Tuesday, December 6, 2016

You Don't Always Get What You Want

You don’t always get what you want. I know you know that. And I tell my kids that often. What do I want? My healthy baby, of course, who comes home with me from the hospital and lives a charmed life with no pain or suffering.

Suffering.

We can’t escape it. As Christians we often experience more of it.

Many minds much more brilliant than my own have grappled with this question of suffering. I really don’t grapple all that much. When Noel died, I was angry with God (which is okay, He can handle it). This time around, I accept that suffering is part of life and I am not exempt.
I explain it to my children this way. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, when they refused God’s truth and chose their own, sin entered the world. We say that man fell (from pure communion with God), but really the entire world did. Creation and all of mankind with it was broken. Our hearts, our bodies, our genes. Decay enters. Death enters. There are now tornadoes and earthquakes and blight and famine and cancer and babies who don’t grow correctly. But through all this, God had a plan. His own Son, who was with Him at the creation of the world, would put on flesh and move into the neighborhood and become fully man and fully God. And He came to suffer greatly on our behalf, so we could be with Him forever. So we could be redeemed. So He could wipe away our tears and make all the sad things come undone. So He could restore us and our world, so He could make us whole and new and perfect. So we could live with Him forever.

Lately I’ve been drawn to the image of the crucifix. Protestants, we tend to focus on the cross. The empty cross. And thank God it is empty, that Jesus rose and gave us the hope of life eternal. But Jesus was there, on that cross, where He suffered excruciatingly. Why is there so much pain and suffering in our world, and what is the meaning of it? I don’t have all those answers, but if Jesus cared enough to suffer alongside us, to really be a Man and deal with all our pain and brokenness, there must be a reason. That’s enough for me.

If you want more theological answers or historical proofs for Jesus or arguments for apologetics, there are great resources out there. I’ve read a lot of them. For me, it is enough that Jesus came and suffered and died and defeated death and sin forever so I could be restored to Him. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

P.S. If you haven’t read the Bible before or in a long time, a great place to start is with the Jesus Storybook Bible. It is one of our favorite children’s Bibles and it is great for adults, too! This retelling of the Great Story is a beautiful one.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sauram

I've written before about how much our family loves and supports the work of Compassion. They work with vulnerable children and families around the world, releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name. I've heard first hand reports from Compassion graduates and visited their headquarters in Colorado. Really, the work these dedicated folks do with limited resources is incredible.

For the past several months, Compassion has struggled with political difficulties in India. The government passed legislation that has severely restricted Compassion's ability to provide finances to help the most vulnerable: children trapped in poverty with no hope of a way out.

The Gent and I have sponsored Sauram, now an Indian teenager, for several years. Sadly, his center has already been forced to close and he no longer has access to the educational opportunities and career development training he was receiving.

Please take a few minutes to read this article from Compassion, and then take steps to act!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Friday, November 18, 2016

Halloween 2016

Thought I'd better post these before Thanksgiving. Here are my munchkins:

baby ballerina
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sweet Sophie actually being sweet
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princess ballerina
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cowboy
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Little Bo-Peep
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no one wanted to be her sheep
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our neighbors gave them way to much candy and the kids had a blast
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Nora: 21 Months

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This girl...she is definitely her own person and does not get lost in the shadow of her siblings. For better or worse, the Gent and I do not have any compliant, wall-flower children. This month Nora has been talking circles around us, learned to sing, and likes to plop down in my lap to listen to all the big kids' read-aloud books. Nora can often be found sneaking grapes, leftover spaghetti, and anything else she can reach in the refrigerator. She still loves to take care of her baby dolls, does not like to wear pajamas, and likes Curious George stories. Two is coming up for this precious girl!

Friday, November 11, 2016

His name is . . .

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Baby Jellybean is named for his great-great-grandfather, David. David means “beloved” and though our son’s earthly life may be short he is no less loved and treasured. One of Granddaddy’s favorite hymns was “His Eye Is on the Sparrow,” such a beautiful song whose lyrics have always spoken truth to my heart.

Let not your heart be troubled; these tender words I hear
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubt and fear
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me

Shalom means “peace of God.” Not just peace as in a sense of tranquility, but peace as in the promise that someday all of creation and its people will be restored to true Shalom. So as we name our son we place our hope in that promise, that all the wrongs will be righted and all the brokenness will be healed. Jesus will return and our glorious restoration is His promise.

Revelation 21:1-5a says: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he [Jesus] who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.