Family Posts

Life, Death, and Dogs

We said goodbye to our dog of seventeen years this week. Getting a dog was one of the first ‘grown up’ things we did as a married couple. I couldn’t have imagined she’d live to be that old and that we’d share so much of our life with her. We got Chloe before we even had kids and now we suddenly feel the missing piece.

Admittedly, I was a bit surprised by how much her death wrecked me. I’m not necessarily a dog person. Especially once we had a kid (and then four more), our dog seemed to be further down the priority scale. Yet her death put many years of connection into perspective for me. The dog who never showed aggression toward any of our kids, despite the sometimes rough play with her. The dog who walked neighborhoods with me at night as I listened to audiobooks (and went through the Harry Potter series in two different states). The dog who was constantly walking around our house so that the sound of her nails on our floor was the soundtrack of our lives.

Chloe had dramatically reduced eating her food and had become somewhat of a skeleton. Her hearing went out long before that. Most recently, she stopped being able to climb our stairs and then struggled to even make the half step up into our house from the backyard. Her breathing was labored and we often felt pity for what she must be going through. She had a heart murmur and was developing cystlike growths. We started talking about the fact that she would die soon so that our kids could begin processing it. They started asking us—and others who came over to our house—if they’d see her again in Heaven (my answer is yes).

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Family Update

Family Update

It is with mixed emotions that we announce our family is moving to Arizona. First, let me address the sad emotions. We are leaving a dream of something we expected to invest decades of our life developing. We are leaving a community we love. And we are leaving a state that has forever captured my heart with its amazing weather, landscape, and culture. We didn’t move to Oregon to live here for only three years. And we have had to grieve that reality. (Sidenote: Michelle and I are about to spend a week with a counselor to process through all of this. I share this to counteract the stigma often associated with getting help from a professional if you need it).

I’m a big fan of theology, so I’ll unpack how I make sense of this experience. I don’t think the way things played out in all of this was God’s ‘plan A.’ Free will is real, and often human decisions can alter what God may desire to happen. This should be expected when God is non-coercive love itself. But thankfully, Jesus isn’t a one-plan type of God. In fact, He’s really good with ‘plan B,’ (and plan C, D, E, etc). That doesn’t make a ‘plan B’ moment any less sad or disappointing when it happens, it just means we need not give in to despair or throw in the towel when we find ourselves in this situation. Jesus pivots and invites us to trust Him with something new.

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Enter the New Country

I woke up in Oregon today. This has happened before, but this time I’m not visiting.

Last weekend we officially said our goodbyes and got in a car to drive away. It was gut-wrenching. I’m not good in these types of situations and this one was as overwhelming as anything I’ve ever done. In the video above you can watch our formal send-off in the services (watch from the 3:33 to 13:07 mark). It even includes a video the staff made that gets to me every time.

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The Jernigans are Moving!

The Jernigans are Moving!

Back in March I wrote about our realization that God was calling my family to a new season of ministry (see: Big News for Our Family). You might recall that while I sensed God nudging us forward, I had no idea yet of where that might lead us. I’m beyond stoked to have that next detail to share now!

Beginning in August, I will serve as the Lead Pastor of Abundant Life Church. ALC has three campuses outside of Portland, Oregon. I have the incredible opportunity to become just the second Lead Pastor of the church in its three decades. Pastor George Powell and his wife Ann planted the church twenty-eight years ago and have sensed God leading them into a new season in their lives. God has given Michelle and me a great love and heart for Portland and we look forward to serving these communities with a new church family. One of the things that Pastor George shared recently describes how we have all felt through this process:

“What I’ve discovered in this process is what I have always felt would be true . . . that when the time came that Ann and I felt we should pass the baton of leadership, God would have been working way upstream of us preparing the couple that He has raised up for this ministry.”

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Big News for Our Family

Big News for Our Family

This upcoming May will be my twelfth anniversary of being on staff at Central. It has been an unbelievable journey for me and my family. When I started on staff I was finishing up my undergrad degree and was about to get married. I began as a fifteen-month intern and had no idea how long I’d be on staff here. Now we have five kids and we’ve been married more than eleven years. And now we also feel God is leading us to a new opportunity for the next season of ministry.

I realize this likely comes as a shock to many of you. I know it did to me. Yet I’ve felt God moving in my heart and it has been repeatedly confirmed in Michelle as well. We sense God nudging us away from the safety of what we know and love in order to experience a new chapter in our lives. And here’s the crazy part… we don’t know where that is yet!

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Stop “Shoulding” Yourself

Stop “Shoulding” Yourself

My wife and I are both type-A perfectionists. However, we both work full time and we are neck deep in raising five young kids. This means our desire for doing things perfectly clashes abruptly against the daily challenges we attempt to tackle. I bet you can relate. I noticed something this week in the words that we use to one another. We constantly talk about what we “should have” done differently.

As in, now that we’ve seen how this turns out, we should have done it a different way.

As in, let’s try harder to do it better next time.

As in, we failed in perfectly planning this.

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