Mountain Tops & Grief

This blog began in the summer of 2013. It was designed to chronicle the life and experience of a church planter, me, Matt Alexander. The post have been few and far between but today I must share.

Planting a church has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever tackled but it has also been one of the most rewarding. This past Sunday was a monumental day for our young church family. We moved from the local High School, where we have been meeting since our launch on August 7, 2011. We moved to the local Recreation Gym next door to the High School.

It was a wonderful site as we packed up all our equipment after our service and made our passage down the street to our new home! It was in a sense, our “Crossing of the Jordan”! In fact, all,of our families rolled rolling boxes down the street while others drove their vehicles and honked their horn! It was an exciting time as we built “memorials” along the journey. This was a special time of celebration.

As we arrived at our “Promised Land”, excitement was at an all time high as we set up the gym with all of our equipment and saw God’s plan unfold. Words could not describe the joy that was in our heart as we finished up Sunday afternoon.

Even though this was a “Mountain Top” experience, there was an underlying grief that our family was carrying. You see, it was 2 years to the date that my wife’s mother, our children’s Nana, and my wonderful mother in law was tragically killed in an accident. This was hard for our family to reconcile. On one hand we were grieved and on the other, we were pumped about what God was doing at Hope.

Boy… I sure do love my wife . While carrying this load, she handled the meal for over 120 people Sunday night. She set the seating arrangements for all our guest, she handled getting the meal together with a caterer that failed to have all the food on time and tried to please people that registered at the last minute. It would have been easy for her to have stayed at home Sunday but she rose to the occasion because she loves people! If my dad were here today he would say, “Matt, your wife has a heart as big as TEXAS!”

So today, as I share this experience with you, I want you to know that even in the greatest moments of life- people, even your leaders and their families are dealing with hurts of the past. You see, I’m learning that Mountain Tops & Grief go together! When it seems that no one cares, Jesus Cares! I was reminded of a an old song yesterday that ministered to my heart and I pray you’ll go listen to “Does Jesus Care” by Frank Graeff. You can listen to George Beverly Shea sing it on You Tube by clicking on this link: http://youtu.be/kheJYjttzY4

Here are the lyrics.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
 Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
 And the way grows weary and long?

Oh yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?

Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?

Oh Yes, He Cares-
Matt

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Let Me Introduce You To:

Please allow me to introduce you to the most amazing person on the planet!

Her name is Thomasia Alexander. Thomasia is the most caring, loving, independent, beautiful, strong, wise, and incredible woman I have ever known. She has 5 wonderful children that she home schools and a husband that she has to care for 24/7…

She grew up in a Farmer’s home and that had its advantages. You see, she was taught early on that hard work pays off. She has an incredible work ethic and she understands the “law of the harvest”. She plants seeds everyday and expects to reap a tremendous return.

Thomasia has the unique ability to hear her child’s cry when it is silent. She can read her husbands face and interpret it without asking any questions. She is a knockout and she can cook a mean “Blueberry Pound Cake”! Thomasia loves and cares like no other person I know.

She has the ability to see through my faults and abilities and cheers me on when I want to quit! She works hard and sleeps little. Thomasia cares for others and weeps over bad news. She reaches out to long lost friends and embraces new people as if she’s known them forever. Thomasia is a true friend.

Folks, Thomasia Alexander is my wife.

Today is Valentines Day 2014! I have always really stunk at being a Romantic and Thomasia would clearly affirm that statement… But today I wanted to simply open my heart for the world to see.

Thomasia, I love you with every fiber of my being! Back in 1986, I saw you as a strong, wise, loving, young lady. Through the years, I have enjoyed every step of the journey. We have laughed. We have cried. We have witnessed the power of God and have traveled many dark roads. We have wrestled with God and taken steps of obedience. We have made wrong turns and with God’s help, made right ones too. We have seen friends come and we’ve seen them go. We have grown so much but still seem like kids! We have enjoyed many special moments like the time your friends showed up at your surprise birthday party. Like the time the doctor held our daughter up in the air and said, “You have a girl”! We have giggled and we have wept. We have searched and we have found!

