Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Strangeness of Growing Older

You know that moment when you find out that one of the more mature members of the cast on a show you watch was born just one year before you were born, and that feeling of surreal shock it gives you, because he seemed so much older than you still feel on the inside? Or that moment you sit outside the banquet hall where your husband’s high school reunion is being held, and he says, “This can’t be the right place - it’s all old people going in that door,” and you think for a moment, blink a couple of times, and say, “You know, I think we are the old people now,” and you both sort of psych yourselves up to either go in that door or leave and not look back? Or when you try to wrap your brain around the fact that U2 and all the other ‘80s music groups that you’ve loved are ‘Golden Oldies’ to your kids in the same way that your parents’ beloved ‘60s music was to you? Or when you are reminded that 1990 really isn’t 10 years ago, not by a long shot, even though it really, truly feels like it? Or when you realize that BOTH of your sons are taller than you, and have been for a while now, and their voices have that deeper man-quality about them all of a sudden and they all of a sudden need to shave? Or when you realize your oldest son only has 2 more years of high school left, and his brother is right there at his heels ready to start high school next fall, and you try really hard not to do the math for remaining years that will take your breath away if you think too long about it regarding their little sister, and you feel like it’s only been a few blinks since they were little and cute and cuddly and barely walking and you felt so overwhelmed with being a mom to ‘littles’ and you were frustrated with all the older moms who kept telling you to ‘cherish every moment’ because it goes so quickly? 

And now here I am, living that moment, living that season of life. I no longer have ‘littles’ and all the types of frustrations that filled the mommy blogs and MOPS discussions back then, (and which complaining - which it very often was, honestly, I found annoying even at the time - I wasn’t all that into ‘mommy blogs’ and parenting magazines that focused on superficial things that in the long run weren’t actually the most important concerns). No, now I have the, in my opinion, more difficult, but so rewarding, time of older kids, being an older mom when I don’t think it’s nearly as cute or wise or funny or kind to blog about the things my kids say and do. Now I’m much more careful about what I share about them, because they really are their own people. And I should have been more careful, back then, too. But that’s for another blog post, another day. It’s not really what I had in mind to write about today, but I did read a good post regarding that here, that is worth reading and thinking about.

Those older moms who always wistfully told us to cherish every moment? I understand them a little better now. People are not kidding when they tell you that time flies. It does. Oh, how it does. And as I’m in this season of being an older mom with kids who are getting older and on the verge of flying from the nest in just a blink of time, it seems, I find myself wondering and pondering. Have I taught them enough? I know I’ve failed in many ways, as we all do, none of us are perfect parents. But I know they’ve heard the Gospel along the way, often, maybe not as often as I wish now looking back as it could have been, but often and in various ways and discussions and watching us live life in light of the Bible truth we know and the Savior we love. My prayer is that, in spite of our imperfect and learning-along-the-way parenting, please, God, would You draw my children to You every day? May the faith we’ve taught be more than just their parents’ faith, may they know and love Jesus and repent and trust Him for life?

I didn’t actually set out to write a blog about being a mom, though. What I was really thinking about was how strange this whole thing of getting older is. Inside, I still feel like I did when I was in my late 20’s, though I am so thankful to be able to look back with tears of gratitude that I’m not actually the same person I was then. God has graciously taught me so much along the way and through the years of reading His Word and listening to men who preach it faithfully. I saw a quote the other day, and I don’t remember it word-for-word, but it was something about how you may read the Bible and forget exactly what you’ve read when you get up that morning, but over a lifetime, faithful, daily reading of the Word will ultimately shape your thinking. I can bear witness to that. I may not be able to pinpoint exact moments of Bible reading or exact sermons heard, but a lifetime spent thinking about them and filling my mind with them has shaped me, by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I am so grateful. I look back at the prideful little thing I was back in my youth, and I’m so thankful for things along the way that God has used to gently humble me and change how I think and then how I act. I have a long way to go and much to learn, but by His grace, what a wonderful Savior Jesus is to be so very patient with His own!

