Wednesday, March 13, 2013

On debt and DEBT

This past Sunday our pastor shared a great sermon about our infinite moral debt to God, and how Christ's perfect life and substitutionary death is the only currency that can pay this debt. To paraphrase him: We certainly have failed the obligations of God's law - to love, worship and obey Him as we should. Christ is the only one that can free us from the damning obligations of a law we have failed to keep. I simply don't have the currency to pay this cosmic debt. If we fail to accept Christ as our bankroll, so to speak, we are foolishly financing our life; the Judge of all the Universe could call your debt at anytime. 

 "And you, who were dead in your trespasses..., God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,  by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross." Colossians 2:13-14

This debt analogy is very real to Shawn and I. For the past five years, we have been tackling about $55,000 of debt. Last week I shared with a dear friend that we were less than $2,000 away from being debt-free. Sunday evening Shawn and I received an email from this friend and her husband - it was a notification that they were transferring $1,000 into our bank account to help us pay off the final part of our debt. I was immediately reluctant to gratefully accept this gift because my pride couldn't deal with someone else paying off MY debt. I even said to Shawn out loud, "Why do they have to pay our debt; we are the ones that incurred it." It just didn't seem fair or right. Shawn laughed and replied, "because they are being a picture of Christ and the gospel." It is not fair, but it is just. The debt IS being paid off - (by them in our place). 

The analogy is not perfect of course,  but it makes the point that our pride can also keep us from accepting Christ's payment of our moral payment. "I can be good enough; God will accept me as I am - I'm not THAT bad of a person," we say; And we start listing off our list of good deeds, however tainted with selfish motives they may be. But we must take God seriously at His word when He says that our good deeds will never be enough to pay the infinite moral debt we owe Him. Only infinite payment of infinite value can relieve this soul-crushing debt. Christ, God incarnate, the second person of the God-head, is the only payment that can foot this bill. Take it. Humbly, gratefully, and in faith cling to Him alone. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Because He loves me

For the past few days, we've all been fighting colds, which means  a lot of  whininess (sp?) from Karis, and achy tired bodies for Shawn and I. Additionally, we're coming on a two month battle with Karis to not cry/whine  through her naptime  (we had a few days of success, but they were short-lived). My patience has been running low, my self-pity high. The reason I share this is to illustrate how such small "troubles" can bring out so much sin in me. I've raised my voice unkindly way too many times, I've been bitter, selfish, and just plain unloving frequently toward the man I pledged to love more than any other human being. This confession could go on and on; however, that's not the point. My point is remind myself that  when I am tempted to think God is "getting me" or "not listening to my prayers," I can kick that thought out quickly and know that it is because he loves me and he loves his holiness that he allows these frustrations to come into my life. They are so small relatively speaking, and yet they are enough to reveal and purge so much sin in me. I pray I don't waste these sanctifying opportunities that He is lovingly giving me. Moreover, as I learn to be grateful and content despite crying children and interrupted times of rest, I learn to find joy in Christ simply for Him, and not for what He gives or brings (i.e. children who don't demand much and long, synchronized naps from both children). And that is the greatest and most loving gift God can give us - Him, our greatest joy so he gets the greatest glory.

I'm just so ready to shake off this pettiness  and selfishness, but I know only a work of God in my heart can bring about true change in me. I've read just this week of two families who are adopting or have adopted children with severe special needs, as in no limbs. Wow. And I can't seem to trust God to help me handle a whiny toddler. I wonder if our petty sins keeps us from doing such extraordinary things for God's glory. I think so. Help us Lord to treasure you above all, especially our comfort, and so go out in faith to do great things for the glory and fame of your name. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A year-end review

I wanted to take some time to hopefully start a new habit of reviewing our family's year in writing. This is my version of those "Christmas Letters" many people include with their Christmas cards.