Thank you for loving me with a Christ like love. Thank you for following me when the path has not been clear. Thank you for being the mother that you are and the friend I so desperately need! Thank for giving your all when it seems no one was watching!

You are a friend, mother, caregiver, teacher, chef, shuttle driver, counselor, scholar, spouse, partner, helpmate, bride, listener, friend, wife, laundry operater, companion and you are mine!

Happy Valentines Day!

I love you the most!

Matt

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up…

ImageWhen I was just a little boy, people would always ask me, “Matthew, what do you want to be when you grow up?”  My stock answer was to be a policeman or fireman.  Then they would go a step further and ask, “When you grow up, do you think you will be a Preacher?”  NO!  Not a chance!

Fast forward to 1991!  I was fresh out of High School and I was “In Love” with the girl of my dreams!  We had been dating for several years and I was confident that she was the “ONE”! We had been discussing marriage.  I know, I know, I was young but she was older than me and more “mature”…  Well, she was starting her Junior Year at UGA and I was in school trying to get some kind of degree to satisfy her parents.  We were both working as much as possible and we were looking forward to the day that we could get married.

I had it all planned out.  I took off work one day and had to have “the talk” with her dad!  Her dad was a farmer and he would normally show up at his house around lunch each day.  I decided that I would go ask him if I could get his blessing to ask “his sweet, only child” to marry me.  

Well, I walked in the door and he was rared back in his Lazy Boy wearing his work outfit.  He was the guy that wore the denim shirt everyday with the cut off sleeves!  I’ll never forget the nervousness in my gut.  I was about to Puke!  I sat down on the sofa (more than an arms length away) and began my spill.  I shared with Thomas that I loved Thomasia with all my heart and wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.  I finally mustered up enough courageous to ask him for his permission to ask her to marry me.  Thomas’ reply was priceless.  “Matt, are you going to be a farmer when you grow up?”  I said, “Absolutely Not”.  He quickly said, “You can marry her!”  He knew the struggles of farm-life and didn’t want us to experience the same life he had endured.

We left together that afternoon and headed to the jewelry store to buy a ring.  He was so excited and wanted me to pick the perfect ring for his daughter and my bride to be.  I’ll never forget how excited he was.  It sure made my life so much easier!

About 2 weeks later, I ask Thomasia to come down to my house one morning.  She walked in my room, I sat her on the edge of my bed, I proceeded down on my knees and shared these words with her: “Thomasia, I love you with all my heart.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you and I want to ask you today if you would marry me?  Before you answer, I want you to know that if you say yes, it’s forever!  There’s no turning back, there is no such thing as divorce!”

Here is her response, “Matt, I have one question for you…  When you grow up, are you going to be a preacher?”  I was shocked!  I said, “Absolutely Not!”  The rest is history!  We waited till she graduated UGA a few years later and on this day, July 10, 1993, we entered into a Covenant Marriage Relationship!

Through the years, God has changed our hearts and knitted them together on numerous occasions.  I have had to ask her dad and her to forgive me for lying to them!  I lied about not  becoming a farmer because now I sow the Gospel Seed each week.  I lied about not becoming a Preacher, but I really had no intention of becoming a Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Thomasia has stuck with me through every career change and uncertain path that God has led us down.  I am one blessed man!  So, on this day, I have to ask myself that same question that I’ve been asked so many time in my life, “Matt, what do what to be when you grow up?”

I want to be the husband that God called me to be.  I want to be the father that God desires for me to be.  I want to love my wife as Christ loves the church and I desperately want to be everything my wife had in mind 20 years ago today, when she walked down that aisle and said, “I DO” before God and all of our friends and family!

May we all evaluate our lives today and be what God intended for us to be according to His Word!  Happy Anniversary Babe!

Growing Up,

Matt