Growing older is a strange thing. It’s amazing how when you’re young, it seems like you have all this time to do things, but how quickly you are all of a sudden nearing the end of your son’s high school years and you’re not in your 20’s anymore and time just seems to have drifted, sifted away while you weren’t looking because you were so busy in the very dailyness of it all.  All the adults I knew as a kid, I thought they were so put together and knew so much. And they did, but now that I’m that adult, I realize how insecure, scared, young they must have felt deep down inside sometimes, too. It’s a humbling thing to realize you are now the adult that the marketers target as you hear ‘your’ music playing in the grocery store, and as you realize politicians and CEOs and doctors and lawyers and important people, as far as making society run goes, not to mention pastors and elders at church, are your age…….and younger. It’s a weird thing to be the mom who your kids think knows everything, when you know how much you don’t know. We are that generation now. Sometimes that’s an overwhelming thought. But it also makes me appreciate my own parents so much more. They were here once, too, feeling these same strange feelings I’m feeling, and they did it well. I’m thankful for their example, and their love and support. Most importantly, I am extremely thankful for the example of a Christian home, and for the many, many, many faith filled discussions as we rose up, as we sat, and as we walked along the way. What my parents learned from the Bible, they shared with us, and that is a true legacy. I hope I’m doing the same well with my own children.

We’ve had some difficult things happen in our extended family recently, a heart-breaking loss, that has me thinking even more about mortality, and how fleeting this life is, and what a gift each day is. How important it is to know Jesus and love Him and live in His light every day. We have today, but we really do not know about tomorrow. Only He knows the days of our lives, before there ever was one of them, and I want to live the days He has given me well. One of the great comforts of this life is knowing that Jesus knows my days, before there ever was a one of them, and I belong to Him. He knows every day, and He is ever interceding for His own. I don’t want to fear growing older, and all the strangeness that brings, and I also don’t want to presume upon tomorrow. I want to trust Him with even the uncertainty of these days. He is Lord. May my life be a reflection of Him.


Psalm 139:16
“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” 

James 4:13-17
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ - yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” 

Monday, March 09, 2015

Status Update, March 2015

Seeing as I haven’t posted anything here since the end of December, Happy (not so )New (anymore) Year, blog world! My blogging ability seems to have waned along with my mood this winter. Winter in Cleveland has been quite an experience for this former Florida girl. I thought I liked a little winter, and I do like A LITTLE winter. Snow is great and pretty and fun when you only get a couple of big snows and then it melts away soon after. Though people jokingly warned me about winter here, I do not think I was prepared for quite so MUCH winter. I think you can’t be prepared for it until you experience it, and when you experience it you will either love it or hate it. Guess which side I landed on along with my many falls on icy sidewalks? I told someone recently that I think Cleveland winter has done its work and turned me into a bona fide snow Grinch. We haven’t seen grass or sidewalk or driveway since November (brief respite in an unusually snow-free December which lulled me into blissful unpreparedness) and January, oh, January, when we began to get mounds of snow and ice and more snow and gray, gray, gray, dismally gray skies for MONTHS. I’ve been truly fighting a bit of the winter blues, what with winter in general and some other things along the way that I don’t want to write about, and my energy for writing was completely sapped. So, if anyone even bothers to check here anymore, I’m sorry for the blog silence, but maybe, just maybe I can start getting my head above the gray clouds again now, with the hope of spring around the corner.

Driving here is not fun on a good day, in the winter it’s been….interesting. Throw in the mix that the last time we had the oil changed in my car (the one 4-wheel-drive vehicle we own) they put the wrong size cap on and it slowly lost all its oil without us realizing it, resulting in one day the car just not driving at all and the bad news that the engine was completely fried, and, well, it’s been a frustrating winter. Now, three weeks and quite and expense (but not a new car payment!) later, I have my car back with a new engine. Thankful, I am.

