My God Who Sees

My daughter and I read it, on our stomachs on her bed in the evening. She’s not sure she’s convinced about our new routine– reading the Bible and talking about it, praying out loud. On the one hand she loves me lying there with her, giving her my attention. On the other hand, she would rather be doing something “fun” like playing dolls or painting toenails or eating ice cream. Nevertheless, we keep reading.

Wednesday night, after a late supper of chicken and sweet potatoes and a needlepoint/ crochet session in which she continually “forgot” how to make half cross stitches while declaring over and over how easy stitching is, we are reading at the end of John 1.

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”  Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”  Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”  Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”

Jesus saw Nathanael. Long before Nathanael even knew Jesus existed, Jesus saw him. He is the same God whom Hagar named The God Who Sees Me. And as my little girl and I talk about what the verses mean, we find hope in this knowledge– that the God who saw Hagar, the God who saw Nathanael, is the same God who today sees us.

And then this morning– there it is again in Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.

And as I read these words, my faithful God reminding me again of His care for me, how can I help but join with David–

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it. . . .
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

If ever there was a reason to praise, it is this– that God sees me, knows me, and beyond that, He created me and cares for me. He never fails to protect me or guide me. He is a loving Shepherd, a gentle Father, and He is always near.

My response to this must be simply to open myself to the work of God in my life. This God who made and knows me– He desires to change me. He sees the end of every path. He knows what is the best way for me to go, even when I am kicking and screaming and fighting against His plan. When I willingly place my heart in the keeping of the God who knows me, who loves me, who made me, He often takes me places I wish I didn’t have to go. He removes things I cherish and allows obstacles that frustrate and anger me. But in the end, His way is always best.

Oh, that we would have the courage to open ourselves to the work of God in our lives, to draw near to God so He may draw near to us, to pray with David–

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!

Worshiping and Becoming

I think I read it in Elyse Fitzpatrick’s book Idols of the Heart— at least, that’s where it first jumped out of the page and stuck like a burr in my brain. We become like the thing we worship.

Of course this is a biblical concept, taken out of Psalm 135–

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them.

I have discovered the uncomfortable truth that I am very prone to idolatry. My heart will latch onto the most ridiculous things and decide to worship them. I can sit in judgment of Israel and their golden calf at Sinai, but in truth I am no better. I worship at the altar of comfort, of reputation, of independence, of sleep. In fact, there are few altars I have not at one time or another bowed the knee to.

But the Psalmist’s words cut deep. The longer I worship what is not God, what is not worthy, the more I become unseeing, unhearing, unaware of what is good and true and beautiful. I become shallow or selfish or prideful or entitled. I can’t see God at work because I have become like my blind idol, and part of me rails against Him for not showing up while the other part thinks it’s probably not really a big deal anyway.

If we worship what is not alive, we will not be truly alive. If we worship what has no power, we will be weak. If we worship what is selfish and empty, we will be selfish and empty.

God has created us to be creatures who worship. The heavens declare, but we bow down. We are made to reach our full potential only when we are worshiping our Maker. So often though, we content ourselves with worshiping at the feet of far lesser gods– trying to fill the void that only God can fill with money or power or a family or a good life or addictive substances or physical beauty.

Throw all the money you want into a God-sized hole and you will still have a God-sized hole. He is infinite, and we were made to worship Him.

And He is so worthy of that worship. The book of Psalms tells us over and over again of the mighty worth of the one true God. Nothing compares. Nothing can stand up in the light of His glory.

We become like what we worship.

We are not called to be like celebrities or sports heroes, like video games or like social media. We are not called to be like the rich or the powerful or to be like the mother down the street or the pastor of the huge church in the next town. We are called to be like Jesus.

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son . . .

Created in the image of God, we are now called to be holy as He is holy, to be changed day by day back into that image that was marred and made ugly and imperfect by the fall.

I am more and more convinced that becoming Christlike is a lot less about my actions and decisions, although of course those play a role, and a lot more about my worship. If I come face to face with the very glory of God in daily worship and adoration, how can I help but be transformed?

