Thursday, August 26, 2010

Knowing What To Do

Warning: The following essay is rife with content that is graphic in nature, which may disturb those who have a weak constitution. The experience described is commonplace for parents of young children, but has the potential to shock those who have not undergone the various trials of parenthood. I have recorded the experience with what I believe to be a redeeming spiritual insight or two which I hope will edify the reader, so you may choose to read on, or stop right here. Either way, you have been warned...

Fortunately, it was bath night, so I was already intending to dunk Norah into the tub. I had already given Jack his bath and had taken him into his room to dry him off and get him in his pajamas when I heard Norah scream. It wasn’t her loudest scream, but it was troubled and I could tell as soon as I heard it that she was on the verge of crying. I left Jack sitting on the changing table and rushed into the bathroom to find that Norah had diarrhea, but had not made it to the toilet... the poor girl was standing there not sure what to do. It was on her clothes, on her and all over the bathmat. I called out to Christy for help with Jack so that he didn’t take a swan dive off of the changing table and rushed back into the bathroom to sort out the you know what.

I managed to get Norah out of the rest of her clothes and onto the toilet. I managed to start the new bath water and I managed to comfort Norah, I think. The situation was fairly under control with the exception of one huge factor: I had no idea how to handle the bathmat. I mean, I knew it needed to go into the washing machine, (if not the trash can) but what to do with all the excess stuff? I felt like I need to get rid of that first before I could head to the washing machine, but I was at a total loss. I was thinking hard, tiptoeing around the problem with the grace and skill of a ballet dancer. Norah watched me with wide eyes and said, “Dad, be careful. You don’t want to get any poo on your socks!”

Finally Christy finished with Jack and came to check on us. I just looked up and said, “I’m not really sure what to do at this point.” I have to pause the story here and say that this was one of those moments in observing motherhood that filled me with awe and thankfulness for my wife. Without hesitating, without even blinking, she said, “I know what to do” and got to work. In the blink of an eye she produced a cup out of thin air and started scooping up the offending spot. In about two seconds, she had the problem solved, Norah in the bath, laughing and singing, and the bathmat in the washing machine, soaking in detergent and oxy clean. I had a meeting at church that night and by the time I got home, Norah was sleeping peacefully in her bed; clean, happy and at rest. The bathmat was back on the bathroom floor, clean as a whistle and Christy was on the couch paying all the bills with a smile on her face as if nothing at all had ever happened.


When I think back on that little scene, I am reminded of our Father in heaven who always knows what to do when we’re sick with sin, stuck, confused, helpless, upset and dirty. I think about 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I think about Zechariah chapter 3 when the High Priest Joshua stood before the Lord covered in dirty clothes with Satan on his right side accusing him. Joshua didn’t know what to do! He was helpless and stuck, but the Lord said, “Take off his filthy clothes... See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put rich garments on you.” Just like a mother in the midst of the mess, our Lord knows what to do and He has done it! And we rest at ease in our beds on the other side of mercy, clean and at peace.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Here's our Anna on her first day of First Grade!!!

Fly On...

Anna started first grade this week... FIRST GRADE!! Are you kidding me?! I know I probably said this when she started Kindergarten last year, but: How did this happen!? And how in the world was Kindergarten a year ago!? Was it really almost seven years ago that I first held her in the hospital? Didn’t she just start giggling a few weeks ago? Wasn’t it only yesterday that she started walking? Oh man, this is going so fast it’s making my head spin... I can’t slow her down and there’s no hope of stopping this madness. Everyone said that these years would fly past us and they were right... Anna just keeps on flapping her sweet little wings right in front of us. Before we know it, she’ll be gone.

As we dropped her off for first grade on Monday, it hit me just how desperate my prayers for her are becoming. I find myself gripping my pen a little too tightly as I scrawl out frantic pleas to the Lord. I’m begging Him to help her, to draw her to Himself, to pour out His love into her heart through the Holy Spirit and to give her a heart that loves to be His. I pray that He’ll guide her, shepherd her through the mess of this world along the pathway of some beautiful plan that He’s hatched for her very best. Everyday she gets bigger and older and more independent of her little ‘ole earthly dad and the more aware of it I am, the more desperate my prayers become.

