Hey guys, it's Brooke! I am finally beginning to emerge from the newborn fog and feel like a real human again! This past month has been a busy one – settling into a new routine of caring for a newborn and a toddler has been a challenge but also a joy. I feel that Henry is at the perfect age and hasn't shown any signs of jealousy. He is completely in love with his sister – always kissing her, helping her, and talking about how cute she is. He also goes to a Mother's Day Out program twice a week which has been a tremendous help. He is so social as well, so he loves it.
This month hit us with the unexpected death of my Grandpa, so we traveled to Iowa for his funeral and to spend time with family. I was so thankful that we were able to be there. Henry also got to play with my cousin's kiddos, which are all around his age so he had a lot of fun. We have also been at the hospital with Jay's sweet Grandma, who fell and broke several bones. We are praising God that she is okay, although she has a long road to recovery.
This has also been an exciting month at Providence Road. I am continually amazed by the women I am surrounded by at our church. I have met and become friends with women who are walking through all sorts of hardships: some struggling with infertility, marriage stress, the loss of a child, and a young mom currently undergoing chemo for cancer. All of these women are quick to be open with the struggles they are facing or have faced and use their stories for the glory of Jesus. I know it is not easy for them and yet they continue to praise Him even when they do not understand why these things may be happening. These women are examples to me and I pray that when I face trials and suffering as they do, I will remain faithful. Last night, I gathered with several other moms from Prov Road. We will be meeting once a month to pray for our children.
Jay travelled to Kansas City a couple weeks ago with another one of the pastors from Prov Road. They attended an Acts 29 Conference with several other A29 pastors from the Midwest region. The picture below was taken at their conference held at Redeemer Kansas City. They had a good time and got to eat plenty of KC barbecue.
Things are moving forward with the church potentially moving into a new space. Contract negotiations have progressed and we've settled on a verbal agreement to lease a building in downtown Norman. Once the landlord approves of our architectural design plans, everything will become official! This is an exciting time in the life of the church. There are certainly unknowns (finances, time frame, unexpected obstacles), but we are moving forward in faith.
As always, thank you so much for continuing to support us on our journey. We haven't forgotten that we wouldn't be here without the generosity of those God has placed in our lives.
She's here! Most of you probably keep tabs on us through social media, but Eden Grace officially arrived on January 30. We are thrilled that she's healthy and growing (now, we just need to work on that sleeping part!).
So much has transpired since we last wrote in early January. The most exciting, of course, was Eden making her appearance. One of our biggest concerns was how Henry would respond to a new human being in our house – mostly demanding all of Mommy and Daddy's attention. He still has his typical toddler moments, but for the most part he has been so helpful around the house. If he hears sister crying, he sprints to the nearest pacifier and tries to soothe her. If she needs a new diaper, he is right there helping to get a new one out so "his baby" isn't sad anymore. It's been a joy to watch him take on the role of big brother in stride. We are so, so proud of him.
Plenty has taken place at Providence Road in the past couple of months, too. We officially launched our new website. Go check it out – www.provroad.org! I spent a lot of time with the details in finishing it out, so it felt pretty great once it was finished. We also installed a second service back on January 22. It has been a remarkably smooth transition. I've learned a ton in the process... how to mobilize a new wave of volunteers, creating new positions, how to best communicate to a large group of people, and trusting God throughout it all – knowing that even if our best efforts fail, it will be okay.
We found out at the end of 2016 that the building we currently meet in won't be available to us long-term. We rent from a local church who has been so gracious to us, but they would like full access to that space again in the near future. As a result, we have spent a lot of time recently looking for new potential gathering spaces for Providence Road. After lots of prayer and discussions, the church put in an offer on a building yesterday morning – one that we would rent. We are excited about the potential of this space: the location, size, and opportunities to serve the city of Norman.
Here are the ways in which you can pray for us in the days and weeks ahead:
Without further ado, here are a bunch of baby pictures – which is probably all you wanted to see anyways! I've also added one of Henry playing on his new play set, a gift that was given to us from my aunt and uncle.
