Immensely Grateful

Alan and I were married during our final years of college. We were both music education majors, developing our passions for the standard repertoire of our respective instruments, authentic performance practice, tonal analysis, and attempting to persuade children to clap quarter notes without picking their noses. As full-time students, money was, of course, tight. However, as our time at the university was wrapping up, we both felt called to further our studies and continue developing the skills and knowledge of God’s gift of music. First Alan, then I, entered graduate programs which resulted in a move to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in fall 2017.

After a short blissful time of both parties working and living free of the constraints of student expenses, we resumed the reality of tuition payments, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and the frequently used phrase, “Sorry, it’s not in the budget.” But throughout all the years of stretched finances, the Lord was faithful to provide through generous gifts and circumstances that left our reason and spreadsheets in bewildered thankfulness. And along with this provision was an invitation to experience his faithfulness and respond in sacrificial giving.

As previously alluded to, Alan began his graduate studies before I did. After an incredibly disappointing journey of preparing, auditioning, and finally receiving three rejection letters, God held my hand through a season of lush growth that only comes from the painful tilling of hard, stubborn soil and watered by tears at the funeral of the Old Adam. The result was a deeper understanding of my desperate need for the gospel, for in the stripping away of all the things I was clinging to for hope, validation, and security, I was left with nothing to stand on but this Good News: that while I was still a sinner, while I was chasing after all the lesser things in my life to save me, Christ died for me, the ungodly (Romans 5:6-8). And what’s more, his righteousness is my righteousness through faith (Philippians 3:8-9). There is no better news than this!

Alan and I are immensely grateful to belong to a Church denomination where this Good News is the reason for its existence. It fills us with joy to know that the heart of this synod is to faithfully train pastors and missionaries and unite churches for the sending and proclaiming of God’s message of reconciliation both domestically and internationally. A key way we’ve gotten to better know the mission and needs of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren has been through my dad, Steve Tonneson, as he’s served as the Associate for Advancement Ministry during these past several years.

Though our bank account was modest during those years of school, we were immensely blessed by the invitation to see how the Lord works with what seems to be insignificant means. And with our deepest need already provided for in the person and work of Christ, the question then shifts from “Why should we give?” to “Why would we not give?” As we continue to serve in our vocations and relationships within the Twin Cities music community, we are energized to be partnering with the CLB in reaching more people with the Good News.

Alyssa Jermiason and her husband Alan are members of Oak Hill Church in Bloomington, Minnesota.

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