Five years ago today this man was ordained to the diaconate. The bishop laid hands on him because he was found worthy to be a deacon. He had completed the several years of required coursework despite entering the program in 2008 with a little push from the Holy Spirit and maybe a little kick in the rear from me.
Deacon Joseph and Bishop John
I can begin to tell you how much I have witnessed the Holy Spirit work through him over the past five years? From bouncing off homily ideas to me and having to read his homilies in the van on the way to church and having to tweak them because I didn't follow him, to just having to do an outline of a homily to being able to get up and preach with no notes?!?!?!? No more nervously fumbling through homilies, he exudes so much confidence and passion now when he preaches - and his best homily to date probably is from M's baptism a few years back.
He is so passionate about his continued studies and teachings. He pours hours and hours of his free time into preparing for his weekly adult Bible Study. This past school year he gave a class to the middle school students at our school - and I think he may have just figured them out at the last class; so next year should be even better. He gave a three-night Lenten retreat on Psalm 50.
No question the Holy Spirit is at work - deacon work, pool work, family work.
Now five years to the date later and by the end of today this picture will include THREE more children. I cannot say its been an easy road for our family. There has been lots of hours of sacrifice on the part of our family. Getting to church early so Papa can set up. Missing him one night a week so he can lead Bible Study. Giving him (necessary!) time to go on retreats. Wielding the kids during church by myself is no small feat and I have heard the devil whisper in my ear more than once... Do you really think it's worth it? There are ebbs and flows of ease and difficulties with single parenting during church. Ask me in another five years if you think I'm any good at it. But all the trials and sacrifices are more than worth it.
But you know what.... At the end of the day, there is so much validation that I have witnessed. Confirmations of - yes, yes this is exactly where he needs to be and where we need to be as a family. Whispers of the Holy Spirit saying that's why you were in that situation years ago. That's why, that's why, that's why. Pieces of the puzzle fitting together that at the time he and I didn't realize were even part of our puzzle, that in retrospect is pretty amazing and awesome.