 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

We look at Jesus, and we are changed. We worship Him in the beauty of holiness and He slowly but surely creates that holiness within us. And one day, when we see Him face to face, will be experience a final, glorious transformation.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

If I bow my heart before anything less than Christ, I will be less than what I was created to be. But if I daily place myself before Him and worship Him, He begins in me this sweet transformation, opening me up to the good gifts He gives, opening my eyes, enabling me and strengthening me.

I am made humble in the presence of His greatness.

I am made alive in the presence of the Author of life.

I am purified by the holy fire of His Holy Spirit.

I am strengthened by the Almighty God.

I learn to serve as I worship the Son of Man, who came to serve.

I learn to love as I worship the One who laid His life down all for love.

I learn to be faithful as I gaze at the steadfast faithfulness of the unchanging, eternal Lord of all.

We become like what we worship.

Oh friend, let us worship the only One who is truly worthy of our lives. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is God– He is all that matters.

Let us become like Jesus.

 

Whatever Is Lovely

faint fringes skyI find myself slowly coming awake to beauty.

Perhaps it is the discipline of daily thanksgiving, carried out over the last two years. Perhaps it is the the worship of my mighty God, Creator of all that is beautiful. Perhaps it is the frequent prayers that my eyes would be opened to God’s work around me and in me.

Whatever it is, as my prayer life has deepened and my relationship with God has become more than just an outward fact of my life– as it has become the very truest reality of my life– I have begun to drink in the beauty around me with new eyes.

The stark winter trees against the early morning’s orange sky in the winter. The view on the way to guitar lessons just as you come over the hill– and the way it changes with the seasons and time of day and always fills me with expectation. The smell of the my son’s hair right after a shower, of toast with peanut butter, of clean sheets right out of the dryer.

faint fringes beadsI have come alive to the glory of color and texture and the funny way my daughter’s two front teeth are growing in, and I hold can’t help touching things at the store even as I tell the kids not to, because the soft and the smooth and the bumpy all bring a kind of delight.

There is beauty in my shiny blue crochet hook and in Grandma’s apron wrapped around me as I cook for my family, beauty in the multitude of colors and drippy accidents on my toes after Pooka gives me a pedicure, beauty in the way we sit around the table and pass the vegetables.

All my senses drink in the loveliness of this life, which is sweet because it is given by God’s hand, even when the world around me seems so very brutally ugly.

A day will come when all the ugly will be gone, when nothing except glory and beauty and the precious face of Jesus will fill my eyes. But until then, He tells me to think on what is pure and lovely and excellent and true– what is virtuous and praiseworthy– and opens my eyes to it so I see it and stand in awe.

Breathing deep of the glories of this good life, seeking daily to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks in all things, I find my heart protected as the God of peace dwells with me and overwhelms me with His perfect peace, even on the darkest and ugliest of days.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

faint fringes lilyOh God, today let me see Your beauty with new eyes– eyes wide open to the glorious loveliness of all Your good gifts.

 

Photography by my dad, Irv Cobb. You can see more of his work here.

Monday Meanderings, Week 13

My brain is meandering in very un-writerly ways right now; struggling to concentrate and feeling unable to create complete sentences.

Here is a picture of Pooka working on her new needlepoint project. This was last Tuesday, which was the first and also the last time we worked on it. Some days I don’t have time. And some days I don’t have patience.

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Family ice cream time. Except for Darth Piggy, who was away at camp having way more fun than an ice cream cone from McDonald’s could ever provide.

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Last week on Wednesday, Pooka’s friends from across the street came over and made cookies. They made a huge mess and had tons of fun and got colored cookie dough everywhere and giggled a lot.

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Here are some of their finished masterpieces.

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I think we can all agree that they are amazing cookie dough artists of the highest order.

