SO…the next part of my and Jack’s 9 years together involves a little bit of everything. It was a crazy bunch of years, from 2002-2006. We had moved into the great gift of our home (given as inheritance from Jack’s family), with a sweet little dog named Lily. I was working at Lifeway, which I really liked. I was the stockroom manager and music section person; I loved helping people find stuff, praying with people in the store, and tidying up. Little did I know I would be doing SO much of that tidying up at home in the years to come! Jack worked probably 4 or 5 jobs during these 3 years; he was pretty creative and tried it all! He worked at a tree farm, a boys home, a lumber company, a printing press, plus we did a Lifeway camp (M-FUGE) in Jacksonville one summer. I’ll tell you, this was the beginning of being very disappointed in our career/degree choice from college. I was a Christian Social Ministries major, because I loved the nations and was positive that I would be an international missionary. It never occurred to me that I needed a skill other than talking to people about Jesus and singing songs. Jack was an Educational Ministries major, because he was then and has been for years an excellent, silly, much-loved youth minister. He felt he would always be on staff doing ministry, either in a para-church capacity or something creative along those lines. He is incredible at dreaming up and starting things; he’s also great with a video camera and sees things others don’t see in photography. It seemed so simple to us back in college. We would use these natural giftings for the rest of our lives and it would be great. But after just a few years into the game, it began to feel like we were only trained for this tiny margin of work, most of which did not pay enough to live on…most of which wanted you to work full time for part time pay. As much as I wanted to be on the mission field, I was struggling with my health here in the good ol’ safe and healthy U.S.A. and it just felt impossible. We had seen enough of church staff to wonder how we could “go there” again. We were wondering if we needed to go back to school or what! We chose “or what”. Probably not the best choice!
But then in January of 2004 we met people who were starting the Bridge. That was a really fun year of servant evangelism projects, house worship, and getting to know an amazing core of church-planters-in-training. We were involved in everything! In September of 2004, two cool things happened while I was doing mission work in Panama for about a month. Our church began a partnership with a great little church plant in a poor neighborhood and I found out I was pregnant. I will never forget that time! Such great memories. Eventually, that partnership sort of ebbed away after their last visit here in 2006, but some good relationships were made. I can’t wait to go back and visit, both the city and the island of Mamitupu, where I slept in hammocks and drank orange soda out of a billion times recycled bottles with my friends lovingly called “the sisters”. Oh, and as for being pregnant, Jack and I had not been planning or trying…but it was a great surprise! I had a wonderful pregnancy, and in June 2005, our life was rock and rolled by Selah Jordan Taylor.
That same month, two other things happened in our lives. Bad news first: Jack had to be scheduled for surgery on his spine. Having a newborn while this was going on was very difficult. I’ve been scaring my friends for years, telling them stories of how tired I was Selah’s first 6 months and how terribly demanding it was to have a baby. But the fact is, if you don’t have a sleep disorder or a husband who literally cannot get out of the recliner, it’s not that big of a deal! And I can’t forget about the good news: Jack’s volunteer position with the youth at the Bridge turned into a paid, full time gig. I also worked with the youth girls a lot, and continued to (try to) plan global focus services and events. For the rest of 2005 and 2006, our lives completely revolved around Selah and the life of the church. Next, we discuss the “diverse city & adoption years”. Stay tuned. 🙂