ABOUT US | Steve and Jamie got married in 1998. Steve began ministry as a youth minister in Houston, TX and has served in pastoral ministry in four different churches in Texas. Jamie homeschooled their four children for 10 years and earned an Advanced Counseling Certificate in 2018.
While these are our basic credentials, they do little to tell you who we really are. You might find it interesting to know that we are both first-born children. For any of you familiar with birth order, you know that means we are generally reliable and conscientious. However, it also means that we have a tendency to be driven, perfectionistic, and achievement oriented. Both of us raised in highly active, church-going families means that you can add to our list of credentials a training to look out for the needs of others, be nice, and sacrifice so that others can know the love of God. While those might sound like pretty good things, it’s kind of a funny combination if you think about it – highly driven to be really nice and sacrificial. It causes a person to have to be somewhat covert about their perfectionism and people pleasing, but that’s another story.
For much of our lives, this skill set, albeit not perfect, seemed to work for us. Somewhere along the way, though, life stopped going the way we thought it should. All of our hard work did not seem to produce the results we expected. All of our sacrifice began to leave us dry, weary, and if we’re being completely honest, somewhat bitter and resentful.
Do you see what we see? The list of qualities above is not completely admirable. It might even be that as you read the list, you think we are not the kind of people that you would want speaking into your life and your ministry. That may be true, especially if you are one who expects perfection. I hope you will stick with me for a little bit longer, though, because that is not the whole of our story. Part of our journey has led us to identify, at least somewhat, with Paul in his second letter to the church in Corinth.
But He said to me,
“My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
One of the things we are coming to terms with in our journey is that no matter how much we work and how hard we try, there always seems to be something about ourselves or the people around us that crops up and threatens to destroy our ability to accomplish our goals. While annoying and discouraging for awhile, at some point we were invited to wonder what God was doing in the middle of all that frustration. Why was it that the way of functioning that had always produced results for us was no longer working?
For the sake of time and space, we will leave out all the ranting, the crying, the counseling, the despair, the anger, the unexpected help, the anxiety, and the depression that were a part of the process of letting go of our old, no longer functional way. It was not so much that we were excited about learning something new but more that we continually were running into a brick wall. It was ugly and painful, and honestly still is some days.
Yet, in bits and pieces, we began to discover that God was wanting to make His love, His grace, and His power known to us in a fuller way. We began to see that His grace really is sufficient for us. We don’t have to know it all or do it all just right. In fact, the more we release our tight grip on control, the more we see that God is actively working with us and for us. While there are still a lot of ups and downs, we have begun to experience the truth we had believed in our minds for many years but rarely were aware of in any practical sense.
Some of the great discoveries have been that reality that God really does love us apart from our works. He is not a taskmaster. He is patient and kind. The blood of Jesus really does cover over all – failure, sin, shortcomings, mistakes – and has won for us the freedom to be childlike again, fulling trusting that the Father knows what tomorrow holds and does not intend for us to spend our lives worrying about it.
Maybe you have heard all those words before. We had, too. But now we have a personal story to go with each truth. These statements are no longer just words on a page for us, but evidence of a loving and active God who has woven Himself into the fabric of our lives – a God whose ways are often beyond our understanding, but whose character has captivated our hearts.
So yeah – we aren’t perfect, and it can be easy to pick out our flaws. But we have discovered a love that is more important than any of that. We love to help others experience that grace more fully as well.