Last week, I witnessed the culmination of a six-year process. Really, it’s been more like a ten-year process. My oldest son, Lee, had his first glimpse of what he would do to contribute to the world when he was in college majoring in music. He realized he really wanted to teach music at a college or graduate level. Because he also had a passion for theology, he pursued graduate work at Southwestern Seminary. Then, just last week, he successfully defended his PhD dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin.
There’s a doctor in the house. He will have many students in the future as a professor. But I want to acknowledge here that I have learned so much watching him go after these three degrees. I learned…
… you don’t have to find your passions — they find you. Lee was 13 years old when he discovered Mahler. The deeper he looked the more interested he became. He discovered a passion for theology and worldview along the way. His research of the connection between the two has been fascinating to watch unfold.
… that tenacity is rewarded with achievement. I admire how he set his sights on this goal and has now accomplished it. He was convinced it was what he was supposed to do. With God’s help, he pressed through, even though it was a hard road.
… that it takes a really good teammate to get you across the finish line. Our daughter-in-law, Jenna, made many sacrifices and was the steady voice of encouragement all along the way. He would tell you he could never have finished the course without her help. I agree. I am so thankful for her.
… that God has a purpose for everything. The story of how Lee’s life was shaped by our various moves to new ministries for our family is amazing to look back on in reflection. Each place took him to new interests and new relationships (including Jenna!). Even where he went to college and his subsequent understanding of what he would pursue was deeply affected by our move to Nashville, 14 years ago.
It was hard at times to trust that God had a plan for my family whenever we made a decision to move to a new place. Lee was a rising senior in high school when we moved to Nashville. I questioned then what impact moving at that point in Lee’s life would have on him. When our family discussed the move, we all agreed this was something God was calling us to do. Now, none of us could imagine it working out any other way. God had a plan all along.
I’ve seen the videos of Dads beaming as their sons made it to the big leagues or playing in an NFL game. Their joy can be no greater than mine is to see Lee accomplish this goal. Their kids will stop playing ball soon. Lee will be a Christian Music Educator the rest of his life. I’m so glad to be his student.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book (checkout his latest book: Worship Essentials). In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family (and his two new grand-babies). Visit MikeHarland.com to keep up with all that Mike has going on.