Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Settling for less

I wonder sometimes what I could have that I don't.

Not in the material sense--in the spiritual sense. Here are some of the verses prompting my thinking:

As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds
and mats so that at least Peter's shadow might fall on some of them as
he passed by. (Acts 5:15)

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,
but no one could heal her. She came up behind [Jesus] and touched the edge of
his cloak
, and immediately her bleeding stopped. (Luke 8:43-44)

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next
morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord,
what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don't be afraid," the prophet
answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with
them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the
LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses
and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)

I was watching the deaf in our church service fluidly sign along to a gripping song speaking of God's majesty in the throne room of heaven. It was moving to me that in the future, when we sang those words again--"Holy, holy, holy...worthy is the Lamb who was slain"--in that actual throne room, those people would be able to hear it, and all of our imperfect voices would find perfection. God's presence alone could change us like that, even if it didn't take place following our deaths. That thought reminded me of C.S. Lewis' stunning allegory in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when spring comes after a never-ending winter simply because Aslan (the Christ figure) is on the move.

And in Matthew 28, He says, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." I have a friend who shared sheepishly that, though it sounds really hokey, she's been convicted about taking Christ's authority over things--even things like malfunctioning lawnmowers or overflowing drains or her kids' sickness--and has been amazed by the results.

This is not to say that things arighted physically are greater than a healed heart. When Jesus first heals the man who was lowered through the roof, He first forgives his sins:
"Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and
walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth
to forgive sins...." Then he said to the paralytic, "Get up, take your mat
and go home." And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this,
they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such
authority to men. (Matthew 9:5-7)

I have seen God do great and marvelous things! But I wonder if somehow I've bought into a more anemic form of Christianity than God intended. I wonder if with my affluence, maybe even the way I "do church," is settling for less than the wonder, the supernatural power that God has waiting. What "mud pies" am I settling for when I could have a holiday at the beach? Makes me wonder how that affects what God really would have for me, or even how it affects my witness.

I'd love your thoughts on this.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latest Little Familia Update

John is drawing to a beautiful close (ta-da!) on our backyard landscaping--16 tree stumps, x number of railroad ties, and untold wheelbarrows of dirt later. John made me a fantastic little vegetable garden complete with bricked pathway, arbor, and white picket fence (awww!). Our backyard is now a much more peaceful and safe (!) place to be, definitely one of the best parts of our house. We're also talking a lot about needed home repairs (get thee behind us, squirrels!) and the upcoming school choice decision.

Baden is certainly experimenting with independence, and continues to love to learn--but at his own discretion! He seems to like social studies and science-type stuff the most. Uncle Steven (my brother-in-law) took him to local Falcon Jet, where Steven's father is el presidente, for a full tour--even sitting in the cockpit.

Will is getting more articulate and shares Baden's love of reading. He's stretched up, but is still a beefy kid! We took him to an allergist last week for some possible food allergies (namely shellfish), but he has none (thank you, Lord!). We won a gift certificate to the local Gymboree for a month, so he and Baden are having a blast going with their friend Isaiah and tumbling around in their flip class and free-play nights. (Sorry, he's managed to escape recent pics!)

Corinne is getting so bubbly, and seems to always have a wide (still toothless) grin...except when we do what she doesn't want, of course. She is an extremely picky eater. Still loves to babble and even sing. Definitely a charmer, and so cute with all those li'l curls all over that li'l noggin.

As for my family--my father- and mother-in-law are back in the States (yippee!) and house-hunting; Baden will be visiting them for a four-year-old birthday trip! Mother's Day was challenging for different members of the family as it's our first one without John's mom.

On a different note, my sister Kelli arrived last week in Smyrna, TN to work with Burmese refugees there. The cyclone has thrown an interesting note into it as they seek to contact loved ones. At the end of the summer, she'll head back to UCA for her senior year in political science. She has a particular passion for Burma and God's used her already in remarkable ways there.

My sister Keri (TA-DA!) just graduated from UCA's nursing school and now works at Arkansas Children's in the cardiovascular ICU. It was particularly meaningful to have my Grandma Mary, also a nurse, here to pin her at her convocation ceremony. My grandma decided against being a nurse in Africa in order to marry my grandpa, and this July, Keri and Steven will travel to Rwanda to check out the possibilities of beginning a clinic there!

Keri and Steven will also visit Chris and Jenn in England en route from Rwanda. Jenn is moving to teach at a new school, and Chris (TA-DA once more) will graduate from med school this summer! It will be weird addressing things to Dr. and Mrs. Hopkinson.