22.5 Years Later…

Act 1 — Julie and I met in the dorms at Mizzou in 1990. We were sophomores, and both journalism majors. We had a wonderful time finishing up school, dating, breaking up, getting back together, and wondering what was going to happen next.

When Julie and I were married on March 5, 1994. What a great day! We found out she was pregnant one month later! How did that happen?

We were going through a brief phase where we thought that ALL contraception was wrong. All. We pretty quickly changed our minds, and have adapted that approach (but that’s the subject for a different discussion).

We were excited. We didn’t have anything – no tv, no cable, no internet… However, we also didn’t have school or car debt. We house sat in Stillwater, Oklahoma, so we were living small for now, because we have been looking out some port moody condos for sale who look like interesting options for the future.

As Julie grew this little baby, we were about to start all of the coaching classes and get serious about names. But – Ruth came three months early! She weighed 2 lbs 5 ounces, was life-flighted to Tulsa, and she spent three months in the NICU at St. Francis.

Act 2 — The first weekend of May, we had a presbytery meeting in Tulsa, so I booked a room without thinking much about it. The first hotel I tried was full, so I moved on.

When presbytery came, it was a delight to see the men there for the meeting (a regional meeting of the pastors and elders of our churches). One among many was my friend Dr. Tom Karnes, who delivered Ruth that September 22nd day in 1994. He always asks about her.

Then I headed to the hotel. It was the Doubletree across the street from St. Francis. We’d stayed at that hotel for Christmas 1994. It brought back so many memories of scrubbing up, eating Thanksgiving meal at Bennigans, of our time at the Ronald McDonald House and with our friends the Roarks. Of the doctors and nurses who cared for our little girl. Of the way the Lord answered prayers over and over again.

Act 3 — The second weekend of May, we drove up to Columbia, Missouri to celebrate Ruth’s graduation from the University of Missouri School of Journalism!

That tiny 2lbs 5 oz little girl grew up to be an incredible, beautiful, smart, compassionate, hard working young woman. She went to public school and was homeschooled a bit. She graduated from then-called Veritas. She decided to attend Mizzou, and she’s graduated with honors. Now she’s headed to work at the Indianapolis Star and see what’s next after that.

We’re so proud of her. I walked around the campus remembering so many things, feeling all the feelings. Frisbee on the Quad, the Navigators, Larry, Brad, Matt, Al, Dan, Craig… Booches, Shakespears and The Berg. Meeting Julie (and the few dates I went on before that). Controversies, arguments, make ups, make outs, dorm flag football victories.

I’m thankful for that place. Mostly right now I’m thankful that my daughter has come out loving Christ and his church. I’m thankful for Ross Dixon and RUF, for Tim LeCroy and Christ Our King, for her great friends, for Adam, for her professors and mentors.

When Ruth was in the incubator warmer in the NICU at St. Francis, we’d pray Psalm 121 over and over again.

I pray it still for her.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and forevermore.