We were both raised in the church, and we know a village helped to raise us. Somewhere along the road, though, we forgot that. As Jeffrey says, “At some point, I learned that I didn’t know what I was doing, unless God was helping me.” When we started a family, we knew we wanted a church family to help us raise our children. When we moved to Plano in 1993, a high school friend invited us to Christ United; we joined when Emma was a toddler, and Rudy was born not long after that.
We believe it’s important to be in a community of faith. Our children are not the only ones who benefit from the church family; we have both grown spiritually since becoming members. We still face challenges in our faith journey; but our commitment to be on the path together helps us stay focused, accountable, and at peace with ourselves and each other. LeAnne knows what to do when she’s stressed: “God and I have conversations in the car on the way to and from work. I hear God in whispers, in the wind, or in a song of worship. Those conversations remind me that God loves me no matter where I am, unconditionally. He meets me where I am.” Jeff’s faith is more automatic now; it’s like eating, sleeping, or walking. And when we mess up, God is there with grace. Faith is a part of our everyday life.
I suppose it makes sense that Jeff’s favorite scripture is 1 Kings 19:10-13. Elijah hears God’s voice in a gentle whisper, not in an all-powerful wind, or earthquake, or fire. When we constantly are in tune with God, we can find God in the small and in the big parts of life.
LeAnne’s favorite verse is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
In 2009, we moved LeAnne’s parents to Plano when they encountered medical problems. We were pulled in two directions: young children at home, and older parents in assisted living. But in that short time, when we had her parents here, our faith grew stronger from the wonderful church family that supported us. We’re so grateful for the time we had with both of her parents; we aren’t sure how we would have made it through without God or our church family. It’s truly a family of faith.
It’s interesting to think back about our journey as we near retirement. We’ve spent a lot of time at the lake house at Cedar Creek Lake in Gun Barrel City. It’s so peaceful and restful, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, looking at the water, drinking a cup of coffee. We can look out, and know what a great creation God has provided for us; and we are grateful to have walked our journey with friends and family at Christ United.