Akron Adventure

Ohio Update

Donna asked for an update on how things are going here in Ohio. I thought I’d share two types of grace we are experiencing: the grace that is obvious and the grace that is uncomfortable, but grace none the less.

Obvious Evidences of Grace:

1. We are really loving the area. Some places I love are: the Home Goods store, World Market, Root Candle (Medina is so great, I can’t wait to explore it more), old huge houses in Akron with their beautiful and varied architecture, Summit Mall, Sonnets Coffee Shop, Crave (a great restaurant), The Mustard Seed (more for the restaurant upstairs), and so much more. We can’t wait for the warmer weather so we can explore parks and other places.

2.  Jason is doing a great job as a senior pastor. Okay, I know I’m biased. He is doing so well preaching every week. We are currently in the book of Philippians. For the short term he has narrowed his focus to Sunday mornings (worship, preaching, greeting guests, children’s church, etc.), care for/equipping current leaders, and raising up new leaders. We had our first official care group leaders’ care group earlier this month. These are quality folks that I can’t wait to get to know. Jason is leading two groups for leadership development. Both groups are well attended by a variety of age groups. It is such a blessing to see in many cases Dads and their college-age sons participating together in this first module.  They are using Living the Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney as their guide.

3.  We are getting to know and love the fine folks of Covenant of Grace Church. We feel so loved and supported. People are amazingly responsive to Jason’s leadership. What a huge blessing!  We are truly overwhelmed by the greeting we have received here.  We have been invited to lunch or dinner numerous times, have a lot of hospitality in our own home, and connect as much as possible while we are at church functions. I am enjoying getting to know Marcia Walter along with a few other ladies who have taken the time to befriend me.

4.   The gospel is more dear to our family than ever. This could be a whole post really. In essence, Jason and I are confronted with being called to something completely beyond our ability. We realize that there are no resources or gifts or previous experiences that will get the job done here. Whether it’s Jason learning to preach week after week, or me trying to keep home fires burning when I’m feeling emotionally drained, we simply do not have it within us to do the job. That’s why the gospel is growing more and more precious. When I stumble and fall into the sin of self pity, unbelief, selfishness, pride, fear of man, I find the cleansing water and blood of Jesus such a relief and comfort. When we find ourselves lacking wisdom or insight into a ministry situation or a parenting situation, we find the gift of the Holy Spirit at work to provide the wisdom we need. When we find ourselves physically weak, we find the strength from God available only because of the work of our Savior. We seem to be confronted more often with the truth that we have a treasure residing in us, the earthen vessel. The earthen-ness is more obvious, but so is the treasure.

Uncomfortable Grace

1. We miss our friends, family, and church in MD.  My eyes fill with tears just typing this. Yet I see grace in that this little bit of suffering has served to soften me. I am not a compassionate woman, but I truly want to be. My lack of compassion is due to I’m sure a number of things, but one is that I have had such an easy life. Whether this would be hard for others, I do not know, but it is extremely hard for me.  I also see grace in that my family in MD is bonding differently from if we were still there. Our kids were the middle, the connectors between Karyn’s (my older sister) and Jimmy’s (my younger brother). Removing us has created more opportunities for my big niece and nephew to bond with my little niece and nephew.

2.  Two of my children are having a really hard time with the relocation. I wasn’t prepared for how hard my younger two would take our move. This is God’s grace because in my son we are seeing a precious loyalty that we knew was there but had no idea to what extent. Several times my son has come into our room late at night not able to sleep, crying because he keeps thinking about how much he misses his cousins. He misses his old church. He misses his buddy Tim. This is so painful for me as a mom, yet I firmly believe that this will be a pivotal time in Izzy’s life, and pray that we will steward the opportunity to show him how precious the gospel is, how worthy God is of our obedience to follow Him wherever He leads, and more. My daughter is responding differently. She isn’t able to articulate her feelings of disorientation, etc. so instead, I find she is acting out, being more willful. It’s hard to know what is related to the move and what is just a season of her needing more correction, but either way it is God’s grace to reveal it to us while she is so young. He is graciously providing many opportunities for my girlie to see that she is a sinner in need of a Savior.

So that’s the very abbreviated version of how we’re doing here in Ohio. We covet your prayers for our family, particularly my children.