This year has been a relatively calm and joyful time for our family. My maternity leave with Karis officially ended at the end of January; I made the decision to not return to full-time work outside the home, and instead invest that time and energy to serving my family full-time at home. Until May I continued to do some contract grant writing work from home a few hours a week for my former employer. This contract ended, and now I enjoy serving our church Calvary Grace Church of Calgary a few hours a week with admin work. I really do love being at home with Karis; it allows for a less stressful pace of life for our family and much time to train and teach Karis at this important formative stage of her life. It's hard to believe how busy ordinary life at home can be. There is always something to clean, toys to pick up, children to feed, budgets to balance, etc, etc. We also love spending time with other moms and children, especially the 4 other gals and our 9 children combined that meet every Wednesday for a time of prayer, play and lunch.

Shawn continues his work as south Alberta District Manager for St. John's music where he sells musical instruments to schools throughout southern Alberta. He enjoys the day trips to various cities/towns around south Alberta each week and is really good at what he does. At the moment he is the top district manager for the whole company nation-wide in terms of sales. He also teaches one drum lesson a week. He is a great daddy to Karis and Titus - at the moment He is giving Karis a bath, so mommy can have some down time while Titus is napping. It's a blessing to have a husband who serves his family selflessly, and I am so grateful for him. He and Karis have so much fun together, especially doing funny dances together and listening to great music. He's so proud when she asks for more jazz.

A highlight for our family each week is coming together with our church family at Calvary Grace Church of Calgary to hear God's word preached so faithfully. We have many wonderful friends there that we love dearly, and the teaching we receive there has been so integral in growing our faith and relationship with Christ.

Karis has done so much growing this year - physically and developmentally. The Lord has graced her with great verbal skills which she loves to practice all, and I mean all, day long! She is our little parrot, we like to say. We get many laughs over the new things she says or mimics each day.  She loves music, dancing and nursery rhymes. She walks around with the itouch to her ear singing and swaying "Jesus te tu" (Jesus Thank You) by Sovereign Grace. She also loves books, dolls, and stuffed animals. She currently has about 15 "friends" (stuffed animals) that share her crib. She also loves to pull up a chair on the kitchen counter to "help" me bake or cook. "Helpy - you" she says, and "Mix, mix, mix" to the dough she loves to eat. She loves her new little brother Titus. She gives him lots of kisses and loves the chance to hold him. "Oh, come here Titus" she says in the funniest voice that I realized she was mimicing after me. Having Titus join our family has encouraged her to find ways to entertain herself and be a great helper to mommy.

In the summer we took our first family vacation. We spent a week in the Kelowona area relaxing by the beautiful Okanagan lake. Karis was a bit afraid of the water at first, but warmed up to it nicely. Vacationing with a toddler has its relaxation limits, but nonetheless we had a great time and enjoyed the chance to slow down and just spend time together.

And a few weeks ago we welcomed our second child into our family. Titus Whitefield Evans arrived on November 29th at 6 am. You can read his birth story on a former blog post. We love having a new baby in the house and seeing our little family grow. I was really surprised about how much busier one  little baby could make one, and although I can complain about not having time to do hobbies (like blogging - I'm not sure how I'm pulling off the time to write now!),we feel so blessed by our children and all that the Lord teaches us through their being in our lives.

There are big changes on the horizon for our family, which I will share about in a few weeks once plans are a bit more solidified.

Overall this year has been a time to see the faithfullness of God in so many areas of our lives. To Him we give glory and gratitude.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas: Divine Love

Gavin Peacock preached a wonderful sermon today on the familiar verse John 3:16. It was a presentation of the gospel that fell on my ears like refreshing water. This simple, yet infinitely profound, gospel never gets old. 

What keeps ringing in my ears and heart from the sermon is the thought that God, infinitely holy and righteous, could love a world and a people so stained in sin and so bent on self-rule. A world who rejects his rightful rule and His revelation and interpretation of life and reality. I include myself in this world - me, who am constantly more concerned for my own happiness and recognition than God's glory, who can become bitter and resentful in spite of the great forgiveness God has offered me,  who can become so irritable, impatient and unkind with my toddler and husband in spite of God's clear command to be patient, kind, and meek with them. Oh, I may not be as bad as Hitler, Lanza, you fill in the blank; but they are not the standard (what a low standard that would be). A perfectly holy God is the standard, and against that I (and you) fall infinitely short. 

