I remember time crawling by when I was a youngster. Now I smile when my children think that 60 days ’til their birthday is an eternity, or that waiting a few hours until their friend is available to play is pure torture.
Just like I smile over my children, I think God must be smiling over our family as we learn patience in a new way these days. Over the course of one day, we get asked many times what our plans are after seminary, or if we have heard anything final from any of the churches we have explored ministry opportunities with. I’m glad people ask. It means that they are concerned for us, and are interested in God’s work in our family.
However, we still wait.
I have been convicted over the last few weeks to wait with joy, to revel in the process, be faithful in the tasks God has given us now, and to not take something (even in my mind) that God has not given us yet. We fight against pride and presumption – which is easy to do at times when we are tempted to predict an outcome of this process.
It hit me the other day that even after Jeremy takes a ministry position (if God so chooses to bless us with one) I will need to do some of the same things I’m struggling to do faithfully now. I might as well learn in these days to do more faithfully the “little” things I have been assigned now. . .like cleaning my house, decluttering, purposefully spending time with friends, sharing Jesus more boldly, reading my Bible, praying fervently and constantly. . .the list goes on.
Funny how the solution I’m finding to my own struggle to wait is the same solution I give my children when they struggle to wait a few hours for a playdate: do something!
So I’m off – to meditate on Romans 8, declutter a closet, pack a few boxes and wrap some birthday gifts for Micah who turns three in a few days. I guess waiting CAN be fun!
We have a high school graduate in the house!!! Jonathan just took his final for his final course in high school! The last Ahlgren graduated from HIGH SCHOOL!!!
So excited for the next step in Jonathan’s life. . .
To be continued. . .
Filed under: Uncategorized
Jeremy and I just returned from seeing Courageous as a double-date with some friends. Fantastic! It was real, NOT cheesy, terrific acting, good action and the best scene filmed in the back seat of a cop car I’ve seen in my life!
There are a few intense cop scenes so I wouldn’t take the children, but GET A BABYSITTER, we thought it was so very worth it!
One word of caution: bring some tissues. We didn’t and it wasn’t a pretty sight!
We have recently enjoyed doing some Bible memory with our children now that they have the attention span to practice. Micah, being two, is probably the most proficient!
Here are some resources we have found to be QUITE effective and simple enough for me to do with our children, even though they are close in age and keep me very busy.
1. The Charlotte Mason method - using a card file box on the kitchen table that has cards that are reviewed at most meals (the daily verse we are working on currently) and others that are only reviewed at one of the meals. An adult in the house will read the card aloud, leaving a few blanks after a few days of just reading the verse/verses and allowing the children to take turns filling in the blank. After a week or two, they usually can say the verse themselves, then we move it back to be reviewed less and less (see details on the CM link above) You can also print the dividers to set up the system on this website.
2. Music – need I say more!! Songs of scripture are awesome and easy to use.
3. Hands-on activities – I just found this cute one that could be put in the back seat of the car for review, or between the front seats for the time you get stuck at a train crossing, or are arrive early somewhere, or are at an appointment (this is also where I keep my catechism booklet for easy access and review with the children.)
4. Memorize as a family! We try to learn the verses they get assigned from church with them, even competing with them (their young brains usually win, of course!) If someone is struggling to get a verse, we like to have one of the more competent ones help them individually. This reinforces AND helps at the same time.
5. Explain the verse - Jeremy helps with this, talking with the children not just about the plain understanding of the verse, but what it commands us to do, and how that applies in THEIR lives as children. We find that they memorize better when they know what the words mean. Hopefully they are working on their hearts in the process, of course, too!
Any other resources you have found out there to help with Bible memory, not just for children, but adults too?? Please post a comment!!!
Filed under: Uncategorized
Today Jeremy interviewed with a second church, and will be preaching there tomorrow. Things have gone far better than we could ever ask or hope for. We don’t deserve how kindly and warmly our family has been received.
It has been a blessing to watch Jeremy as he has brought much honor to the Lord in how he has handled himself. I am humbled.
We don’t know if either of these churches is where God is leading us, but we are encouraged by the desire of so many to hear the Word of God and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their neighborhood, city and around the world. That God would choose to use us is beyond our comprehension. Clearly, God’s ways are not ours. . .thankfully!!
Thank you to all of you who have prayed so faithfully for us. Please keep it up. We still need much wisdom.
Filed under: Uncategorized
As we explore possible options for ministry, I keep getting questions about what I want or think would be best. Psalm 84 was a humbling psalm to read tonight. What do I really really want? We have been asking God to give us a place to serve HIM, and (in the words of Mrs. Ware) “it REALLY doesn’t matter where you live.”
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young–a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you. Selah
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob. Selah
Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.
Filed under: Discipleship, family news, Friends, grief, Jeremy, Ministry, Seminary
“Teach me O LORD, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” Psalm 119:33-37
This morning I wake up to sad news. One of the most godly men I have ever known in my life has been diagnosed with brain cancer. This man and his wife ministered to my family spiritually at times when others didn’t know how to. They loved us, taught deep truths, prayed for us and did the hard things God calls some church leaders to do.
In a nutshell, “Uncle Neil,” as us children called him, buried my mother, baptized my brother, married Jeremy and me, and took a hard (but necessary) stand of church discipline with one family member. Some of my earliest discipleship as a believer came from his wife as she was my prayer partner, and from him as our family’s pastor when I most needed solid Biblical teaching.
The longer I am a Christian, and the more I spend time with God in His word and with the Church, the more I realize that “preserve my life” means more than “God, keep me alive.” This last verse (37) is one of Jeremy’s favorites, and I find it fitting as I reflect on the impact a very godly man has had on our family. Though I beg God to “preserve his life” now that I know he has cancer, God HAS ALREADY preserved His life according to HIS word. Uncle Neil is not perfect (I’m sure his wife or son could give examples) but God has preserved Him spiritually and given him a long ministry not just to our family but to many others. And though his body may not last as long as we would really like, the effect of his life and faithful obedience even in the hard things will be serving the Kingdom far beyond what he can see.
I can’t help but find this a bit poignant as we set out in ministry. We didn’t expect to be here. But God expected it. He planned it. And in HIS great mercy, He has given us godly men like Neil, and Frank, Chris, Jim and so many others who have discipled us and been tools in the hand of Almighty God to shape us into instruments for HIS glory. We are thankful. And humbled. May we be found faithful, and may God see fit to also preserve US according to His word.