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As I look back at my life, there have been two phases: 1) Ken in Control, 2) God in Control.
To take you back to the “Ken in Control” phase, I grew up in New Hope, MN in a committed Catholic household. I was the 2nd of four kids and I grew-up enjoying life. I loved school, I loved sports, and even loved going to church. I grew-up the “typical jock”. If there was a sport to be played or watch, I was there. As a bi-product of my love of sports came a spirit of competition and confidence. Everything I did, I strived to be the best. With this competitiveness and confidence came “Ken in Control.”
After high school, I went to two years of college. While I have always liked school, I became disenchanted in college, with a turning point being when I got a “D” on a big term test that was 50% of the overall grade. Knowing I had roughly four years more after just transferring schools, I felt I needed to do something else. What did “I” do? I joined the Navy.
Upon completion of Boot Camp, I went to Aviation Electrician’s school in Memphis, TN. When you are a student in the Navy, how well you do in school gives you priority in choosing your orders for permanent duty. My preference was large anti-submarine aircraft (P-3) on the West Coast. With “Ken in Control” I was 1st in my class, and when our class was up for orders, I thought I had a P-3 squadron in California or Hawaii locked-up. When orders were posted, I was in shock to learn that my orders were for Sigonella, Sicily.
I did not have a clue what the Lord had in store for me. Up to this point in my life I still loved going to church and attended mass every week. This changed however while I was in Sicily. I would go each week, but found myself asking the question, “Why am I going to church?” I felt pretty empty and did not feel good about it.
It was at that time that I met an Air Traffic Controller, who just happened to be from Minnetonka, MN. After finally getting the courage to ask her out, we went on a couple of very enjoyable dates before I went on a North Atlantic detachment with my squadron and Julie went to Germany on a couple weeks leave. We both returned to Sicily and at this time Julie was within a few weeks of transferring to Pensacola, FL. She ended-up passing on these orders and extended for one more year in Sicily. I was definitely not in control in that situation, but was very glad and thankful about it.
We continued seeing each other and Julie asked me if I wanted to attend the Protestant service on base. I went with her and soon realized what it meant to worship the Lord. Instead going to church and feeling like I was fulfilling a requirement, I began to see through the music, prayer and message that I needed to be involved in the worship.
A few months later we were engaged and planned our wedding for when we were home on leave prior to our next duty station. We did our premarital counseling with one of the Sigonella base chaplains. After our 1st meeting with him, we learned that he was born in Italy, raised Catholic, went to the United States and became an ordained Southern Baptist Minister prior to joining the Navy. His counseling and perspective was just what I needed. I had lived my life up to that point knowing “about” Jesus Christ, but soon realized that I needed to ask Jesus into my heart and have a personal relationship with him. Just as I was entering into my love relationship with my soon to be wife, I also had to have a love relationship with the Lord.
After we were married we headed to Jacksonville, FL for our 2nd enlistment in the Navy. The Lord led us to a small Christian Reformed church, which helped me to know Jesus better and grow my faith.
After seven years in the Navy and the birth of our son John, we decided to return to Minnesota. My new faith trusting “God in Control” was soon tested in a big way. I was faced with a career change, relocation, no job, and no permanent home. Within a month the Lord provided me job and met our other needs. I learned that trusting God and allowing Him to be in control is much better than “Ken in Control.”
After coming to know Jesus, I realized that I do not need to be the best at everything I do, and that he loves me for who I am. In circumstances where I am challenged or struggling, I know that I cannot do it on my own. A much better way is to seek God’s will and live my life for Him. I have also learned that with this trust, I need to be growing in my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This means spending time reading the Bible and time spent in prayer.
I have just completed my 3rd year in Bible Study Fellowship. This method of Bible Study is a blessing to me by allowing me to increase my Bible knowledge and gain a better understanding of God. In short, God is loving and understanding, gracious and forgiving, righteous, faithful, sovereign, and “In Control.” Proverbs 3:5-6 has meant a lot to me as I’ve been on this journey:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight.”

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