Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday

I'll take a break from actually talking about my emotions and thoughts of late, although overall they are good. I had a friend send me a sermon her husband preached where he talked about the parable about the unjust judge and told us to "keep crying out." He said, "And when God seems distant, deaf, and silent, when our prayers are not answered with the swiftness and response that we desire, there is really nothing I can say to make things better. Instead, it is what God says to us. In the silence, while we wait for the justice we think needs to be served, we hear God calling to us, promising to us that he is not like a father who tries to sleep through his child's crying, or like an unjust judge that ignores the needs of others. We hear God calling to us, "Keep crying outto me! I hear you, I feel your pain, and I cry with you! Keep crying out to me, I hear you, and I am with you always! Keep crying out to me, you are my child, I hear you, and I love you!" How my heart needs that reminder (thank you Adam & Karen)!

So, for the time being we are visiting our families in North Carolina! We have not been able to visit them since July 4th weekend. Little Shiona is supposedly talking a lot now, so I cannot wait to hear that! Katrina is all excited about the girls doing a "tea party" with her, where she gets to wear a "pretty dress." I get to see Carter's new 'Stang, get to hear all about Suzanne's classes this semester, and Mary's final days working at Lancome... I could say something about everyone, but that'll just have to hold until later. Just getting to visit my family, Jonthan's family, and see friends at church will be sweet indeed.

I am, however, so sad to be away from Georgia this week, because my best friend there is probably having her baby this week! She is due the 18th, but it's her 3rd so she may go a bit early. I have been doing stuff with her multiple times a week to squeeze in as much time as possible. On Thursday we packed the baby's going home bag and picked out the cutest outfits (it's a girl!). So... it's sad, yet her mom and sister will be in town anyway, so my help won't be needed, but the fact that the baby will be a week old before I see her possibly is sad! Kristy has been so kind, the day after the miscarriage she offered to come by with Starbucks, and I really needed to not be alone. I acepted, and she brought the most thoughtful presents and stayed for as long as I needed her and has cried with me many times (who will do that for someone else's baby? she will). She has listenend to me many hours, prayed with me, and offered so much empathy and wise advice. She is such a wise, Godly woman, and one of the truest friends I have had. And she is the Life Group leader's wife. Isn't is amazing how God has lead us again and again into such real relationships with our Life Groups at all three churches? No coincidence. I love our church the more we are there, and our Life Group is really solidifying too (we haven't been meeing that long).

I would love to do some photo entries soon, but I left my cable at home. However, if I feel like it I'll update while I'm in NC. I hope people still read this, I know I'm getting ~30 hits a day on each website, but my comment level is horribly low. :/ So hopefully the more upbeat entry will prompt some of you silent people into saying hello.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Quotes

If you aren't fond of reading quotes, I apologize. But when I simply can't put into words the depths of pain and questions and confusion that are in my heart, this is all I can offer right now. Take them as my words, because they speak what I cannot.

“Bridge players tell me that there must be some money on the game, ‘or else people won’t take it seriously.’ Apparently it’s like that. Your bid – for God or no God, for a good God or the Cosmic Sadist, for eternal life or nonentity – will not be serious if nothing much is staked on it. And you will never discover how serious it was until the stakes are raised horribly high, until you find that you are playing not for counters or for sixpences but for every penny you have in the world. Nothing less will shake a man – or at any rate a man like me – out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself.” -C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

"Christ says ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torture your natural self, but to kill it. No half measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. I don’t want to drill the tooth, or crown it, or stop it, but to have it out. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’
That is why He warned people to ‘count the cost’ before becoming Christians. ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you chose, you can push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect – until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with Me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.’" -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quote

In Piper's Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, one of the chapters is written by a man whose son was born premature and lived only 20 minutes. He had some piercing observations that just bring me to tears with how true they are right now. No one likes to talk to or be around someone who is sad or suffering very long (I've seen this). It makes them confront the fact that if my suffering is not a punishment or explainable, they too may one day feel the pain. It's scary and uncomfortable. And yet, my life right now is one of suffering, trials, and brick wall after brick wall. When we think we've had all the trials heaped upon us we're ready to bear up under, something else comes like a swift blow and I'm left dizzy with the implications. It's just a time of intense hardship. A season, perhaps. But here's the book's quote:

“I believe this avoidance of grief in our culture results from not knowing how to deal with pain. We get uncomfortable when we hear people question God. We like to give easy answers to try to minimize the pain. When someone says that they feel God has forsaken them, we think we must quickly preach the truth that he will never leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5), or they will fall away and lose their faith.
Part of the problem is that we do not see such pain and deep grief as normative in the Christian life. Yes, we all know that suffering is normative, but we don’t take the time to really talk about the pain involved in suffering. After all, it isn’t suffering if it doesn’t hurt.
When we read about great saints of the past, we hear about their suffering, which is immediately followed by their triumph through Christ. Rarely do we truly enter with them into their dark night of the soul, when all around them nothing makes sense.
"

He then tells the story of nineteenth-century theologian Robert Dabney, who lost his two sons at different times. He said, "The great truths of the Gospel fell flat after his second son died and he remined 'numb, downcast, almost without hope and interest.' He says this makes us uncomfortable! Yet he DID triumph later & God carried him through faithfully. But he says, "Let us not so quickly go from the affliction to the deliverance and thus minimize the pain in between. God's promises of deliverance does not mean that he will immediately deliver us. For many, deliverance only comes with death."