I know I shouldn’t complain and be so low in the winter. I know people who are facing real hurts and struggles, for whom I’m praying daily, and my griping about winter in Cleveland is pretty lame, which only makes me feel even more guilty about the confusing fog of blues into which I descended over the past few months. But my fog was real for me, and I’ve been praying through it, and God is good all the time, even when my feelings and emotions lack zeal. How extremely thankful I am that my standing with God and salvation are not based in my feelings and strength, but in my gracious Savior Jesus, who never wavers and who is ever interceding for His own.

Some great news today is, as I said on my Facebook wall just now: The sun is shining! The snow is melting! It’s a glorious 46 degrees and for the first time since November it feels LOVELY outside without a coat! No coat! No need for hat, scarf, OR gloves! The air doesn’t hurt my face! And I can see pavement on the sidewalks! No more ice skating to school! There are even a few spots of, what’s that stuff called again? Oh yes, grass! Dare I say the long, gray misery of winter may be coming to a close at last? AND I hear birds. Birds! I’d almost forgotten how very much I love to hear birds singing. It’s a lonely world when the birds go silent. So long, winter!

I will say that one very bright spot in our year here in Cleveland has been the church we get to join with while we’re here. The prayer, music, and Bible teaching are so rich, and I have been greatly encouraged by this body of believers and their commitment to worshiping Jesus well. I think this encouragement has done much to keep the blues at bay. 

So, not a very serious post, but hopefully one to get me back to blogging again. I hope. If you’re interested, I have found a couple of books that are helping me learn how to pray well, and they’ve been a blessing to me alongside reading my Bible. One is The Valley of Vision, and the other is Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration by Barbara R. Duguid and Wayne Duguid Houk. 


Happy (almost) spring!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Highlights (and Lowlights) From the Books I Read in 2014

I’ve kept track of the books I read this year in the page called, “Books Read 2014” on this blog,  but here at the end of the year I thought maybe I’d highlight the ones I either liked best or that have stuck with me most.

  1. 11/22/63 - Stephen King (F). I wrote quite a bit about my thoughts on this one on the list page, and as I said, I probably wouldn’t recommend it without qualifications, but it’s one that I still think about and enjoyed.
  2. Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue - Matthew C. Mitchell (NF). I wrote a blog post about my thoughts on this one here, and yes, it’s one that I’m glad sticks with me, and I probably need to read it again at some point. 
  3. Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (F). My mom and dad gave me this one for Christmas last year and I very much liked it.
  4. The Orphan Master’s Son - Adam Johnson (F). Another one my mom and dad gave me last Christmas that I very much liked. Both of these I find myself remembering long after I had put the book back in the bookshelf, and both I will probably re-read at some point.
  5. Two books in this one: A Time of Departing  and For Many Shall Come in My Name- Ray Yungen (NF). These have stayed with me, too, and I found it disturbingly eye-opening to the influence of “New Age” type of spirituality that is creeping into the evangelical church. I do wish more people would be alerted and concerned about this.
  6. I thought when I was reading the first of the Divergent books by Veronica Roth that they would end up on a list like this, but I ended up HATING the last book and ending so much that I would say, “Don’t bother,” if anyone were to ask me about this series.
  7. Safely Home - Randy Alcorn (F). Though there are things about this book that made me a little uncomfortable, over all it has really stayed with me and I find myself thinking about the overarching story in a good way.
  8. A Land More Kind Than Home - Wiley Cash (F). I’m looking forward to reading more by this author. 
  9. The four Light books by Terri Blackstock - Last Light, Night Light, True Light, and Dawn’s Light - (F). I really enjoyed this series, and I don’t typically like much Christian fiction for reasons I’ve mentioned on the blog before like how problematic many I’ve read are theologically, but these I did like, so they make the list.
  10. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare (F). This is a classic I had not read before, and I very much liked it.
  11. The Gospel’s Power and Message and The Gospel Call and True Conversion - Paul Washer (NF). Written with a pastor’s heart.
  12. The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung (NF). Another very good read that I hope sticks with me, and just may need to be read again. This one was challenging and I'm glad I read it.
  13. Stepping Heavenward - Elizabeth Prentiss (F). Probably one of my favorite books since I was a young girl. I like it more every time I read it.
  14. John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace - Jonathan Aitken (NF). I very much enjoyed this biography about a fascinating Christian man. I love how his testimony and life show how he never forgot God’s amazing grace.
  15. Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social Media - Kyle Tennant (NF). This has been the beginning of me finally starting to break my addiction to Facebook, and it couldn’t have come at a more welcome time. 
  16. The Blessing Way and Dance Hall of the Dead - Tony Hillerman (F). Books one and two of Hillerman’s Navajo mysteries. I read some of these years ago, but didn’t read them in order, so I’m reading them from the beginning now. I am enjoying the mysteries and the peek into Navajo culture and thinking. 