We love you guys! Thanks for your continued prayer and support for us.
Happy New Year, friends! Thinking back on 2016, we have much to be thankful for. This holiday season was a reminder to us again of God’s faithfulness. We took a break from our normal routine, probably a lot like many of you, and spent quite a bit of time with family. Henry got to meet some new cousins, see lots of Christmas lights, and open a few presents.
I’m writing this from a hospital room here in Norman. This morning my grandpa (Vernon Henry Frymire) had knee replacement surgery, so Brooke, Henry, and I are keeping him company. It’s moments like this that we cherish so much, and a huge reason why we wanted to move back here. Henry’s bedtime is coming up and when they leave, I’ll test his skills at Skip-Bo. Don’t let the hospital bed fool you. He’s sneaky good at Skip-Bo. I’ll need to bring my A-game.
I know many of you are wondering, so I won’t delay any longer. Brooke is feeling well and the pregnancy is still going very smooth. The other day, she began having her first contractions. This afternoon, Brooke packed her bags so whenever Eden Grace is ready to meet us, we will be ready too! Her due date isn’t until January 28, so we’re hoping she keeps cooking for a few more weeks.
For the most part, we’ve just been getting Eden’s room ready and enjoying the last few naps we’ll have for quite some time. The same has been true for my responsibilities at the church, in a lot of ways. Things slowed down quite a bit with so many people traveling and students going home for Christmas break. As y’all know, they’ll pick back up pretty quick over the next couple of weeks. January 22 is a big day for us here at Providence Road – the day we launch our second service for the first time.
As often as you think about us, we’d love it if you would remember us in prayer. Here are a few ways you can do that:
This past month has been one of gratitude and grace. I (Brooke) have loved being a part of our Missional Community and were blessed to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with them plus many international students that attend the University of Oklahoma. We also had the opportunity to spend time with both of our families for Thanksgiving. Although we missed our Kentucky family that we spent several holidays with, we are so thankful to be near Henry's grandparents, aunts, and uncles and that he is getting to spend lots of time with them.
This past week was a little crazy around the Frymire household. Our sweet little Henry decided he was mad and that the only solution was to throw a toy firetruck at our TV. We are learning material things aren't of the utmost importance as things get broken weekly in our house but Jay and I decided it's time to bunker down and figure out the art of parenting a strong willed toddler. We are reading books and asking for advice as well as praying that God will use his strong and social personality to make him a great leader who loves people well as he continues to grow.
I also had a scare a few days ago and fell onto concrete, while holding Henry. Jesus protected my two babies well as my face took one for the team. Our daughter, Eden Grace, is moving lots, measuring well, and will be here sometime in the next 8 weeks. Being pregnant this time of year is an absolute joy to me, as I not only await her birth, but anticipate celebrating the birth of Jesus. This past weekend some girls from my MC threw a baby shower for her and although we have only been here about four months, the love our family has been shown from our new community is such a blessing to us.
As 2016 is coming to a close, we want to once again thank all of you who have supported us and prayed for us these past 4+ months. We love each of you and pray you take this Christmas season to dwell on Jesus.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only son from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
Like many of you all, I’m sure, I (Jay) just cannot believe it is already November. It feels like just a few days ago we were saying goodbye to friends in Kentucky and packing up our U-Haul. Now, we are over here making Thanksgiving and Christmas plans with family. How is that possible?
This month’s update, unlike past months, kind of snuck up on us. Life is getting busier, in a good way, and on a lot of levels. Several weeks ago I remember sitting in my Fight Club, which is a group of guys that I’m walking in accountability with as we seek to “fight” our sin together. We talk about work, family, sin struggles… all of life. At this particular meeting, I recall voicing a bit of discontentment in feeling like I didn’t have enough work on my plate, feeling that I could be used more. (Related question: Have you ever asked God in prayer to give you more patience? Did he just miraculously make you a patient person in an instant OR did he provide, let’s call them “opportunities,” for you to become more patient?) It’s safe to say that I no longer feel like I need more to be added to my plate.
