November 4, 2014

(Written on Saturday)

Brushing the dust off this blog.  It’s been a while.

I can hear JE and Ian romping around upstairs.  Ian is laughing and declaring, “Noooo,” in turn.  Saturday mornings at home are sweet.  Ian is most content when we’re both home.  Maybe his 1.5 year old heart grasps the fact that we are most complete when appa is home, too.  Or maybe he senses my quieted heart when appa‘s home.

Since marriage and Ian’s birth, I’ve become more … private?  Less heart-spilling on this blog to a wide, unknown audience and a deepening devotion to my little family, our church, and wherever our home’s branches reach.  I’m not great at wearing many hats and juggling many things at the same time, so with changed, sometimes-overwhelming new priorities, my tree has been stripped bare of all but a few branches.  Even those few things are hard to do well, but I’m learning and each day is a clean slate.

Life is less dramatic, less heartbreaking, less agonizing in this season, and it’s … different.  College and the single life felt like going through one fire after another, but my new “home” is actually a place of peace.  And rest.  Sin is here, too, in rampant measure, but I’m trying to learn to love and cherish God in the quiet, unremarkable duties of everyday life.  It’s easier for me to trust Him in moments of crisis than these moments that require a more steady faith — moment after moment determining I’d rather have Jesus than selfish melancholy, a hasty remark, a quick temper, or rebellious ingratitude.

And I’ve only recently begun to have any kind of regular rhythm in reading Scripture and prayer since Ian was born.  Whenever my routine is interrupted, it takes me sooo loooong to establish a new normal.  Where is God in this change?  How does my new role not undermine my eternal one?  How do I devote my heart’s affections to God when I’m so singly focused on adapting to the new thing in my life?  But His patience is unwearied.  Such a tender love.

In another 6 months or so, my hands will be full with an added stewardship, another precious gift, another little one to love and raise in the “fear and admonition of the Lord.”  I hope it’ll take me less time in the afterbirth to locate my life’s anchor and to operate out of that single spot … because a wife and mama whose heart and emotions are tossed here and there causes big waves in a little family.  But a wife and mama well-anchored in Christ holds much of her home steady with her … and speaks to the stability and beauty of her Rock.

Moments for reflection are more scarce than they used to be.  But my greatest prayer is that I would adorn the gospel in everything, particularly my marriage and motherhood — that my husband’s service to Christ wouldn’t be hindered, that my children would treasure Jesus, and that the world may taste the gospel in our home and friendship.

To make much of Jesus, this is all.

… Now to remember that once I stop typing. ;]


Last part of the 30 day challenge series

10 things?  I can’t think of 10 things.  I can only think of a hundred (which will probably end up sounding incredibly cheesy and morbid) or just one.  So I’ll stick with the one, the same one John Newton declared toward the end of his life:

That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.

That’ll suffice. ♥

I imagine the end of my life looking kind of like this.  Bruised, disheveled, like one who just came out of a fight (the good fight, I hope).  Except I’ll be happy.  And not in trouble. :]  By God’s grace.

Part of the 30 day challenge series

The original question was, What are your hopes and dreams for your future?  But I think I covered a lot of this in Day 22’s prompt, so I’m going to tweak this question a little and describe some of my hopes and dreams for your future or your future sibling(s)’.

I’m excited to get to know each of you: to discover your unique personalities, temperaments, styles, gifts, weaknesses, and callings.  As of now, I have no desire to impose any specific educational or vocational goals on any of you.  I would love for each of you to use your gifts and skills in whatever honorable field.

No matter what each of you puts your hand to do, I pray it would be for God’s glory and gospel.  And that it wouldn’t be love of mere service that compels each of you but love of God Himself.  You can do this in secular work, too.  It doesn’t have to be limited to what is normally categorized as God’s work.  But I do hope at least one of you would be a long-term missionary, Bible translator, or pastor with a heart for the nations.  ;]

I hope none of you are too rich or too poor, in the spirit of Proverbs 30:8-9, “Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”

I hope you and your sibling(s) are best friends.  That you are generous with one another.  That you are always for each other.

I pray there is no stored bitterness against either appa or me for our sins or mistakes that have come at your cost.  Ian, first-born sons sometimes have the roughest relationships with their parents, particularly their dads.  I hope you love Jesus, embrace His gospel, and understand that we aren’t perfect.  I hope you and your sibling(s) understand that we are under grace, too.  I pray for humble unity in our family and for love that covers a multitude of sins.

Of course kids-in-law and grandkids would be fun much later down the road.  Oh, for the legacy of faith that started two generations above mine to reach that far.  By God’s grace.  For of course it isn’t legacy that saves people.

I hope each of you has great sense of humor, able to laugh at yourselves and laughing at the right things.  Why?  Because laughing at yourself requires humility, and laughing at the right things requires discernment and the right taste.  I hope you never laugh at sin.  I hope you never laugh at injustice.  I hope you never laugh at the belittlement of God or others.

