Many of our friends and family have been praying for us and I thought today would be a good day to share how your prayers are being answered. To some of our close friends and family the information in this blog will be a surprise (no it is not a baby or an adoption).
A year ago this month our family made the move from Lansing, Michigan to beautiful Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This was not a move that came out of the blue. No, for a couple years God had been working on our family preparing us for a change. We knew he was getting us ready for a big change, and we waited and anticipated it. An opportunity came for Jeremy to apply for a leadership position in the company he worked for, Alro Steel. He figured even if he didn't get the position that it would give him an opportunity to hear from those above him what he needed to do to prepare for such a role in the company. It was a long shot for him to get such a position. But, God had other plans and Jer was offered the job. We saw God clearly directing our path to move to Pennsylvania. So, we moved out in faith. God made an awesome thing happen in providing us with a home and a wonderful church family all in the same week. Jeremy had come to Pennsylvania to start his job and to find us a home. Each Sunday he would attend a different church to see if he could find a church family for us. Week after week he didn’t find us a home or a church. Then one Sunday he felt called to look across the river (he had been looking in York, where he works). So, he found a church online and liked the preaching he heard (a message by Pastor Jerry), and decided to try it out. He felt a peace right away and called me afterward to tell me he thought he found a church family. The very next day, he received a call from the pastor and they talked about our housing need. The pastor knew of an elder who need to rent out his home, and asked if he could give Jeremy's number to him, in a matter of minutes the elder called and made plans for looking at the house and the next thing you know we are moving in.
What a beautiful story right. Well, here is where the story takes a turn. Jeremy resigned from his position and has asked to be given an opportunity to stay with the company in a different role. For those of you who didn't know this, sorry for the shock. What does this mean? Well, this year has been the most difficult, amazing, challenging, awesome, maturing, bonding, maddening, joyous, frustrating, and miraculous in our nineteen years of marriage. So, I'll start at the beginning. When Jeremy decided to apply for the position of plant superintendent. We both new that it would be a major commitment, especially at first. We knew that this being a new plant it would take time, energy, and God for Jeremy to come in and bring in the Alro company mentality. He knew he would have to do a lot of traing, and give a ton of training to others. He knew he would need to be gone often. I knew it too. But, we prayed and sought God and felt it would be worth it. One reason being that Jer knew once he got his plant running the Alro way it would allow him a little more flexibility in the long run. So we made a one year commitment of him giving his full time and attention to the company. This was huge, because Jeremy's always been a keep work at work and home at home kind of guy. But, I was excited for him and he was excited to see how God would use him and grow him in this situation.
So, we went into it committed together. Thank God he gave us the wisdom to make that plan or I am not sure our marriage would have survived it. When the kids and I arrived in PA. I was suffering from baby blues (I had just given birth to baby Anna), and all the moving prep had put my back out again. So, I was feeling pretty poorly. To make matters worse the kids (who are very friendly and outgoing) couldn't find any friends or neighbors to connect with. We were all quickly becoming discouraged, but wanting to be an encouragement to Jeremy when he was able to be home. The problem was we never knew when he would be home.
He was working at least twelve hours a day six days a week. Sometimes working days and sometimes working nights. He was working to get the shop in order and to train others, and to learn his role. He was leaning hard on the Lord and learning to trust in Him in ways he never had to in the past. Jer has been blessed with the ability to learn quickly and to apply what he has learned effectively. Often in past jobs he has excelled with little effort. This was not the case in this new position. He love the challenge, he loved the need to depend on God, he loved growing and maturing in new areas. It was a whole new season of life, he had never experienced before. But, even though he loved it, he hated the sacrifice of his time with his family. He knew his first calling was to raise kids for God's kingdom. He didn't like that he never saw them, or me. But, he pressed on.
At the same time, the kids and I started a new school year in a state with home school laws. This was overwhelming to me. So, instead of first seeking the Lord and his plan (and not wanting to bother Jer) I made my own plans. This plan was lots of school curriculum and books that we hadn't used in the past. This plan was a complete failure. So, as the fall term started coming to an end I started praying and seeking Godly counsel from Jer and others. God called me back to the basics.