These are not all of the books I read in 2014, and you can see the full list on that page. Just because a book didn’t make this list doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, necessarily, but these were some of either my favorites or the ones I find myself still thinking about. I could have added the books from my list that dealt with Christians and pop culture as well. There were at least two of those, and they’ve continued to make me think also.


Happy reading and as we are reaching the end of 2014, I’ll wish you a Happy New Year, too!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9:2
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.

John 1:9-18
9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ” 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.


“When we were undone, with no will or ability to return to Him, He came, God-incarnate, to save us, as man to die our death, to shed His blood on our behalf, and work out a perfect righteousness for us.

O God, take us in Spirit to the watchful shepherds and enlarge our minds, let us hear good tidings of great joy, and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, and adore. Place us with the oxen and sheep in that stable, to look with them upon our Redeemer’s face and know ourselves delivered from sin in Him. In Him, you have given us so much that heaven can give no more. (Adapted from Valley of Vision).” - from our Christmas Eve service at Parkside Church last night.


Merry Christmas! Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Far As the Curse is Found


Revelation 21:1-8
“1 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. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 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. 4 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.’ 
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ 6 And he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.’ “

Revelation 22:12-14
“12 ‘ Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.”

Revelation 22:20
“20 He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”


I’ve been thinking quite a bit the past several months about relationships. There are several reasons for this pondering, but one is that I read a book recently called, Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social Media by Kyle Tennant. I wrote a little about the book on my book list page, and I’m not writing a review of it here since it isn’t the final point I’m wanting to make today, but that book has done what it was meant to do and started me thinking a little more about how and why I use social media, which has also helped me continue thinking through relationships in general. What came out of reading that book for me is that I’m really trying to spend less time with Facebook - reading and posting. I think that we impose expectations on social media that it really isn’t designed or able to fulfill. Social media is helpful and can be good for networking and maybe staying in contact with people when, like my family, you have to relocate often. In that way social media has been a blessing and I’m not ready to completely give it up. But, on the other hand, social media can hold some dangers in that sometimes we can expect it to provide closer relationships than it is actually capable of delivering. 

A couple of observations I’ve noticed along these lines to sort of lay some groundwork for the point I really want to make is that, first of all, we can be tempted to assume that if we interact often on Facebook that we have a close friendship, or that we’ve sort of done our duty to care for our friends. This an especially attractive temptation for those of us who are more introverted and not as naturally outgoing. The sad thing is that, though that kind of friendship is a type of relationship and sweet in its own way, it isn’t as close as real, face-to-face, in-the-flesh relationship. It just can’t be. Online communication cannot substitute for the more vulnerable, frankly messier but so much more fulfilling ultimately, nature of in-the-flesh relationship where we talk face to face and share life together. Mediated friendships allow us to carefully control how we present ourselves and how others perceive us. We can edit and delete posts that we think show something about us that we don’t want others knowing or thinking of us. Face-to-face, it’s much easier to know the real person, but it’s also a lot scarier because we may find out that we do not seem as perfect or flawless as we want people to see us, and we have a whole lot less control over that carefully crafted image while sitting across the table from someone than we do behind a computer screen. Another thing I’ve noticed is that because so many of us aren’t as careful as we maybe should be about remembering our whole audience of social media ‘friends’ and the varying levels of intimacy we’ve earned in those friendships when we post our every thought out there on the internet, sometimes we end up knowing more about mere acquaintances than we would without social media. We have a false expectation of intimacy because of this - and it opens the door for more hurt feelings and misunderstandings, in my opinion, because we assume a level of friendship that isn’t actually there because of how much we think we know based on what we’ve read on Facebook.

