It is often hard to be excited about something you aren't excited about. Let me explain. Last week, the 2nd Stage of European Q-School Tournament did not finish the way we had hoped. Going into the week, we were talking about big dreams. These dreams included being able to bring the Gospel to a "dark" (Europe) region of the world. We could have the opportunity to reach people all over the world - other pros, their wives/girlfriends, kids, random people we meet. When I play a round in a tournament, my playing partners are stuck with me for 5+ hours on a golf course, so they have no choice but to hear me talk. Granted, there actually isn't a whole lot of talking between competitors in general, and I'm not a big talker, but the lack of talking is more-so in Europe since it is likely to play with 2 guys that don't speak any English. So, a lot of times witnessing to someone is shown in actions, not words. I try to conduct myself in a manner that is noticeably different from how a lot of guys act on the course. Just like every last one of us, I am a sinner, and thus I am do not always succeed at this. But, I pray that God can use me despite my sin.
My beautiful bride, Ashley, also has similar opportunities with the spectators watching us (and sometimes even the caddies if I decide to hire her for the week). If a competitor's wife/girlfriend is watching (it's usually pretty easy to spot them), a conversation is likely to start out of sheer boredom of watching guys hit a white ball around a green field. And, as those of you who know Ash, know that she is passionate about sharing and talking about the Gospel. We were excited about the European Tour being our "mission field."
It's not in God's plan. Selfishly, it was in my plan. But His plan is greater. His plan is Sovereign. And, we pray that we have the courage to seek His Will and follow His lead.
After shooting an even par 72 (I needed a 69) in the oh-so-lovely, and typical, conditions in Europe... about 44 degrees with rain blowing sideways ALL day, we were supremely disappointed. A couple days later, on the flight back from Madrid, I suddenly felt rejuvenated. Our pastor in Durham/Raleigh has recently been preaching from 1 Samuel - so a lot on Saul and David. Ash and I continued to read in 1 Samuel while in Spain, and the plethora of examples of God working in David's life while David was just trying to live to see the next day! Here's a guy that would be King, and the King of Kings would come from his line! It's easy to see now as we get to read the big picture, but when you read in depth, you see his highs and lows more drastically. David's faith is something to be sought after. Yes, he made plenty of mistakes. Yes, God molded him through incredible circumstances. But he pursued God courageously. He repented with genuine sorrow.
On the plane, I wrote out my goals for the year and was immediately looking forward to where God has us going this next year. I felt a sense of contentment in where God has us, but yet a burst of motivation in improving my ability and getting ready for next year. Instead of playing tournaments in a matter of weeks, I now have over 2 months to get my body back in healthy place ready for a long season of tournament golf after battling mononucleosis for a year. I would not have this opportunity if we had to go across the globe in 3 weeks.
There is still a possibility that we will be able to play some events in Europe this next year as I will be applying for a "medical exemption" since I was not able to play a full schedule this year due to mono. I'm not sure what kind of answer the European Tour will give me, but we should find out sometime in January I believe. Other than that, we will focus on the NGA Hooters Tour and play in whatever Nationwide Tour events I can get into. It will certainly be a full year!
I think I have rambled on quite long enough.