We’ve got a lot of exciting things going on here at Providence Road. This past weekend, we hosted a church-wide tailgate after our Sunday gathering. If you follow Brooke or I on social media, you likely saw something about this event. It was a great time for the church family to come together and connect with friends. We had inflatables, corn hole, and lots of food. I was asked to run with the logistics for the event, so much of my time the past couple of weeks was designated to putting it together.
On top of that, we announced this past Sunday that on January 22 of the coming year, we will be launching a second service. Our space is tight in a lot of areas: kids, parking, and meeting space. For several reasons, our elders and leadership believe adding a service is best for the church. Again, this is super exciting, but we have lots of work to do so that we are prepared for January 22, 2017 and beyond. I’ll be overseeing a lot of the behind the scenes work to help us be prepared for that. Along with these things, we’re working on a new church website, recasting vision for the church, and discussing how we can refine our membership and leadership development across the board.
So, again, I no longer feel like I need more work added to my plate! That being said, I am pretty excited about the future here. One of things that energizes me in ministry is helping people to run in their lanes of gifting – finding out how God has gifted them and help them to use those gifts for His Kingdom. What is the role of a pastor/shepherd/overseer? “…To equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). So much of what I’m being asked to do here is just that – find out what talents and gifts people have and help equip/train them to serve in the “work of ministry” so that the entire body is built up. To me, there are few things more rewarding than seeing other Christians serve Jesus and His bride with joy, knowing that they are being used to help other people find freedom and joy in Him.
So many of you have prayed for Brenda, my step-mom, over that past year and a half. I received a call today stating that the cancer, though it is back, is now decreasing and that her current chemo treatments are working. I think we all have a love/hate relationship with chemo. Right now, we are thankful that it is working to decrease her cancer and we pray that it will all be gone soon.
As you can tell, Henry had a good time on his first trick-or-treating experience. Brooke and I had fun once he went to bed, digging through his loot! We aren’t the only ones, are we? We have good friends just up the street that we went with, and they have two little girls. As you’d expect, friendships are deepening with people here and we certainly feel “settled” into life in Norman. Henry has been enjoying his new big boy bed and room. More and more, this place feels like home. We’ve landed on a name for baby girl coming in January. Despite Henry’s best efforts, we won’t be calling her John. Stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll be sharing that with y’all soon.
As always, thank you for reading, thank you for praying, and thank you for supporting us in this journey. We love you all, much more than you know.
The highlight of September was finding out the gender of our sweet baby! I (Brooke) am now 22 weeks pregnant and have been keeping my lips sealed so that we could tell family first and then our amazing supporters and readers of this blog next. We had a few gender reveal parties with family and are so excited to announce that we are having a girl! Jay and I were pleasantly surprised, but equally excited. This pregnancy has felt much like my last and Jay's side of the family is loaded with boys, so that is what we were expecting. I, of course, love my intense and hyper and rough at times big and little boy, but I think the sweetness of a baby girl is just what our family needs!
This past month has been more difficult behavior-wise with Henry. He is becoming more and more strong willed and still adjusting to this move. He still talks about so many of his friends from Kentucky--especially his beloved "Bubba and JoJo." When I ask him about his friends in his class at church he often says names like "Owen and Siah." And sometimes he will only cleanup his toys if we show him pictures of "baby Mia." All this to say, please pray for my little guy to find some good friends to play with. We have met several new friends from church who have kiddos and Henry isn't shy to begin talking and playing with them--but he could for sure use prayer to find a few boys around his age to play with. I assumed he would adjust quickly to this move being that he is only two, but he is such a little extrovert with a great memory of Kentucky. I hope he never forgets the amazing people we did life with there, but learns to adjust to Norman soon as well as finding some little buddies.
