After FFH announced the group was taking a break, husband and wife duo Jeromy and Jennifer Deibler went off on a missions trip to Africa which only be the beginning of a journey that would be filled with joy as well as sorrow. Below is a personal letter from Jeromy to the fans giving an update on what FFH is up to, as well as announcing Jeromy & Jennifer - a new side project from just the two of them (for more on Jeromy & Jennifer, click here)...
"Hi everyone, this is Jeromy Deibler. As many of you know, in early 2006 the four of us in our band, FFH, decided to take some time off from touring. We had been on the road for almost 15 years and had grown tired of the physical and emotional pressures. Jennifer and I (especially Jennifer) felt it the worst because we uprooted our entire family and home lives to make touring work on a weekly basis. So after lots of counseling and debating we together decided it was time for a break. We chose to make the break indefinite because we wanted to pursue other things for a while, believing that if we set a date to return we would be hindered by knowing it was coming up.
The other guys in the band started preparing for their lives outside of FFH right away. Each of them had something that they had been wanting to do for a while and they began working towards those things immediately. Jennifer and I didn’t. In fact, we were so tired by this point that we couldn’t even think of what was next, we just needed the rest. Plus, I had begun to experience pain throughout my body which was consuming much of my thoughts. At times I went into my own “world” worrying about what might be happening to me. Early that year (2006) I had led worship on a mission trip to South Africa with some friends from church. While I was there, the pastor of the church that hosted the worship conference invited me to come back and mentor worship leaders at the church to try to help deepen the worship program there. Jennifer and I clearly felt the leading of the Lord to go back to Africa so we decided to accept the invitation.
In October of 06 Jennifer and I and Hutch (3yrs olds at the time) left for Africa for almost six months. It was an amazing time for us as a family and as individuals. We lived in a little white cottage with no heat, no ac, no tv, and no phone. Fortunately the house next door had wireless so we were able to email friends back at home. The worship at the church was great and the Lord did bring a couple of new leaders to the forefront, but we learned quickly that the Lord had us there mostly for us. After 12 years of marriage we finally rested and grew close as a family. It was the first time that Jennifer and I had slept in the same bed for several months straight (we were always in separate bunks on the bus). It was also the first time we were able to really be involved in a church and put down roots. Hutch also came out of his shell knowing that his Momma and Daddy weren’t going to get on the bus and leave him at home with a nanny. It was a special time for us. We miss it dearly. I wish I could tell you all of the stories face to face, maybe someday.
In spring of 2007 we returned home with lots of new hope for the future. We were sure that the Lord was going to show us what was next for us as soon as we got home. In fact, we were certain that we were leaving Nashville to start a life somewhere else, possibly as worship leaders or Bible teachers, things the Lord was making us excited about. Plus, as an added bonus, Jennifer found out she was pregnant just before we left to fly home. It was such an answer to prayer, like a kiss from God to two of His spoiled children. But the next few months proved to be just the opposite of what we had planned. Spring turned into summer and we still had no leading from the Lord as to what to do next. FFH had been getting lots of calls to play shows but we felt like it still was not time to go back to it. Jennifer and I did talk to a few churches about leading worship there but none of those seemed “right”. So we waited. By the time summer ended we decided that, no matter what, we would stay in Nashville until the baby was born. We just couldn’t see moving with a baby due in just a few months. At the same time I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The diagnosis didn’t come as a huge shock; I had been having MS pain and symptoms for over a year and a half. But after the relief of the initial diagnosis wore off the heaviness of the reality of the disease began to set in. Jennifer
As it turned out, all roads led to two MS specialist here in Nashville and the Lord allowed me to get into one of those doctors last fall. He diagnosed me with advanced MS, but feels like I will respond very well to treatment. In fact, I am currently part of a clinical trial for a new MS drug that has proven to be four times as good as the current one on the market. Jennifer and I feel like this is from Jesus and are thankful for the opportunity. Incidentally, I’m feeling as good as I’ve felt in the past few months, with the exception of the normal MS symptoms I get when I get run down or stressed. To look at me you wouldn’t even know I have MS. The goal is to try to keep it that way and my doctor is optimistic that we can do that.
In the midst of all this Hope Sadie-Claire Deibler (we call her “Sadie-Claire’) was born on November 16th here in Nashville. She is amazing! I still weep when I look at her. It so weird what a daughter has unlocked in my heart. Our son Hutch, who has been my best buddy, has just turned five and is doing great.
Through all of this change Jennifer has been unbelievable. She has rejoiced and suffered just like me but many times in the quiet. Jennifer is an amazing woman. There are days when I’m actually intimidated by how strong her faith is; how easily she waits, how patient she is with our kids. I wish all of you could know her the way I do.
Earlier this year the two of began to get the ache to be back playing music in front of people again. The baby and the MS had taken our minds completely off of it for a long while. However, we still don’t feel like it is time to go back to FFH. We feel like the Lord has put it on hold so that Jennifer and I can communicate on our own for a while. We’re still not quite sure what that looks like but we feel like the uncertainty is probably a good thing. We realized in Africa that so much of what we used to consider important is so meaningless. It’s kind of embarrassing actually; the over-inflated image of our selves that we carried around. Hopefully this time we’ll see it for what it is. We experienced something over the past two and a half years that has made us long for something different, something greater. It wasn’t just the move to Africa, or the birth of Sadie-Claire, or the MS diagnosis. It was the combination of all of these and realizing that life is lived in the balance of joy and sorrow. We realize now that they coexist, joy and sorrow together, at the same time, and that’s where Jesus is; in the realness of those moments. We’ve learned not to just put on a happy face but to be honest and real with each other.
The new album, is a collection of songs that have meaning to us right now. Several of them were written it a time of great pain, both physical and emotional. A few speak about our time of waiting, and how it is so difficult. Other’s speak of simplicity, something we have learned so much about and crave now like a tall glass of water on a hot day. The title track, "I’m Coming Home," tells the story of the journey we’ve been on. Of finding ourselves, again, and being content with not being the “story”. We hope you enjoy it, but most importantly, we hope you understand the place of brokenness and restfulness from which it comes and from which we now live.
Thanks for listening!
- Jeromy and Jennifer"
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