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…
On Sunday Elliot was one month old. It seems like he has been a part of the family for a long time, yet it’s only been a little over four weeks. (Of course, some of that feeling probably comes from the fact that I’m not sleeping more than three hours at a time…) We’ve been asked over and over how we’re adjusting to being a family of four (rather well, if you’re curious), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how little stress I feel compared to when Caleb was a baby. At least, I don’t have nearly as much of the “am I doing it right?” stress. I’m learning that having a second baby brings different kinds of stresses and joys than the first baby.
- Less Sleep
Common sense tells me that I’m going to sleep less now that there’s another child in the house, but for some reason I was surprised by how tired I’ve been. It actually took a week or two for me to realize that I’m more tired because I nap less with Elliot than I did when Caleb was a baby. Little sleep heightens my emotions, so it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride.
- The Big Brother
I wasn’t sure how Caleb would adjust to being a big brother, but he is doing great and is a big help. For example, when we were at church this morning for Bible study, some of the other kids were trying to rock Elliot in his carseat and Caleb got upset – trying to push the other kids away, saying “he’s my baby”. While I don’t want him to be too possessive of Elliot or get jealous because the other kids are trying to help, I love that he has started to bond with his little brother.It’s definitely been different juggling caring for a baby with caring for a preschooler, and sometimes I feel guilty because I think I’m not interacting with Elliot enough, but then I see Caleb run up and sing Elliot a song because he is crying. That’s been a reminder that Elliot doesn’t just have Hans and I – he has a big brother, too!
- New Parent Stress
Like I said above, this time around I have felt much less of the “am I doing it right?” stress since a lot of the actions of caring for a new baby seemed to come back naturally – I have just enjoyed taking care of the baby instead of worrying about doing it “right”. But Elliot has been a gassy baby from day one, and has had a lot of pain (and therefore, lots of crying). The stressful part is trying to figure out what to do to help him feel better. He was put on medicine to help with reflux, but the medicine seems to make it worse, so we’ll see what the doctor says.
I could keep coming up with differences, but it doesn’t matter. Elliot is a different child than Caleb and I am enjoying having him in our family. It will be fun to see how he is like his big brother and how he is different as the days and weeks progress. And it will be fun to continue to see Caleb and Elliot’s relationship grow, too!