Today is my husband’s 33rd birthday. He has told me many times in the past few weeks that he didn’t feel like celebrating his birthday this year. I know that there are times when we all get that way, or maybe that is just me. For both of our families, birthdays were small family affairs. Yet, Scott’s insistence of not celebrating his birthday this year has hit me hard.
There are too many things about Scott Donald Wagoner that need to be celebrated.
Scott and I met in 2005, when he was an 18-year-old freshman at Missouri Southern State University (MSSU). I was a recent graduate of MSSU and met him through the campus ministry I had attended and he was currently attending. Mutual friends described this fun, shy freshman guy that I needed to meet.
After a few months of inviting him over on the weekends, we started dating. Scott was the fun, free spirit that I was not. This picture was taken on our first date. I put in my contacts and put on enough make-up to be seen 20 rows back in the local theatre, waiting for him to arrive. In one of the few times in my life, we snapped a picture before the date.
Just under two years after our first date, we were married in 2007. We both brought in sins and insecurities into our marriage, but I never doubted Scott’s love for me. I know we both look like kids here, but that is what we were. We were young and deeply in love with each other.
There were so many struggles in those early years. The best surprise we could have was having our first son, Josiah, fifteen months after we were married. Josiah was not planned, but made us a family. I didn’t know what kind of a father Scott would be when we were married. It didn’t take long after having Josiah that I knew Scott was a great daddy.
Scott loved us enough that he was going to school full time, and working 60+ hours a week at two different jobs. Still, he was not confident in who he was. There were fights where I desperately wanted him to fight back and defend himself. He didn’t have the self-esteem to fight back. Sins were crippling who he was meant to be.
Because of Scott’s love for me, and through repentance and accountability, things began to change. We were expecting our second son and looking for a new house in 2011 when a tornado ripped through Joplin, MO and took our home, a car, and everything we knew as normal.
In a whirlwind of a summer, we had a baby, bought a house, bought a car, began attending a different church, and Scott lost his job. He lost part of his identity as well. The job he ended up finding provided for our family. It was a pay cut, but at the time he knew he needed to work and provide for the family. That job was the most stressful he had ever had. Still during those five years working for the local newspaper, something changed.
Scott had a boss who was a Christian man who challenged Scott to be the man of Christ that he really was. Scott started standing up straight. He made community connections. Scott learned the ins and out of Joplin during the long nights of throwing newspapers for routes without carriers. Scott was exhausted, but a confidence was growing inside him, even in his discontent.
Our new church quickly became a family to us and before long, we were the college ministers. The spiritual growth in Scott was something like I had never seen before. He learned new skills at home too. We took on one remodel job after another and Scott found a confidence in himself, I never thought I would ever see.
You see up to this point, I had been more of the leader in the home. I was older and had more diverse life experience. As I had been working through my sins, God was changing my heart in learning how to become submissive to my husband. All through this process we were becoming a strong, united team.
In the spring of 2017, with lots of prayer, Scott applied for a new job at Anderson Engineering. Scott was unqualified for the job, but had learned GIS while working for the newspaper. During the years at a job he didn’t like, Scott kept learning. The job motivated him to do something more for our family. Through answered prayer, Scott got the job at Anderson Engineering.
The confidence Scott gained through this has been remarkable. Scott is now leading major projects. He is developing skills that require him to lead others and meet expectations. Instead of looking for the easy way out or letting the details slide, Scott has become the one doing the hard work.
When we first got married, I teased that I saw Scott as an investment. I knew that once he got into his 30s, he would be a very handsome man. Little did I know then that God had invested in him as well. God didn’t let us continue in sin; He knew that we were meant for more than those. God didn’t just let the hard years and bad jobs happen to Scott. God invested Scott in those jobs to tear away his pride and build up his Godly character.
God grew Scott’s love for me: a love I never, ever, imagined I would have deserved. God crafted Scott into a loving father. Scott loves his boys and invests his time into them. He is actively working with both boys to keep them from falling into the same sins that trapped him for so many years. God has worked so dramatically in Scott’s life that he is now the sole provider for our family.
All of that to say, Happy Birthday Scott Donald Wagoner. You are a man of God. You are the love of my life. You are Josiah and Isaiah’s devoted daddy. Most importantly, Scott you are someone worth celebrating.