My name is Keith Martin. I married my dear wife Erin on a blistering, hot day in Texas in July of 1998. She is truly the love of my life and an inspiration to me each day. She is a very gentle person. Her love of children makes her the perfect mother for our five children.
Let me tell you a little more about myself; where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.
Where I’ve Been
I was converted at the age of 13. When I was thinking about making this step, I particularly remember frequently going into our living room (which we rarely used) closing the door and asking God to make His will clear to me. I would ask Him to tell me when He wanted me to make a public profession of faith.
Well, one Sunday morning our pastor preached a message that was especially convicting to me. During the sermon, I prayed that if God was calling me, He would move the pastor to request an invitation song to be sung at the end of the sermon…something that was rarely done. Sure enough, the pastor said, “I was not planning to request an invitation song, but sensing the mood of the service, I will.” As the strains of “Just As I Am” surrounded me, I stood.
That was such a joyful experience! The following months proved to be a highlight as I underwent instruction with two other young men from our congregation. Eventually, I was baptized, and simultaneously became a member of the church.
At age 18 I began to teach grades 5-6 in our church-operated private school.
At age 20 (1998) I married Erin and about a year later Douglas was born to us (1999). I taught at the school for 2 years after we were married then I took up a job as an office assistant in a large, woodworking business.
Three years later (2002) Freeland was born prematurely, spending about 9 days in the NICU in Lancaster.
In January of 2003, I began working at Martin Accounting Service under the tutelage of a fine Christian man and a very sharp accountant named Galen Martin. In June of 2003, my dad died unexpectedly in a farm accident. The shock was huge and the sense of loss in the ensuing months and years has been great. Today, I still think of him often. I think that much of our identity and foundation is wrapped up in our fathers.
In 2005, Casper was born very prematurely, weighing only 2 lbs, 11 oz., spending 9 weeks in the same NICU as Freeland followed by another week or so in Hershey. Praise the Lord he is fine!
Adoption came slowly to my consciousness, though much more quickly to Erin’s, and two years after Casper was born, we adopted Annika from Uralsk, Kazakhstan (2007).
At age 32, God drew me to Himself in a remarkable way, after I had spent many years kicked into neutral. I rejoice in this and praise God for His mercy! So many things have changed in the way that I think and in the direction that I am traveling.
In January (2012) we brought Eliana home from Shanghai, China.
“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved [perfection]. But I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” (Phil. 3: 13-14 NLT)
Where I Am
It’s kind of a funny question to ask myself. “Where am I?” And yet I find myself asking that question often. Am I where I ought to be? Is it OK to be here? I ask these questions even though I know deep within myself that I do in fact know where I am.
So where exactly am I?
I am . . . in Him! And He is . . . in me! Isn’t being a Christian amazing? “Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.” (I Jn. 3:24 NLT)
I am in Him, and His Spirit is in me. Some people are so scared of the Holy Spirit and of the abuses that they have seen that they virtually deny that the Holy Spirit is a real and ever-living presence within us that we can rely upon for direction. Other people seem to think that the Holy Spirit is an alien force that makes them do inexplicable things. It doesn’t seem to me that the Holy Spirit is likely to cause a person to behave in a way that Jesus wouldn’t have. The true Spirit always points to Jesus and brings Him glory! If the “spirit” ever causes us to say, “Look at me. See what I can do”, then it isn’t the Holy Spirit. Sure, the Holy Spirit does cause people to take risks sometimes. For some, He leads them to travel to dangerous places with the gospel, for others He leads them to bring traumatized children into their home. But these actions are completely consistent with Jesus’ life and example.
Jesus is, after all, our example. See blog title 🙂
First of all, I’m a husband and then a dad. It is amazing how much my family depends upon me to be strong in the Lord. When I’m discouraged, the door somehow seems to open for the devil to get his foot within our home. And so my goal is to think less of myself and to focus on Jesus instead.
In April of 2012, we began attending Shalom Bible Fellowship. This is a small autonomous congregation with a clear focus on Jesus and a consistent emphasis on following Him. We knew basically nothing about this congregation and did very little “church shopping”. We came to love the brothers and sisters there and established enduring friendships!
In April of 2016, we began attending Womelsdorf Mennonite Church which is a part of the Biblical Mennonite Alliance. In this change, I have seen all of us in the family grow and mature. We are enjoying the new opportunities afforded there – the active youth group, the missionary focus, and the greater flexibility to flourish in a natural, healthy sort of way.
The focus of our lives is on Erin’s adoption work, Erin’s poor health, our children’s school activities, and my responsibility to provide financially for the family. And all the while, learning to be confident in who I am in God.
Above the Trembling Elements
Above the trembling elements, Above life’s restless sea,
Dear Savior, lift my spirit up, O lift me up to Thee!
Great calmness there, sweet patience, too, Upon Thy face I see;
I would be calm and patient, Lord, O lift me up to Thee!
I am not weary of thy work, From earth I would not flee;
But while I walk and while I serve, O lift me up to Thee!
That I may bless my tender friends, And those who love not me;
Oh, lift me high above myself, Dear Jesus, up to Thee!
Whatever falls, of good or ill, Thy hand, Thy care I see,
And while these varied dealings pass, O lift me up to Thee!
And when my eyes close for the last, Still this my prayer shall be:
Dear Savior, lift my spirit up, And lift me up to Thee!
Where I’m Going
The challenges of life make me tired sometimes. But I never want to lose hope that change is possible. I never want to stop believing that goals are achievable with enough determination and focus. With increasing, godly self-confidence I intend to be strong for the benefit of my family, my friends, and my associates.
I don’t intend to go over the basic teachings about Jesus again and again, and instead I want to mature in my understanding of Him. Hebrews 6:1 I want to move on from the basics of understanding the importance of repentance from evil deeds and placing my faith in God. I intend with God’s help to be functional, potent, effective, and successful in the tasks that lie before me.