Monday, July 14, 2014

Out of The Mouths of Babes

Husband gone all week and then all weekend;
driving husbandless and distracted to church with baby and receiving my first traffic ticket;
roughly four hours of sleep last night;
persistent health difficulties;
surprisingly large doctor bill's in the mail;
and...a fussy baby...who came onto the kitchen rug to spit up at my feet a piece of paper that had gotten into his tummy.

I found in the next room remains of the paper he had ingested. It was a quotation from Jeremiah Burroughs: "Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, gracious frame of spirit that freely submits to and delights in God's wise and fatherly disposal in every condition."

Out of the mouths of babes.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Little Laughing Flowers

Only two weeks remain for my husband to finish his college studies before graduation. He's been a soldier-student for all the time I've known him, and now a soldier-student-husband-father. The journey to finishing college has been long and arduous for this man of whom I am proud and for whom I pray.

Lately those prayers have been much of this one: "Lord, provide for him, provide a job, provide for us." Every time I walk outside and see the world with its trees and homes spread out beneath the sky, I remember our lives beneath God's face and I am stirred up to ask Him again for blessings. (How we need often to stand beneath the sky and remember our Creator!) But in the moment of prayer, my sense of need sometimes rises up against my sense of God and tries to rule my heart. What will we do without this thing for which I pray? How hard will it be to wait for this thing for which I pray? The worry rises  and the prayers rise back, perhaps more weakly. A fresh breezes come to my face and pass by, the grasses wave in it, humble golden dandelions blooming in squat glory near the pavement lift bold faces to the sun, new leaves bob proudly on dark twigs of trees above my head, and other trees revel in brief attire of glorious perfumey blossoms. 

All of it seems suddenly to be laughing at me. Do you not see, silly child of Eve, how well He has provided for us? Does not the spring always come for us to deck ourselves with joy and feed the air with beauty? And are not you the daughter of our Maker? Hohoho! Fret not! The breezes blow to me a dozen reassuring smiles from grass and flower, cloud and leaf. 

"How much more valuable are you than they?" So said Jesus. He wants me to look at all of it, the flowers, the sky and the birds, and to remember why they are there just so, and that I can trust their Maker to make something beautiful out of my life.

Near, by the footfall,
Springeth a joy,
Like a new-blown little flower
Growing for thee, to make thee glad.
Let thy countenance be no more sad,
But wake the voice of joy and health within thy dwelling,
And let thy tongue be ever telling,
Not of fear that lieth grey,
But of little laughing flowers beside the way.
For the Lord is always kind 
Be not blind, be not blind  
To the shining of His face,  
To the comforts of His grace.  
He hath never failed thee yet.  
Never will His love forget.  
O fret not thyself, nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.
- Amy Carmichael




Friday, January 24, 2014

Birth

I thought this description of Dr. Zhivago's wife after she had delivered their first child was a beautiful picture of birth.

"Squirming on the palm of the nurse's hand lay a tender squealing, tiny human creature, stretching and contracting like a dark red piece of rubber....Tonia lay exhausted in the cloud of her spent pain. To Yurii Andreievich she seemed like a barque lying at rest in the middle of a harbor after putting in and being unloaded, a barque that plied between an unknown country and the continent of life across the waters of death with a cargo of immigrant new souls. One such soul had just been landed, and the ship now lay at anchor, relaxed, its flanks unburdened and empty. The whole of her was resting, her strained masts and hull, and her memory washed clean of the image of the other shore, the crossing and landing."
- from Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Baby Walter, 19 November 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A Little New Year's Thought

Radio in the car on Christmas eve: "In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world..."
Me: "I'd guess that Caesar's census was about as obnoxious then as Obamacare is now."
Caleb: "Probably worse..."

But think what God did through that obnoxious census. Don't underestimate what He might do in and under our own national annoyances. 

Happy New Year wishes to all!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Good Parenting Advice

"We evangelize children through the years by confronting them with the Gospel. Let them live with people whom Christ has saved, people who live Christ-centered lives. Let the children never question the power of God to change men and women. Let them hear the stories of God and Jesus in which people were saved.  Let them hear the stories of the church in mission. Let them experience failure, that they may realize that man cannot save himself.  Let them ask God for forgiveness, that they may experience the answer to their faith in God. The life of a child in a Christian home may be full of blessings such as Jesus declared in His Sermon on the Mount, full of discouraging sinning experiences, full of forgiveness, full of promises from God, and full of pulls of the Holy Spirit to take the narrow way. All these are leading the child on toward God."

- from Christian Education in the Home by Alta Mae Erb, 1963

Monday, October 21, 2013

That Masculine Strength

Here's a delightful tidbit of Lewis from the last book in his space trilogy - That Hideous Strength. The Director's words to the doubting, searching Jane gave me a fresh perspective on how my girl's life has been drastically changing as I've married a man and am now preparing to have a boy child. Maleness and femaleness are much deeper than biology and we oughtn't to run from what God intended these realities to do in our lives. 

Here's the Director's response to the unhappily married Jane, who is realizing, with some disturbance, that masculinity is not the primitive and barbarian thing she once thought it to be:
"There is no escape [from being invaded by the masculine]. If it were a virginal rejection of the male, He would allow it. Such souls can bypass the male and go on to meet something far more masculine, higher up, to which they must make a yet deeper surrender.  But your trouble has been what the old poets called Daungier. We call it Pride. You are offended by the masculine itself: the loud, irruptive, possessive thing - the gold lion, the bearded bull - which breaks through hedges and scatters the little kingdom of your primness as the dwarfs scattered the carefully made bed. The male you could have escaped, for it exists only on the biological level.  But the masculine none of us can escape.  What is above and beyond all things is so masculine that we are all feminine in relation to it..."
I love these words - not only for how they give me a healthy perspective on my own life, but also for how they fly like a fresh wind in the face of current reasoning about the legitimacy of homosexuality. I'm not like Jane in that I'm quite happy to be married to a real masculine person. But words that can pull one person from disapproval to appreciation, can also move another person from vague appreciation to hearty appreciation, and that's what they did for me.

The conversation continues:
"...You had better agree with your adversary quickly."
"You mean I shall have to become a Christian?" said Jane.
"It looks like it," said the Director.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Lean Hard

I have mixed feelings about my copy of the classic devotional, Streams in the Desert. Sometimes it hits the heart of things just right, and sometimes it seems to totally miss the point of an obscurely considered text. But I've plugged away at it, and am sometimes rewarded with treasures like this poem - the kind of piece that you read and suddenly have urges to plaster on every flat surface because it's too good to not think about all the time. It's really just a call to prayer, but sometimes we need to be told to pray in ways that remind us what exactly that is, and why the duty is our most precious privilege.

Child of my love, lean heard
And let me feel the pressure of thy care;
I know thy burden, child, I shaped it;
Poised it in Mine Own hand; made no proportion
In its weight to thine unaided strength,
For even as I laid it on, I said,
"I shall be near, and while she leans on Me,
This burden shall be Mine, not hers;
So shall I keep My child within the circling arms
Of My Own love." Here lay it down, nor fear
To impose it on a shoulder which upholds
The government of worlds. Yet closer come:
Thou art not near enought. I would embrace thy care;
So I might feel My child reposing on my breast.
Thou lovest Me? I knew it. Doubt not then;
But loving Me, lean hard.

- from Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman