Tent Making: Month 4

Back in October, I shared a progress report about Tripp's involvement our neighborhood church. We've been attending Rogers Park Community Church since 2008 and as of October 1st of 2013, Tripp took on the lead pastor repsonsibilities on an interim basis. I explained in that post that he would continue to work at his current job in Northbrook, IL and we would take this role as 'tent makers'.

On January 12, 2014, Tripp was voted in as Lead Pastor by the members of the church. In that meeting we shared about our positive and challenging experiences during the interim period. It was exciting to confirm with the church that God was indeed answering our prayers in this way and it was time to lead. 

So, how's it going? 

The greatest change for Tripp and I has been the shift in past responsibilities to new leadership. I've organized women's ministry for the past 5 years and have been overwhelmed by the attentiveness and strength of our new leader. At the end of the summer, before we knew our previous pastor would be moving on,  I had confirmed this new leader and her willingness to take over. Similarly, a volunteer approached Tripp to take over treasury responsibilities, which he'd been managing for the past 5+ years as well. These are just two examples of many where people in our church have actively pursued freeing up our volunteer responsibilities. Thankful beyond words for them. 

There is much to say about how people at RPCC have been God's helpful hands in our life. I hope in the coming years I can take time to tell you about these special individuals. 

Tripp is doing a good job preparing for and executing sermons. He aims to complete them by Friday night (or Saturday morning at 3am latest) and Saturdays are generally free. I am critical of the content and I can say without bias, I am learning and challenged by his teaching. I am privileged to watch from behind the scenes as messages are knit together from commentaries, experiences and ultimately God's merciful answers to prayer. We have a joke at home that 'Tripp knows stuff' and I can't tell you when exactly he learned it all. For example,  I don't remember him having very much to say in college when we were dating. So sometime in the last 12 years, Tripp undertook an intensive and successful theological exploration via books, sermons and friendship. We both agree that he learned to speak publicly at this church.

Finally, we're really encouraged right now by new faces at church. We hope this means reprieve for the volunteers who need support and more hands and ideas to help our neighborhood. 

How is your family doing?

I will be honest and tell you that our family time has it's good and bad days and we're settling into the new role as best we can. Raising toddlers is very, very challenging. We have a lot of sweet moments where the boys are enjoying mom & dad and we are enjoying them. We're crazy enough to hope to grow our family soon because life with David and Judah has been good for us all and we would love another one of them. 

Tripp and I both struggle with knowing how to manage intense emotions in ourselves and the boys. We've given good tries to consistent training & discipline methods but the false expectation to have thoroughly obedient children trips us up regularly. We find ourselves saying things like, 'D, you know that you can't ...' a lot and it's very discouraging when we're preparing for ministry events and feeling defeated in training our kids. 

I look at this scenario and think however, ministry or not, we would be here. We would be filling our home with people and taking the boys to events regardless of Tripp's lead role. Where does this bring us? Prayer. In order to really prioritize our family, we know we need to talk to God about them and ask for His help to know what to do. We see that this is a good place to be. We pray aloud with the boys as often as we can and David's prayers are pretty amusing and emotionally diffusing! Imagine having fought with a toddler to sit at the table for dinner only to have have him ask to pray and proceed to say, 'I pray for mommy and daddy, and I pray for Harper and Jana, and Sophie and I pray to watch a movie and I pray for Auntie Cheryle and I pray for Judah and David Grant... amen.' Yes, prayer is just what we need!

Practically, in order to manage feeling overwhelmed, I try to keep Mondays free of plans and refer to them as 'maintenance Mondays'. I've actually done this since I began working at home in 2011. I'm going to try to keep days where we have evening ministry plans free during the day. Working from home adds an additional facet to time management. I have babysitters two days a week, regardless of if I have a project or not has been very helpful. Tripp and I share housework duties so the days that the mess is overwhelming, we both clean in a frenzy. 

Thank you so much for reading this progress report.