We [Clayton and Amanda] met through the Mizzou Navs campus ministry during our junior year at the University of Missouri. Over the next year we became good friends by working together as Navs leaders, through tons of long messages and phone conversations, and just by hanging out together with our mutual friends. By the winter of our senior year, we began intentionally dating toward marriage. And then the following year on New Year’s Eve, Clayton got down on one knee at midnight. The answer was, of course, yes, and less than five months later we stood before God and among those dearest to our hearts to forever pledge ourselves to one another. That beautiful, sacred day was almost four years ago.
Just two weeks after getting married, we got pregnant. This was a big surprise and has taught us so much about God’s sovereignty, PERFECT timing and grace. He gave us the sweetest gift before we even knew to ask. On February 28, 2011 we welcomed our precious daughter, Zoe Norah into our lives and hearts.
Not only did we meet each other through the Navigators, it’s also where we truly met our Creator and Lord. Coming into college we both had a faith in Jesus, but no true relationship with Him. Through the Navs someone came alongside each of us for an extended period of time and invested in our lives. As a result of this relationship [known as discipleship] and through the wonderful Christian community we experienced, we both developed a deep, personal relationship with the Lord, fell in love with His Word and were equipped to help others do the same.
So after we graduated and got married, we were confident that God was calling us to do just that…help others pursue the Lord of Lords. We moved to Fayette [just 30 minutes from Columbia] and planted a Navs ministry at CMU [known as Navs@CMU]. Pioneering and establishing a campus ministry as newly-weds and then parents has certainly been challenging and stretching for us. But it has also been so fruitful and joy-filled. We are humbled beyond words that God is currently using Navs@CMU to impact well over 100 students [this is approximately 10 percent of our entire student body at CMU!]. Much more important than the number is the fact that individual lives are being transformed just like ours were in college. ALL glory to God for the ways He is using our efforts on the CMU campus as well as for each of the ways He has so richly blessed us with the most incredible churches and partners to stand with us in this mission.
We talked about adoption on one of our first dates and quickly realized that we both had a strong interest in it. These conversations about adoption continued and deepened between us throughout the rest of our dating relationship and engagement. However when we got pregnant with Zoe so quickly after marriage, we knew that she would be our focus in the early years of our marriage and that we would just have to wait for God’s timing to adopt. That timing once again was not our timing. In fact it took us longer than we expected to feel “ready” and called to move forward. Over the course of many months, stirrings started to make their way into our hearts until the day came that we were both 100% confident and passionate that the time was NOW. As we think about the sweet baby that God will bring into our family, we can’t help but giggle as our hearts fill with absolute delight.
We’ll leave you with this verse:
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [Romans 8:15]
We have been adopted by the Father into His family and have been given a full inheritance as a son or daughter of God. Of course earthly adoption pales in comparison to this grace-filled, life-giving truth, but still what a beautiful picture it is! We’re so blessed for the opportunity to experience and live out the Gospel in this powerful and life-changing way! Would you join us on our journey?