Besides being a gifted singer and fantastic storyteller (though she would argue otherwise), Jill Farmer fills many roles. She is the wife of Andy, one of our pastors here at CFC, mom to four adult children, and Mom-mom to some very cute grandchildren. She’s crazy about them all, as you’ll read below.
Jill, you and Andy have been at Covenant since its start. How did you hear about it?
I worked at CHOP with a Christian doctor who told us that a new church plant was coming. Andy and I were newlyweds, living with international students in a group home in Philly. We probably could not have articulated that we were looking for an “essentially reformed, continuationist” church, but we were!
The church held midweek meetings on marriage and family to gather folks before the official start, and we attended those. Although we missed the first Sunday morning meeting, we were there from the second week on! It felt like home. We could not get enough of being together, worshipping, hearing life-changing teaching from Bill Patton and visiting pastors like C.J. Mahaney. Alan Redrup was our care group leader (and everyone’s care group leader!). The Redrups opened their home after church for most Sunday afternoons, and we were always the last couple to leave!
Tell us about your family.
My husband, Andy, is “Solomon” wise, which really stinks for me only when we disagree, because 99% of the time, he is right! He is creative and fun and infinitely entertained. Besides being one of my favorite authors, he loves learning about and finding the graves of famous dead people.
I have four children who all married some of my favorite people on the planet and then brought into this world the most amazing grandchildren that I could ever imagine. Now, excuse me while I vacuum up the pieces of my heart that just exploded (which happens every time I think of them…)
Do you have any interesting traditions that you enjoy with them?
Each December, we have a “March Madness” style Christmas song contest to pick that year’s winner, which then goes into the Farmer Hall of Fame. Tears have been shed.
On the evening of Christmas Day, our family comes and spends the night. We have “Bakemas” which consists of at least a pound of pork products per person (bacon, sausage links and patties), fresh fruit (to pretend to be healthy), and mountains of baked goods. We get holiday PJs for everyone to wear all day so the transition from morning to evening is seamless!
Speaking of mornings, would you describe yourself as a morning person?
I am not a morning person. I always imagine myself with two x’s for eyes, like in the cartoons. I say imagine because the thought of looking in a mirror in the morning would probably scare me awake.
Do you have any hobbies?
Exercise! Just kidding. I am in the tiny sliver of the population that missed the endorphin gene or at least the one that emits joy/happiness while running or working out. But seriously, anyone who knows me knows how much I love my people. There is no better way for me to spend a day/week than to have my married and my littles all under one roof. There went my heart again…
What is a truth you tried to instill in your children as you were raising them?
From the moment my children opened their eyes in this world, I told them of my ferocious love and then pointed them to One who loves them more than I ever could. We regularly recount all the ways that we see God’s goodness and faithfulness and trustworthiness when it is evident, and help each other “see” when it is not so evident in trials or hardship. And then, when we have no answer for “How is this good or for our good?” we can be confident that His ways are higher than ours and He has not changed. These truths have helped our family weather the sudden death of my brother, miscarriages, health trials, job loss, and other difficult times.
What are you currently studying and learning in your devotional times?
I have been using R.C. Sproul’s teachings to study John and Romans. It never ceases to amaze me how a fresh look at a familiar text can open up new depths of insight and truth.
One last question: can you share your salvation story?
I was brought up in a church-going, God-fearing family. The only problem was that our church was dead and no one shared the gospel. So, I lived hoping I would be good enough to make it into heaven, fearing hell and punishment. My older brother was dramatically converted and filled with the Holy Spirit. Around the same time, my cousin shared a tract with me similar to our “How Good Are You?” booklet. I believed Jesus died on the cross and rose again. Oh, the freedom to know I could never be good enough, but He is!