Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Fear is my captor.
Emotions are funny things. I believe emotions are one of God’s greatest gifts to us. They make life interesting. They make life livable. They are dangerous. Emotion can be the thing that most easily distracts us from God. Emotion effortlessly causes us to sin.
Emotions in and of themselves are not wrong. I do not believe we can control what emotion bubbles up from within. However, we can control what we do with the emotion that comes. Sin lurks in the moment we decide what to do with the emotion. It is not wrong for anger to bubble up at my husband. I sin when I act on that anger, when I refuse to forgive, when I make him pay. It is not a sin to feel fear. I sin when I sit wallowing in worry rather than trusting God. When I allow my fear to control me, rather than me controlling the fear, I am wrong.
I am wrong in this area often.
It is strange. I remember living without constant fear. I think fear started being an issue for me in college when I took a self-defense class. Ironic, I know. A class that should have empowered me, actually caused me to start recognizing all the dangers around me. I learned all the right moves in class. I could even perform them well on the other girls in class. Then I tried them on my boyfriend at the time. Nothing seemed to work.
I think TV also played a role in increasing my fear. For years I relished crime dramas. In high school I would stay up to watch Law & Order, the original version. I now severely limit my viewing of crime TV and the news. The fear these things birth in me is so great that I currently am unable to be at home alone when a repair man comes. This is sad.
God does not want us to live in fear.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, but whom we cry, “Abba, Father.”Fear enslaves us. Fear enslaves me only because I let it. God has given me the means to overcome my fear by giving me the Spirit of God.
Romans 8:12-15 (NET)
My mind struggles to find a balance between common sense and trust in God. I think that there are some things we just don’t do because they are stupid. I don’t walk down the middle of the freeway, expecting God to keep cars from hitting me. However, my common sense is perhaps in error when it keeps me from doing stupid things for the glory of God. Should I offer a ride to the girl walking down the road? Do I invite the homeless man out for a cup of coffee?
I am struck by the story of Ezra. Ezra was a priest and teacher living in Babylon at the end of Israel’s exile. When the time came, he returned home to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple. He is with a group of 42,360 men in addition to servants and animals. They carried with them a wealth of gold, sliver, and priestly garments. This group was not inconspicuous as they crossed the hundreds of miles from Babylon to Israel. They were a ripe target for thieves and bandits. But get this, Ezra writes:
I called for a fast there by the Ahava Canal, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and seek from him a safe journey for us, our children, and all our property. I was embarrassed to request soldiers and horsemen from the king to protect us from the enemy along the way, because we had said to the king, “The good hand of our God is on everyone who is seeking him, but his great anger is against everyone who forsakes him.” So we fasted and prayed to our God about this and he answered us….Here is foolishness for the glory of God. Rather than compromising God’s reputation as sovereign and almighty, Ezra and the gang traveled across the world without guards, without protection. Only they weren’t without protection. God, the One in control of all things, protected them and brought them safely to their destination.
On the twelfth day of the first month we began traveling from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he delivered us from our enemy and from bandits along the way. So we came to Jerusalem, and we stayed there for three days.
Ezra 8:21-23; 31-32 (NET)
I am working on controlling my fear. It is a slow learning process, but God is renewing me day by day.
I picked up my copy of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables last summer. I read it in high school. So far, I have only reread the first 380 pages. A good portion of the first of the book focuses on Monseigneur Bienvenu, a man foolish for the glory of God. At one point, the bishop is asked if he is “quite sure if there was not a degree of imprudence in leaving his door, day and night, open to whoever might wish to enter, and if he did not fear that some evil would befall a house so poorly defended.” The bishop answers, “Unless God protects a house, they who guard it watch in vain.” This has become my mantra.
Fear kills my mind. It causes me to think rationally when I should be thinking faithfully. Fear withers my heart. It causes me to overlook the plight of others in order to safeguard my self and my family. Fear cages my soul. It erects a wall between me and my savior, preventing me from fully experiencing the peace of God. Fear quenches my God-given purpose in life. It causes me to retreat within myself and put off till tomorrow what God would have me do today.
Father, I believe. Help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)
I like it so much because the language flows in my mind. It is not as poetic as the King James, but it is easy to understand. In addition, whenever they translate a phrase is an updated way, or a way that may not be word for word from the original language, there is a footnote telling the word for word interpretation and the way many of the other English versions translate it. So, you get the best of both worlds. It also has great study notes.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Here is a tiny excerpt from her blog entitled "The Slippery Middle Ground on Gay Marriage" (Sept 13, 2006):
The evangelical faith loses every bit of its meaning and power when it is
separated from love, the eternal principle behind the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But this love is not some squishy, infinitely malleable thing that exists apart
from truth—the truth revealed in the Bible. It is a love that constrains: from
hatred, and from sin.
Comments like these make me shout "Amen" (in my head of course, I was raised Southern Baptist after all), and keep going back for more.
Anyway, it is a good read.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
So, on February 1st, I was at home with Luke, enjoying a lovely rainy day. Rainy days are the best. It was absolutely pouring. I periodically would look out the window to relish the downpour. Then, I looked up and thought, there's something wrong with that rain. I finally figured out that it was snow. There were huge, fluffy snowflakes in the middle of the rain. The shower of rain soon became a shower of snow. I don't think I have ever seen such big, fat, fluffy flakes. Not only were they huge, but they were countless. The air was blanketed in white.
