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  • Jennifer Longstaff

Delighted in the Lord



GRAYLING – Twenty-one years ago, I gave my life to the Lord. God had been working on my heart for six months since the first time I had stepped into a church. It can take that long when you are taught your whole life the opposite of the gospel of Jesus Christ.


I had a wonderful upbringing with parents who loved me dearly and took great care of me. But sadly, the name of Jesus was not present or even welcome in our home.


In the months following my radical life change, I had two people speak the same verse over me. I will never forget the feeling of awe that I had that second time. One was at our church, and one was at a visiting women’s conference. This was no coincidence since I hadn’t shared it with anyone. God had a word specifically for me. It was 


Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”


I can imagine that most of our desires are similar as born-again believers: to see the lost saved, to love our families well, and to enjoy the short time God has given us on this beautiful earth.


It is humbling to be used by God when you feel so imperfect, so lacking. Do most of us not mess up every single day? But God is there to pick up the pieces and to use even our weakness to draw others to Him.


This summer our family experienced many extreme life changes. Our beautiful firstborn daughter began her college career in Alabama, we moved from Gaylord to Grayling, and I resigned my career to devote more time to family and ministry. Within a month of the move, my father-in-law was diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer. We purchased a home and did extensive remodeling, which took about two months.


We moved into our new home in early November, and hence the holidays felt quite odd as we processed all the changes, with the underlying possibility that this would be our last Christmas with the patriarch of the family.


To say that we have been a bit overwhelmed may be an understatement! But God.


Through it all, God has been our rock. It was clear that He wanted us to live closer to our church family and to my in-laws. The church had been steadily growing since we were called almost seven years ago, but in the last year we are bursting at the seams.


This summer/fall has been an intense time of nonstop ministry and strengthening of the body of believers. The building campaign that we began four years ago is getting close to coming to fruition. God is moving at Grayling Baptist Church.


I can tell you that where I am at right now (in a worldly sense) is not where I would have pictured myself a year ago. Every change that has occurred recently has been emotionally taxing. Finding a balance in personal time with God, family, work, ministry, and the household has always been a struggle for me, and now even more so.


We have five children, and as my youngest is now nine years old, the tasks and time with them look very different than they did in the days of constant feeding and diapering. Now it looks like juggling after school sports and activities, monitoring friends and entertainment, and being available at the drop of a hat when they need to talk. I know the next stage of empty nesting/grandparenting will be different as well.


It is so important to take delight in each stage of life that we have been given. So that when we look back on our lives we can know that we did our best with the time God has given us. When our desires for our lives align with God’s, there is no end to the possibilities!


 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer and her husband, David have been married for almost 20 years and have five children ranging from 9 years old to 18. They planted several churches in the U.P. and one in Texas and have been ministering to their flock at Grayling Baptist Church for seven years.




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