It’s tempting to want to raise Pharisees though, I’ll admit.  Especially when I feel like so many are watching you and measuring me by how I raise you.  I don’t want you or any of my kids to become “something for us to prove” as your parents.  At least for a season I’ve given up “career” to raise you and devote to our family.  I don’t want you to become my “career” or for your worldly success to become my new compensation.  We have nothing to prove.  We are stewards.  You belong to God.  Salvation is His to give.  I think I’ll need to honestly remind myself of this over and over again.  I don’t just want a well behaved kid.  I want a kid to whom Jesus is sweet — no, sweetest.

I can probably think of more, but appa just got home.  Dinner time!

Part of the 30 day challenge series

Hard to pick just one, but the one that comes to mind right now is that he’s trustworthy.  If he says he’ll be there, he’ll be there — at least as far as it depends on him.  If says he’ll do it, he’ll do it.  He feels things deeply, too, and he has his off days like anyone else; but he’s a man of principle.  He isn’t generally volatile, capricious, or moody.  He doesn’t run after his every emotion and give license to each of them.  He keeps secrets.  He’s steady.  He’s faithful.

But don’t get me wrong.  He isn’t bland!  His trustworthiness is dynamic, creative, and thoughtful.  It’s affectionate.  It’s warm.  It’s manly.

Ian, see those rainbow dots?  It’s a meter.  If it goes all the way right and hits red, that means you’re really crying your eyes out.  And appa holding you so tenderly?  He’s done this for you many times the past 10 months of your life, whether he was tired or having the kind of day when it might’ve been nice for him to be in your position. 

Part of the 30 day challenge series

To be honest, my first reaction to this question was to list all the things I don’t like about my body.  Even 10 months after giving birth to you, I can name a thing or two that I wish was firmer or tighter.  :]  Not to mention new skin sensitivities and what-nots.  You know, vain things that only a vain woman would really care about (like your umma!).  But I’m learning to view my body differently now.  Yes, to value inner and outer beauty in their rightful places — the former as chief and the latter as subject — but to also view my outer person as an instrument of love and service.

So from a real, every day point of view, my answer is … my hands.

With them I lift you, wipe your caboose and nose, wash an ever-growing pile of dishes, clean an ever-growing pile of laundry, cook our meals, open books and flip pages, write and type, demonstrate things for you, stroke your cheek, pat your back, play piano for you sometimes, and fish things out of your mouth (labels, stickers, small pieces of everything).  Life would be much more difficult without my working hands.  I’m sure we’d find a way around it (like those without hands do), but I’m grateful for my two hands.  They aren’t the most beautiful things, but they are so useful in serving those whom I love.  Like you!

Part of the 30 day challenge series

I’m going to assume this excludes my ancestors (namely my paternal grandma) and historical figures in Scripture.

Dinner Companion: Elizabeth Prentiss was a very close second, but my first pick would be Sarah Pierrepont Edwards, Jonathan Edwards’ wife.  I’ve been fascinated by her life and legacy since reading Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan and Sarah Edwards by Elisabeth D. Dodds and the chapter about her in Noel Piper’s Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God.  The likes of George Whitefield were impressed by her love for God, her husband, her children, and her home.  She was the backbone of Jonathan Edwards’ family.  I might have wanted to sit down with someone else in another season of life, but in this one, she seems just right.

Meal: I’d want to sit in her kitchen and eat whatever she typically served her kids (not Jonathan Edwards as he often only wanted a dry crust of bread — no thanks! haha).  Also, if I remember correctly, she had a reputation for always having soup on hand in case a hungry stranger knocked on her kitchen door.  If that’s inaccurate, I’d still want to sit at her table; sometimes you can learn a lot simply by eating at someone’s everyday table.

And as a related thought …

Ian, who I’d want you to eat dinner with: William Wilberforce, English politician who led the movement to abolish the slave trade.  That’s the first person who comes to mind.  I’m sure someone else will pop into my head as soon as I publish this, and I can think of other fascinating men in history … but three main reasons why this dude: (1) He was faithful to the Lord in a secular job.  He kind of makes me think of a mix between Daniel and Queen Esther, who humbly used their government positions for good.  (2) Abolishing the slave trade wasn’t a one-day deal.  He had to creatively persevere for a long time to do this.  (3) He seems like he would be a great dinner companion for a young boy.  He was a great conversationalist and natural in his manner.  Someone like Martin Luther would be neat, but I can’t imagine a young boy stomaching much food in his presence?  Haha.

Weekend hiatus.

March 6, 2014

Part of the 30 day challenge series

I’ll have to take a brief hiatus from the 30 day challenge as I got sick and we’ll be out of town.  The last 5 days will resume next Tuesday:]