Overflow Is No Deficiency

“Surely, it is no argument of [neediness] in God that he is inclined to communicate of his infinite fullness. It is no argument of the emptiness or deficiency of a fountain, that it is inclined to overflow.” – Jonathan Edwards

 

John Piper alerted me to this quote yesterday, in reference to why God, if He was perfect, complete, and utterly happy in Himself (the Trinity) decided to create the world and man. Piper highlighted the fact that when things are full, complete, good and joyous, the result is it overflows. It abounds. It’s uncontainable. When one is full, our good and right tendency is to share that fullness with others.

As Ransom and I prepare for our son to arrive, there have been those normal vacillating moments from elation all the way to fear of loss. Elation at the privilege to be designated by God as authorities and caretakers of this precious soul. Elation at the thought of meeting our little boy, knowing him, loving him, forgiving him, confessing to him, teaching him, learning from him, and the list goes on. But there is also this fear of a sense of loss in the sweet marriage relationship Ransom and I share. It won’t be “just us” anymore. My attention will be more divided now. There will be another man in my life (albeit, not prioritized as highly as Ransom) vying for my attention. Sometimes I feel like I don’t want the beloved intimacy Ransom and I share to change in any way. Can you catch the faint whiff of selfishness in there? It’s easy to miss and it’s only one layer in this complex heart, but what a joy it is to confess and repent those faint whiffs when the Spirit is gracious to reveal them!

BUT, God has used this quote to enter into that fear and smash it to pieces. If Ransom and I have experienced something good, joyous, full, and satisfying, shouldn’t it be our tendency, our delight to share it with children? It is good and right that our intimacy should extend to them. We want our fountain to be an overflowing, abundant one…not simply a “working” fountain.

I’m not saying that this fear (or other fears) won’t sound good to my heart anymore. But I have been encouraged that this new chapter of sharing the love Ransom and I have been gifted in our marriage, is good and right. This is the way God does relationship and I want to follow in His footsteps. It is a lovely reminder for my heart to settle into this metaphor and it’s a challenge to share open-heartedly, with welcome and abandon, the love we have with our son. Help me to do so, Lord. Amen!

Surprise Snow

Ransom and I should have checked the weather before driving to Buffalo this Friday. But our judgment was “clouded” (I’m my Father’s punny daughter) because we had to run pre-Christmas errands, and we were dazed by the opportunity for a work break. Plus, it had been 60 degrees less than 5 days prior. We never expected a snowstorm.

Halfway there, the snow began. It was a beautiful addition to the gorgeous backdrop of north western NY. Large, lonely fields welcoming the white, silent fluffiness. The snow wasn’t menacing; magical and mesmerizing. It began to rekindle my hopes for a White Christmas.

We did our shopping thang, and by the end, my feet were aching from the boots I wore. #comfortoverfashionnexttime #ineverlearn. Finally we collapsed in the car, content with our bargains and buys, and began the 1.25 hour drive home. I groaned glancing at the dashboard clock to find it was way later than planned. And then, I neglected my navigating duties at the exact moment our exit passed by, setting us back an extra 15 minutes.

That’s when the snow started up again. Harder, heavier, and darker. This was a different kind of breed than earlier in the day, in the sunlight. I began reading a book aloud to distract us from the storm and to entertain Ransom. But soon, it became dangerous and we needed to turn the lights off for better night vision.

I was too nervous to keep reading anyway, although I sort of missed the safety I found in the world of our book. When I wasn’t reading anymore, I had to focus on the GPS, tracking the number of miles ’till home. There were still way too many for my liking.

It kept getting worse. The GPS took us back a different way than we came, through isolated back-roads. We’re still not sure why. We got stuck on an uphill, tires spinning. I tapped the accelerator as Ransom got out and pushed us up and over the hill.

We swerved around a turn and almost swung into a deep ditch. We were silent and about 30 seconds later Ransom said seriously, “I thought we weren’t going to make that turn.” We got stuck on another hill. No houses in site. We’re in the boonies, remember. 🙂 Ransom pushed us up the hill again. We moved as slowly as possible. A few cars whizzed past us (did they have snow tires?). We soon hit the 1.25 hour mark and we still had a long way to go.