So, spring boarding from those observations, I’ve been thinking about relationships in general, beyond social media, because what I’ve been pondering is how even in ‘real-life,’ away from the screen, in-the-flesh, sitting-across-the-table, sharing life relationships, we still very often have a hard time really getting to know anyone else. I think part of the Curse, the Fall, is that we crave intimacy, but we also fear it and run from it even while seeking it. I think we all have walls and eggshells that we use as shields to varying degrees to protect our vulnerability. Some have huge walls, some have miles of eggshells, some have lower walls and fewer eggshells, but in the end, I think that it is very, very difficult to really know another person and truly relate to them in full fellowship. 

This is one reason that marriage is such a precious gift from God to humanity. This is also why divorce is so hurtful and capable of inflicting such deep wounds, and why it is so important for a Christian to marry a godly spouse and seek to be a godly spouse. Marriage, and to a great extent the family, is the one human relationship where we should be able to really be ourselves and not have to hide behind our walls and eggshells. Marriage, as God designed it, is the one human relationship where we should be able to be vulnerable with each other and not have to fear that vulnerability. In our fallenness and sin, even the best marriages can only hint at that, but how kind of God to give us this glimpse of what relationship should be. Marriage is also a grand picture of the gospel - Christ so loving the Church that He laid His life down for her to make her a pure Bride. 

So, what I’ve been thinking about this morning as I ponder various friendship mishaps and misunderstandings and brokennesses I’ve experienced and grieve over, I’ve been wondering if perhaps some of the tears that God will wipe away in the new Jerusalem just might be the tears I can’t help but think we will cry when we get to Heaven and we finally know each other as we are meant to and realize what we’ve missed behind our walls that we built between ourselves. That person we were so angry with, when we see their heart, when we know what we didn’t know here, what did we miss? What have I missed when I misunderstood a friend’s intent and chose not to assume the best but rather assumed the worst and was hurt and angry or bitter or distant and lost some of the intimacy that friendship could have had? What have I missed when I chose to remain hurt and hold a grudge?  What have I missed when I was indifferent to someone I should have cared about? What have I missed when I’ve harbored prejudices? What have I missed when I was just too busy and distracted or selfish to share in friends’ joys and sorrows? What have I missed when my pride caused me to care too much about what someone else thought of me, or what I perceived that they thought of me, and I kept myself at arms’ length, unable to just be and not have to carefully guard my image? And the list could go on.

This is where the gospel gives such hope. Those tears WILL be wiped away. Wrongs will be righted and misunderstandings cleared away.  But even here, even now, there is such amazing hope and grace. You see, in reconciling us to Himself, which is such amazing grace, God also grants us to be reconciled with each other. Understanding that I am, actually, just as wretched, no, even more wretched, than I suspected is actually quite freeing. Rather than having to carefully guard the notion that I’m all that and oh-so-wonderful, I can admit that I am a sinner, I am so very, very flawed, and so is everyone else. Jesus came to us while we were yet rebels, while we were ugly, pride-filled, self-centered, sinful people, and He came to redeem us and wash away our sins. When we repent of that ugly, ugly, ugly sinful wretchedness and turn to Him in grateful trust and faith, He washes us white as snow. We are freed to love others. We are freed not to have to carefully guard our image. If only I would learn this well. 

