I am Janice.
A simple little Mennonite girl raised on a farm with a passion for the written word. I fell in love with Jesus at an early age and can barely remember when I didn’t want to tell others about him. My first grade classmates can attest to this fact.
Yet ministry didn’t come easily to me. There is a steady and deep trail behind me where my dragging feet have left their mark. I didn’t marry a preacher, but he became one. At the age of 30, the love of my life felt the call to ministry.
I balked. Jesus spoke. I surrendered. And here I am.
With 5 small children, and the statistics against preacher’s kids, I was uninterested in sacrificing my family on the altar of ministry. I preferred to serve from the sidelines. But as I succumbed to God’s deep call on my own life, I simply asked, “Lord, wherever you send me, please help me to like it.” And He has. In spades.
Along the way, I spent 20 years as a stay-at-home mom, another nine years earning a Ph.D., a solid decade teaching at the university; all while ministering and serving as a pastor’s wife.
I have learned that I thrive when I am reaching others with the message of the kingdom through a variety of ways. These are my favorites.
~ writing: I love the written word. It is powerful. Sometimes it feels like someone else is typing and the text is not my own. Those are the best days. I often fear that I have gotten in the way of what Jesus wants to say. It sometimes takes a lot of courage and trust to push send.
~ teaching: I learned late in life that I absolutely love teaching a captive and well-caffeinated audience. There is nothing like the face of someone who grasps a concept I am attempting to communicate. But as much as I have loved academia, teaching about Jesus trumps it all.
~ conversation: Start one. Pretend you are in my kitchen and I am rolling out dough as we chat. My best conversations have happened there, with my son’s football buddies, my college girls, or a couple in distress over the stuff of life. I am invigorated by great conversations. I am absolutely unafraid of people who are unlike me, which are apparently the majority of the population. I happily avoid foolish controversies but love a conversation that pushes me to process deeply how my love for Jesus should be expressed.
~ hospitality: Oh, how I enjoy a party at my house. I will invite you in for anything, a dinner party, a mooching meal for fifty college students, a lazy family BBQ, coffee anytime of the day, or homemade lemonade on my back deck. The door is always open. This is where Jesus met people. I hope they meet him at my house.
~ marriage: If I leave any earthly legacy it will be my marriage. I can’t even fully comprehend the deep affection that we have for each other, much less explain it, but it is extraordinary. I am the lucky one. He celebrates me daily, loves me fiercely, serves me loyally and leads me fearlessly. My devotion to this man comes second only to Jesus. Although the joy is ours, I have learned that one marriage can inspire others to love their mate more completely. I sincerely hope so.
~family: Parenting is hard and hasn’t always been my strongest suit. I often fear I am a little better at wifing than mothering. There are seriously so many more ways to mess up than to do right. Yet our five grown children and their expanding families have been our crowning joy. Quite simply, I can’t credit anyone but God with the extreme privilege we have had to watch our five children faithfully serving God beside us in ministry. No one deserves this. It just is. I am honored to call them mine.
All this to say, I am passionate about discipling others. Through any and all of these means, I hope to influence someone. If my musings bring anyone closer to Jesus, it will be worth every misspelled word.