Now, I have lived here long enough to know not to expect the snow to last. An hour after it stopped falling, all remnants of the snow were gone. But, it was beautiful while is lasted.
God is good.
Friday, February 16, 2007
I measured. The incision is 5 inches, not 6.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Everything went well. At least I think it did. Last week is pretty hazy. The surgery lasted about 2 hours. When the doc got in there, it was clear that the cyst/hematoma was in my spleen. It had not attached to anything else, which is very good. He had warned us that it could have been attaching to whatever else it was touching. The only hitch was that it was too big to pull out. He had already made about a six inch incision and didn't want to make it any bigger, so he drained the thing until it was small enough to fit through my six inch whole. I think he said it was 14cm around. They sent the whole thing to pathology. Pathology reported that it was nothing more than a hematoma surrounded by a cyst. I know this sounds strange. I could be remembering wrong. After all, I have been under anesthesia. The last time that happened, I couldn't remember my last name or the year.
As to what caused this thing, no one knows. They said it could have been there for 5 months or 5 years. They kept asking me if I had been in any sort of trauma, like a car accident. No. I think I would remember such a thing. I did have a small accident on a four wheeler last summer (I'll have to tell about that later), but I hit my arm, not my abdomen. Does birthing a 9lb 3oz baby count as trauma? I was traumatized to the point of crying like a child. Maybe Luke hit my spleen in utero. He does have quite the throwing arm.
Anyway, after 6 days in the hospital, I am home and recovering well. I am weening myself off the pain meds. I am now able to survive the day without a pillow held to my side. Soon, I will once again join the ranks of homo erectus.
I have considered posting a picture of my sliced belly for all to see, but I am afraid some might find it gross and offensive. What do you think? Do you want to see my new battle wound?
Monday, February 5, 2007
Friday, February 2, 2007
March 5, 2006: Whoa Baby! I am 5 days away from my due date, but only have two days to go. At the time I didn't think I was that big. However, the picture shows I was HUGE!
March 26, 2006: Luke is 2 1/2 weeks old. It is Luke's first time to visit Grandpa D and Grandma D's house (Adam's dad and Adam's dad's wife). Grandma D and Oma (Grandma D's mother) made this lovely quilt for Luke to play and have tummy time on.
Okay, I have to confess, there are pictures of the three of us in the hospital, but nobody needs to see those. I am not one of those women who looks human after spending 13 1/2 hours in labor, 2 1/2 of which were pushing out a 9lb 3oz child.
April 23, 2006: This is our first family portrait. Luke is 6 1/2 weeks old. He is wearing his "coming home" outfit. He is so tiny and handsome! It's not a great picture of Adam, but Luke's hands were covering his face in the only picture in which Adam's eyes were completely open.
Sadly, that is the last picture of the three of us together, unless you count awkward snapshots where no one is looking at the camera. Actually, we do have some that were taken professionally, but I don't have digital copies of them.
I loved my bangs. They were part of my new look, post child-bearing. I hadn’t had bangs since I was in middle school. The bangs were my favorite part of the new ’do. However, I am blessed with fast growing hair. So, it doesn’t take long for the perfect bangs to become annoying, I can’t see, ouch! something’s in my eyes bangs.
Now, I must also admit, that I have a wonderful hair guy – Teddy. Teddy gave me my first haircut. When I lived in California, I would wait until I was home to get a haircut from Teddy. He has cut the hair of my mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and husband. In fact, I had to take Adam to be approved by Teddy before I could marry him. As an amazing guy, Teddy told me that whenever my bangs need to be cut, all I have to do is swing by and he will cut them for free. I have done this before, and true to his word, Teddy shortened my fringe for a smile. However, in my mind, it was a hassle to pack up the baby and drive the mile to the salon.
So, as the bangs grew ever more annoying and blinding, my patience ebbed and my courage flowed. Upon exiting the shower Saturday night with freshly washed hair, I boldly grabbed the scissors and made what I thought to be a very conservative cut that would leave my front hair longer than I actually wanted. As soon as the offending ends fell away, I knew the sad truth of the matter…I’m a fool. How hair cut even with the pupils of my eyes can spring back to the middle of my forehead is beyond me.
The following day, the family rang with a chorus, “Why didn’t you go see Teddy?” Because I am a fool.
To bring the whole episode to a poignant end and drive the lesson home to Christin’s heart…Adam and I were shopping for birthday cards last night. In the rummage I picked up a cute card with a black and white picture of a little girl making a funny face. The top of the card read, “At least now you are old enough,” and inside, “to know not to cut your own bangs.” I flipped back to the front. The middle section of the little girl’s bangs were cut to her scalp.
I thank God for humility and a sense of humor.
To completely purge my soul, I here submit a picture taken today. What is left of my bangs shall stay clipped back until they are once again suitable for viewing by all ages.
Thursday, February 1, 2007
This is my new "Mommy Haircut." I like it. I am with my sisters-in-law. Annie is in the middle with Will. Amy is on the right with Sam. Sam and Will are Amy's twins.
So, I now have a new nap time activity.
May my words and my thoughts be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my sheltering rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (NET)