We have been in Norman just over two months but it seems longer than that. Most mornings I wake up and am reminded of how faithful the Lord is in bringing us here. We are so thankful to be a part of Providence Road. I am so thankful for this sweet baby I am carrying. My first week here I got invited to a running group which has kept me accountable in continuing to exercise which has made me feel a lot better this pregnancy. We are so thankful for our MC (missional community), as we get to know them more. Jay and I are each involved in "fight clubs" which meet every other week in smaller groups of 3-4 people. We are able to open up about sin in our life as well as encourage and pray for one another. I have also just loved seeing Jay use his gifts of organization and detail within the context of Providence Road. God has placed in us all talents and abilities and it is so amazing to see what happens when they are used for Christ.
This has been a great few months, but of course, not everything is always sunshine and daisies. I have been adjusting to being a stay at home mom and it is definitely taking some time. I miss taking care of sick people--taking care of a toddler can be rough. Now that I am not working I finally understand the phrase "the days are long but the years are short." Whenever I was working part-time my days off were mostly a joy. I wanted to spend each moment with Henry that I could. But now I understand that days really can seem like they never end and it takes all the self-control in me not to text Jay to ask if he will be home soon or send him videos of Henry screaming on the floor. Through it all, I have learned that a busy schedule does not equal a better schedule. There is joy in slow days when all I have planned is coffee drinking, toy playing, and some Daniel Tiger. I know one day I will miss these days. So each day I remind myself it is such a gift to be able to soak up these days with Henry--especially before number two comes along. Please also continue to pray for Brenda. She started chemo again a few weeks ago and has felt incredibly sick everyday with no relief.
I know that we say this on almost every post but we are so thankful for all of our supporters. We haven't forgotten you all but are reminded daily how God used his people to bring us here! So, thanks!
This past month for us has been dedicated to establishing new rhythms and routines. Like a lot of things in life, we didn't know how much we loved a regular schedule and routine until we didn't have a schedule at all! I (Jay) have spent the past month in the office, getting to know the Prov Road team better and learning my new role on the team as well. At times I feel like I'm drinking from a fire hydrant, and at other times I feel like I've been here for years. Overall, it certainly feels like it's been a smooth transition. Prov Road is growing as a community of believers and it's an exciting time to be a part of what God is doing in and through this church.
A friend from Prov Road gave me his used hybrid bike. I put a little bit of money into it and I've been using it to commute to work. You can see it in the picture above, along with our rent house in the background. Oh yeah, and Henry on his bike!
A couple weeks after we moved here, Brooke was determined to begin potty training with Henry. So far, so good! We've had a few accidents, but he's picked it up very quickly. Not without bribery (handfuls of M&Ms) or inconveniences (going to the potty multiple times an hour), but we're moving in the right direction. Her pregnancy is going smooth and next month, she'll probably give an update on that. We find out gender soon.
One of the reasons we wanted to get back to Oklahoma was to spend more time with family. We've certainly done that! The past 3 weeks it feels like we've travelled to all corners of the state to see them. It's been good for us to get to build relationships with family we haven't spent a lot of time with the past 5-6 years. We're hopeful those relationships will only grow as we spend more and more time with them. Though we've been going, going, going lately, we've found some time to get away for us as well. Labor Day provided us the space to visit the OKC Zoo.
Prayer and Thanksgiving
We've got so much to be thankful for, even as we reflect on just a little over a month of being here in Oklahoma. One of the things we've been most thankful for has been the Missional Community that we've jumped into. In a season of not a whole lot of consistency at all, it has been something that we've already gotten connected to and can rely on for one of those weekly rhythms we long for. People within our MC regularly text us, encourage us, and invite us on mission with them. As I'm writing this, Brooke is making cookies for us to take to friends of ours in the MC to hang out tonight and I'm receiving messages about an outing we're planning to help build relationships with some international students at OU. We're looking forward to growing closer to those in our MC and serving Jesus and the people of Norman with them.
As often as you think of us, would you pray for us? Here are a few things we'd ask you to pray for:
We love you guys. Thanks for reading!
A little over 3 weeks ago, we were saying goodbye to our church family in Kentucky. July 10 was a milestone day for us, not because it was our last day at SVBC, but that afternoon we received confirmation that we were fully funded for ministry for the entire year AND we received a contract on our house in Elizabethtown. So much time and effort and planning went into making it happen, but that was a huge day for us.