One of the things I was given from my Grandma’s house were her Pyrex mixing bowls. My dad can remember her using them when he was just a little boy, and I love them so much. But the green one was missing. Thanks to the joys of antiquing, I am now the proud owner of a full set– and they are so pretty. I love using them. I love bright colors!!

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And speaking of bright colors, I am learning the brand new skill of crochet thanks to the help of a friend, and my first project also involves a lot of beautiful brights.

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That picture was taken Friday, right after my first lesson. I’ve finished that whole skein of yarn now, and started in on a few rounds of blue, just for a change. I decided I was spending far too much time playing mindless computer games, so crochet is my new thing to do with my hands when we’re watching TV or whatever.

On Saturday Darth Piggy came home, sunburned and happy. I was a little excited to see him.

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I was less excited to see his duffel bag full of laundry, but we soldier on.

We had fun spoiling Art on Father’s Day.

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I got him this chicken mug because it’s awesome.

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Darth Piggy thought it was the most hilarious thing he had ever seen. Either that or he was still not caught up on sleep. The child laughed hysterically for like a full minute.

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(I know it’s a terrible picture. Sorry about that.)

So I know this post doesn’t actually say much, but as I may have mentioned, my brain is only partially functional right now. I hope that in the morning I will have more actual Thoughts To Share.

In the meantime, have a picture of Art and the kids on the porch swing.

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And have a lovely day!:)

Saturday Morning Poetry, edition 6

~Hope Shines~

stars

On darkest nights the stars shine clearest,
Though in the day they hide their light;
Hope is a star that’s sweetest, dearest–
In the dark it glows more bright.

Look up, then, pilgrim, through the shadow–
Turn your eyes to see the light.
Through the darkness, see the starglow–
Hope awaits, still shining bright.

Let me thus be hope’s bright shimmer,
As this world grows dark and grim.
In the gloom, let my life glimmer,
For the sake of hope in Him.

2016 by Erin Jo Kilmer
togetherforgood.wordpress.com

While I Wasn’t on Facebook . . .

facebookWhile I wasn’t on Facebook, my daughter and her friends designed beautiful, colorful, sprinkle-adorned cookies. And they giggled. A lot.

The floor was covered with a rainbow of stepped-in buttery sweetness, and their feet were a palette of color to make a painter jealous. The three girls shared and passed the sprinkles and the bowl of pink dough, and they filled the cookie sheets with flowers and circles and hearts and a rainbow and a cupcake and a ladybug and some butterflies.

While I wasn’t on Facebook my son mixed up some chocolate chip cookie dough and while I was on Facebook he burned the first batch, just a little, and so after I got off Facebook we decided the thing to do was to crumble them up and save them for ice cream sundaes when his brother comes home from camp.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I put dinner in the crock pot and I read Blueberries for Sal out loud and I listed to my kids talk about their plans for the afternoon. I swept up sprinkles and wiped up cookie dough smears and I listed to my Bible reading for the day and I read a book, and then I took a nap.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I had Bible study with a friend and went canoeing with my mom and ran errands with time to stop and chat because I hadn’t spent my whole day on Facebook. I answered my kids’ questions and spent some extra time in prayer and cuddled with my husband on the couch.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I taught my daughter to do needlepoint and I made a meal for a friend who needed a blessing, and I remembered to use up the food in the fridge before it had a chance to go bad. While I wasn’t on Facebook we walked downtown and bought stamps and we stopped and talked to the neighbors and strolled along the sidewalk and enjoyed the flowers. I played the piano and wrote some letters and ordered new curriculum and laughed out loud at my husband’s jokes.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I called my Grandma, and it’s funny how that doesn’t feel like time wasted, now that she’s gone.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I sat with my family around the table and passed the chicken and the vegetables, and I told them what I learned today and they told me. And we talked about airplanes, maybe, or reading, or long division or one of the Presidents.

