Giving Birth To Hope


One year ago this month, my wife showed me two lines on a stick that forever changed my life. At 37 years old I was going to be a father.

The following months are mostly a blur, but one thing I recall is a consistent hope and prayer. Beyond her treasuring Christ Himself, there was nothing that I desired more for my daughter than that she would be spared the chronic struggle with depression that has long plagued my dad and myself. We named her Larken and this poem by my namesake expressed the hope behind my prayer.

The morning lark,

Herald of the day,

Salutes in song,

The morning grey.

- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

With pregnancy come questions, and longing, and hope. Would she fly above the fog? Would her heart soar in song? Would the mist of generational melancholy melt in the morning gleam? Time will tell, but thus far she is about the most joyful and happy baby I have ever seen and each smile melts my heart.

The same week that I learned I was going to be a father, I received a short email from Jerry Halbrook, pastor at Parkway Baptist Church in McKinney. Until then I had been thinking about planting a church in McKinney. Those plans were put on indefinite pause at the prompting of the Lord, and I was in a holding pattern when the email arrived. We had purchased a house the month prior and found out we were pregnant days earlier.

I agreed to an initial meeting more from obligatory curiosity rather than sincere interest. But one meeting turned into another, which turned into a few more. Fast-forward twelve months to today.

For me, a new baby, a new home, a new church, a new job in a new city. For Parkway, a new name, a new staff, new members, a new website with a new blog. We are pregnant with hope yet unborn. As I have particular hopes and dreams for Larken, so I have them for this place.

Will we be a people of the book, passionate for theological truth and doctrine? Will we be a people of prayer, confessing and reveling in our own inadequacy while clinging to the sufficiency of Christ? Will we be a people of mission, laying down our preferences to engage those around us, and planting churches to see the city of McKinney transformed by the kingdom of God? Will we be a people of joy, relishing the grace and mercy of our King?

Time will tell if Larken will treasure Christ and His bride. Time will tell if her face will wear a constant smile. Time will tell if the hopes and dreams we have for these people will be born. Until then we hope and pray.

Geoff Ashley