It was treacherous. I prayed aloud a lot. I kept thanking God for getting us past the next hill, the next turn. I was suddenly amazed to find we were getting closer to home. But we had one more hurtle ahead of us. A long, steep downhill preceded our street. I would have preferred an uphill where Ransom could push us up. But we started down and we started to lose control of the car. It was steeper than we remembered. We were going to go down fast and we would probably start spinning, ending up who knows where down at the bottom. Thanks be to God, a driveway appeared and Ransom made a split-second decision to steer us into the direction of the driveway. Our car gained traction and we parked in a stranger’s long driveway.

At that point we were close enough to home to walk, so we left an apologetic note in their door, promising to pick up our car as soon as the storm let up. We gathered our things and walked home, arriving almost 3 hours later.

Phew. My adrenaline is pumping just remembering that anxious-ridden drive. But I want to express my thankfulness, beloveds. I am thankful for God’s protection. He kept us from danger countless times on that drive. I am thankful for my husband, Ransom. He stayed calm for the two of us, made wise decisions, and gave all he had (even brute force) to get us home. I am thankful for the life God has given us to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever. It’s experiences like these that help remind us just how small we are and how big He is. Just how out of control we are and how in control He is. We very well could have crashed at the bottom of the hill, if that was His will. But that doesn’t change the fact that even then, He is the same loving and caring God.* Ultimately, I am thankful God is the only refuge for our souls, our safe place, our eternal peace. Christ has and will ultimately silence the waves (and the snow), making it magical and mesmerizing again! Thank you God, for your Fatherly care on this life journey and for one day guiding us to home sweet home again.

snow falling

*Nancy Guthrie says this well-Jesus protects us from the Evil One and Judgment:

“The fact is, God cares more about our spiritual health than our physical health. Our bodies are going to die. Our souls are going to live forever. And God’s ability to protect our souls from eternal judgment and eternal death is more significant than his ability to protect our bodies from disease or death. Trapped in these bodies and in this time, it is hard for us to grasp. So in our prayer requests for safe travel and physical health, and in our more desperate prayers amid great difficulties, we try to apply to our bodies his promises of protection for our souls, and we’re left disappointed, accusing him of falling down on the job. But we will continue to be disappointed in him until our value system lines up with his, until we value the eternal life of our souls more than the limited life of our mortal bodies, until we understand that God’s primary agenda is kingdom building. It may cost us our very lives, and he is okay with that…

...God knows that you and I need protection from judgment, which is going to fall, flowing out of divine justice. So he sent us a Protector in the form of a vulnerable baby, a Savior who is no less than his own Son. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). As we hide ourselves in the person and work of Jesus, we find shelter from the sure and certain judgment of the last day…

So can I expect God to protect me, and anyone devastated by a tragedy as big as Katrina? Absolutely! I’ve come to see that his “protection plan” is more vast and far-reaching than my shallow expectations once defined. I see now that God’s promises for protection go much deeper than protecting my body or my agenda or my plan for my life. I can rest easy. I’m protected.” –“Can I Really Expect God to Protect Me?” by Nancy Guthrie

 

Our Bedraggled and Muddy Condition

This book is rocking my world right now. Thanks to my dear friend, Marilyn, for sending it “just because:”

“Poor Much-Afraid, who knew that she had been slipping and stumbling in the most dreadful way, indeed worse than at any other time, flushed painfully all over her face. She said nothing, only looked at [the Shepherd] almost reproachfully.

“Much-Afraid,” said he very gently in answer to that look, “don’t you know by now that I never think of you as you are now but as you will be when I have brought you to the Kingdom of Love and have washed you from all the stains and defilements of the journey? If I come along behind you and notice that you are finding the way especially difficult, and are suffering from slips and falls, it only makes me think of what you will be like when you are with me, leaping and skipping on the High Places.”

Hinds’ Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard

Well I Think That’s Lovely

amazing cathedral audrey and fredwords from albus cool castle fireworkscrying baby heights light and plants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

looks like vashti

mugs

 

 

there's something about this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

noses

 

 

 

 

 

 

ocean grove dog and boy sadness during the depressionwindows!

paintingintegrity lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sheep i love sheep photos for some reason

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

painted rose

reader in rioliontravelsucculentscoffee in bedmango

Quality Family Time

Though I’m only to boast in the Lord, allow me this one moment to boast in my sweet family that was given me from the Lord! My blogger sister, Lauren, has featured two blog posts recently about some family visits. Beloveds, I wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately (did I forget about my blog for a month?), as well as introduce you to Lauren’s splendid blog if you haven’t seen it yet (my sister’s so talented and she’s my favorite).