I think on this side of Heaven, relationships will always have that tension of wanting intimacy, but fearing it and feeling tempted to run from it, not really being able to lower the walls completely. But, for the Christian, we ought to be growing in grace and the ability to lay down grudges, forgive each other more easily, share in joys, sorrows, and burdens - life, in other words, and learn to really be a friend and family member who chooses to assume the best, bear with wrongs, choose to overlook misunderstandings when we’re able, give much room for grace in other people’s lives, and trust our Savior to teach us ever more to walk in His light. We are the grace people! We are Jesus’s people! We ought to be growing in that light and walking in it ever more closely. The light has dawned in the darkness and we have beheld HIS glory. 

That’s what I’ve been pondering recently.

In light of that, here are the words to one of the most beautiful, joyous Christmas hymns. Pay special attention to verse three in light of those thoughts. Jesus reigns, and He makes His blessings flow - far as the curse is found!


JOY TO THE WORLD

Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room, 
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of His love.







Monday, December 22, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


Psalm 139:13-18
“13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.”


My oldest son is taking AP Biology this year. He loves it. He has that kind of a brain that gets science and math and really, really enjoys learning it. I don’t have that kind of brain, but he does, and it’s been fun watching his eyes light up as he learns things and tries to share them with me. I say tries, because, honestly, lots of times I don’t actually understand all the intricacies of what he’s trying to explain, but sometimes I get just enough of the idea of it to be able to join in his excitement, and that’s pretty awesome.

For example, we had a true ‘awe’ moment the other day. As I’ve said here before, ‘awe’ is not a word to be used lightly, and I’m not using it lightly here. I’ll try, in my limited way, to explain, because it really was a moment of AWE for both of us.

My boy was struggling with a chapter on genetics and DNA and having a bit of a time truly grasping what he was studying, and feeling a little nervous because he had a big test coming up at the end of the week and he wanted to have a firmer grasp of the concept than he felt he had on the first several reads through the material. The light finally went on, though, and I saw it in his eyes when he brought his book downstairs and said something along the lines of, “I think I finally get this! I’m finally understanding it!” What he was studying about was the process of meiosis and reproduction. As he just explained to me when I asked while writing this, “It’s the process of splitting DNA - both parents producing half of their DNA to produce a brand new human being.” Those individual cells formed through meiosis in the mother and the father come together to form a whole new little person with his or her very own unique DNA combination. I’m NOT going to get all technical in this blog post, because, frankly, I can’t because the whole thing kind of blows my mind, but what we discussed that afternoon was how complex our DNA actually ends up being. My DNA comes from both sets of my parents, which comes from each of their parents, which had also been through this meiosis process for all the successive generations of parents upon parents, meaning my DNA isn’t JUST from my two parents, but a combination of everyone in my family history, and their histories, and their histories, and so on and so on. We know this, of course, being that we know about our family trees, and all, but thinking about the extreme complexity of the chromosome pairs that intertwine in each parent to create a whole new pair of chromosomes, meaning, well, it gets very complicated, but the process of combining all those sets of genes involves complex crossing over,even more complex than I can even try to hint at in this limited blog post, and I thought, “Wow. The Bible says we are knit together in our mother’s womb,” and I said that. My son said, “Yeah! The picture in the book looks a lot like knitting in a way.” 

Awesome.

I’ve always loved the poetry of that verse in Psalm 139, but, listening to this excited teenager trying to explain something, that, frankly, is so complicated I barely grasp the edges of it, made me realize, “It’s not JUST poetry.” God DOES, indeed, knit us together, and He knows exactly the combination of all that DNA that He wants to put together to make you the you that you are. He meant those pairs to combine exactly in the way they did to create you just as He did, just as He knit you together in your mother’s womb, He meant it just that way. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that is true for every human being. His thoughts are SO much higher than we can even comprehend. That was a WOW moment, and tears stung my eyes as I thought about how very intimately our Creator knows each and every one of us. He knits us together in our mothers’ wombs, just as He intends. 