While I wasn’t on Facebook some friends posted witticisms, and some posted prayer needs, and some posted interesting links and some posted adorable pictures. I got sixteen likes on my thoughtful post about faith and a hundred on my funny post about what my daughter said, and something depressing happened in my trending topics, and nobody really noticed I had been missing and it was all still there when I got back.

sunsetWhile I wasn’t on Facebook I noticed the way that my older son’s shoulders are broadening as he inches closer and closer to my height. I noticed the new freckles popping out on my younger son’s nose and the way he loves a hug. I had time and space on my lap and in my arms for a daughter who is somewhere between a little girl and a big girl but still loves to cuddle. I had time to stand in the kitchen with my arms around my husband and gross the kids out for a moment or two.

While I wasn’t on Facebook I discovered that my life is pretty good when I’m not glued to a screen. And I had time to revel in the goodness of it, and to thank the Giver of it, and to celebrate it with a hug and a happy dance.

I can’t wait to see what will happen tomorrow while I’m not on Facebook.

Mustard Seeds, Mountains, and a Mighty God

Peter and JesusI think my faith is far too small. I think that though I say I believe that God can do anything, in truthI am afraid to ask Him to do it. What if He doesn’t do it? What then? Or even worse– What if He decides to do it through me?

What if real faith is a willingness to be pulled out of my comfort zone and to trust that God is there? Peter’s faith called him out onto the waves, and though he lost faith quickly, at least he got out of the boat. That was one experience, one of many over his years walking with Jesus and later living in the power of the Spirit, that gave him mountain-moving faith.

It was one of the questions in my Bible study last night– If Christians truly believe Philippians 4:13, why aren’t we doing more for the Lord? Philippians 4:13–

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Ouch. That question stopped me in my tracks. Because there are only two possible answers to that question– Either we don’t really believe it at all, or we really don’t want to do “all things”–whatever God wants us to do. I expect it’s a combination of both for most of us.

When my faith is small it is because I am not aware or I am not choosing to be mindful of the reality of my God and how great He is. He created the whole universe with just the words of His mouth, and even now He upholds it all with the word of His power. Just His words are so powerful that whole galaxies whirl through the heavens undiscovered and unimagined because He created the stars also. This is my powerful God. When I lose sight of His greatness and majesty and power I find my faith becoming small and weak.

God created all the universe with His voice, but He created humanity with His hands. We are a precious creation, beloved, created in His image from dust– dust made holy by the breath of God. And when we marred that image, He sent His Son. He sent Jesus in flesh, dust taking on glory in a whole new way. And now God’s hands healed the sick and touched the hurting and broke bread to feed the hungry. And then they stretched out to die, and all for love.

This is a trustworthy God. This is a God worth obeying.

When my faith is small, when I am afraid to step out in obedience and pray without reservation, “Lord, use me– I am a living sacrifice,” it is because I am failing to look at the holy power and the merciful love of the One who made me, who cherishes me, who went so far as to give His life for me.

What if I quit holding back? Quit holding back myself, my obedience? What if all that stuff about mustard seeds and mountains, all that you have not because you ask not is really true? What if I quit asking God for small, safe things, and boldly started asking for great things?

What if He answered?

I think my world would be different. I think I would see Him at work. I think I would love more extravagantly and share my faith and hope more boldly and live with courage and not fear, and I think all that would be good.

What if you did it too?

What if it could be said of us, as it was said of the believers in the first century, These are the ones who have turned the world upside-down?

Oh God, increase our faith. I believe! Help my unbelief!

Monday Meanderings, Week 12

My poor, neglected blog. I had every intention of filling it up last week, but we had Vacation Bible School and I had an arthritis flare and I ended up sleeping through pretty much all of my blog time and also most of my housework time. Thankfully on Friday I started feeling better! And truly, God gave exactly the strength I needed to get through VBS, and we had a great week. But the blog did get a bit neglected.

