Nearly 7 years ago when we watched the truck pull on to the street I recall saying to Amy, “there goes the neighborhood.” We had no ide
a what the following years would bring for our family and ministry in Arlington, Texas and would have never imagined all that God had in store for us.
As we touched up paint, cleaned the floors, and walked through the empty house one last time, I couldn’t hold back the tears. There have been oh so many tears over the past few days. I would think of the countless nerf gun wars fought throughout the rooms and hallways. There were the many wrestling matches that pitted two sons against their father to see who would stay and who would be tossed from the king-size bed.
I looked at an empty backyard where the swing-set sat for all those years serenaded by Carter’s non stop whistling and singing – and so many “American Ninja Warrior” practice runs. There was the driveway that felt the bounce of endless dribbles as Topher spent nearly everyday shooting baskets working on a sport he has grown to love. Who knows how many whiffle balls were lost to the gutters and neighbor’s yard. This house witnessed it’s fair share of sporting events, on TV and those replayed in the yard.
All good memories that flood my mind as we endured the process of leaving this home. There are plenty of other memories, also ones we will never forget and would never want to as they are reminders of how good our God always has been and always will be. We will never forget those agonizing months of wondering if Carter had cancer and watching our 6 year old endure an invasive inoculation. Yet it was in that trying time that God drew Topher to Himself. I’ll never forget Topher saying to me as we sat on his bed, “dad I’ve always trusted you and mom to always fix everything. I need to put my trust in God.” Carter lost an eye but we gained a brother in Christ.
From losing a left eye to nearly losing a left hand God once again used our tough times to point us to our need for Him. Painful surgeries and even more painful therapy reminded us that we are fallen humans and this life and all the pain are temporary. One day there will be no more pain and no more tears.
This house was the place where many small groups met to study God’s word together. Teenagers stopped by for guidance and prayer and college students returned when home for a break (including one stopping by as the truck was being packed on that final day.) Family gatherings, baby showers, staff Christmas parties, and birthday parties regularly occurred over the years all because of the incredible hospitality of Amy and the blessing of our home.
Our family was privileged to watch God draw over 250 students to Himself through the FieldHouse Student Ministry and it never got old. I was blessed by the chance to lead that ministry, to be taught by Mike Wierick and to be a shepherd to shepherds as Student Pastoring turned into Family Pastoring. What a honor to serve the local church. I shed tears thinking back to what God allowed me to be a part of, in spite of myself.
And yet maybe the time I cried the hardest was saying goodbye to our neighbors. I could barely get words out or form comprehensible sentences as I handed a Bible to our Vietnamese neighbors and told them good bye. Amy did the same with our Iranian neighbors. I prayed so hard for them as I drove away, practically begging God to adopt them into His family even though I felt like I failed at doing my part to properly share the Gospel.
And I prayed for the next owners of 4207 Murwick Dr. May God give them life long memories good and bad that remind them that He is a good God, always has been and always will be. We still do not know where God will land us next but wherever that is we will embrace the next part of our journey and once again say, “there goes the neighborhood.”