Everything since then has been a blur. During that time, we flew Henry to Oklahoma to be with grandparents, celebrated our 5 year anniversary in Mexico, caught a rental car home from Chicago (to KY) with strangers because our flight was cancelled, loaded up all of our stuff in just a few hours, and finally made the trek out west to our new home in Norman, OK. Here are a few pictures from our whirlwind month...
This past Sunday was our first time to be with the people of Providence Road at their corporate worship gathering. In many ways, it felt like the official start to our time here in Norman. This past week we spent most of our time swimming through boxes, looking for things we know (maybe?) we packed, and learning more about Norman. People from Prov Road have been so welcoming... helping us unload the Uhaul (in 37 minutes!), bringing us food throughout the week, having us over for dinner, giving us tips about Norman, and consistently checking in on us to see how we're adjusting. We're convinced now more than ever that this is the place God has led us to for this season of ministry, and possibly much longer.
That's all for now. We'll be in touch next month!
Just to keep things interesting this blog post is coming to you from Brooke! I am here not to discuss details or logistics or anything too complicated. If you know Jay well or have read his previous posts, you know the Lord has gifted him in those ways, which is why I leave that stuff up to him. Anyways, I am just writing to give a general view about what is going on in our lives right now.
These past few months we have shared with the world the direction we believe God is leading our family. We have told people close to us we are moving halfway across the country. We have told family and friends in Oklahoma that we are coming back. We have had dozens of lunches, dinners, phone calls, and Skype meetings explaining our vision and our need for prayer and financial support. We have organized closets, hidden toys, and de-child proofed our house. We have even had the joy of cleaning those things that don’t really matter anymore once you have a kid—things like the microwave, the cracks behind the washer and dryer, the food stuck in the grout, and the milk spots that need to be scrubbed off the hardwood. As I type this, we are hosting an Open House and praying we find buyers quickly since we will be moving in a few weeks (and also because all this cleaning is making me lose my sanity with a toddler in tow).
We are also very excited that we will be welcoming our second child into the family this January, just a couple short weeks after Henry turns three. We have been praying and waiting for a child this past year and after many doctor’s appointments, a few ultrasounds, and one possible surgery, Jesus—in His great love—gave us the gift of a positive pregnancy test after a year of negative ones. I know that this pales in comparison to several friends of mine that have struggled with infertility for years with bravery and courage. But this past year I learned so much of how we think we have a plan for our lives and how Jesus lovingly proves us wrong. I sure am thankful I am not in the process of moving with a ginormous belly in the way. I am thankful that as Henry gets more active and ornery and goofy by the day, that I get to spend these next 6 months with him as we adjust to our new life in Norman before another change takes place. Most importantly, I am thankful for Romans 8:28—that he works all things together for the good of those who love him.
Before Jay and I plunged into the enormous task that is support raising, we read a few books about the subject that a few other support raisers have recommended. Or maybe I should say that Jay read a few books and I read a few pages (remember, it’s been a busy few months.) All that to say the pages I read discussed the honor and joy and blessing of raising support. Looking back, I remember thinking these people might be just a tad crazy finding joy in asking people for money. But now as we are at just over 90% of our goal in just about 45 days, I am overwhelmed by the love our community has for us and that, as the book phrased it, “God is giving to us through people.” What a great way to look at it—that God is actually the one giving to us as his people respond in obedience. Jay has also done an amazing job of being so organized and humble and intentional about finding a way to provide for our family this next year. There have been many times in this journey of asking those to pray for and support us where God has affirmed our calling of moving to Norman. We will have a smaller house, smaller paycheck—as I won’t be working, and will be serving in a smaller church. But we find so much joy and simplicity in this smallness. This whole process has humbled us beyond belief and shown us what it means to decrease so that Christ may increase in our lives.
