Sometimes I feel particularly blessed. As in much more so than I deserve. When I’m not being especially grateful, I often think this word is overused in today’s culture, but not today, for me, right now.
God has given me a wonderful wife – M, who understands me and puts up with my crap. She recognizes my need for travel, and for two wheel therapy, and is generally gracious about both, to the point that I’ve seen some other guys be a little envious of my freedom.
God and my wife have given me two pretty decent sons. C & L. I like them – they’re good guys. Not too loud, too rude, or too rebellious. Fun to be around and well behaved when it counts.
When I was in my first years of law practice, the newness wore off quickly and I was soon miserable. God gave me direction on a mountain biking trip, though, and I accepted the mission to open a firm, call it “Christian Legal Service,” and serve people who generally couldn’t afford an attorney.
More specifically, I felt a sense of calling to do three things: represent indigents, represent Christians in religious liberty issues, and do mediation, to help people stay out of court when possible. As soon as I opened a firm to begin following these instructions, He began to equip me to make it possible.
I opened a small office in downtown Conway, Arkansas and made myself available to the local homeless shelter and women’s shelter, free of charge, as I was directed. Upon doing this, a letter came from Christian Legal Society, inviting me to be trained and mentored in Christian Legal Aid by pioneers such as Chuck Hogren of Cabrini Green Legal Aid of Chicago. CLS flew me to Chicago for this purpose. Blessing.
I continued my practice upon returning home, and volunteered to help in cases where the state had removed children from homes. As it turned out, the judge over those cases helped me get paid for what was initially volunteer work in juvenile court, and now there is a state program for that. In the fall of the next year, I received another letter from CLS, inviting me (expenses paid again) to be part of a round table in D.C. with the very people I called my mentors. In that meeting I spoke up about religious freedom litigation and increasing need for christian involvement in it. When I arrived home I found a letter inviting me to be trained in religious freedom litigation. At no cost. Blessing.
I’m often a little slow, so it was only at this point that I recognized God’s hand in my training. I had felt a tri-fold calling and he had now provided training on two of the points – indigent representation and religious freedom litigation. At the religious freedom training, I met someone who offered free training in mediation, and she explained that although she didn’t know me she felt led to come introduce herself.
Weird how God works to equip you to His purpose, eh?
So let’s speed forward a bit to the present. In “africa calling,” I explained that I had a conversation recently with a friend who is doing mission work in Africa, and we spoke of how great it would be if I could join them for a few days. The only points that stood in my way – certainly not a lack of interest – were funding for airfare and leave time. Since then, a few people and a church or two has donated towards airfare, and a coworker donated some leave time for the trip. Blessings abound.
How can I repay God for such blessings? I can’t possibly match His generosity, but I can certainly pass those blessings along to those with whom I come into contact. And this I plan to do. Whether in Africa or in juvenile law or otherwise, if God provides the opportunity and means, I will take Him up on the adventure.