Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Finish Line!

I made it! I ran through the finish line. The cheers and the emotions are still very real with the realization that I just finished the hardest race of my life thus far. Granted, I have not tackled many hard projects, but the sacrifice that it took to get my masters degree seemed very similar to a marathon. I had the thrill and excitement at the beginning. I had moments where I received a second wind and stretches where I settled into a solid pace. At the end, my body and mind were wondering if I was going to make it and were longing for the chance to collapse and relax. And now after two weeks, my body is still having a hard time getting back into the swing of things. I always knew Tatum was cheering me on, but I do not think I realized how much she had run right alongside of me during my race. This hit me as I saw how emotional she was through the graduation weekend. We had made it! And now I am doing whatever I can to help her finish strong (Tatum’s graduation date – August 3rd). School has definitely dominated our marriage, and we are excited about the next phase where we have time to enjoy each other more and to really pursue our careers.

The graduation also signaled the end of my graduate internship at Flood. This definitely caused a lot of reflection. Although I am excited about the full-time, salaried job, I am incredibly grateful for the journey I have been on with many of you. Some of you have helped me financially, and many of you have offered your prayers to help me get through this phase. I cannot express how much I appreciate each one of you. And much beyond the behind the scenes support, we felt the encouragement and the support from everyone each time we saw you or talked to you. Tatum and I are incredibly blessed with friends and family, which shined even brighter through this journey of support-raising. So thank you for believing in us and believing in what God wanted to do through us. And we hope that you will continue to pray for us, even though the prayer updates will not be as regular. Along with that, please continue to let us know if there is any way we can pray for you and support you.

I do want to give you a quick update on the last couple months at Flood. Due to the additional responsibility of moving in May, the last two months were overwhelming with putting a house together (90% of this was done by my beautiful wife) and finishing everything before graduation. But in the midst of that, we had several New to Faith classes along with some growth group training. I wanted to highlight one of the NTF groups. We only had two people go through this last class, and because it was during one of my busiest stretches, I don’t think I fully realized what God was doing. After three weeks of explaining the gospel and answering questions, we found out the woman had accepted Christ and the guy was incredibly close. Although my brain was overwhelmed throughout the class, it was fun to see God work through Mindi and I to bring them both closer to God. What a blessing!

What’s in store now? I officially start my full-time job with Flood on July 1st. The newest job responsibility will be in the area of education, where I will be overseeing any class that we offer for enrichment. In other words, I will be looking for ways to help our church grow in their faith outside of Sundays and our weekly groups. So I am spending most of my summer brainstorming, planning, and putting things on the calendar. Then, after Tatum graduates, we will be taking almost three weeks off to relax and celebrate the close of this chapter. This will include a trip back east to visit friends and family, along with a week-long trip to Hawaii. This second trip will definitely be a blessing to our marriage since we have not relaxed together, just the two of us, in a very long time.

Also, I am hoping to transform Lehmantations.com into something a bit more than a support update blog. I really enjoyed writing devotionals this past year, so I am hoping to explore that a bit more. Also, I will try to post some of the papers I wrote throughout seminary just in case you are intrigued to read them. If you are interested in the thoughts and ideas that have birthed out of my education, please check back on occasion. I will also email you if I add any significant material.

I think that is all I have for now. Again, thanks for helping me cross the finish line and I am excited to journey with you in whatever God has in store for us and for you in the future.