Thursday, December 19, 2013

Angels, Dreams, IMMANUEL

Matthew 1:23 quotes the prophet Isaiah, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel".

Immanuel - God with us, also a message communicating Gods guiding and helping someone fulfill their calling. One of the gifts 2013 gave our family was the picture of God's faithful work in our son's life guiding and helping him fulfill his calling.

May 2003. Our family gathered at Covenant Theological Seminary to celebrate Jeff's graduation. We were proud of our son earning his Master's of Divinity degree. We were even more proud of his heart to serve God in the local church. That weekend we also met Aubrey - his future wife. It was a very special time.

July 2013. Ten years later once again we gathered to celebrate. This time, New Life Burbank, a PCA church in California, was the setting. Jeff's was ordained to pulpit ministry. Bill, Jeff's dad, and a PCA ruling elder, gave the charge to Jeff.

(Both times, thankfully, my purse held a healthy supply of tissues.)

Ten years of waiting and praying for ordination. Ten years of experiencing Immanuel and his faithful work guiding and helping in ways not expected, and perfectly orchestrated.

Naomi, now 1; Judah 3.5 years
Those ten years were full. Jeff and Aubrey married and started a family. While Aubrey attended medical school, Jeff worked at a bank in a poorer section of Charleston, SC. His stories kept us entertained and stocked his sermon illustration file.

God unlocked two wonderful opportunities for interim pastor positions. Jeff led, preached, and faithfully shepherded those congregations. Dr. Aubrey's gifts of reaching out to the women in the congregation complemented Jeff well. Those years were God's training ground for California.

During that time, Jeff earned a second masters degree, Master's of Theology, and graduated with honors from Erskine Theological Seminary. 

Experience piled up. His pastor's heart grew and expanded. Together they learned ministry. Persistence blessed. All the time Immanuel was faithfully guiding and helping.

During those years of waiting and praying, we all experienced Immanuel, God with us.

Immanuel cloaked in faithfulness blessed with a loving and supportive family.

Immanuel cloaked in faithfulness abundantly provided for their needs.

Immanuel cloaked in faithfulness guiding them with each new opportunity.

Immanuel cloaked in faithfulness kept and preserved.

Immanuel - God with us in the waiting preparing Jeff and Aubrey for New Life Burbank.

Immanuel takes on deeper meaning for our family this Christmas. What about you? How have you experienced Immanuel during this past year?

"He who called you is faithful; he will surely do it."
I Thessalonians 5:24, ESV

1 comment:

  1. I love this charge to consider the very particular ways God has been Immanuel in my life. There are so many. Thank you!