERAL A's in classes along the way. There have been many nights when he has stayed up, at this kitchen table, all night long to study or complete a assignment. He started off working part-time overnight and going to school full time during the day. Then, as our family's needs have changed, he has backed off of school to either be more present at home or to work full time to earn more income for us. Half-way through the four years we have been here, we had our Annagail. He was, as always, present and active in every part of that first year--more than willing to slow down on school (to even one class per semester!!) in order that we could adjust to life with five children. This semester, we decided to step it up. He jumped back into a full load at school, even though he was working 40+ hours per week. He has had A TON of work to do, including several papers, book reviews, 2 evaluated speeches, and even memorizing an entire chapter in 2 Timothy!! Many times, I would find Nathan like this in the middle of the night:
Nathan asleep on the floor of the hallway, studying something.
I could go on and on about how blessed I am to have been chosen by this man. He has never wavered from his calling, even when it seemed impossible to face. That is a character trait that cannot be bought. I get goosebumps thinking about the testimony of strength and stamina that our kids are seeing through his life. They know that they don't have the latest and greatest _____________ (fill in the blank with shoes, toys, games,trips, whatever) that flood the airwaves. Honestly though, I don't think they care. It has been a testimony to me to see how little the "latest and greatest" matters when a child has a family that is full of love. Their Daddy is here for them, despite his hectic schedule. On that wonderful day in our future maybe, when we are standing there ready to give them away to their spouse, THAT is what they will remember. They won't have a clue what kind of shoes they wore when they were 5 yrs old or which toy they got for Christmas last year. They will remember Nathan reading through Pilgrim's Progress with them each night, last year before bedtime. They will remember that he made pancakes for them on Saturday mornings and that he always has to open a window to keep the smoke detector from going off. They will remember that he busted his hiney some days, just to ride through carpool line with us, so that he could see them for 10 minutes before he had to jet out to class. They know that, above all else and only under the Lord, we are his highest priority.
I know that I am going on and on here, but I have been really moved over the last few days to take notice of what I have been blessed with. He could have easily thrown us under the bus for his calling. He would have been wrong, but he could have done it. On the contrary, he could have thrown his calling under the bus for us. It would have been MUCH easier to stay in our little house and stay nice, comfy, & convenient. Instead, Nathan wrapped his arms around all of us and stepped right out of that boat. I would be a liar if I said that there was never a time that I worried and fretted over our decision. I probably always will at some point. That is part of MY sin. However, praise the Lord that he gave me the husband who could overcome even my fears, could listen to the Lord, and could just GO. It is one of the many things that I thank the Lord for every day. Also, we haven't always clicked our heels in unison onthe journey, but when we got off synch, we quickly back-up and fix whatever it is that isn't working. Nathan appreciates that when our bond is rocky, nothing else can move forward. That is another of many reasons that I am blessed.
So, "YEAH!!" to the end of another long semester. To the next one coming in January, I say, "Bring it!". To that graduation day that is right around the corner, well, I cannot put into words how my heart feels about THAT day. You'll have to stay tuned until May for THAT one.