Tuesday, November 18, 2008

theology class

Before I begin this post, I must respond to the comments from my previous post. I know this is telling about my blogging experience, but I never know quite what to do with responses. If it were up to me, I would read a comment and then be instantly connected via telephone to the person who commented. I would then gush my profuse thanks and have a wonderful conversation that would be the highlight of my week. I would have great conversations with friends I talk to frequently like Lauren, catch up with old friends like Ella, Missy and Rebekah, and make wonderful new friendships with amazing people like Kerry from 'Colored with Memories'. Kerry, I don't know you, but I love you from reading your blog. I just moved to Texas 7 years ago and I am as passionate about it as you. And your 100th post has me cracking up...I can't even tell you all the things that I loved, but the picking up for the maid thing was the best if I had to choose my favorite right this second. Where or where in Texas do you live? Close to me? I hope so...and should I be writing all of this in your comments on your blog or in my comments in my blog? Or is this whole responding to you in my own post thing appropriate? I don't know...but as a fellow PCAer, I hope you will have grace and be friends with me either way :).

It has been a very interesting day for me, and I could write at least 3 posts on it...and I didn't even go to work. But the most important thing for me right now is to document the conversation I had with Lainey (my 5 yr. old) as I was putting her to bed tonight. It started out as our usual bedtime conversation does...all of a sudden when faced with going to sleep she remembers all the wrongs done to her throughout the day and must document them. While I can completely relate to this need, it is always extremely annoying to me since I am usually counting down the seconds to my FREE TIME (does that even really exist??? I keep hoping it does, but it keeps eluding me). Tonight it was the usual 'someone was not nice to me on the playground' story. I must admit that in the past I have often fallen back on the 'hit them back' mentality and told her to just tell the kid whatever they said to her back to them. At times, I am ashamed to admit, I have even suggested that she tell them her mommy 'said so' or to tell them that her mommy was calling their mommy. I mean, really, who could expect me to deal with bullies when my oldest is just 5?? they were being rude, why can't I just tell Lainey to tell them that her mommy said they were being rude???

However, tonight the story involved a student whose parents I had met and had a short conversation with this past weekend. This time, I decided to be merciful and told Lainey that it wasn't really all this kids fault that he/she was being mean...sure it was sinful for this person to be mean....just like it was sinful for Lainey to be mean to her friends and family...but it also had something to do with things out of this child's control. "Like what?" she wanted to know. Well, like bad stuff...not stuff the child did or the parents did but stuff that just sucks...stuff that is not good in this world whether or not you are a sinner...stuff that Satan is responsible for. Well one thing led to another and the next thing i knew she was asking me, "Does God love Satan?"

Before I continue I must tell you that my husband is the head of our family and head of all things theological in our family. One thing that I love about him is that he does not live or die by theology...he loves Jesus and what Jesus did for him end of story.... But for him, his love of what Jesus did means trying to understand it to the best of his ability. I agree with this way of thinking, but I am not as smart as he is so I tend to throw my hands up and want to say "I love Jesus....isn't that enough???". So when Lainey asked, "Does God love Satan?" my first reaction was 'hell, no' and then my second reaction was to just say 'no' and my third reaction was, 'how do you answer this question when a five yr. old asks it and am I even right in saying the answer is 'no'? At which point, I said, "let's ask daddy".

Well, I won't get into what the right or wrong answer is, but the point is that after we asked daddy, we went back to bed and I continued to be quizzed on my theology knowledge. Basically the questions were "does God care when we are sick? does God want Daniel to have autism? does God want Daniel to talk? Do you believe in Jesus? does Daddy? Does Daniel? how do we know Daniel does if he can't talk and tell us? So will I see you in the new heaven and the new world? What does 'believe' mean? Does God care when Fletch (our dog) has diarrhea?" And this is just a small sampling. It was enough to make me realize there is a need for a new type of class in today's seminaries....something called "Questions About God: From a 5 Year Old". It should be a required class of all Christians before they can procreate.

