My husband is not a writer. Like, doesn’t like it, avoids it, is not great at it (he will absolutely admit this fact to you). He has written on this blog only once in the many years we have had it. So, when he said he wanted to write a post for the blog, it was a BIG deal. So, without further ado (and because it is pretty long), here goes:
“This last month was a month of rest. April and I were able to take a sabbatical with Cru. It is crazy to think that we have been on this journey with the Lord for 8 years. After the last couple years and especially this last semester, it was a much needed time of rest. As April shared, It was an adjustment to move into this time of rest and to figure out what it means to rest. During this time, I had the opportunity to fumble my way through and figure out what rest looks like for me – stopping to listen, pray, to just take in the sights and sounds around me, to enjoy the world that the Lord has made and not take it for granted.
I read a book called “The Rest of God”. One of the key takeaways for me is that I needed to find out what is restful for me and to just have fun. Not working does not mean you are “wasting time.” I really enjoy being outside and being active. It was good to get back outside, going camping, biking, running, playing disc golf. Even as I write this, I realize it is okay to do these things with my family and share with them the things that I love to do. Don’t worry, April, l I will not take the family camping when it is 100 degrees outside. I love going on long bike rides and to see Emerson start to learn to ride her “big girl” bike and Kinsley start riding without training wheels, I am hopeful that we will have some family bike rides in the future.
As I spent time reflecting and praying, I was reminded of all the different people God has put in my path to really point me to Christ. As I am still in touch with a majority of these people, and quite a few of them read this blog, I just wanted to say thank you to those people. This list by no means is exhaustive but just a short list of those who had a significant part in where I am today.
First one is Josh Mallory. I have no idea where he is today, but he was my neighbor for 6.5 years when I was in elementary school. Every summer, he invited us to his church vacation bible school. The summer after my 4th grade year, I was sitting in the sanctuary of his church when one of the pastors got up front and shared about this guy named Jesus. God sent Jesus to live a perfect life here on earth and to die for all the crap I have done so that this little crazy imperfect kid can know the perfect and true God who created everything. They showed a music video that reenacted the crucifixion of Christ and seeing and really hearing what God did for me led me to pray to receive Christ into my life that very day. As I dropped Kinsley at VBS the other day, I couldn’t help but think of the impact vacation bible school’s can still have today.
While I lived in Alabama, I got to know a great family – the Thompsons. Mr. Thompson was a pastor and Oliver, his son, and I spent many days and nights hanging out. It was neat to see how their family really lived out the Gospel. Even if I didn’t really know at the time, as I reflect on my times hanging out at their house, God used them to plant seeds.
The next is the one and only Scott Crews. Where do I begin? Scott is someone who I have tons of respect for…he kept me on track and let me know when I was being stupid, he lets me know what he is thinking, and he really genuinely cares for me. Scott introduced me to great people, great music, and Christ. As long as I have known Scott, he seemed to never be afraid to admit that he was a follower of Christ and to share that with others. The Lord really used him to point me to Christ and I honestly don’t know where I would be without his friendship.
Scott introduced me to the next 3 guys that had huge impact on my life. Matt Sidell, Tagg Wolverton, and Shane Wolverton. Scott and Matt were always together – you don’t get Scott without Matt and if you know them, you wouldn’t want it any other way. Matt is someone who is faithful, a great friend, always there for you and someone who knows how to have a great time. He is someone you can’t help but respect and laugh with and at. After spending a number of years in a bible study, youth group and on retreats with Scott and Matt, these guys are never replaceable and eternally impactful.
Tagg lead the youth group Scott was in. The first time I met Tagg, he was at their church, Brookwood, about to load up in a rent–a-wreck van on the way to go to the Audio Adrenaline concert with the OC Supertones. Noticing that something was different about this group of people, I asked my parents if I could be involved with the youth group at Brookwood instead of our church youth group. One of the things that was hugely impactful was just hanging out with and learning from Tagg at his house and in his office. Tagg married April and I and I am so grateful for that privilege.
At Brookwood, I was involved in Shane Wolverton’s D-team (small group bible study). I will never forget how Shane and Ann opened their house to a few crazy high school guys. Not only did Shane lead this group, but when I went off to college, Shane lead our college times. He always challenged us and really wanted to see us grow. To this day, I really enjoy getting to catch up with him when we are back in town. I am so thankful for the impact Tagg and Shane had in my life as Godly male leaders and mentors.
In college, I had the great privilege of meeting Chad Young. As I got involved with Cru, Chad, who was on staff with Cru, challenged me in my faith, encouraged/forced me to share my faith, continued to push the importance of spending time in the word, and just had fun with me. After joining staff, it was a blast to get to lead with him for two years in Charleston on summer project. I am still able to pick up the phone and give him a call whenever I need to get some perspective on whatever I am going through, and that is a huge blessing.
Dad and Mom, thank you for being willing to let me go to another church when I was in High school for youth, always having us in Vacation bible school (even if it was just to keep us out of trouble), and being supportive when we started working full time with Cru.
April Hetzel, again, not sure where to start. I am just thankful for you every day with you as you said yes to marry me over 10 years ago. I am thankful for how you keep me in line and don’t put up with my crap. I know you love me, but you will always tell me what is really going on, point out sin and not sugar coat it. Our kids have a great mom to look up to as a role model and for what to look for in a wife. Thanks for jumping on this crazy ride the Lord is taking us on. Thankful I get to ride this ride with you.
So what have I learned from Sabbatical? I have learned how to rest and what that looks like for me. I am praying I can incorporate that into my daily life once the busyness starts back again. “Shattered Dreams” is another book I read this summer and even as I look back over this list, most everyone I met only after I faced a shattered dream. In other words, the Lord is in control and he does have our best interest at hand. Even as we transition onto a new team at NC State, I know that the Lord is dreaming a bigger dream for me and I am looking forward to seeing what new people He will bring into our lives that will impact us for eternity. As I reflect on the people above, most of them did a lot of just inviting me as they were going. It reminds me that I need to continue to invite others just to come along with me in life. When I go to church, on trips with our church, camp, and just to come over and hang out. We are all on a spiritual journey and I need to invite them into my life. The Gospel is powerful in action. I know I will have more shattered dreams, but with those come a greater vision and greater desire for the one true God who saved me and redeemed me because he loves me so.