Recently, I had the privilege of writing over at the Sovereign Grace Pastors’ Wives’ blog on the topic of my relocating to Ohio. This article is a condensed (plus some new stuff) version of bits and pieces I have already written on the topic here (in Akron Adventure on the side bar). The following is a section I haven’t published on Ordinary Mother (til now).
Phase 1: Where you go I will go, but…
I’m a romantic. Not so much in the candles, roses, and soft music sense, but in the idealization of myself and unknown circumstances sense. I think back to our wedding day when I, the starry eyed bride, gazed into my groom’s eyes and vowed to him that I would go where he went. As a young couple we had dreamed together of being part of a church plant someday, and in that romantic moment in time I thrilled at the idea of being with Jason on an adventure to some unknown land. I would be brave and enthusiastic, a modern pioneer woman.
When the discussion over Jason leading a church in Ohio began, I can honestly say that God gave grace and faith to be willing to “go”. But I soon found that being willing to go and going are different things. Being willing to go means a meaningful conversation at Starbucks with my husband, seeing and hearing his dreams and vision for a new chapter in ministry, and sincerely wanting to be a part of making him a success – then telling him that anywhere he is, is home. Going means getting a house on the market which means being ready to show it at any moment while trying to homeschool four children. Going means packing a family of six and all of their accompanying stuff. Going means heart wrenching goodbyes and painful “last times”. Going means finding a new home to live in. Going means starting all over in so many ways. Going isn’t what that starry eyed bride pictured when she said, “where you go…” And I certainly wasn’t the brave adventurer I fantasized myself to be. But while I never factored in the hard realities of relocating, I also never factored in the astounding grace that would be most evident, not in my brave willingness to leave everything behind (though that is a huge act of grace, believe me), but in my weakness. Under my faltering steps of following my husband, I found the firm path of God’s grace. Where I slipped into worry over our future, God reminded me of His faithfulness in the past. Where I made life harder for Jason through grumbling or complaining, there was sweet relief in my Savior who perfectly obeyed without grumbling or complaining. When I was struggling with the pain of leaving ones I love so much, God reminded me that the pain was evidence of the goodness of His gifts to me in relationships and new gifts awaited me in a new place. The dreamy notions of “where you go…” proved to be nowhere near the difficult reality of those words. But the grace to “go” proved to be far more profound than any dreamy notions.
You can read the rest of part 1 here .
Some of my all time favorite recipes to make during the autumn weather were passed down to me from the kitchens of women whose culinary skills aren’t the only thing I love and respect about them. Every time I make them, I think of the lady from whose kitchen it came. I love that Titus 2 can take place in the kitchen across the miles and the years.
This first recipe comes from my first pastor’s wife, Judy Phillips. Judy is an amazing cook! If ever you see a recipe featured from her kitchen make it your own. When I make this soup, I think of more than Judy’s culinary talents. I think about her love for her home, her adventurous spirit to follow her husband to Mexico City (with 4 children!!!), and her heart for encouraging ladies in their pursuit of biblical womanhood. I remember being a senior in highschool, taking a writing class from Judy in her home (do you remember that, Karen?). She often made muffins (the pumpkin recipe is here ) and while we learned to “show not tell” in our writing, we were also learning how appealing a home kept by one who loved being there could be. So when I make Corn and Cheddar Chowder, in some small way, though I haven’t seen Judy for years and she lives miles away in Colorado, she is with me in the kitchen, and I always thank God for her role in my life as a young woman.
Judy’s Corn & Cheddar Chowder (I double or triple this every time because we all love it!!!)
Step 1- Boil
2 diced potatoes for 15-20 minutes in:
2 pints chicken broth (4 cups)
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. sage
½ tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Step 2- Sautee in a separate pot:
3 Tbsp. butter
2 finely chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
Step 3- Add
3 Tbsp. flour into butter mixture. Mix well.
Step 4- Add
¾ cup evaporated milk and
½ cup milk to step 3
Step 5- Boil
Step 6- Combine
Butter/flour mixture to the potatoes/broth mixture
Step 7- Add
1 ½ cups frozen corn
1 (4oz.) can of chilis chopped
Step 8 – Add last*
1 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup white wine
*serve right after cheese melts (don’t add cheese and wine until you are ready to serve it).
More Titus 2 recipes to come……
MOMentum is a feature on my blog that attempts to connect the power of the gospel to the mom experience.
“I need to see the cross!” was the emphatic statement of my two-and-a-half year old son, Caleb. No, he wasn’t some sort of theological savant. He had a morbid obsession with the cartoon picture of Jesus dying on the cross in his Bible story book. He wanted me to find that picture for him.
