My Man and His Ordination

Elders and grandfather, father-in-law, and uncle laying hands on Danny to pray over him

Elders and grandfather, father-in-law, and uncle laying hands on Danny to pray over him  *photo taken by Trinity 🙂

Last week, after 3 years of intense seminary study and another year of ordination exam study, my incredibly hard-working husband, Danny Iverson, was ordained as an “official” Presbyterian Church of America pastor.

As he is now a fifth generation pastor (his dad, granddad, great-granddad, and great great granddad were all pastors), I would say that he was probably ordained to be a pastor, long before he “officially” became one.

And as I shared that evening during that powerful ordination service, he has truly lived as one long before the education and the thesis and those 8 hour ordination exams.

For those who have asked for a copy of this, I’m posting my words here….the ones I typed up prior to the ordination while my children ran crazy in the McDonald’s play place, so as to buy me some time to think straight. I’m no fool, you never let an emotional pregnant woman up in front of a microphone to talk about her husband, without having already written out, and already cried out, the thoughts and emotions that come with this monumental event….

Today, we look forward towards the ministry God is leading Danny into.  Danny is being ordained to be a preacher and minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But today, I want testify that far before his education, far before his correct answers for the ordination “grilling”, far before his memorization of the dates and events of the spreading of the Gospel in church history, he has been living that Gospel. 

I first became acquainted with Danny in college, where although five years ahead of me in his college education (yes, he managed to “cram” his undergrad degree into five years, not four), he had left a marked imprint on the life of the college ministry I was a part of.  Every godly young man leading some element of Campus Crusade for Christ, could be traced back to Danny’s discipleship in the lives of his peers and younger students. 
Danny and I fell in love shortly after his move to Newark, NJ where he was helping his grandfather “love the hell” out of broken kids and individuals who had known nothing but the darkness of the “hood” their whole lives. It was here that he traded in his sports car (the one that he had used to give me and his younger sister rides in college) for a minivan so that he could give more street kids rides places. Not many 26 year olds I knew did stuff like that. 
He let the poor, broken and marginalized that he moved amongst (and eventually WE moved amongst as a married couple) break him, drive Him to Jesus, and reveal the dark and broken places of his own heart. Those first years of marriage, I witnessed him over and over move towards those who stole from us, used up all our time, and constantly needed something from us.  He moved towards them not just with the Gospel message but with the Gospel lived out. He loved deeply, he loved radically, and He truly spent himself on behalf of the hungry and stood up for the needs of the oppressed, as Isaiah 58 speaks of.
Then God called us to go to seminary to become better equipped. This was a very rough transition, for we were moved away from a ministry where we could find an identity in what we DID for the Kingdom, rather than resting in what the King has done for us. This breaking was so good, for we were freed up to find our identity in who were WERE in the Kingdom.  Again, Danny did not just drown himself in books in the “ivory tower” of higher education, but started discipling some young teens whose father had recently passed away. He found younger students and poured his life into them.  We had international students and Muslim young men live with us, and Danny loved them well, all while working three jobs, one of which was pastoring a small English speaking flock at a Korean church, taking a full load of classes, and being a supportive husband and loving father to our ever growing family. (you know, those three years didn’t just produce a masters degree but also two more Iversons) The Gospel was not just a Scripture or doctrine he studied, but a way of life he lived out. He pressed into the Savior and pressed into people’s lives, allowing them to taste the goodness of that Savior through him. He lived the Gospel
And now since we have lived here in GA, I have witnessed him love our neighbors (even when being betrayed by them), love the people God has brought into our lives, all while continuing to study for ordination and learn from Perimeter Church. And most poignantly, in the past 6 months I have witnessed him utterly pour himself out unconditionally for a very exhausted, moody, dysfunctional wife growing his fourth son and sixth child in her womb.  I have watched him move towards the chaos of five kids who definitely sense that mommy is only half functioning.  He has foregone “relaxation time”, personal schedules, and even some work events to come to the rescue of a de-energized mother of five very energetic children. And he moves towards those children and wife with the same loving, discipling, and Gospel-preaching spirit that he preaches from the pulpit. He lives the Gospel in our home.
Although not perfect, this man is quick to confess sin, quick to repent at the foot of the cross and the foot of those sinned against, and he is quick to grasp hold of and stand upon this Gospel message for his own hope and security. So, although none of us are worthy to carry this sweet message of the Gospel into the lives of anyone, if there ever was a worthy man, this one is. He has tasted the sweetness of forgiveness, and the life-giving power of grace, and he is quick to not just proclaim it with his mouth, but to live it out with his very life. 
So as we embark on this next season of living for a Kingdom not our own, my only charge, Danny, would be to continue to live as you have lived. Continue to live a life of falling upon the grace of Jesus to save and empower. Continue to make your life, your gifts, and your abilities available to the Risen Lord Jesus, as He conducts His business and builds his Kingdom through an available vessel. Continue to live the Gospel, because it is the Savior we proclaim that empowers and sustains you.  I love you, Danny, and thank you for truly living the Gospel to me every single day.

