So, my brother is graduating from basic training this weekend. Over the past four months, I have come to respect and love my brother more than I ever knew how before. He's not my little brother anymore. He is growing up; a man of God that desperately wants to seek God's design and glory in his life. Beyond words and explanations, I have been learning from this man. I have read his letters and listened intently on short, sporadic phone calls to hear about his encounters with the seekers at his base.
I see the Lord softening and refining him in a way that reveals who God Himself is. If you had asked James who he was before he left for basic training, he might have given you more than you wanted to hear. He is opinionated, knowledgeable, and openly invites discussions and debates alike. He had an opinion about everything. Though I'm sure he is no less opinionated, I know my brother has grown in the confidence of his faith. He is firmly established and rooted in the love of Christ (Eph. 5), where he gladly places his trust.
Whether friendly debate or heated defense of his faith, James is ready for any conversation. I so admire his willingness to 'fight like a man' in the arenas of faith and morality, when his peers are completely convinced he is wrong.
I know he will seek the Lord in his plans for college next Spring, but I also know that he will treasure every minute with family and friends until he leaves.
I praise God for him!
My brother Will casts a giant shadow, though you wouldn't think it to look at his stocky, wrestler frame. William is a man of his word; a man of integrity; a man of wisdom. I've known this for awhile, I guess, but just lately I’ve taken interest.
In his subtle (sometimes silent) way, William delights in what is good. And he really delights – ask anyone who has been around to hear him giggle! Everyone seems to know he is invaluable for any project one might attempt - whether it's shingling a vertical roof or organizing groups of rowdy kids or fixing anything with an engine (we’ve all at some point taken advantage of his mechanical abilities). But, press on he does: determined to make each project a new challenge and success. He works hard and requires little gratitude, making his efforts reflect his devotion to the Lord.
For the past couple summers, he has completely donated his time to growing a small rural camp in order to bring the message of the gospel to children in that area. Every single counselor would take a bullet for him, but they would have a hard time stepping in front of Will to get there. He is as protective as he is inclusive; and I’ve learned much from the brotherly love he gives to anyone he meets.
Maybe my most treasured blessing in William is his character. He has been patient with me even in my foolishness. He has encouraged me in the midst of confusion. He has called me out when I least want to hear it.
What a blessing he is!
My brother Samuel is a coach; not for a job, but as a lifestyle. After mixing his Creatin drink when I was in 8th grade, I remember his praise meant the world to me then and still does today. He is 4 years older than I am, but when I followed his footsteps to Holland, Michigan, our friendship started to take root.
I’ll admit he was a bit rough around the edges when I was growing up, but now that I’m living in Austin, I realize how wonderful it was to be in the same town (Holland) while I was in college. I remember a conversation I had with him my freshman year at Lemonjello’s (the famed coffeeshop college hangout). He was telling me about meeting Bethany (now my sister-in-law) and the way God had prepared his heart. He said, “Care, I was finally to the point where I was okay with just me and God. I knew that He would provide, but I wasn’t actively searching for anything. … and then I met Bethany.”
I remember the excitement of meeting Bethany and my respect for my brother grew because of the person he had found to share his life with… she was amazing! Being a part of their lives impacted my life in a way I’ll never forget. I lived with Samuel and Bethany the summer after my junior year while I worked two jobs in Holland. I got to watch their struggles and joys – and I experienced their great, big love.
Samuel has committed to ‘coach’ by pouring into everyone in his life: his wife, his family, friends, students, and co-workers. I still call him for his coaching every once in awhile!
So these are the brothers God blessed me with - and oh how blessed I feel!
Look next for "my sister; my sanity" coming shortly:)