So here the children are doing some of their favorite things lately: being superheroes, reading, cooking, being goofy with the cousins and playing soccer.
“They seem to love this. . .” This is one of our family sayings when someone does something unexpected, unusual or a little crazy and the response is unexpectedly positive (usually uncontrollable laughter).
So once in a while I post an update in the form of pictures, and our followers. . .yes. . . they seem to love this. . .so here we go again:
I love the sun on the water in these pictures of Elijah and his cousin Josh. They are playing in the “crik” across from our house one beautiful morning last week. These pictures are un-touched, since the light was perfect, there was no need:
Psalm 139 verses 1 and 17 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
When we were seeking God’s will for our place in full-time career ministry, I have to say I struggled with worry. Not worry that God would provide, but worry that we might not go the right place.
Since moving here, God has proven Himself as a God who KNOWS us through and through. We had no idea how right this town, this church, these people were for us. We joked when we came to interview here that we could move here because they had a really good pizza place. You know pizza is pretty important! We joked because we knew that if God had chosen for us to serve here, HE would work out the details. HE would make sure we were cared for. I just did not fathom HOW well and how perfectly the God who made us would lovingly and carefully show us His providential care.
I’ve already shared on this blog about the provision of school for the children, friends for us and our children, a loving body of believers to worship with and love fervently and deeply. I can truly say that our church has become like family to us. But the details. . .oh, the details that God has orchestrated that meet our needs and many of our quirks and desires.
Tonight was no exception.
One of Jeremy’s favorite treats is a cherry-dipped ice cream cone. He used to get them from Dairy Queen, but it seems that in the last several years, he hasn’t been able to get them anywhere! The last few places we’ve lived, he’s given up on even trying ice cream shops any more. He doesn’t even ask. So when we candidated here, we noticed a little ice cream shop downtown. It was closed up for the winter, but I said, to Jeremy, “we’ll have to go down and see if they have cherry-dipped cones when they open in the spring.” He dismissed me, saying that if we couldn’t find a cherry-dipped cone in big towns nowadays, there was no way they would have them in this little town.
It has warmed up enough even here in the mountains for ice cream, so tonight we took the children down and got some really yummy CHEAP soft serve. When we got to the window, Jeremy asked the lady, “do you have dipped cones?” “Yes,” she said, “chocolate and cherry.” I about jumped through the window to hug her!
God in his goodness has given us something we did not even ask Him for. Who would think to ask God for a cherry-dipped cone? I didn’t, but He gave anyway.
Thankful tonight for a God who knows every personal detail of our hearts and delights to show His goodness to us in ways our particular human heart can recognize.
Matthew 26:25-32 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
The waiting is over!! We are so thankful for your prayers for us in the search process! After spending about four days in Emporium, PA, Jeremy was unanimously voted on and called to this small, sweet Southern Baptist congregation in the rural mountains of north-central Pennsylvania.
This evening, Jeremy accepted the call to pastor Faith Baptist Church in Emporium, PA. The town population is about 2500 total and about 47% claim Catholicism as their religion. Though it is a call to pastor, we feel that this is a precious opportunity for us to be missionaries also.
As with any move, there will be adjustments for our family and lots of hard work, so your continued prayers are appreciated. To God be the glory!
Pictures coming soon. . .
Psalm 105:1 says, “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.” May your heart be drawn to give simple thanks for the greatest gift of Jesus Christ and the uncountable lesser blessings.
Here’s our menu for Thanksgiving. . .a few more sides will be added by a friend tomorrow:
(I’ll add links as I find them)
* Herb-Brined Turkey
* Sweet Potatoes in Orange Cups
* Mashed Red Potatoes
* Cranberry Orange Sauce (details below)
* Green Bean Casserole using only half the butter and with homemade onion rings on top
* Pecan Pie with whipped cream
* Pumpkin Roll
I just finished making homemade cranberry sauce for the first time, and HAD to say it was SOOO easy and I will never open another can of that stuff again!
This took all of four ingredients and 20 minutes! I got the idea from this blog.
1 bag of fresh cranberries, washed and bruised ones removed
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup of sugar (more or less to your taste)
a few dashes of cinnamon (til it tasted right to me)
Throw all the ingredients in a saucepan on the stove, bring to a boil and simmer and stir for 10-15 minutes.
THAT’S IT!! And it is TO DIE FOR!! SO EASY and SO YUMMY!!
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: 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.
I was challenged recently at a retreat by the wife of a professor to evaluate how much I am promoting myself or my family. As she said, “just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should” (promote yourself). I guess, along with how involved we have been in living REAL life, I’ve let the blogging slip for the summer. I’m going to make an effort to keep the bragging (self-promotion) down but still keep you all updated on the work of God in our lives.
I have lots of pictures to post (and I don’t intend to quit doing that) but it’s just not terribly high on my list of things to do as I homeschool three, support Jeremy in his last semester in seminary and enjoy being a part of this journey God is taking us on.
I know the big question many of you have is what are you all doing after seminary? GREAT question! We don’t exactly know at this point, so please pray for us and drop us a phone call, we do really like to hear people’s live voices! Our phone number is still 843-819-1332.
Much love to you all, and I’m sorry for the long silence!
Married 13 Years and LOVING it!
1. Staying warm together – Jeremy is much warmer-blooded than me, so we make a good pair: he warms me up, and I cool him off
2. Having a good daddy for our children
3. Growing old is just sweet since I get to grow old with Jeremy
4. Jeremy’s bad eyesight – Though Jeremy’s had eye surgery, and has good vision, he still says I look beautiful in the morning before I climb out of bed.
5. The fun. This could be a whole blog, I’ll save it for another day.
6. Laughing together. The inside jokes and common humor just grows over the years, so the longer we’ve been married, the better it gets
7. The support. No matter what we experience, it’s just so much more tolerable with someone like Jeremy to walk through it with
8. Having a best friend. There’s no one I love and trust more (besides God of course) than my husband
9. Leadership. Jeremy is an amazing leader of our family, and I couldn’t ask for better
10. Changing together. Experiences and time have changed us, and it is a beautiful thing to watch us grow more and more like each other.
11. Kisses, hugs, and other fun expressions of our marriage
12. Having someone to share hardships with. They really are divided with a good friend alongside
13. Living this earthly life with a godly man who I will share eternity with. This life is short, but for me, there’s been no sweeter gift than to be able to live the last 13 years of it with Jeremy. . .for the glory of God.