In his hand was placed a trowel and on his rear a swift kick that said “Go! Survive, kid!” At the ripe and tender age of 18, my husband, Kevin, was on his own. Shortly after he graduated High School, he had to find an apartment and get to work. For most kids his age, it was a summer of careless freedom and profound expansion. Kevin was forced to grow up too soon. He was shackled with responsibility and a desperate need to survive.
Kevin got a job laboring for a masonry restoration company during the day, and he went to school in the evening. He dreamed of being an architect and building something from the pile of rubble that he had been given. He was determined to rise above his circumstances and be successful. He trudged away at his education for years, like building something one brick at a time. After we got married and had our second child, the financial strain and need for his presence at home after work was too great. He decided to put his education on hold and start his own business. He built a successful masonry company from a guy in a pick up truck doing side jobs to a corporation with employees to lead. He flourished and loved being able to provide. He did so well, that I was able to quit my teaching job and stay home to raise our four children. In my eyes, he was a huge success.
Kevin knew he was capable of so much more. A sense of discontent was growing in him as he watched me engage in meaningful work and ministry. He said, “You help people! All I do is make money and provide.” This nagging feeling that there must be something more for him kept him wrestling and wondering. One day he declared that he was taking the winter off and going back to school to finish up his degree. In just two semesters, he earned his bachelor’s degree and applied for grad school. He studied relentlessly for the GRE in hopes of getting his Masters in Counseling so he could help the fatherless. He knew his calling was connected to his own story of father absence and neglect, but he didn’t know exactly how he was supposed to make a difference in this area.
After not getting in to the graduate program of his choice, Kevin got discouraged and began to question if this was the best next step. It was at this time that he began training for the “Dad’s Honor Ride.” This three-week long bike ride went from Boston to Chicago and focused on raising awareness and funds for father absence. In his training and over the course of the one week of the ride that he was able to participate in, Kevin began to accept that now is not the right time to get his master’s degree. As he stepped away from the daily grind, he began to hear a call coming from another direction. Through the process of prayer and discernment, he has decided to focus on mind/body/Spirit health and integration. He registered for an on-line personal training program to study and learn how to help people achieve better holistic health.
Shortly after he made this decision, a friend reached out to him about the possibility of helping to open a faith based gym in this area. The thought of doing something that he was passionate about infused Kevin with hope and joy. For the first time in his life, he was following his heart’s desire rather than muscling through a major life decision. Together, we are standing at a crossroads in awe of God’s provision and leadership. We are humbly surrendering and seeking His will. We are resting in the truth that He is a God of second chances and He is also a good father who has a plan to prosper Kevin and use every ounce of his pain of father absence for the Glory of His kingdom. We don’t know the end of the story, but we are so thankful to be on this journey.
In his hand he holds possibility and by his side he has a tribe of people that love and believe in him. This man has come so far and we wait expectantly as God turns the tables and helps him navigate from a place of survival to a place where he can thrive and make a difference.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11