Read about our Sister Summer Camp activities in March!

And check out our Cruise Adventure this past week!

A Chattanoogan Adventure at the CCEF Conference

I think it’s about time I share my musings on the 2012 CCEF National Conference on Guilt and Shame! I’m still processing all of it, but I’ll let you in on what I’m chewing on. I delighted in the conference so much. The whole trip actually. We stayed at a house on Lookout Mountain, and because we weren’t staying in a generic hotel, the week had a “retreat” and “homey” sort of feel. Chattanooga is beautiful in the Fall, mostly because of the richly colored leaves on the trees. The family we were staying with even took us out in a convertible bug on a ride around the mountain to a crazy high bluff!

There’s that restored bug! We jumped over the side into the backseat, like we lived in the 50’s, driving to a malt shop.
A hang-gliding bluff
The view had me speechless and grinning from ear to ear.
Wind blown hair!

As for the conference, although I had already heard some of the things presented, I heard them anew and left feeling refreshed. I realized I am so forgetful (like Israel) and need to be reminded of God’s truths every day. There were also many new things I heard too, especially in the breakout sessions (check out the link for  the schedule). Here are some gems that stuck with me:

-Shame is the larger category encompassing guilt. Shame is you are in the public square.

-Shame is we are exposed, worthless, failure, outcast, contaminated, disgraced and naked.

-Back to Genesis, in the garden, “the first thing God does is he covers us with animal skins. At that particular time in history, to be covered with dead animals was not a fine garment. There’s a message in it saying, “If you want to act like an animal and be associated with an animal, then let me dress you as an animal.” But that’s not the final word. In Exodus 28, God says, “Make garments for Aaron and priests that will give them dignity and honor.” Then, they have these garments where God is ultimately the tailor. They are utterly exquisite! The turban says on it, “Holy to the Lord.” Here is our problem, we are naked and exposed. But it’s all over Scripture, that our God knows such things and he is in the process of dressing us. Now, you are no longer a person identified by your shame, you wear royal garments and you are a saint. It means that you belong to God. Can you imagine anything grander??!” -Dr. Ed Welch Plenary Session 1.

-Our own Lord, the one we follow, was the one most shamed and mortified. We don’t say ‘Christ murdered.’ We say ‘Christ crucified.’ Christ knows shame to the core.

-Not only did our Master know shame, but we are to joyfully and willingly try to walk in the way of his sufferings. Romans 8:17 says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

-It is a non-human thought, a divine thought, to cultivate joy in participating in shame, but it’s not just anyone’s shame, it’s Christ’s!

-I was struck by Dr. Welch’s short biography of his life. It’s one word: “Help.” It seems so simple, but that is the thing I forget the most. To cry out “Help” to my God. Then he added, “Thank you.” How often do we an exchange with God daily saying “Help” and “Thank you”? Ashamedly, I can go a whole day without saying these things. It was even more moving to see how that bio affected Tim Lane, the President of CCEF, who scratched his whole speech about listing CCEF’s resume and its many activities. Instead he just said, “Help” to us, in asking for financial support. It’s powerful to see God’s truth affecting those around you and bringing change.

-3 basic principles of Christian Religion according to Augustine:

  1. Humility
  2. Humility
  3. Humility

“The humility of knowing your need, of asking for help, saying thank you, and loving the one who helps you. Pray together. Think first about where you need help. What is your sense of need for help? Think of one phrase out of Numbers 6 that most speaks to your need. And then ask for help and then say thank you.” -Dr. David Powlison, Plenary Session 2.

A line of people waiting to talk to Dr. Emlet after his breakout session “The Silence is Deafening: Understanding and Welcoming Those with Same-Sex Attraction”
Here’s the wolf spider that bit my arm while I was sleeping. And no, I did not have a panic attack or hyperventilate when I saw it. I’m getting more courageous.
After getting stranded because of Hurricane Sandy, we decided to thank our gracious hosts by raking the lawn of the mountain house. All hands on deck!
The dog, Yuna, a gentle giant. Reminds me of Falcor from The Neverending Story. Anyone?
Also, I happed upon some special books. Look at the name of the illustrator. 🙂