In Psalm 127, Solomon said that children are like arrows. “Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.” As much as you want to, you’re not supposed to hold on to your kids, you’re supposed to shoot them out there and send them flying through the air, blazing the trail of God’s will for their lives. The night before Anna’s first day of Kindergarten, as hard as it was for her to utter the words, my wife held Anna’s hand and prayed over that little arrow, that the Lord would shoot her out there far and swift. Maybe I’m overreacting... it’s only first grade after all, and we’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s tough. I’m putting all of my eggs in the basket of the Holy Spirit.

This is a good thing and it’s teaching me some difficult, but necessary stuff about control. See,the main reason I’m scared about the future and about my kids is that in some way, I must still think that I have some control over them and over what’s going to happen to them. Well, I don’t. We don’t have control over anything! In fact, our Lord said, “Don’t swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black.” Anna is in God’s hands. She belongs to Him. She’s really His child anyway, and so am I. It’s good to let go, to trust God and to let Him do is job. As these painful truths were hitting me in the face early one morning, this song eased its way out of my quaking little heart:


Fly on my little bird
Right up above the clouds
Sweet wind, won’t You carry her
She’s in your hands now

I can’t see where her feet are gonna light
But You can keep those little wings in flight,
She’s in Your sight

Hold her near when she breaks her little wing
‘Cause I long to hear the flying song she sings,
So let it ring

Friday, August 13, 2010

Have You Checked This Out Yet?

A brand new blog called "Fairest Of Ten Thousand" - short, bite-sized paragraphs on why I love Jesus.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A couple shots from around the house:

And then a couple shots from our excellent vacation:


Being is debt is the worst. It feels like a trap. See, if you’re in debt, it’s because you couldn’t afford to pay for something in the first place, but you got it anyway and now the amount you couldn't afford continually grows more unaffordable all the time even though the whatever it was you couldn’t afford is getting more and more old and worn out. Wow. Not only that, but sometimes you may even get your debt turned over to a collection agency, which is about the worst feeling ever. I’m not totally sure what a collection agency is actually like, but when you get a notice from one in the mail, all you can think about is how much you like your thumbs, how useful they really are and how much you want to keep them. Figures of imaginary and very large Russians with big fists and even larger guns fly into your fragile mind unbidden and all you can think about is getting out of debt!

I remember when we got our first cell phones... we were newlyweds and didn’t know anything about anything. We got the phones, signed the contract and spent the next couple of days calling everyone we knew and talking to them forever. We had no idea that the first bill included two months fees plus a start-up fee. Combined with our naive and outrageous overages, our first bill was over $600!! And did I mention we were broke, collegiate newlyweds?!? It didn’t take long for us to open up the mailbox and find that little yellow slip of paper letting us know that our delinquent bill was being handed over to a collection agency! My heart dropped down into my shoes as I started nervously looking around for the Russians...

Being in debt is like being in prison, and until you’re free of it, your trapped. When you wake up, your joy is sapped and you wind up living the whole day in a state of oppression. Debt is the worst... unless its the good kind, that is. You see, the other day I was reading Romans 13 and it turns out that all of us are actually in debt all the time. You may not know it, but you woke up today in debt, and tomorrow, you will wake up in debt. This will be true of you for the rest of your life, and it’s actually a very good thing. Paul says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

You are in debt right now to the people around you, and what do you owe them? Love. Here’s the thing about this debt though: it doesn’t have to be an oppressive prison. In fact, it can be awesome! The reason debt is usually so awful is because you don’t have the money; you can’t pay your debt. You don’t have what it takes. But this debt is different! If Jesus lives inside you, the love of God is flowing through you like rivers of Living Water, giving you the power to actually love everyone. It’s cool... it’s like, you have a debt to love everyone, but you can actually pay this debt, and what’s more, it feels good to pay it! When you ask God to give you the power to really love the folks around you, you’re being the person you were made to be, and nothing fills you up more than that. Halleluah! We’re in debt, and it’s awesome!

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