In all these trying times one amazing thing was going on. God was everywhere. The kids were seeking God on their own. The church (New Song Fellowship) was so full of great teaching and Godly wisdom from the pulpit, classes, children's programs, teen programs, small group, and evangelists (Jimmy DeYoung played a huge role in our decision to go back to the Bible basics), and retreats (both marriage and youth). In the absence of my home school peers from Michigan, I began seeking new peers. An unexpected thing happened in that I found those new peers online, not here in PA. These peers became huge influences in our families life. God was surrounding us and he was taking us on a journey that leads straight to him.
About six months into this new job, Jeremy starts praying and reading his Bible like he never has before. It is a change that holds him steady through the rough days at work. As he seeks God's will for him in his whole life, work, community, family, church, etc. He continues to hear the same message over and over. It is time for you to lead your family. You need to be a good manager of your home. You need to learn from this job situation that without good leadership there is no true success. True success is being completely in the will of the Lord. Even though he hears this message he isn't sure how God wants him to apply it. So, he continues to seek the Lord, work the long hours, and try and manage his home too.
I am amazed at him. I am so proud of all the hard work he is putting in and the desire he has to make sure he stays connected to me. We talk, we pray, we struggle, we press on.
We fall in love with New Song Fellowship, we start to love Lancaster and see ourselves and the kids staying long term. The kids start making friends and finding ministries to serve in. We begin making plans to get more involved.
Then Jeremy starts coming home exhausted and defeated. He starts realizing he can't on his own bring the Alro way to this plant, and he isn't sure he knows what to do to be an encouragement to his boss, his co-workers, and his employees. But, he get's excited to head off to a leadership training. He had continued to seek the Lord for direction, and had been spending extra time specifically asking God to show him what to do about his job situation. When he arrived at the leadership training he instantly began to be encouraged. He was reminded that he worked for a good company, and that they wanted to have their employees be successful. One of the speakers continued to say that it was alro's desire that their employees succeed and especially those in leadership. He went on to say that a true leader recognized the season of life he is in and adjusted to it. Furthermore, he said that alro didn't want their leaders to stay in a position that wasn't working for that season of life they were in. That they wanted to hear from their employees and help them succeed. Jer heard those words and a peace came over him. He went from that training and began praying fervently that God would give him the words to say and let the company know he needed to step down from his position. He called me on his drive home, and I began praying with him. After he got him, we prayed together. There was a peace that we knew was from God. Jer would let them know he wanted to step down, but stay with the company. We knew that in this decision he could be let go and/or we would have to move again. We knew that he could not stay in this plant if they accepted his resignation. Jer gave his notice that very week, serving his superiors a letter of intent. The Lord went before him, and the letter was accepted and the men spoke words of praise over him. They asked that he continue in his current position and not tell others what was going on while they sought his replacement and an opportunity for him in the company. This was on May 20th. Since that time we have had many trials as we wait for the company to make the next move.
Jeremy's job continues to demand a great deal from him, and this past month his grandmother (in Indiana) suffered a serious stroke that ended in taking her home to the Lord after a month of struggle. These along with other family life struggles continue to press on us, but we continue to place our trust in the Lord.
During this year God has been ever faithfully drawing us to himself, and growing us together as husband and wife, and as a family. Today, we were given the news that in two weeks they will be presenting Jeremy with an opportunity. And now to the reason for this lengthy blog. We need your prayers to continue.
Here are our requests:
Pray with us that:
Jeremy can continue to work in his continued position for as long as God needs him to, and that he will work to bring God alone glory.
When Alro makes their offer Jer will know without a doubt if he should take it.
If it is time for Jeremy to walk away from Alro, that there will be a clear direction that we should go in, and that God's peace would abound.
When it does come time to move (we know that no matter what this time in PA is over, it the one thing we both agree on) that it we will know where, that we will find housing, and that the kids will be able to make a smooth transition.
Praise God with us:
That he gave us this year, it has been so exciting and wonderful to see God in the lives of the people here. This area is so rich with God's presence and we are so glad to have experienced it.
Perseverance really does bring growth.
These verses have been our strength this year. We hope they will encourage you too.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
“(1)Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, (2)through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (3)Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; (4)perseverance, character; and character, hope. (5)And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
(22)Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. (23)Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. (24)Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! (25)Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (26)Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
(27)“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. (28)If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! (29)And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. (30)For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. (31)But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. – Luke 12:22-31 (NIV)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)