And that Creator is right now upholding all that exists by the word of His power. He holds all things together. That Creator is our Savior and Redeemer. He is not the Deist’s god who spins up the world and stands far off and aloof from us. He is Immanuel, God With Us. He came to redeem His people and save us from our sin. Colossians 1:15-20, speaking of Jesus, says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”  This God, the only wise God, created man in His image, and is not a God afar off, but He has numbered the very days of our lives, He knows every single one of them. He is sovereign over every single molecule, down to our DNA and the very knitting together of it. 

I sat there thinking about how awesome this all is and how offensive the notion that we evolved by random chance truly is. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by Yahweh, the very God who spoke all of creation into existence. My son’s biology teacher and the authors of his book may have eyes blinded to that glorious truth and would probably roll their eyes at what I’m saying here, but I am so thankful for opened eyes to see and for the moment I had to rejoice with my son over our Creator who really has knit us together in just the way He intended us to be born, and who has demonstrated His great love to us in reconciling us to Himself, delivering those who repent and believe in Him from the domain of darkness and transferring us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is Lord! My son and I were brought to that remembrance once again that afternoon as we shared that moment of awe at the sheer and immense complexity of His Creation. 



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Driving, Not My Favorite Thing

Until last night I’ve been able to say I’ve never been pulled over while driving. Not once, no tickets, nothing. Those of you who know me and what a wonderful, hahaha, driver I am can all share in a small laugh right now if you so choose.

When we moved here, we joked that if I managed to get through our year here without being pulled over, it would be amazing. Driving here is that difficult. I made it almost five months. Yay me. 

How fun it was last night to be driving home from taking my oldest son to the doctor, hungry and cranky after waiting at the doctor’s office for over an hour right at dinner time, fighting off the beginning of my own raging headache, minding my own business, driving carefully because I was determined to beat the odds and not get pulled over for driving like a bonehead around here and because I had seen the police car in the next lane over, when I turned onto the main road home and immediately heard that ‘bloo -oop!’ and saw lights in my mirror. My son looked shocked and said, “Is that for us?” I said, “Looks like it is.” So I pulled over and sure enough it was for us.

As we sat there waiting for the officer to come tell me what I’d done wrong, I couldn’t for the life of me figure it out. I had my turn signal on, wasn’t speeding, signaled my lane change, what?? 

Turns out my plates expired last month (exactly 24 days ago). Somehow in all our moving around, we either didn’t get the renewal notice or, worse, I’m going to find it accidentally filed away somewhere when I clean out my files. It’s been a rough year. I have been wracking my brain trying to remember if I ever saw a renewal notice or not. Doesn’t matter now. We went online last night and took care of it, and that little clerical error will now result in me having to pay a not-so-welcome fine to the city and get a report sent to the Ohio Division of Motor Vehicles. Happy I am not.

At least the police officer was nice about it while he handed me my ticket, though I felt really stupid when he said, “Are you aware your plates are expired and have been since October?” and I had to honestly say, “No sir, I was not aware of that.” I didn’t even try to explain about moving and not getting the notice to renew. Fun times, fun times.  

And that headache that was just nudging at me behind my eye last night?  I woke up with it raging this morning, since apparently three of the five of us now seem to be fighting what the doctor informed us is a nasty head-cold that’s going around. Yay me, again.

Actually, I’m thankful that if I had to be pulled over for this, and it was inevitable since I’m pretty much the only one who drives that car and we really weren’t aware it had expired, that it happened at a time when I wasn’t late for an appointment or, even worse, taking my son to school. Can you imagine that humiliation, to be pulled over in the high school car drop off line?

So, I can no longer say I’ve never been pulled over, but at least I can say it wasn’t for being stupid with my driving. 


Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.