Walking Gently With Grace

“Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!

     For each day He carries us in His arms.” (Psalm 68:19)

It seems like yesterday when Audrey was placed into my arms. We had been waiting a long time for Audrey’s birthmother to arrive. I remember I even feared she had changed her mind. So when the car pulled in the driveway, I could hardly contain my emotion. Our lives were about to change.

I didn’t run out the door and race to the car though. It was actually the opposite. Something inside of me knew to walk gently with grace. Audrey’s birthmother was getting ready to take a difficult step. Her life was about to change too. 

As we stood there quietly and waited, looking at each other, I can remember praying for this beautiful woman who clearly loved the little girl in her arms. A step forward was finally taken, and Audrey would be placed into my arms, right near my heart, where she has remained.

Audrey and her birth mother.

Seventeen years has passed since that day. Seventeen beautiful years. I can hardly believe Audrey’s no longer a little girl and her time at home is coming to an end. She graduated last week and is now preparing for the next season of her life at Asbury University in Kentucky, which will start in August.

KENTUCKY… 13 hours away from home. That’s a lot of miles apart. I’ve contemplated a few times about moving to Wilmore ourselves, so that we would be just down the road when she needs us (or maybe it’s the opposite … when we need her!). It’s a cute town. I could live there. But that doesn’t seem to be in the Lord’s plans for us…so come August, we will pack up the car with her things and then return to Texas without her. I better start praying now for that moment. 

I have done this before. All three of my older kids moved out and onto new adventures. Each one was hard in its own way. Audrey is the youngest… the last to leave. This time around seems a little harder. There’s been a lot of tears lately — but they are tears of joy and thankfulness.

As the High School Vice Principal at Christian Heritage School (CHS), I’m responsible to plan two of the big end of the year events for the school: the junior/senior blessing reception and the graduation. Both are quite special. At the blessing reception, students, teachers, and the fathers of the graduates prepare blessings for each. Then there’s a beautiful time of prayer. It’s a tradition at the school, one that I find quite holy. 

Audrey listening to words from a fellow student. I love her smile!
Such a special moment of Richard blessing Audrey
A special word sent from Audrey’s birthmother
A time of prayer as a family

Then there’s the graduation. What a special night that was as well. I even got to be the commencement speaker. Leading up to it, I was quite nervous, but as I spoke that night, I could feel the joy and pleasure of Jesus. It’s a night I’ll remember for a long time to come. Audrey spoke that night too and her words were quite impactful. She’s such a captivating writer and speaker. I really am excited to see all that God has in store for her at Asbury.

The graduates 🙂
Such an honor to be asked to share the commencement address
Mr. Schapansky championed Audrey quite beautifully throughout the years. We are thankful!
Audrey led worship with friends from the school.
It was fun being all together to celebrate!
Audrey’s fun classmates. Love them all!

A big financial need remains for Audrey to attend Asbury University. She received a scholarship for 75% of the four-year tuition, which is a tremendous blessing! She needs $15,000 more to complete what she owes for this first year. It’s a large chunk, but God has already provided so much. He who began this great work will be faithful to complete it, I believe. Please join us in praying for God’s provision for Audrey. We need a miracle to unravel in the next two months. 

Audrey will be spending lots of time in this building at Asbury over the next four years of her life.

We’re thankful for your partnership in missions with us. Your prayers and financial support equip us to do this work God has called us to. We don’t receive paychecks from our jobs; no salary is received for what we do with Youth With A Mission because all YWAM missionaries raise their own support. People have often asked, how do you do it? 

My answer is always this: God is faithful, and He uses people like you to be partners with us in the Great Commission! When I look back and think of all the ways God has provided for us, I am amazed. There are seasons of want and seasons of plenty, yet in both God sustains us. We have seen the faithfulness of God. Each day, He really does carry us in His arms. I am thankful.

May the joy of Jesus be yours today. May you too see His faithful love and care for you.

You are loved!


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