Monday, January 19, 2009

One of my favorite books is Prayer by Richard Foster. I read it the first time in college, and since have picked it up now and then to reread sections of it. Last week or the week before, I happened upon a section that describes winter's affect on trees:

As winter apporaches each year, I like to watch our large maple in the backyard begin to lose its covering of summer green and take on a funeral brown. As the leaves drop, one by one all of the irregularities and defects of the tree are exposed. The imperfections are always there, of course, but they have been hidden from my view by an emerald blanket. Now, however, it is denuded and desolate, and I can see its real condition.
Winter preserves and strengthens a tree. Rather than expending its strength on the exterior surface, its sap is forced deeper and deeper into its interior depth. In winter a tougher, more resilient life is firmly established. Winter is necessary for the tree to survive and flourish. Instantly you see the application. So often we hide our true condition with the surface virtues of pious activity, but, once the leaves of our frantic pace drop away, the transforming power of a wintry spirituality can have effect.
To the outward eye everything looks barren and unsightly. Our many defects, flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections stand out in bold relief. But only the outward virtues have collapsed; the principle of virtue is actually being strengthened. The soul is venturing forth into the interior. Real, solid, enduring virtues begin to develop deep within. Pure love is being birthed.

(Prayer - Finding the Heart's True Home, Richard Foster: Harper Collins, 1992. p.66)

It is interesting to me the way God works. In this short section, I was hit by the recognition that difficult times (like those Tim and I have faced over the past year) are not just times to get past, but to find life in - to allow the principle of our faith be strengthened. But, here is the cool part: we also heard this in our sermon last week in the question "What if the trials in our lives are necessary parts of our journey of faith?" I am taking this as a sign that we should not lose heart in these trials!

I am so encouraged by this reminder. I am encouraged to look at this winter in our lives in a new way. While previously I felt as if we had something to learn (and we did) and in the back of my head felt as if we had done something wrong to have had our lives lead in the direction it has. I am going to let go of that thought and instead look ahead at how God is developing us from deep within. This winter can be harsh and cold - but I suppose I am choosing to allow it to strip away what is unneeded, drop the leaves that only serve to hide who I am, and live through it. Come out stronger on the other side.

here is the link if you are interested in hearing the sermon (choose 1/11/09)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Remembering 2008, looking forward to 2009

How do you recap a year of your life in a paragraph or two? How do you condence it into a couple phrases? Into a word? So much took place in our lives this year that I could write for hours and merely scratch the surface. A few words that do resonate with me when looking at 2008 are trial, providence, grace, growth, fear, trust. I look back and certainly remember the mistakes, the pain of the unknown - feelings that thrust icy slivers through my heart, force my gaze down lest someone see into my eyes and into my doubting heart.
Yet, I look back and can't help but see the forgiveness and grace. I remember also the peace of knowing He is near even in the unknown, filling the frozen places of my heart with a warmth that radiated and healed. I can' help but recognize His hand of blessing - in the healthy birth and growth of Caleb, in the milestones that we celebrated in Jeremiah and Logan. He has shown Himself real - and loving - and capable of fulfilling His promises. More than capable, excited, to fulfill the promise He has made and to continue the story of the faith He authored in me.
So I look at 2009, and here is my goal: that I allow Him to write my story, that I open up my frozen parts to his mercy and my pain to His healing. That I continue to and with more regularity recognize His hand in my situations.

...for your mercies are new every morning - great is your faithfulness...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


We are baptizing Caleb this Sunday. A beautiful thing. Tim's family will be making the trek up for it this Saturday and staying overnight. Fun times will be had!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Caleb with Arend

How funny are these two?! Caleb is so laid back!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


My friend Cari and her husband Steve just gave birth to their first son Simon Mark. What a beautiful baby he is! If there ever was a time when we wished we had lots of money laying around, now is it. I would LOVE to be in Jersey right now... They have little video clips posted on their blog, i keep replaying them. Babies are so precious. (My precious one is sleeping right now...) All of my precious ones are sleeping right now... what a nice thing!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Two and a half months in...

What a life! We are in the midst of diapers and spit-up, laundry and mopping, playing and doing homework. People are right... three children make life busy. But good. Just to recap the last month or so, Jeremiah has been increasingly helpful. Heloves to help with Caleb, 'babysitting' he calls it sometimes. Logan is also in love with Caleb, smothering him with kisses, and yes, a few pinches. Caleb has mastered the art of 'cooing' and is attempting to laugh - which makes the rest of us laugh even harder. And of course, brings about more kisses from Logan. Can I say it again? We are richly blessed. I love it - everything except the mess that I can't keep on top of. My mom mentioned a lifetime ago that once three came around, she never was able to get back to a clean's clean now that kids are gone... I hope I don't have the same sentence. But, the mess is, right now, a small price to pay. Speaking of mess, we have a house to clean before Logan's birthday party tonight.
Logan's birthday party?! Can he already be three years old? What a beautiful kid. He was excited that this, the week of his birthday would include a Happy Birthday Hat (like Jeremiah gets at school) and a Happy Birthday Cake. He even brought Happy Birthday Treats to his bible school class (again, like Jeremiah does at school). It was just a joy to revel in his excitement.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My three boys...

Well, life is busy these days. Caleb is now close to three weeks old. We are getting used to him, as he is getting used to us. The big boys have been great with their little brother. Suddenly Jeremiah, almost five, seems to me to be a man. Helpful, reveling in the little jobs given him to care for his baby brother. It is amazing to see the way God is fashioning him into a young man. Our third child born, our first growing up. Wow. Logan also-seemed to gain ten pounds after holding Caleb's tiny body! And oh how he loves his baby 'Cay-web' -- hugging, kissing, weeping when Caleb can't be held... Beautiful children. We are blessed. Truly blessed.