Dear LWML MN South Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Praise be to God for His steadfast love and faithfulness! As the summer winds down and the school year awaits on the horizon, there are many things that consume our lives and econ our attention and resources. The weight of it all can be overwhelming, and we often find it hard to move on when the stress of “the check list” is too great. I pray that this letter finds you all resting in the promises of God in His Word, and clinging to the cross in everything you do.
Have I mentioned that life can be busy? It sure has been for Kari and I in the last month. We have been tremendously blessed to have visited a lot of our family in both MN and NE, witness several weddings of good friends (one more coming this weekend!), help my parents pack for their move to Waconia, MN, preach at a couple of services, spend some much-needed time fishing, and catch up with many dear friends. While we have been home on campus between our trips, I have stayed busy with work and Kari just started working in her pre-school classroom at Immanuel, Wentzville! Several woodworking, gardening, and fixing projects, as well as reading and the occasional nap, have occupied the moments and hours in between. With the school year quickly approaching, there is much to get ready and to be excited for also!
We ask that you would keep Kari and I in your prayers, as we go day-by-day with adjusting to our new life together as student and teacher, husband and wife. One of the most challenging yet rewarding things we have encountered so far in our marriage has been learning how to do “the unknown.” This has included switching titles for a vehicle, diagnosing issues with said vehicle, trying new recipes, juggling work schedules, or how to properly clean and care for something. While we are thankful that we go through these things together and build each other up in the midst of them, we do rely heavily on God’s grace and forgiveness. Life may seem to be chaotic and a mess at times, but we know that these struggles in life are only temporary compared to the grand bill of God’s eternal love and life in Christ.
One of the first places that I look in a moment of stress and over-burden is the book of Psalms. Here, in this book, King David and other have recorded verses upon verses of profound wisdom and insight, as well as honest prayers to God of the various struggles and joys alike that life can bring. One of the Psalms in particular that I go to is Psalm 121. Verse 1 begins with these timeless words: “I lift my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and earth” (ESV). Hills, or mountains, are often referred to in two different ways. When we think of a hill or a mountain figuratively we immediately think of a struggle or burden that is just too great for us to bear. We become frightened, stressed, and anxious that there is no foreseeable way for the mountain to fall off from our shoulders.
However, the Psalmist here is talking of the hills as strength and power. The psalmist is observing the grand beauty of the hills and acknowledges that God indeed made them, the earth and the heavens, and everything in them. The same God who made all of this is the one who comes down into our lives and hearts. While the Psalmist does not say that we will never face trials or tribulations or mountains in our lives when God is with us, he does show us that we are not to be afraid or worry. God’s power and strength is our help in the valley and moments of our weakness. He is stable when we are weak, sleepless when we are tired, protector when we are in danger. He even sent Immanuel (“God among us”) to suffer and die in our place, so that we may have new life and strength in Him.
Thank you for your continued prayers, support, and love. Kari and I are truly blessed by you all. Today, I leave you with these words of Psalm 121:8, as you face the crazy and messy moments in your life: “The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and forevermore.”
Thank you all, again, for all of our prayer and support. Kari and I are blessed to be uplifted and supported by you, the LWML.
God’s Blessings and Peace