Little did I know...
Little did I know that when I freaked out that the predictable course that my life was taking--going to Harding, rooming with my best friends, even having a guy (or two) picked out as possible potential mates--might not be what I really wanted or needed, that God was about to lead me on my greatest journey...
Little did I know that when I begged my mom to take me to see Alabama and Auburn's campuses in February of my senior year, that not only would I really like both of them, but that the Holy Spirit would convict both my mom AND me through tears of wonder and peace at a Sunday night church service that Auburn would be my new home.
Little did I know that the next morning I would be sitting across the desk for the first of hundreds of times from a man who would be my strongest influence, mentor, teacher, truth speaker, encourager, friend, champion, spiritual brother, ministry partner, and beloved campus minister...
Little did I know that when my dad and I visited Auburn a month later and went to Tuesday night devo that I would be sitting at the feet of my most influential teacher, that I was listening to a man who would teach me more about Jesus than I would ever dream possible.
Little did I know that when I got home from class one day, that a voicemail from Jim would change my course in the profound way it did, "Kristy, this is Jim. Is there any way that you can meet me right now at the Student Center. Someone called me and asked me to give them several names of candidates to interview for a youth ministry internship. I gave them one. Yours. Please call me, okay. God is pursuing you."
Little did I know that the summer adventure that I had never even dreamed of would introduce me to my best friend who would become my future husband, that it would awaken a desire in me to go into full time ministry, that it would change my life's goals and dreams.
Little did I know that when my world came crashing down from my experience in ministry in so many ways, when I had lost hope and trust in elders, the church, ministers, men, and was questioning if I ever could entrust my heart to a man in marriage, that his words would be the ones that healed me, and his words confirmed what I wanted so badly to believe. "Kristy, you have to know that Patrick's heart is good. He is kind, and he loves God. He chose you. You can trust him with your heart."
Little did I know that Patrick and I would quote his words from our premarital counseling almost weekly in our household and that his and Mary's instant love for and adoption of Patrick into our Auburn family would impact Patrick as profoundly as it has.
Little did I know that when he called me years later, that his gentle breaking of bad news would help me have closure and forgiveness and hope.
Little did I know that when Patrick and I went through the most difficult time in our marriage, that my husband would lead us to Jim for counsel, and that once again, his gentle and firm truth would affirm us and confirm us and reset us.
Little did I know that even after years of leaving Auburn, the consistency of he and Mary checking in on Facebook to "like" and acknowledge me and my family would mean so much to me.
Little did I know that I would be mourning his earthly loss this week.
Little did I know that I could experience the heartbreak I feel over his death at the same time that my soul rejoices over this good and faithful servant achieving his ultimate goal.
I would not be who I am today without Jim Brinkerhoff. I would not have dreamed the dreams I have dreamed. I would not have seen people like I do. I would not have been courageous and taken risks in the way that I have. I would not have known how much God was pursuing me. I would not have gone deeper. I would not have worshipped as wholeheartedly. I would not have known how to study the Bible with the lost. I would not have understood the Holy Spirit. I would not have as high of expectations of Heaven. I would not have gone to Auburn. I would not have met Patrick.
I am one of thousands who feel this way. Jim, introverted and quirky as he was, opened himself up to invite his college students into his family. I am forever grateful.
His legacy is eternal.
Last night, after sharing many tears and memories and lessons, Patrick and I fell asleep listening to one of Jim's sermons on Heaven. I can't think of anyone more excited to be with God, and I can only imagine how proud God was to welcome Jim home. Well done, good and faithful servant.
I will miss him every day, but I will remember him.
"Marriage is hard work."
"God is pursuing your heart relentlessly."
"I take joy..."
"When you make your choice based on your prayers and your convictions and your desire to be in the center of the will of God, God will bless that choice. Take courage, my friend."
"All you can do is be at peace as far as you are concerned."
"Welcome to ministry."
"We are heirs of the father. We are joint heirs of the Son. We are children of the Kindgom. We are family. We are one."
“There is one place I want to see that can be more than you can ever imagine. God purposely invites us to imagine what heaven can be like. We can only desire what we can imagine. God graciously gives us glimpses into heaven through the scripture….through valid references and concepts and clues….like gardens and cities and resurrected bodies and a new heaven and a new earth. How we will have new and energized responsibilities so tailor made and will resonate with you personally when we get there. All of our views of heaven are incorrect because none of them are good enough………………….God gives us glimpses of heaven because He doesn’t want you or me to settle for this fallen world. Our identity is not determined by our history but by our destiny. I wanted to do this series on heaven for my parents. This next year both of my parents will reach the wondrous age of 80 years old. We are reminded we are on the last stages of our journey – and the destination becomes a lot more important to us. I wanted to do this for them and give them hope. But also for you. This is a road that is paved only by grace. Stop bringing your efforts as you approach the end of your journey. You must embrace in your desperation, and there you will find your joy, that is only through Jesus.” Jim Brinkerhoff, "Imagine", October 2, 2011