Honestly, the month of May was not what I had expected or planned it to be. Our vacation was amazing but we were beyond exhausted when we got home. I spent the next week getting caught up and into a good summertime routine, and then my grandmother became seriously ill with a blood infection. Grandma had leukemia, so this was very bad. Ten days after we got home from our Epic Sisterly Road Trip, I got in the back seat of my parents’ rented minivan and rode to upstate New York. It was such an exhausting trip. While we were en route we got the call that Grandma had passed away. Then there was family and strange beds and wild emotional outbursts and a funeral on a horribly hot day in a church with no air conditioning. And there was packing up clothes and trying to choose keepsakes and then there was the flight home, a friend at the airport, and finally my family waiting for me.

I feel like Grandma’s death has changed something in me. I don’t know how to describe it exactly, but I have discovered in myself a deep love for home that I didn’t know I had. I grew up in Wisconsin and then Nebraska, and Iowa was always the state we made fun of– but as I flew over Iowa and looked down and recognized the towns near us and barely made out Tiny Town at the very edge of my view, I cried with the joy of coming home. I loved my grandparents’ house, and I cherish the memories there. And I had a wonderful childhood and in some ways I still think of the big house on Main Street where I spent ten years from 6-16 as home. My parents’ house will always be home as long as they are there, because family is a kind of home too. But I realized as I flew over the terraced fields and the simple farms that I just really love Iowa. I have lived here for nearly twenty years, and it has become my home, and I am so thankful to God for calling us to a place that I love. I would be glad to stay here in Tiny Town forever. I love these people and all their quirks and foibles. I love our neighbors and our house and our church family. I guess I had never realized it quite so strongly before. And it made me want to put my roots down a little deeper and open myself up a little wider to love the people God has placed in my life. I feel like that is a legacy my grandmother would be proud of.

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Today I read a book where the main character goes on a trip to England and visits all these places in literary history. And I have decided that that is my dream vacation. I came dancing downstairs after finishing the book (It’s called The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay), and I informed my husband that we need to start saving our pennies for this. And he did some math and announced that we should be able to go in about eighty years. Alas.

So then I opened up my Bible study book to get ready for our meeting tonight, and the first question was this: What is contentment? And then I laughed really hard. I feel like God has an amazing sense of humor.

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Darth Piggy is away at camp this week. Our house is weird without him. Today Angry Ranger mowed the yard next door and Pooka played in the dirt at her friend’s house and came home filthy. I read my book and Art painted a rock I brought back from upstate New York and Angry Ranger did computery things and I attempted to teach Pooka to do one of those plastic canvas stitching projects. And we had dinner and went out for ice cream and chilled and it was a lovely relaxing day but it was weird because one of us is missing.

I wonder if he’ll remember to take a shower this year.

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God is doing really good things in my heart right now. I want to share them here, and I plan to return to regular blogging this week. I’ve been pondering lately how many of our issues could be solved if we would just remember to keep our eyes on Jesus. I am so easily distracted. I want to see more of Him every day, to remember that He is always there, at the finish line, cheering me on– and also right beside me, walking with me through every circumstance. One of the questions in my Bible study book today was along the lines of, if we really believe that we can do all things through Christ, then why aren’t Christians doing more? That is a question that stings a little bit. The good kind of sting– the kind that makes me want to trust a little more, obey a little more, press on a little harder, live a little purer, love a whole lot more extravagantly.

Last week’s VBS theme verse was Joshua 1:9–

Be strong and of good courage . . . for the Lord your God is with you.

What a sweet promise. Eyes on Jesus, everyone! He is with us, and He leads us and cares for us and calms us with His gentle voice.

How much He could accomplish in us if we would only keep our eyes on Him.

 

Hanging out in Indiana

Look! More vacation pics!!! Hooray!!!

(Today’s vacation post is brought to you by my enemy the snooze bar.)

After our days in Louisiana, we woke up early on Saturday morning and heading northeast to southern Indiana, where Art’s sister lives. We were on the road super early and drove a few hours before we stopped for breakfast.

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This is how Pooka felt about breakfast at McDonald’s until I told her she could have a smoothie. Then she cheered up.

This drive was our longest day on the road for this trip– something like twelve hours. Pooka and I both did a lot of this, only she was cuter and less prone to snoring.

