Mothers’ Day and Judah’s Dedication

I was waiting to do this post until I had pictures to post with it. But we are having trouble with our pictures at the moment. I will add some soon.

I (Lori) had a very special Mothers’ Day. The night before we had some students over and they surprised me with a “Super-Mom” cake.  It was my first “red velvet” cake.  I felt very honored and loved by them. It is a privilege to be able to pour into younger women and have them also really engage with us in the midst of our day to day family life. They know I am not a perfect mom, but hopefully they see me live out love, servanthood and humility as I imperfectly teach my children, respect my husband, and love my whole family, walking in the light of God’s grace and forgiveness toward me.

The day of Mothers’ Day was very special too. In the afternoon, we went on a family bike ride downtown and had fun walking around, getting some special treats at the chocolate shop, and watching a street performer (hula hoop specialist) in Heritage Square – the kids were mesmerized and had a lot of fun.

In the morning, my youngest little one (Judah), already 22 months old, was dedicated at church.  It was a special time. We feel very blessed and encouraged by our church, and particularly Pastor Cole.  I had shared some thoughts and a verse we picked for Judah with him beforehand, and he encouraged us and prayed for Judah in a beautiful way.

A dedication is an interesting thing, because it is much more about the parents than the children. I see it as a promise to raise our children in the light of the Gospel, pointing them to Christ with our whole lives, and asking the church body to hold us accountable and help us as we walk in this journey of parenthood. 

Jeremiah and I long for each of our children to be missionaries at heart, no matter what they do in life. Our prayer is that the reality of the gospel would sink so deeply in their lives that they walk in grace while seeking to be holy and that they would know that nothing is greater or more satisfying than being part of spreading the Good News and the Kingdom of God to the ends of the earth. 

For some reason, we both have felt that Judah may be uniquely called toward the mission, however.  Before he was even born, I felt that I needed to release him to the Lord in a unique way, even to go to a dangerous place if he feels so called when he gets older.  It may or may not happen—God knows the plans he has for Judah—and we release him fully to God either way. But we picked a verse accordingly.  Our verse for Judah is Philippians 1:20-21. We pray that he would say of himself, as Paul did, that “it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Judah already has so much personality. He is a joy to be around. He shows passion and focus already—at this age, about throwing and kicking balls (he can literally play ball for hours), tackling his siblings with big hugs, and being outside.  He also loves reading—how could he not with the siblings he has.  He makes us laugh all the time, and is picking up new words every day. We praise God for the privilege of raising this little boy.

 

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Sending off Sara

So one of the hard parts about college ministry is you have to say goodbye to students that you have worked with for 4 years. This year we said good bye to one such student – Sara. She was with us when we were doing Lifelines and the past two years with Cru. God has done such a move in her life. She went from a freshman who never said anything in Bible study and who didn’t know how to have authentic relationships to a woman entering the Army with a desire to make an impact for Christ wherever she goes (praise the Lord!). Sara has also been special to us because of the way she has been so involved with our family–she has spent significant time with us and our kids love her very much. They are going to miss her tremendously.

This weekend we had the joy of spending the last couple days Sara had in Arizona with her before she headed off for her officer training in Virginia (taking a road trip out there with two of our other students).  It was a special time to just be together and encourage her with what we see in her as well as thank her for all she means to us.  She will be able to visit briefly in a few months before heading off to Korea, but this was her last days living in Flagstaff. We had some special meals together, went garage sale-ing for kids clothes (a Kepner favorite activity), and just hung out.  We praise God for her and trust that God will use her and direct her each step of the way in the coming years!

Finishing the semester

So this week is our last week with all the NAU students in Flagstaff. Next week is finals. We decided to make it a full week, and are having a sleepover for some students Friday, a fundraiser garage sale Saturday to raise funds for our students to go to Cru conferences next year (Thanks to all who donated items!), and then our end of the year BBQ and hang out Saturday afternoon/evening.  It will be fun!

We have also been enjoying meeting with the students we disciple and encouraging them with what we have seen in them this year and how they have grown.  We are challenging students to make a plan for their summers so as to not be passive about their walk with the Lord during that time that can get away from us and can cause students in particular to fall into old unhealthy patterns spiritually. So you can be praying for them as many of them head home for the summer.  We could also use some prayers for some relational drama going on within our group. It is interesting how much Satan tries to pull things down that God is building up.  It is a good thing we know who is sovereign and who already has the ultimate victory!