Don’t mess with a gal who carries a nerf gun in her diaper bag!
Don’t mess with a gal who carries a nerf gun in her diaper bag!
Maggie wanted me to play with her yesterday, and she decided that we would play “mom school”.
Me: What is mom school?
Maggie: (looking mildly surprised that I didn’t know what mom school was) It’s classes you take to learn how to be a mom.
Me: (boy do I wish there was a mom school somewhere. every time i think i may have figured something out, we transition to brand new mothering territory!!!) Are you going to teach or am I?
Maggie: I will start, but let’s wait for the other ladies to arrive. (five imaginary ladies arrive with very exotic names)
Maggie: First, we start with singles.
Me: (brilliant. i would never have thought to start with singles!!)
Maggie: You will want to get a lot of practice holding babies and stuff when you are single.
The single girls all go to the singles church to learn about God. There are only single girls at this church. And the single boys all go to the single boys church to learn about God.
Me: Well how do they ever get married if they’re in separate churches?
Maggie: After they go to the single churches for a little while they go to the family church. There are seven rows of single girls and seven rows of single boys.
Me: How do they get together so they can get married?
Maggie: They have a party. Then they can dance together and talk together.
Me: (sounds very Amish) That’s a great idea, honey.
Anyway, we did progress to infant care (my turn) followed by a game with questions and answers regarding all that we had learned.
I had a great time at Mom School. And I was really impressed that Maggs thought to begin with the singles, and had such an elaborate match-making plan. Where does she come up with this stuff?! I love my little girly!
This is the name Joseph gave his second son. The name means, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering.” I was reminded of this a few months ago when praying with Marcia Walter for her husband, Jim who was recovering from yet another surgery. Jim and Marcia suffered surgery after surgery over the past two years. Jim had several back surgeries, an unexpected intestinal surgery; and Marcia had hip replacement surgery as well as surgery on her neck. During this time, Jim also carried the burden of being the only pastor at Covenant of Grace Church. And as an aside, the members of the church served heroically during the time that their pastor was unable to do as much due to physical limitations.
I marvel at God’s grace on the Walter’s lives to suffer with faith. I also marvel at how, like Joseph, God has made them fruitful in the land of their suffering. It inspires my faith when I consider that not only was God cultivating fruit of the Spirit in their lives, He was preparing them for a fruitful ministry.
For two years, God wasn’t just working on Jim Walter’s character, he was preparing him for a brand new work. He was giving him a heart for the sick and grieving. God was making a hospital chaplain. It’s a long story how this came to be, but recently Jim Walter, after much prayer and counsel, transitioned to a new ministry. He was offered a position as hospital chaplain and he is thriving. We are so excited for Jim. Marcia says he has the energy of a young man, and he has never been so happy. Jim and Marcia Walter are no longer in a land of suffering. They are rejoicing and healthy in every sense of the word.
Are you in a land of suffering right now? Let Joseph of the Bible, and Jim and Marcia Walters be an encouragement of the fact that God is making you fruitful, and perhaps preparing you for a ministry you don’t yet know about.
Please pray for Jim as he embarks on this new chapter in ministry. We are praying that many souls would be saved as Jim minsters with compassion and mercy to those who are in their own land of suffering.
I am overwhelmed by God’s love revealed in such sweet and tangible ways lately. While I was away, I experienced blessing upon blessing. I want to say at the outset, that it is only because Jesus came and lived the perfect life that I could never live; and suffered the wrath that my sins deserved when He died on the cross, that I am now reconciled to God. Not only that, I am a child of God and therefore His disposition toward me is one of love. The gospel is the primary evidence of this fact. But there are seasons when God seems to go out of His way to pour out tangible expressions of His love on me. They often come when I am most obviously unworthy – which just magnifies His grace and love all the more.
Here are some examples:
1. Vacation in North Carolina with my family.
2. Marriage retreat in Chatham, Massachusetts with Aron Osborne’s region of pastors. (photos of Nantucket and Chatham are here.)
3. The privilege of attending a funeral for Ann Fleischman, a dear lady from Chesapeake who went to be with the Lord after suffering for a few years from Parkinson’s disease. Ann excelled in hospitality and used her gift for years at CCC’s guest reception, which used to take place weekly after the service. I still remember the paper-thin sugar cookies cut in shapes of autumn leaves and hand-dipped in chocolate – just so the edge was covered. They were as delicious as they were beautiful. It was such a blessing to be at her “home-going” celebration in MD.
4. The privilege of attending my niece, Iris’s, kindergarten graduation. Too cute! Reminded of my boys’ graduation(s) that seemed like just yesterday.
5. The privilege of typing a hand-written document for Granny (Jason’s grandmother, Edith Lewis). Granny wrote a paper called “While I Wait” which tells what she is doing as she waits to go home to be with the Lord. Granny is 90 years old, and I felt like I was on holy ground just listening to her dictate this precious letter. I will ask her if I can publish it on my blog for your benefit once we’ve finished with the editing.
6. Being able to attend my Sister-in-law, Abby’s 30th birthday. What a blessing to honor this well-deserving friend. Abby is known for the beauty of her voice, but I have seen her up close and personal – in everyday life – and I will tell you that the beauty of her life lived in quiet demonstration of the gospel is even more compelling than her singing voice!
7. Time with Karen. What a joy to watch our children hit it off just like we did back in the day.
8. Time with Briana. It was a miracle that we were uninterrupted for two hours. My boys played with hers the entire time. (I love seeing my big boys serve moms by entertaining their little ones…so sweet!)
9. Time at a playground with a few moms. I was able to catch up with several good friends while our kids climbed through tunnels and played in a wet sand box!
10. Time with family, Jason’s and mine. This is where I spent most of my days – just hanging out with my family or his. This commonplace activity has become so cherished now that we live in Ohio.
11. Time with staff wives from Chesapeake. This was a precious ministry time for me. It was so good to hear from Cindy and Marilyn who both had relocated before I did. They were a source of wisdom and encouragement. The prayer time was particularly dear to me.
12. Hearing my three favorite preachers three Sundays in a row: My Dad, My Brother, My husband.
13. Seeing and being greeted warmly by so many dear friends on Sunday morning at CCC.
14. Knowing Kathy Stewart would be here when I got here. Kathy moved in (less than a mile down the road) while we were gone. She is already a dear friend – another evidence of God’s kindness to me. She had the house cooled, and food in my fridge and pantry for when we arrived home. We LOVE the Stewarts! and thank God for bringing them to Ohio!
15. Coming home to our beloved, new church: Covenant of Grace. We were overwhelmed by their love when we came home to this sign hanging on our garage door. My kids have been studying the signatures for the past few days! The only thing that makes leaving such dear people in MD easier, is coming home to such dear people here in Ohio. Thank you COG for caring for us so well. For expressing constant gratitude to my husband. For missing us while we were gone. We are happy to be back. We truly consider COG the dearest place on earth. We are home!