Archive for January, 2014

January 5th, 2014

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Tidbits from 2013

This last year has been a whirlwind of good and bad, difficult and wondrous, but through it all we have seen God working through us and through the people he has brought into our lives. We are blessed beyond measure; it is good to remember that. Here are a few highlights from 2013.

Learning About Ourselves

We’ve both learned so much about ourselves this year. Dani has learned to choose joy, peace, and truth in the midst of her circumstances. She’s realized that God uses her deep emotions to speak to her and minister to others. Israel is discovering more and more about who he is and what’s important to him—relationships. He is a peacemaker who longs to see other excelling in all areas. After years of wondering, we finally know that he’s an INFP on the Myers-Briggs personality assessment. Dani was very excited about this little discovery!

LOTR-Personality-Chart4

Guess who Israel is, Frodo! Dani is an INFJ.

INFP Strengths

INFP Strengths

INFP Stressors

INFP Stressors

Relational Blessings

2013 was a year of relational intensity. We were privileged to invest in students in much deeper ways. It was exhausting, challenging and often heart-wrenching, but so very meaningful and special to us. We would love to share specifics with you, but these stories aren’t ours to tell. Let us assure you, though, God has been at work. We don’t know the end of any of these stories, but we know that God is still wooing and working, both in our lives and the lives of our students. We also spent some much needed low-key time with both of our families. We found these visits to be healing, encouraging and delightful. In our marriage, we’ve experienced deeper intimacy and greater joy. We love being married to each other!!


On Our Minds for 2014

Dani

Dani turned 30! This is eight-year-old Dani, not 30-year-old Dani.

30th Birthdays!

Dani turned 30 yesterday, January 4th. You can read her thoughts on this milestone here. Israel will turn 30 in July. We’re excited about what this new decade will bring!

The Future

We are praying about what the future holds for us. We have another school year at BFA and then need to leave for a year of home assignment. Please join us in praying for direction about the future. Should we relocate with TeachBeyond? Return to BFA? Pursue fertility treatments or adoption?

Jernigan Family Growth

Very soon, Israel will be an uncle, three times! Our first nephew was born in August, and we’re expecting a niece in March and a third baby in May. We plan to spend Christmas 2014 with the Jernigans; that’s about 20 people!

Blessings for You

This year, may you know the nearness of Christ. May healing and peace be in abundance whenever you need it. May you see the extravagant goodness of God and recognize his many blessings to you. May you remember the grace of Christ each day. 


Ponderings from Israel

I feel challenged to bring family closer, and make life more life-ier. (Yep, I can make that a word.) There is never enough time to learn, to belong, to wonder, to be together. Being with family isn’t always easy, and living life is hard. Despite the differences and challenges, I am drawn to bring people close to myself and my life. I want to live alongside people with who I am willing to give of my life. Jesus gave of his life, not for his life. An abundant life isn’t one of finding the right job, or of getting what I deserve. It’s not about learning something new, or making my wife happy, although those are both good things to strive towards. Right now, it’s about loving those around me like I want to be loved. I am not perfect, nor saying that I am good at this endeavor, but I want to risk it all to be able to be closer to my family and live life life-ier. So hopefully in 2014, I can give more of myself instead of for myself. There’s enough pain to go around, but peace, kindness, love, grace, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control? These things are lacking, and are always in want. These things are what our lives are supposed to be about, what I want to give to those I love. I hope you are willing to give more of yourself too. Be life-ier! Be closer to those you love!

January 5th, 2014

Thoughts on Turning 30

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Yesterday, was my birthday. I turned 30.

30. That’s a big one for me. Once, it felt like a curse. Now, it feels like a new beginning.

My 20s were full of struggle. I was often dissatisfied, fighting against the things that were, always longing for something else. But I also learned who I am, who God is, and what life is about. I discovered how deeply I feel things, and that such strong emotion can be good for myself and others. I discovered how strongly I love, and how important it is that I be in intentional relationships. I discovered the darkness of my own heart, but also the great light of God’s grace. I know now that my life isn’t about me, that my job is to love God and love others, not myself.

I’ve realized that I am responsible for myself. I often have no control over my circumstances, I’m not meant to; the only thing I have some control over is myself. I am responsible for the state of my heart. I can choose to believe the truth or live from a lie. I can choose to rejoice with others or curse their blessings. I can choose to blame others for what I lack, for the way I am, or I can release the hurts and mistakes, and trust God to redeem, complete and heal the places that are empty and broken.

I would never have planned for my life to look like it does today, but now that I’m here, I wouldn’t trade it. It is all too good, too valuable. As I’ve let go of what I thought my life should be, I’ve been able to glimpse the goodness of what is, the hope of what could be because of what is. The past year has been about recognizing the many gifts I’ve been given, and choosing to be grateful and satisfied, instead of demanding different gifts. I’ve realized that my life is not empty and barren; it if full of love and life. I have an amazing husband, a loving family, heart-friends, and so many beloved students that it overwhelms me. Over the past year, I learned to rejoice in the things I have, rather than gazing at the things I don’t have. In all the things I lost, I gained Christ, who is more valuable than any thing or person I could ever have.

30 feels like a brand new chapter. Not a new book, but the continuation of a beautiful journey. Who knows what the next decade holds? I am the least afraid I have ever been. I am the most excited, the most expectant. I am excited to live in what I know to be true, no longer content with half-truths and false comforts. I am excited to know myself better, and to make myself, faults and all, available to God. 30 once looked tarnished by all of the things I didn’t have, but it now looks bright with promise. God is with me. He is very near. He will never leave me, no matter where I go. He is the most valuable thing. I see that now.

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. […] You make me know the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Pslam 16:5-6; 16

I’m glad to be entering my 30s from this place.