For Everything There Is A Season

[Cross-posted at my blog www.formidablecourage.wordpress.com]

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I started getting interested in the presidential campaign when Michele Bachmann announced her candidacy. I was familiar with what she’d done in Congress and with the Tea Party, and so naturally I looked on her a fantastic candidate to represent true conservatism.

But before I could jump onto the Bachmann bandwagon, I was confronted with a bit of surprising and exciting news. In our home we like to keep running lists of all the gifts God has given us; it reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Well, on May 30, 2011, I sat down and scribbled, as my first gift of the day:

1. Possibility that Rick Perry may run for President.

I was really thankful for that possibility!

Now you have to realize that I have a love for all things Texas, a love born immediately after visiting the Alamo in 2010 and becoming enamored with the Texas Revolution. So the idea of that Governor of Texas–who, by the way, had been a prominent leader in the Tea Party movement–would make this kind of move delighted me.

But before I could jump on the Perry bandwagon I knew I needed to research him. I didn’t know as much about him as I knew about Michele Bachmann. So from the end of May to the middle of August, I scoured the Internet. I read every article about Perry that I could get my hands on. I read the arguments for and against him. I looked to see what the homeschoolers in Texas thought about him. I checked his Twitter almost daily. Any clue that he might have made a decision, any tidbits about his beautiful wife Anita, the names of his dogs–I knew it all. By late July my mom was teasing me, saying I could be arrested for “stalking” him. I’d just smile and shrug my shoulders.

By that time I was on the Perry bandwagon, even though he hadn’t announced yet. I knew he was what I wanted in a candidate. Although he wasn’t perfect, he met all my qualifications. He believed in following the Constitution. He had proven his Tea Party credentials during his 11 years as Governor. His economic record was sound. He was pro-life and pro-family. His family life (an indication of a man’s leadership skills) was strong and close-knit. His love for his wife–his first and only–was obvious. And to top it all off, he was a believer in the Lord Jesus–and thus my brother in Christ.

When he announced his candidacy on August 13, 2011, I was ecstatic and continued to follow him and all news about him faithfully. When the debates started–that’s when it got bumpy. And when that fateful “heartless” comment dropped . . . then I was shaken to the core.

I went through a long and painful process of surrendering all my hopes, dreams, and expectations to the Lord, and once I’d done that I was able to step back and (calmly) evaluate my support for Rick Perry. I realized that there was too much at stake here to give up on him. He was still the candidate I believed most qualified to take on Obama. He was still the candidate I had researched until I was 100% confident I’d made the right choice. And so I took a deep breath, smiled, and pressed on with him–praying, praying, praying.

I write this diary having just returned from my grandmother’s house, where I wept before the television as Governor Perry announced the suspension of his campaign. I admire Governor Perry more than ever; during his speech he radiated the joy of the Lord, confident in the knowledge that God still has a plan for his life and is working all things for his good. That’s when I began crying, sad but relieved as well. I’ve come to love him as though he were an old friend of mine, and I’m so glad he’s not returning home defeated and discouraged. He’s going forward knowing he is loved by his Lord and his family.

I head home…with the love of my life by my side, a woman who makes every day good when she is there by me. That’s my wife Anita. Honey, thank you for all you have done. She has been an incredible patriot during this process.

Also want to thank my son Griffin and his beautiful wife Meredith, Sydney who is not here with us today. But the fact is, with a good wife, with three loving children and a loving God who is in my life, things are going to be good no matter what I do.

It was also encouraging to know that he doesn’t think he  failed; although he knows he was called to run, that didn’t guarantee any outcome. Nevertheless, he’s confident that he did the right thing. For someone who spent the better part of the last six months praying, writing, watching debates, and “internet campaigning,” that was good to hear. My grandmother told me, after Governor Perry finished speaking, I should never hang my head because I did everything I could possibly do. That made me cry again, but it was still a comfort.

This has been a long adventure and I have many wonderful memories. But like Governor Perry, it’s time for me to move on. As a homeschool graduate, I lead a busy life. I’ll be starting new correspondence courses within the next few weeks or so, courses that will take up a good deal of my time. The ever-popular Baby Sis always needs either a diaper change or a hug and a kiss; the others above her are learning and growing fast. I have dreams of writing books and articles, and of course I have my blog.

With the exit of Governor Perry from this race, I make my exit as well. I’ve often said that he was the only reason I was on RedState and Twitter, and that remains true. Governor Perry is the only presidential candidate for whom I would dedicate so much time and effort (unless by some miracle Governor Jindal is drafted at the convention). And since he’s returning to Texas, I’m going to take my leave of RedState.

There’s a time for every purpose under Heaven, and for now, my purpose here has ended. I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve spent here and I’ll treasure it forever. Like Governor Perry I really want to take this opportunity to thank so many here who’ve encouraged me through every bump in the road.

Scope and avagreen, thank you so much for your fearlessness and perseverance; you were a great example to me. Westcoastpatriette, romansdaughter, cheetah2, my dear sisters in Christ–I love you gals and I pray God blesses you abundantly. Jakeofalltrades, thanks for all the HTML help 😉 Dr. Sklaroff, many thanks for all the scholarly “mini-diaries.” Circlegranch, you have been a constant encouragement; I pray God blesses you and that your health improves in the near future. Gekster and acat, y’all have always kept me laughing–thanks for that, especially when I needed it most. Constitutional, you and I have had great discussions on Twitter; keep up the good work, let no man despise your youth, and remember that “no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”

I’m sure there are others I haven’t named, but know that I appreciate every one of you; I even thank those who didn’t agree with me often but maintained a spirit of friendly discussion.

But my biggest thanks goes to pttx333. You’ve become a very dear friend to me and my family, Mrs. Texas. I hope you come and visit my blog sometime; you’re always welcome with your sweetness, encouragement, and down-home Texas spirit. That invitation goes out to all my RedState friends, but especially to pttx333. Consider yourself hugged, my dear friend.

One last thing. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this, but I want to publicly thank you, Governor Perry. You have been an inspiration to me, to my parents, and to my brothers and sisters. I will continue to pray that our God showers His blessings on you and your family, and that He uses you in mighty ways in the great state of Texas. You are a warrior. You have persevered, and you have now bowed out with grace, courage, and an abiding love for America.

And for that, Governor Perry, I am eternally grateful.

You know I began this race with a sense of calling. I felt led into this arena to fight for the future of this country. And I feel no different today than I did then, knowing a calling never guarantees a particular outcome, but the journey that tests one’s faith and one’s character. So now the journey leads me back to Texas, neither discouraged nor disenchanted, but instead rewarded highly by the experience and resolute to remain in the arena and in the service of my country.

And this I know, I’m not done fighting for the cause of conservatism. As a matter of fact, I have just begun to fight.

God bless all of you, and may God bless the United States of America.

All is grace,