Leading up to the first interview [to become an astronaut] was a time when Evelyn and I both started into a period of spiritual growth and really learning what it's like to live your life as a Christian the way God would want you to live your life. So that was certainly a time of growth and stretching and conviction and I was fortunate enough to go and interview to be an astronaut in early 1992 but was not hired.
We went off to England for an exchange assignment with the Royal Air Force. During that time I had the opportunity to have a lot of quiet times. Only a couple years previous to that we had been going to a church that actually taught the Bible and taught what it meant to live your life as a Christian as far as trying to learn the word of God and memorizing Bible verses, having a quiet time, the idea of fellowship with small groups. And sitting there in the mornings when I'd have my quiet times, I had gotten a letter from a friend of mine who had gotten an assignment to go fly an airplane he had always wanted to go fly. He talked about Psalm 37:4, where it says, "Commit your way to the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." So I got to looking at that and it was almost like God asked me, "Okay, so what really are the desires of your heart?" The first thing that I brought mind was, well, I want to be an astronaut. But then it's like God said, "No, no no. Think about for a little while and tell me what really is the desire of your heart." Because that was kind of an automatic response and had been up to that point. I got to thinking about it, and I thought, well, if I ended up at the end of my life having been an astronaut but having sacrificed my family along the way or living my life in a way that didn't glorify God, then I would look back on it with great regret, and having become an astronaut would not really have mattered all that much.
I finally came to realize that what really meant the most to me was to try and live my life the way God wanted me to, and to try and be a good husband to Evelyn and be a good father to my children and do everything that I possibly could to make sure that they knew who Jesus was, and that they had every opportunity to make a choice themselves for Jesus. It was like a light came on all of a sudden, where I finally realized that this thing about being an astronaut was not as important as I thought it was. I finally came to the point where I said, "Okay Lord, I don't care what I do, or where you send me. I just want to try and do those things. I want to live a life that glorifies you, and be a good husband and good father. And come what may the way the rest of it goes."