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From the Mouths of Babes…Romance in the eyes of the little ones

When Danny and I were first married, we kissed at probably every stoplight…we called it red light romance.

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Now we can’t even kiss once in a blue moon at a stoplight without comments from the peanut gallery…the crew filling the back seats,

and most recently from our three year old, of all people.

We were headed to church and Danny and I kissed each other at a stoplight and we hear,

eeeeeewww, you’s kissin’ each uttewr! (“you are kissing each other!”)

and instead of turning around to see our eight year old who gets grossed out by kissing in Disney movies, we find our three year old, balking at our romance.

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One day, son, you will be extremely glad that your parents, after nearly ten years of marriage and 5.5 kids, still love each other… and still kiss at stoplights.

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When you declare who should be King…

I wake up wanting to be God. or at least king over my little world.

I wake up wanting my schedule to go according to my plan. I wake up wanting my children to behave perfectly and fall in line with that plan.  I wake up wanting no interruptions, no change of events, no extra people to feed or neighborhood kids filling my home and my ears with, “Miss Kimberly!!” (in addition to the already five children, screaming “Moooommmy!”. I wake up wanting to execute everything I had on the agenda in perfect timing, with no pesky pregnancy fatigue slowing me down.  I wake up declaring, “I want to rule!” “I want jurisdiction over my kingdom!”

And just wait for the wrath of this “rulership” if you make unexpected messes, or dare to eat peanut butter in the living room, against the “law of the land” (for of course, with the eating of the peanut butter comes a massive carpet clean up), or if you didn’t do your chores on time, thus slowing me down, or if your temper tantrum comes at the exact time that we were suppose to be loading in the car to head to school,….

This “lord” can throw some pretty intense temper tantrums herself. So,

“Fall in line! Bow to my rule!”

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There were some other people, too, that I read about recently, who also wanted to declare who would be king.  They didn’t want to have to wait and sit before the True Lord to get directives from Him.  They wanted to pick and choose and set up their own jurisdiction, just as I want to set up my own jurisdiction over my home and life and schedule.

“Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel and Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old….Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”  I Samuel 8:4

And when Samuel inquired of the Lord about it, God’s response to their demand cuts to the heart of the matter…and the heart of this mamma who wants to be king over her world.

…for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. ”  I Samuel 8:7 

they have rejected me from being king over them.

And with every irritated response I give to each interruption, I am declaring who is really king around here.  And every loud outburst at kids not doing what they are suppose to is showing who is really running this show.  And every lack of interest in my husband’s “world”, because I’m too consumed with trying to rule my own, I reveal that

I have rejected Lord Jehovah from being King over me.

I have nicely moved into the role.

But when humans try to play God, it comes with a price.

God warned the people, that if they chose a human king there would be consequences. Their sons and daughters would be forced into slave labor to serve that king.  The best of their resources would be swallowed up by that king. And worst of all,

“When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” I Samuel 8:18

For when we trust in false kings, we forfeit deliverance from the True One.

How much have I, for the sake of my own desire to rule, yielded up my children, yielded up the best of my moments with them, simply because I had wanted a physical king (me!!) ruling over this home, schedule, and life. I can’t be king, I cannot control, I cannot grasp so tightly every action, mess, and behavior….but nonetheless, I continue trying, and failing, which leads to lashing out in anger from this out-of-control attempt at usurping the Throne.

I lose my children in the process. I lose the best of these little years. For it brings utter ruination…crushing of little spirits, forfeiting of sweet moments, a loss of witness amongst my own kids, a spirit of anger and frustration in our home.

But praise God, there is a Savior, who holds this power-hungry mother in His grip of grace.  There is a Savior who cried out for relief, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!?!” in my place, dealing with the consequences of  my rejection of the true King.

