Friday, October 23, 2009
Here are some photos of our walk, D and Abbie doing a craft with the leaves, and Azariyah getting into mischief.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Chopsticks is a Chinese dwarf hamster. I mentioned in an earlier post that she is a good digger. That remains to be true...but that's not all. After 3 nights of silence from Abbie's room, Chopsticks broke the routine and decided to learn the art of wheel running! We couldn't be happier.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Sorry to interrupt...Fluff is dead and Ab is very sad.
Fluff is...well, was Abbie's beloved winter dwarf hamster. We got him July 4th - the day we had to let Spot, our super speedy-only after one thing in life turtle, go back into the wild. Fluff was a great first hamster for my daughter. He was very affectionate as far as rodents go and despite that he looked like a round puff ball with legs, he faithfully ran on his wheel all night, every night. I can attest to that personally.
So...before our desserts arrived, I snuck away from our table for two to give Abbie a call. I could tell she had been crying but she seemed on the up and up. Matt called her after dinner and again, she seemed to be doing pretty well. Knowing that we were going to get a new hamster seemed to lessen the blow of fluff's death.
Matt and I arrived home and we all gathered outside under the rainy sky to bury Fluff and to thank God for his short but memorable life. We all had our roles to play. Matt was the gravedigger. Stephen's compassionate heart was displayed when he went searching for flowers for us to put on Fluff's grave. Allyson held the umbrella over Abigail's head, as she leaned against me crying. Azariyah went from Matt to Allyson to me, wiggling around in her pink puffy coat. As for me, I found myself unexpectedly giving a eulogy type message, reminding all of us how death - even for a winter dwarf hamster, is sobering. It makes us think about where we stand with Jesus.
It was the first pet funeral that we experienced as a family. I know it won't be the last because we have a cat and as of today, we have a new hamster: Chopsticks. Chopsticks is appropriately named because she is a Chinese dwarf hamster. She's quite cute with her mouse-like ears and she is an excellent digger!
So long Fluff....you will be missed!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.
But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.
And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.”
Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool.
We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified.
Friday, October 9, 2009
It is important to note that Jon is drawing from John 13:1-11 - where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples.
First, much of the Christian life is spent trusting Jesus now and understanding him later. Jesus typically does not feel it necessary to explain on the front end why he is doing something the way he is doing it. And, like Peter, when it looks wrong to us, we are tempted to object to the Lord’s will.
God understands and is patient with our confusion and even our deep wrestling or grief. But he wants us to trust him and not grumble. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). His purposes for bringing or not bringing certain things to pass often extend far beyond us—maybe even generations beyond us.
So during those times we need to remember Jesus’ words to Peter: “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
Second, what Jesus is bringing about in the sometimes confusing, sometimes very painful work he is doing in our lives is sanctification. He is washing our feet. He not only bathes us, completely removing the guilt of our sin in his cleansing work on the cross, but in love he keeps forgiving us (1 John 1:9) and disciplines us so that we will share his holiness (Hebrews 12:10-11).
Our understanding his purposes in a particular providence tends to be not as important to God as our trust in his character. So together let’s continue to “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart, and…not lean on [our] own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Because one day we will understand. And we will, with great joy, proclaim, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works” (Psalm 145:17).
You can read the full manuscript here.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
We aren't suffering physically like many others and we are not suffering persecution because of our faith, like many faithful believers are all around the world; yet we are experiencing a sort of emotional suffering that is very challenging. Like any trial, we are left with the question, "Will I trust in Jesus through this ordeal?" I know that I can. I believe that He is there, sovereignly ruling and reigning over the details of my situation. But will I trust Him and what does trusting Him look like?
I came across two quotes that have been helpful in training my mind to believe truth and then to respond to that truth in simple dependence and trust in Jesus.
...I realize that the gospel is not just one piece of good news that fits into my life somewhere among all the bad. I realize instead that the gospel makes genuinely good news out of every other aspect of my life, including my severest trials. The good news about my trials is that God is forcing them to bow to his gospel purposes and do good unto me by improving my character and making me more conformed to the image of Christ....I can (then) embrace trials as friends and allow them to do God's good work in me. (A Gospel Primer, by Milton Vincent)
There is a joy in knowing that through suffering God is at work in you to sanctify you and make you more like Jesus. There is also joy in knowing that through suffering God is at work in your life as a witness and testimony of the difference Jesus is making in how you live your life, especially the most painful parts. (Death by Love, Mark Driscoll)
If I was told that at the end of all this, we'd get to adopt these children, I think I would readily embrace these trials as friends. But I don't know the end of this particular chapter of this story and that's where the embracing becomes near impossible. Near impossible unless I first see how the gospel connects my struggle to his desire to fulfill His eternal purposes is me.
His eternal purposes are clear in Scripture. He wants to sanctify me. He wants to make me more like Jesus.
At the end of all this, God's plan may be for someone else to raise these precious children. Will I trust Him? Can I have joy knowing that His purposes in me will be fulfilled because I am becoming more like Jesus through all of this? Is that enough for me? I want to say yes. I want to believe that wholeheartedly. I want to be planted firm in these truths, I really do.