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7 thoughts on “Ohio Update

  1. ohh sweetie. I am glad that you are able to discern the grace of both types in your life.

    I can empathize with your two younger ones. Being that I was uprooted a few times in my younger years I went through the same emotions etc. On this end of the tunnel I can see the positive and how God used those times to shape me in His image. (but it was hard to go through so I will be praying for an extra measure of grace for the 2 wee ones, Jason and yourself)

  2. I have to somewhat echo what Karen said as far as being uprooted and having to face trying circumstances by the time I reached 5th grade: left the church I knew, the school I knew my entire life and then lost my dad just 2 years later and moved again….(well, you know the story)…So, I pray rather passionately for moms and dads who find themselves in your situation and for the kids who are going through the hardship, too. I don’t know that I was so well shepherded through all of that, yet God remained faithful to me. Nevertheless, it IS truly a unique opportunity to see GOd become real to them, to see them grasp so many biblical truths that you’ve sought to impart to them all these years. Yes, it is your shepherding, but moreso, I believe, an opportunity like few others to see GOd be faithful to your children when wisdom is lacking, words are insufficient, and struggles remain in your own hearts. Praying and miss all of you immensely!

  3. Will be praying for you guys! That’s great that you are so aware of God’s grace, both the comfortable and the uncomfortable. I’m trying to think back to all of our moves to see if there was some wisdom I could give you to help you with your kiddos, but I don’t remember having any issues with moving, really. We moved from MD to TN when I was 6 yrs. old, and I honestly don’t remember missing grandparents, friends, etc. I’m sure I did, but I can’t remember the impact. I’m sure I was more into the adventure of it all. I know now it was a lot harder on my mom to move away from all she new with three little kids. So anyway, I don’t have any wisdom to share, just that we’ll be praying for you guys to continue experiencing God’s grace and wisdom as you deal with the many changes.

  4. Danielle, it’s a comfort of sorts to know you don’t exactly remember. I wonder if that will be the case with Maggie. She’s only six.
    Karen and Bri, thanks for your testimonies, they boost my faith. I am convinced that this is going to be such a good thing for them.

  5. Thanks for the update. It is good that you see ALL that God is doing in this. I have no “moving” wisdom BUT I do know the hardship of walking your kids through change. It is right and wonderful to point them to the cross. That is what we are called to do with all things. Please remember that kids are just that kids. They need to know they are safe and loved and things will be Ok. They need tangible things to hold onto at times of change and painful challenges. So keep pointing them to Jesus AND give them a sence of calm and peace and safety…Hope this is making some sence…Sometimes all we as moms are called to do is to love them through “it”…

  6. Laurie, I so appreciate your honesty and heart in sharing.
    When you shared about Izzy’s struggle, it brought tears to my eyes and a reminder of Joyce’s struggle in school. Because of her Autism, her difficulty with social situations and relating to peers, she has been struggling more recently in school especially during recess. We continue to pray for how to best teach her and prepare her for life, but it doesn’t take away the heartache of a parent watching their child (or hearing about their child) being teased, or called words like “crazy” by children who don’t understand. Recently, I felt the Lord remind me that He sent His Son into a situation where He would be mocked, insulted, beaten, and crucified for our sins- for our sake! He loved Him perfectly, yet His love still sent Him! Sometimes we want to remove the pain and struggle from our children, to protect them. But when we are doing the Father’s will, when we are doing something out of obedience to what we feel He has shown us to do, we can only humbly obey, and seek His grace and help for our children and ourselves in our time of need. It is He who has promised us that He is faithful, and to complete the work He began in us! It is this, the promises of the Father, His reassurances that helps us persevere in faith. May the Lord bless you and give you continued wisdom as you persevere.

  7. Laurie, I was so encouraged to read this update. Thank you. I am always amazed at how God can take a trying circumstance or season of life and use it to grow us on so many levels. Don’t underestimate the power behind what you and Jason are seeking to model–running to the Savior when you’re weak, tired, grieving. Oh how that can impact a child.
    Will continue to pray for endurance, wisdom, and grace for each of you.
    We too have gone through a season of grieving the relationships left behind at Chesapeake…it is hard. Though we now are nearer to our familes, Chesapeake was OUR FAMILY for years. I’ll never forget their love and support during Natalia’s birth and surgery. Ok, I can’t type…too many tears.
    Love you guys!

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