This is our last full week in Kentucky, a state I never imagined I would ever live but a place that has grown close to my heart because of the beautiful rolling hills, amazing Autumn leaves, the sweet tea in full supply, and most importantly, the friendships we have made. This place has filled the first 5 years of our marriage where we bought our first little house with an amazing backyard and where Henry spent the first 2.5 years of his life. We are preparing our hearts for our next steps with excitement for our future, but also so much gratitude for the time we were called here. We will miss our old Kentucky home.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading, for supporting, for praying. Continue to pray that we raise the remainder of our support, that our house sells, and that cute little Henry will transition well to Oklahoma.
Thanks for reading!
As I have conversations with people about our move, one (often quick) response typically follows. “I’m so happy for you guys. I just knew you’d be moving on to bigger and better things before long.” What the secular/corporate world envisions as “bigger and better” as people leave for new opportunities is likely more money, more responsibilities, and more power.
Perhaps you can imagine the looks I receive from people when I tell them the details of our move. Instead of accepting a position as the Associate Pastor at “________ Baptist Church” I’ll be pursuing a Residency at a small church in the middle of Oklahoma, which will require us to raise all of our support. And we couldn’t be more excited!
Rather than telling you what we won’t be a part of, let me share with you what we will be a part of with Providence Road. In our conversations with them and in meeting their people, we fell in love with who they are and what they represent. Here are a few of those things.
Just after washing his disciples’ feet and mentioning Judas’ upcoming betrayal, Jesus looked to them and said this: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
While visiting, Brooke and I attended a Missional Community as well as another meeting that some of their leaders attended. At these gatherings, we met Christians who are meteorologists, optometrists, college students, and web designers. These are average, ordinary people.
But the conversations we had with them were far from average. It was clear to us that these people have a deep love for Jesus, for each other, and for their neighbors. It’s evident that these people are disciples of Jesus. We thought to ourselves that if these are the type of people that make up Prov Road, we want in.
Some young churches fail early on because of a lack of funding. There are church plants that never officially plant because they don’t have enough money. I had a conversation recently with a couple that is supporting another couple in their efforts to plant a church. They are now considering pulling out their support because there is no launch date in sight.
Because of this reality, it would be easy for young churches to do whatever it takes to become internally funded and self-sustaining. One thing that blew us away about Prov Road is their commitment to invest in the things that are important to them now, not in some distant future when they have more money. I didn’t expect them to already be supporting multiple church plants, funding adoptions within their church, and taking overseas mission trips. They may not even view these things as sacrifices early on in the life of their church. That’s just what they do and who they are.
During my time in ministry, I have seen churches roll out the red carpet for pastoral candidates, hoping that they will commit to join their staff. One thing that I especially appreciated about Prov Road is that they sought to show us what “normal” looks like in the life of their church.
After Missional Community, Brooke told me about a Fight Club that a few of their young women are a part of. Somewhat confused, I envisioned an underground boxing ring and a really nasty upcoming church lawsuit. Not to mention, they weren’t even supposed to be talking about Fight Club. Thankfully, this isn’t that type of Fight Club. Within a Missional Community, gender specific groups of three or so people meet weekly to intentionally meet together and fight against their sin.
More than anything, we believe we saw day in and day out, week in and week out faithfulness to King Jesus and a commitment to live obediently to him.
More than what we saw the people of Prov Road to be, we saw who they could become. We caught their vision of having Missional Communities all over the city of Norman and the greater OKC area. We got a taste of the role we could play in all of this. And at the end of the day, it just felt like we belonged with them.
We could totally be wrong. It’s absolutely possible that this marriage between Prov Road and us is a train wreck. Maybe there is something much larger and greater that God wants to teach us and it begins with failure. I don’t know exactly how our future will unfold. But I know this, I would rather follow Jesus off of the side of a cliff, trusting that he’ll catch our fall, than to wait at the top of the ledge and wonder why he isn’t using us to impact the Kingdom of Christ.
When we started this journey, we resolved to find a body of believers that, even if I were not on staff, we would still call them our family. If I didn’t have to be there to collect a paycheck, we would still want to be there because of who they are and what they represent. We believe that we have found that body of believers in Providence Road. There are questions unanswered and an unknown future out in front of us, but we are thrilled to partner with Prov Road over the next 12 months and see what God might do in and through us.