I’m a Jerry’s Kid.
I crack up every time I think about exactly how I know the good reverend.It was a cold winters night, I was stuck on the side of an icy road with a flat tire, and a hungry crying baby in the backseat…. No no no, it was far less dramatic than that.Mr. Edmon was occupying the youth minister position at a church in Oklahoma City, and I walked straight into his office and said “You gonna finish that quiche?” … no, again, I regress… I told him quite simply “My name is Tracy Hamlin, and I am here to serve you and help you in any way you need.”Wiser words have been spoken, I can promise…. The next part is somewhat blurry, but it was essentially an hour long laundry list of things that needed to be done.Again, I kid, but in all reality, he was forthcoming with things that I could do to aid him personally, and to further the ministry.All (some) of which I was happy to take on.
Hundreds of youth services and events came and went, and a season was brought to a close.Many of those times were some of the most cherished memories a person could ask for.Jerry married my first wife and I (not like in a commune, he was the officiating minister), was there when my first daughter was born, and took me in many years later when my marriage was on the rails, and my life was falling apart.This isn’t intended to be a Jerry-fest where I blow big soapy bubbles and sing the theme to Barney, this is simply a plug for the fact that there are people that you can affect forever, and vice-versa, there’s people that effect you forever.
Jerry is a man, gifted and called by God, and still a man.So let’s get that point out of the way.The key here is to plug in names and faces that you have in your life, not to focus on the “who” but the “what” of this small rambling.When I said that I would do what I could to help, Jerry turned that right around and made it his point to serve me in all I needed.Encouragement, help, guidance, the occasional correction, the nudge to grow… all in the course of a life altering friendship.You have the same capacity within you to affect someone’s life.I just want to make sure the point is clear that people are not God, and they are not perfect (although he thinks he has Angie fooled, so shhhhh!!!)
The youth ministry was less than reverent the vast majority of the time, and deeply moving to those that were a part of it.One Christmas, as Jerry was dramatically and professionally reading the account of the manger scene, the youth leadership and some of the drama kids were acting it out… much to the chagrin of the deeply religious.It was not the shining moment of accuracy to the original texts…. There was screaming from Mary…and three not-so wise men.And yet, that stands out as a great moment.Humor was the mainstay of the ministry, and it broke down so many walls so that the true message could be introduced to a group of young people that desperately needed anything OTHER than religion.
Jerry allowed the triumphs and tragedies to simply happen, to take place in the lives of the youth and the leaders, and then took those events and showed us each God’s character, and applicable truth from the Word about how to deal with things, good and bad.
I made some hugely tragic choices in the years I’ve known Mr. Edmon, and the whole while, even in my darkest pit, I knew that he loved me, I knew that he would be there for me if I called, and when I did, he was.During the throws of my darkest hour, I stayed at the Edmon home for nearly a week.It was a strange time for sure.I was a mess, to say the least, and without even so much as a teeeeny tiny sliver of judgment, he loved me, and fed me and allowed me to stay in his home.I can’t tell you how big an impact that has had.Again, I am NOT trying to pump up a man, but simply giving you a living example of how Jesus’ love can and should be shown to those in need.I came to a church service, I believe it was a Wednesday night, and Jerry ministered to me, along with Pastor McCorkle, and he literally wept over me at the altar.The word that he spoke has rung in my ears ever since.I was not entirely receptive at that stage, because when you are in the heat of battle, all you can hear sometimes is the sound of your gun as you shoot yourself in the foot over and over.
I’ve made great strides in recent years, overcoming the stigma of wallowing in sin for a few years… and God has been faithful to heal and restore.I am married to a wonderful woman of God these days, and have a total of six awesome kids.(makes me a little tired to see that in print!)I have the best possible outcome from the worst possible circumstances in so many ways.My ex-wife is a friend, my kids are all well adjusted and seeking God, my family has watched my life be restored and more.I am a minister of the gospel, and owe a grand portion of my survival to a man that stood in the gap when not a single other “church person” would.I owe it to a man, yes, but more importantly, I owe it to the God within that man that would not give up on me.
So, how do I know Jerry?I know him like you should be known to those that know you.I know him like a father should be known to his children, a husband to his wife, a friend to a friend. Unashamed, open, honest, and willing to love at all times.When someone looks back on the place you held in their life, I hope they can say “I’m a Jerry’s Kid”… or whatever name is appropriate there.