And now, since He was the one not answered (on the cross)

I am the one who receives a “Yes!” and deliverance from my own oppressive ruie.

If I will just fall before that cross,

and repent of trying to be king,

and yield myself to the True King.

 

 

(and the best place to start yielding, is by sitting at His feet right from the start…)

Introducing Iver-eight

This unexpected child, but perfectly expected and planned by the best Family Planner known to history, has already broken me. over.and.over.and. over.

The life-exchanged-for-life that is going on over in this Iverson household, has not been pretty, but in the mess of it all, new life, not just this sixth child’s life, but a life of perseverance and a life of character building and a life of continual repentance to my husband, kids and Heavenly Father has been growing.

And this week, we were able to have our first introduction to this new little person.  A person who I’ve met in exhaustion,  and sickness and fluttering kicks and sharp jabs, but who I got to “meet” visually,  thanks to modern day technology.  And I am in love. And the times this week that the growing of this little person has landed me on the bed…or couch…or floor, I have a real person, with a name, to talk to, pray for, and say

“You, my child, are worth it.”

And as I do so, I savor Jesus saying, “Father forgive them.” while He hung dying on the cross. A bold declaration of,

“You, my child, are worth it.”

I’m so thankful for the tiniest taste of that suffering which brings new life, for it makes my new life in Jesus so much more appreciated.
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Front shot of our new child's face

Front shot of our new child’s face, arms and belly

The source of all those sharp kicks

The source of all those sharp kicks

Some strong little legs....

Some strong little legs….

My fourth SON is the culprit of the physical, emotional, and mental hurricane I've been in for these past 24 weeks!

My fourth SON is the culprit of the physical, emotional, and mental hurricane I’ve been in for these past 24 weeks!

And I SWORE it was going to be a girl!!! Chalk it up to my excellent mothering instinct, but this little girl that I thought was growing in my womb was actually our fourth son, Judah Iverson (middle name yet to be determined).

The technician probably thought I was crazy, A. for being pregnant with our sixth child and B. For flipping out on that examining table…”What?!!?!? Are you sure? This is crazy!! I just KNEW we were having a girl!” (Its a good thing we found out ahead of time, this time)

Upon our return home, everyone was excited….

except for my five year old daughter, who promptly burst into tears.

“But I wanted a GIRL!!! I don’t want a BOY! Boys are so MEAN!”

Danny snagged it on video, but she doesn’t want us to show people because she’s embarrassed about all the tears. So, to honor her, just take my word for it….its pretty funny, I mean heart-wrenching.

 

 

 

From the Mouths of Babes…cover song style

There are many a day as of late that my afternoons are spent in this position, out of sheer exhaustion…

 

my official pregnancy position

my official pregnancy position…not very flattering is it?

One such afternoon, Benjamin emerges from the extensive imaginative play (thank you, Lord, for my kids having good imaginations!) and starts knocking on my door. I was literally too tired to get up, unlock it and let him in (not that I would have minded him cuddling with me…I was just literally too wiped out to move)

And so after about 10 minutes of me hearing him knock, shuffle around and cram stuff under the door, he remembers a similar scene in a much beloved movie.

So he starts reenacting:

 

“Knock, knock”

“Elsa, you in daya”

And then the song:

“Do you want to build a snowmaaaan…

or ride our bikes around the haaaallll…

we used to be best buddies,

but now we’re not….

I wish you would tell me whyyyyy…”

 

(this one isn’t very clear but the only snagging I have of it on camera)

 


And then he says to me,

“Now, Mommy, you say, “Go away Anna”

So I do.

And He sings

“Ok, byyyyeee!”

and then he laughs, and starts the reenactment all over again.

So for the meager effort on my part to say “Go away, Anna” ever 3 minutes, I was able to buy a full 20 more minutes of resting and being off my feet…..until a real emergency erupted like the broken lamp downstairs due to the unmonitored pillow fight.

Have I told you that my Benjamin is my easily pacified child?

And that, thanks to the movie Frozen, and thanks to Mommy being too tired to care just how many times they’ve seen it, nearly everything in our lives has been turned into a musical…all to the different tunes of Frozen songs.

Sure beats a whiny voice. (I’ll take what I can get here)

 

Just in case you want to see the real video…not just “Benjamin’s version”