Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A New Chapter in Life

For those who are following my blog (1 person)...haha, you will notice that I missed my weekly post last week. That is because my son Elijah Scott Stanland was born last Tuesday. I decided to take last week and spend it with my family. I would like to thank everyone for your prayers in this matter first and foremost and for your continued prayers as Nicole and I attempt to raise our children in the admonition of the Lord.

This past week has made me reflect a lot on my life and the events that have transpired recently. It seems that life is a constant state of change for me, and I have had to adapt sometime what seems overnight. Just five years ago I wasn't even married. So much has changed from the time when I was a young man in college, single and had little to no responsibilities other than my studies. When I was 20, my greatest ambition was to make enough money to feed my hunting and fishing habit, but so much has changed lately.

When I married Nicole, my life changed in an instant. I wanted the change and was excited to share my life with her as she has done with me, but I immediately was thrust into the challenges of marriage. Bills, expenses, insurance, home life, toothpaste tubes, and laundry all changed overnight. We learned the idiosyncrasies of each other, and still tease each other about them to this day. I went from choosing my own wardrobe to a dependance on my wife to choose my Sunday morning suites, due to me being color blind. Together we have known great struggle and victory, and continue to grow as individuals and a couple in Christ through it all.

The next major change happened just shy of two years ago when my daughter Julia was born. She has been the delight of my life ever since. No one else has the ability to bring joy to my heart like my daughter, and I will forever cherish these days. Thus, I became a father and knew the true understanding of having someone completely dependent upon you, your love, and your leadership. In her childish love and affection, she would love me no matter what my decisions were to provide for her, but now it is my responsibility to do my very best to provide for my family. 

In the midst of all this, we have moved a few times seeking where God would have me as a minister. Slowly, he has crafted me into a minister of the church. As of now I am passionate about youth ministry and love my job, and could never see myself doing anything else. I have learned how to work in a staff setting with other pastoral leaders, and I have learned how to be a better leader towards the students and adult volunteers who work in the youth ministry. Not that I have attained any great level of skill or wisdom, but at least I am comforted by the fact, that I can see that God has grown and matured me.

Now, a week after my son, and second child is born I reflect on all that God has entrusted me with. First, is my family! I believe that if according to scripture that my family is evaluated in order to qualify me for ministry, then that shows where my priorities should be. Therefore, I believe that my first disciples should be my children, and my wife is my partner. Together we raise our children, expand the kingdom as missionaries, and teach our children to be the same. My goal is to raise children who will be missions minded and will know their scriptures. They will one day have to choose Jesus for themselves, but I will saturate their life with his presence as best I can.

Secondly, comes the church. I feel so privileged to be the student minister at Fellowship Baptist Church in Tallahassee, FL. I find it such a great opportunity for the kingdom to be in such a location with such a church. I enjoy teaching students and reading up new leaders for the church, I believe it is part of my calling to be a part of this. In this new chapter of my life, I will step further into parenthood as a discipler for the church.
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