Caleb does need to see the cross. He needs to see it as something done for him. He needs to see it as something done by him. All of my kids need to see this. And I need to see this as well.
I have a tendency to want to race past the cross on my way to the throne of grace. I can zoom my kids past the cross as well when I’m walking them through correction. We identify the sin, pray for forgiveness, and ask for grace to change. We even include a “thank you for dying on the cross for my sins” part to our prayer. But still, I can neglect directing their attention to the cost of such lavish grace in their lives. I want to think of ways to show them the cross, not just in the moment of correction, but outside of those moments.
Is this morbid like Caleb’s toddler infatuation with a picture in his storybook? I don’t think so. I think seeing the cross will keep us from taking our sins lightly because we see what our sin deserves at the cross. I think seeing the cross will help protect us from blaming others for our sins because at the cross Jesus took our blame. I think seeing the cross will protect us from condemnation as we see our guilt and shame being completely taken by Jesus on the cross. I think seeing the cross will keep us humble as we see the sinless, holy One hanging there in our place. I think seeing the cross will reveal the love of God for us, and in turn we will love Him more.
I long for the day when my children will say on their own, “I need to see the cross.” Until that day comes, and even after, I want to lead them to the throne of grace, but on our way, stop and consider the means by which we enjoy such lavish forgiveness and grace: the cross of Jesus Christ.
Now we see Jesus brought before the priests and rulers, who pronounce him guilty; God himself imputes our sins to him, “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all;” “He was made sin for us;” and, as the substitute for our guilt, bearing our sin upon his shoulders, represented by the cross; we see the great Scapegoat led away by the appointed officers of justice. Beloved, can you feel assured that he carried your sin? As you look at the cross upon his shoulders, does it represent your sin? There is one way by which you can tell whether he carried your sin or not. Have you laid your hand upon his head, confessed your sin, and trusted in him? Then your sin lies not on you; it has all been transferred by blessed imputation to Christ, and he bears it on his shoulder as a load heavier than the cross.
“Let not the picture vanish till you have rejoiced in your own deliverance, and adored the loving Redeemer upon whom your iniquities were laid.”
Maybe it’s more appropriate to say, “Where I’m trying to be”.
I read something in a book that somehow got me thinking: am I really ALL here. Are my best efforts – not just what my body does, but what my brain does – really focused on my priorities? I thought about the weight of responsibility Jason is carrying right now as a senior pastor. I thought about the brevity of the season that I’m in with my children. I thought about my church family here in Akron. And I thought, am I really ALL here?
Cyber space has wonderful benefits. I love that I can stay in contact with my dear friends and family in MD. I love that I can read and be inspired by women I haven’t even met in person. I love finding good books, sermons, and articles that enrich my soul. I like writing about what God is doing in my life. I am passionate about encouraging moms in particular about the value of their role in the church and even more the surpassing value of Christ Jesus at work in them. I like updating my status on facebook and finding out what friends past and present are doing on a Wednesday afternoon. These are good things.
But the truth is, I couldn’t escape the gentle, compelling conviction of the Holy Spirit that this good thing – cyber world especially all of its social features – was dominating too much of my brain. I know you have heard me talk about this before – my tendency to escape via computer – but this time I realized something new. It isn’t the time I’m spending online. Actually, I have my igoogle page set up so that everything I check is all on one page. That cuts down significantly on my time on the computer. The problem is that my virtual world – face book friends, twitter, blog reading, blog writing, emailing – has the potential to take up way too much brain space.
I started to notice how often my mind isn’t in the same place as my body. This brings me back to where I’ve been…or where I’m trying to be. I am trying, by God’s grace, to be all here. I’m trying to be here to help my husband in whatever way might lighten his load. I’m trying to be here to train my kids as they are getting older and time is zooming by. I’m trying to be here at Covenant of Grace Church to pursue relationships with these ladies who are such a blessing to me.
This has meant significantly less time online – not to free up my time, but to free up my brain.
I wrote everything above on April 4, 2009. In the providence of God, a cyber break was somewhat imposed on me because we put our house on the market in May, sold it 7 days later, spent a frustrating month and a half house hunting, bought a fixer upper, did some fixing upping, started homeschooling, and now (insert deep breath here) … finally, life is feeling normal again. Life is actually pretty great. We love our new house. We love West Akron. We are most of all loving being so close to so many families in the church.
With the helpful reminder of the first few paragraphs of this post, I do want to cautiously begin blogging again. I have so much to write about! And if things get sporadic now and then, you know where I am….trying to be truly “here”.
I am hoping to really update my blog soon, but in the meantime, here are the after-ish photos of our new (old) house in Akron.