The last few months have gone the way they tend to in the fall… entirely too fast! It is hard to believe that November is here already (especially since the weather this week was in the mid-60s!) and that the fall semester is over half finished.
We’ve been keeping busy – enjoying the beautiful fall weather, spending time with new neighbors, making pear and apple sauce, filling our house with students, hosting Sarah (our planting coach with InterVarsity) for a visit, two fall conferences, garden and yard work, hosting our parents, and seeing our kids grow right in front of our eyes.
With all of the activity, I think a photo update will be more interesting than reading my account of these activities. Enjoy!
I met with a student on Tuesday for a prayer walk, just a few hours after I had been feeling anxious and overwhelmed by all that needed to be done by next week.
We read this from Mark:
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29 (NIV)
As we discussed what we could learn about the kingdom of God from the parable, we came to the role of the farmer. He scatters, trusts, waits, and identifies the right time to harvest.
Just as the farmer was attentive to the growth of the plant, we need to be attentive to what God is doing around us, identifying our role/responsibility in the process.
Praying that God would open our eyes to those around us, we made our way over to her department. As we walked through the halls, we prayed for those whose offices we passed by. She introduced me to a number of people from her department, including a postdoc that she just recently found out is also a Christian.
We ended at her empty office, praying for success in her research and a better relationship with her office mate. We sat to debrief the prayer walk, and she realized how large her network was; she knew by name nearly everyone we passed in the halls. As we talked further, it became clear that her next step was to seek out and pursue relationships within her department, made easier by the fact that many grad students eat lunch together in the lounge every day.
God answered our opening prayer; he opened her eyes to the community in her department, and invited her to step further into it. It’s not often that I call Lindsay immediately after a meeting with a student, but I was so excited and encouraged that I couldn’t wait to tell her!
Hebrews 4:12 begins: “For the word of God is alive and active,” and I saw that on Tuesday. This parable applied well to the prayer walk, and our eyes were open to the opportunities in her department. But when the same text is used in a different application in my life, Hebrews 4:12 rings that much more true.
Our planting coach, Sarah, was praying for me the following day, and the same parable came to mind for her. The farmer was not anxious in his sleep; he was able to trust that his crop would grow – mysterious as that process may be. Sarah prayed that I would be able to let go and trust God in what he is doing, and that we would have eyes to see how things have grown in the times that we’re not working. It was a powerful reminder of who really is in control, and that I need to keep trusting and keep putting him first.
Just as this student was challenged in mission through the parable of the growing seed in exactly the way that she needed, I was ministered to by the same parable, just as I needed. God’s Word is truly active and alive. Praise God!
Two weeks ago we left for a two-week “vacation”. Most of the two weeks weren’t really vacation (although not having to cook for two weeks made it feel that way) since we spent one week in Madison, WI, for training with InterVarsity and half of the next week visiting supporters (which also felt like vacation… we love getting to spend time with people!). The last part of our trip was spent in northern Ohio, visiting part of Hans’ extended family and attending his cousin’s wedding.
The training we attended was for planting an international InterVarsity chapter* at Michigan Tech. We’ve been trying to get something going for the past few years, and the training we received is going to help make that happen. We were matched with a coach (another InterVarsity staff who has experience planting a chapter) and were brought through several cycles of activities to help us really see how we can grow a student group that multiplies itself.
Our biggest takeaway from the week in Madison?
Students are seeds to be scattered, not sheep to be gathered.
May was not the month I was expecting. We entered the month with crazy end of the semester life while Hans, Caleb, and I experienced bouts of the flu. Then it got a little crazier…
Hans left for his first week of Chapter Focus Week on May 2, the same morning the boys and I left for Minnesota to spend most of the week with my parents. While we were there my grandpa went to the hospital when his defibrillator zapped him 30 times or so in a few hours. He was life-flighted to Duluth (at 10pm) and I woke up the next morning to find out that my parents were both in Duluth (and had been all night). Two days later my grandpa went home from the hospital, to die.
It was a good week, but a hard week. The boys and I extended our stay and spent the next days with the whole family crammed into the two small rooms in my grandparents’ assisted living apartment. I left Minnesota to come home on Monday, May 11th, knowing I would never see my grandpa alive on earth again, and the next morning he passed away.
I am so thankful that we were there before my grandpa went to the hospital. We had two wonderful visits with my grandparents before Grandpa got sick, and lots of good time with the whole family after that.
We travelled back to Minnesota the following week for the funeral, and I gave the eulogy. I thought I would post it here, in memory of my grandpa.
Looking around, I know that many of you knew Gene as a friend. A few called him Dad… and some of us knew him as Grandpa. I want to share with you what Grandpa meant to us – sharing some of my memories of him and some memories that I have received from my cousins. Read More…