I found myself sharing the Gospel with my daughter. She has heard it all before (thanks be to God) from people other than her mom. But maybe it meant something more hearing it from me. After a day of getting the 99th report on Daniel in the mail and reading about how he really does have autism and is in desperate need of all the money the school district can throw at him (from the very people I expected to wage war with...good for my not having to go to war, but bad for the whole 'your son is so bad off we aren't going to fight you' deal), it was nice to talk about the Gospel. It was nice to say in a loud, clear voice, "Yes, Satan is bad and we sin and we get sick, but God is GOOD." "Yes, even though Daniel has autism, God is GOOD." "No, God did not make autism, but God made Daniel and God is good and he loves Daniel, so if Daniel has autism, it is GOOD even if we can't see how or why right now."

It was good for me to hear myself saying these things out loud. Because in convincing my daughter I convinced myself and I believed them. And when she asked me if I believed in Jesus, it was so easy to say, "well, of course" on a day when I might have otherwise be tempted to think, "what is God thinking??". And so I proved my own point to her...even in Lainey's seemingly silly questions, God is there. He is Sovereign and He is pouring out His love and mercy to His precious children in ways we don't expect.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorry for the Melodrama

Yes, yes, we are OK. I didn't mean to be so melodramatic and leave all 3 of you hanging. And (I am sad that it has taken me a month or more to admit this) I am getting back to normal so my posts should hopefully be more regular now.

I started to write a post while we were in the midst of the hurricane 'crisis' that included the lyrics to the song below. I hesitated to publish it simply because it seems melodramatic to post something like that when our house was not damaged, our health was intact, and life was going to all be OK in the end. However, it was insanity and it was hard. We were in a hotel room for over two weeks...and it was just like having your first newborn (for the moms out there). If we had KNOWN it was only going to be 2 and a half weeks without power, then the day that Daniel put Lainey's dress in the toilet and fell backwards off the bed and busted his head on the air conditioning unit (all within one hour) wouldn't have been so bad. But because we watched every news report with a critical eye, it seemed as if the power outage in Houston would never end. As we all know, it did end....and while we were in bottom 5% in getting power restored, we were blessed beyond all measure just to have the option of a hotel room in a situation like that.

So, I never posted those lyrics. But today as I listened to the song for the first time in a while, it struck me that there has never been such a time as this to post these lyrics (for all 3 of you who will read them). The whole financial crisis started while we were still scrambling for a place to stay with power. S87o when we watched the news and they mentioned it, we were like, "OK, great, but when can we live in our house again?". But now, we are back on track and life is still not 'normal' and while I am a melodrama queen, these lyrics are appropriate for so many today...and I hope they will minister to you as they did to me when, "Satan enraged the wind and the tide" a few weeks ago.

The Lord Will Provide

Though troubles assail
And dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail
And foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us,
Whatever betide,
The scripture assures us,
The Lord will provide.

The birds without barn
Or storehouse are fed,
From them let us learn
To trust for our bread:
His saints, what is fitting,
Shall ne'er he denied,
So long as 'tis written,
The Lord will provide.

We may, like the ships,
By tempest be tossed
On perilous deeps,
But cannot be lost.
Though Satan enrages
The wind and the tide,
The promise engages,
The Lord will provide.

His call we obey
Like Abram of old,
Not knowing our way,
But faith makes us bold;
For though we are strangers
We have a good Guide,
And trust in all dangers,
The Lord will provide.

When Satan appears
To stop up our path,
And fill us with fears,
We triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us,
Though oft he has tried,
This heart-cheering promise,
The Lord will provide.

He tells us we're weak,
Our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek
We ne'er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions
Our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions,
The Lord will provide.

No strength of our own,
Or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known
The Saviour's great name;
In this our strong tower
For safety we hide,
The Lord is our power,
The Lord will provide.

When life sinks apace
And death is in view,
This word of his grace
Shall comfort us through:
No fearing or doubting
With Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting,
The Lord will provide.

P.S. If you would like to hear the version of the song I listen to (set to modern music) search itunes for "The Lord Will Provide" by Matthew Smith. The words were written by one of my favorite hymn writers, but Matthew Smith does an excellent job of making these beautiful words easy to sing loudly in your car (on your way to work, or to pick up your kids, etc.)

P.P.S. I was first turned on to the amazing stories of hymn writers such as John Newton (who wrote the "The Lord Will Provide") and William Cowper (my favorite hymn writer of all time) by a book called The Swans Are Not Silent by John Piper. It is amazing to me that these men who suffered so much for the kingdom of God could write words that are life changing and soul-blessing to such a person as I so many years later. I will gladly lend my copy of this book or my copy of Mathew Smith's CD to anyone who wants it.