The End of 2009…

It’s 10:00 p.m. EST, as I sit on the sofa watching my two oldest boys play Tony Hawk’s Ride for the Wii, thinking about the past 12 months. 2009 was a great year for the Higham’s as a family and in ministry. So I thought I’d take a few minutes to share some of the things that God has been doing in my life over the last year.

– Financial Freedom. Towards the end of 2008, I picked up Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover and read it in little over a week. At the start of 2009, Amy and I determined to become debt free by living like no one else, so we could live like no one else. We applied our federal tax rebate to our first round of credit cards and loans. We choose to say no to a lot of the extras while chipping away at what we owed. We also learned how to take better care of our money, taking responsibility of our spending and disciplining our desires so we can one day enjoy life without the worries of finances. As we go into 2010 we expect to pay off our remaining debt, including our two cars. We will still say no to a number of extras simply because we have discovered that materials are just materials. We will live on a budget, while teaching the importance of appropriate financial responsibilities to our kids. If you want to live in freedom, I strongly recommend, The Total Money Makeover, by Dave Ramsey.

– Personal Growth. 2009 has been a year for personal growth and maturity as a father, a husband, and a pastor. First as a husband. I truly believe that Amy and I are closer now than we have ever been. As we have worked out our finances, we have spent a lot more time communicating our goals, plans, and dreams. That open communication has built trust, hope, and intimacy on a couple different levels. Together, there is nothing we can’t handle. That is more true now than ever. I have begun counseling a couple that will be married in May of 2010. In preparing them for a life together, I am being reminded of how much I love Amy and how important it is to keep God at the center of our relationship.

As a father, a new joy has entered my life. Raising four boys is both challenging and fun. But it’s my pretty pink princess who has captured my heart. With each day I become more aware of my role to train up young godly men of integrity and worship, and one young woman of God. With my eldest about to step into adolescence, I am preparing to take a year long journey with him into manhood; a journey that I hope to duplicate with each one of my amazing boys. Each new day is an adventure to discover the balance between love, compassion, discipline, patience, and faith.

As a pastor, 2009 has given me a new focus in ministry. I love pouring into the lives of students; watching them grow in their faith. But my heart is growing with the desire to serve as a pastor in the entire church. I have returned to seminary with the goal of being complete and ordained by 2015. 2010 will bring my first wedding as I officiate the service of two of my former students, now graduates and building a life together. 2009 has also been a year of writing, preaching, teaching, and meeting as God has begun to expand my world and reach for His glory and purpose.

2010 will no doubt hold new and exciting opportunities to care for God’s people. And I can’t wait to see what He has in store for me.

– A Faith that is Firm. I am most excited about what 2009 has done for my relationship with my Savior. As I have done my best to love and care for the students and families that God has entrust to me, it is what God is doing through other that has encouraged me the most. There’s nothing like watching a young Christian step out and begin to service and love others.

Never before have I loved studying, preparing, and teaching God’s word! 2009 has pulled me deeper into the Word of God as I attempt to share the joy and the glory of God’s truth. I have also come to appreciate writers such as Francis Chan, Max Lacado, Rick Warren, along with the podcasts of Andy Stanley, John Piper, John MacArthur, Craig Groescel, and RC Sproul. I am adding books to my library like never before!

2009 was a great year. And I am so thankful for all that God has done in my ministry and within my family. He is continually shaping who I am to be who He wants me to be.

What will 2010 hold? It’s still not clear. But there is no doubt that He is preparing the Higham’s for something exciting.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Oh God, I pray that You would bring all that’s new in 2010!

Happy New Year, everyone!!!

– jay

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