If you know me very well, you probably already know that my dad is a Baptist preacher. In about a week, he is going to retire and we have been getting all the pictures from his ministry together for his retirement party. As I have been looking back over these pictures, it has just reminded me what a sweet childhood I had growing up in so many wonderful churches. I know I am partial, but I personally think my dad is one of the best preachers I have ever heard and I am so thankful and proud that he has devoted his entire life to telling others about Jesus. I know I am blessed to have grown up listening to his teaching and to have been a part of wonderful congregations full of people who loved me and helped me grow closer to the Lord.
Anyway...I had so much fun going through all those old pictures, I just had to save a few for my own memories! They are kind of a random little group, but they were all special to me.
I have always been a little "mommy"....even when was a little girl! Here I am being a mommy to my brother Blake when I was about two years old.
We lived in Fort Polk, Louisiana at that time on an army base. My dad was a chaplain in the army.
Here is a picture of me and my dad the day he left for Viet Nam.
These are some of my favorite pictures of my dad in the army. I love how he ministered to the Vietnamese children and orphans.
When he got back, we lived in Fort Hood, Texas. Here I am with all my friends (I am the one with the bracelet on). We were all happy to have our daddies back home!
It was 1969 and my mom gave me a "Twiggy" haircut that I was NOT a fan of. Apparently I was a little sleepy in church on this day!
In 1970 we moved to Nashville, Tennessee where my dad became associate pastor of Two Rivers Baptist Church. That was such a happy time in my life. I had so many sweet friends who are still my friends to this day. Our church was electric with awesome preaching, good singing, and warm fellowship. This is how they greeted our family with an old fashioned "pounding" when we arrived. (Yes, my mom's name is Dwain. I bet you've never heard of a woman named Dwain before! She hasn't either. haha! What were my grandparents thinking???!!)
At the end of every service, we would link arms across the aisles and sing something like "There's A Sweet, Sweet Spirit In This Place" or some other good ole' Baptist song!
In Nashville, my mom worked for the Sunday School Board so sometimes we would be chosen to be in a publication. Here we are posing like we are having family devotions for a Southern Baptist magazine like Home Life or something!
And here we are in another staged picture for some kind of Christmas publication...
After we left Nashville, we moved to Columbia, Tennessee where my dad was pastor of First Baptist Church. I was at church every time the door opened. I was in GA's, choir, Sunday School, Bible Drill, church camp, and anything else that was going on. Church was my second home.
Then, three years later, we moved to Charlotte where I went to middle school and high school. Do you remember those Olan Mills church directories that we all used to have? This is a picture of me and my two brothers that was taken when we got our family picture done for our church here in Charlotte! I think this was around 1980.
I had really big hair in those days. Here is a picture of me sophomore year...
And my mom had my senior picture mixed in with all the other pictures, too...
Even after I grew up and got married and started having kids, my church was still such a big part of my life just like it is today. Here I am at a shower that all the ladies in our church gave to me when I was pregnant with Laura and Lindy. My sister-in-law Angie was pregnant with her daughter Brianna at the same time!
We were two peas in a pod!
Anyway...I have just been going down memory lane as I was looking through all the memories of my life and my dad's ministry. I'm so thankful for my Baptist roots and all the people who have helped shaped my life and encouraged me and loved on me through the years. There is WAY more to the story than I could ever put on a blog post. But these were just a few of my favorites that I wanted to keep a record of. I am glad God saw fit to make me a preacher's daughter!
*By the way...the song "Thank You For Giving To The Lord" by Ray Boltz is a song that someone sang to my dad when he was leaving our church in Charlotte to move to Briarlake Baptist Church in Atlanta. It has always reminded me of him and I believe the words are so fitting for his ministry! I can't imagine the ripple effect that his life has had and I know one day when he gets to heaven there will be many, many people whose lives were changed because of his willingness to be used by God.