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However, we did finally reach the wonderful world of Indiana and Auntie Karen’s house. She fed the kids pancakes and all was well.

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Sunday was Mother’s Day. We went to church in the morning and then gorged ourselves at the biggest Chinese buffet I have ever seen in my entire life in the afternoon. Of course I had to have my traditional Mother’s Day picture with all the kids. What a privilege it is to be a mom.

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Also while we were there I made all the kids huge ice cream cones, because that is my Special Buffet Trick. I used to work at McDonald’s and I can make an amazing ice cream cone. Of course, Pooka dropped hers on the ground about three minutes after I made it for you. Also, I distinctly remember posing for multiple ice cream pictures, but apparently they were on someone else’s phone. Use your imagination. They were as tall as the kids’ faces.

Monday morning we visited a shop where they make gun accessories. Lots of cool machines and stuff. I have no idea what the guy was talking about, because I’m not really a gun person or a machine person or a math/engineering person and so mostly I was like “oooh, shiny.” Darth Piggy was pretty mesmerized though.

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That afternoon we walked to the Tasty Freeze, home of this terrifying statue.

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But at least there was ice cream.

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Also, here’s a picture I love. Uncle Artie is definitely a favorite.

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That evening, we had a cookout with the pastor of Art and Karen’s old church in Washington state, where they lived in junior high/ high school. There were pictures taken of everyone together, but of course they’re not on my phone. But here’s a picture of our families–

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I don’t know why Art looks so grouchy. Maybe because this was before Joel made us super yummy lattes.

On Tuesday we drove to St. Louis and went to the zoo, which is worth its own post, but that morning the kids all sat and played Doctor Mario, and I feel like this picture is noteworthy.

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Ya’ll, they are sitting on an AIR MATTRESS. Can we get a shout out for the wonders of modern technology? That thing is amazing.:)

It’s crazy how long ago this vacation feels now. I’m afraid the end of May kind of eclipses the beginning of it in my mind. Still, how blessed are we to now live within driving distance of both of our sisters and all these amazing nieces and nephews? God has been good to our family.

Have a great day!

 

 

Dust and Life

dustSome days my soul clings to the dust. I don’t know what the Psalmist was thinking of when he penned these words– My soul clings to the dust; give me life according to your word!– but I know that on a Thursday morning when my brain is cobwebby and my writing skills are lacking and my stomach is vaguely upset and I hit the snooze bar a few too many times, these words resonate with my soul.

We are only dust redeemed–dust given life by the Life-Giver, by the One who can take mud and make man, breathe in life and create a soul.

When God created Adam, He took a humble thing, the bane of the homemaker’s existence– dust– and elevated it to His own image with His breath. Dust was no longer just dirt, but it had become something precious, the very image of God. Man became a living soul.

And then– man chose the fruit and the disobedience and the consequence was that dust began turning to dust again. All the beauty of God’s image, marred by the dirt of sin and the return to what He had elevated us from. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground,  for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

Yet even in the horror and sadness of this return to dust, God offers mercy. There are few verses in Scripture as sweet as Psalm 103:13-14–

As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.

He remembers who we are, and He has compassion on us, and forgives us because of the Cross. Having created life from dust, He redeems us and He frees us from our messy beginnings. We have this promise–

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

One day, all this dying dust will be gone, changed for the imperishable body of eternity. But right now– God calls us to put off the flesh, to die to it, to reckon that dust already gone and our lives already fully in Him, beyond dust and sin and shame.

How often I forget. My soul clings to the dust of this world– the perishable, the wood and hay and stubble, the treasure of earth– and I forget that my treasure is in heaven, my life is in Christ, that He has something far better for me– gold and silver and precious gems.

My soul clings to the dust;
give me life according to your word!

In my weakness, I cling to worthless pursuits, but real life is never found there.

In him was life . . .

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

lifeMy life is never in this dust of death to which my body will one day return. My life is “hidden in Christ with God” and all that matters is there.

Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life in your ways.

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