So this is the wonder of Christmas: That this perfect, good, righteousness God could love sinners and give His infinitely valuable Son to take the penalty for sin in their place and in exchange give them His own righteousness. Not only this, but in John 17 Christ says that God the Father loves those who have embraced Christ as Savoir  even as He loves God the Son. Can you get your head around how immense that love must be? Now that we know something about the unmeasurable span of the universe, we may understand why the Psalmist said: "For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him." (Psalm 103:11)

I encourage you to take a listen to the whole sermon here, especially if you have never understood the big deal of this familiar Bible verse or of Jesus Christ for that matter. 

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Titus' Birth Story

This is the same sleeper that Shawn came home in from the hospital 32 years ago. 

I like to chronicle my children's birth stories to include them in their baby books. And for those of you who care to read the details of Titus' birth, here it goes:

My due date of November 25 came with no commotion. Karis was a week late, so this was no surprise. 3 days after my due date, I woke up with mild crampy contractions that were different from the cramps I'd been having on and off for a few weeks. I thought to myself, "I remember these, I think this is the start." They were very mild, about 40 minutes apart and not consistent, so I decided to go about my day as normal and heed my midwives' advice to "ignore, ignore, ignore, until you can't ignore any more.". Karis and I packed up and went to our weekly prayer group/play date at a friend's house and then came home for a nap. The distraction was good, and I can't remember having many more contractions that afternoon.

Shawn came home around 4, and by 5 we were sitting down for supper. I'd started feeling more contractions  - still mild and very far apart - but  by 5, they were more noticeable  so I decided to start charting them. For the rest of that evening they were about 20 minutes apart, only about 30 seconds long and still mild. I rested all that evening in preparation for labour. The continued to intensify that night, and my attempts to try to sleep were not successful. So Shawn and laboured at home all that night, watching Elf around 2 am, to keep me laughing and somewhat distracted. I did have a few cries, not so much from the pain, and I'm still not sure why, so let's just blame it on horomones. It was a good way to let out tension nonetheless.

God was so gracious to me. The contractions continued to stay pretty far apart, and it was not until around 4 am that they begin to be less than 10 minutes apart, but still only about 30 seconds long, and I was still managing well. I thought we were still in "early labour." We followed our midwives instructions and called them once they were less than 10 minutes apart. One of our midwives came to our house to check to see how fare I had dialated. To my happy surprise she announced that I was already 6-7 centimetres  I  jumped inside for joy and relief because it was almost 5 am by this time, and I was really ready to get some sleep (and have my baby of course).

My midwife suggested we get to the hospital quick, for if my water broke at any moment, the baby would come quick and we wouldn't make it to the hospital. We loaded up our van, and our friend arrived to stay with Karis (who was sleeping through all of this), just as we were ready to head out the door, and by 5:40 we arrived in our hospital room. I only had 1 contraction on the 15 or so minute ride to the hospital and then a handful more on the way up to our hospital room. As soon as we got into the room and settled the contractions started to come on stronger, and I was pretty sure I was in transition.

My midwife filled up the bath tub, I got in and immediately felt pain relief. I had about 2 contractions in the tub before my water broke and I felt a huge need to push. I told my midwife I needed to push, and she gave me the go ahead (as she pushed the call button to ask some nurses to come help her - the other midwife had not arrived, as they didn't expect Titus to come so soon), and 2 or so pushes later 9.9 pound Titus made a dive into the water. He seemed so calm and unfazed by the whole experience. No crying. He was literally  half asleep, so I kept asking if he was ok, which he was. He was just (and so far still is) such a calm baby.  I felt instant relief and joy, as they put my baby on my chest. A few minutes later, we were like, "oh, we should see if it's a boy or a girl." I lifted him up and were delighted to see that we now had a son. That was 6:12 am, and by 9:15 we were ready to head home that very cold and snowy November morning with our baby boy.

We are so grateful for God's mercy to me - overall the pain was very manageable - and for his perfect timing of everything. Before Karis woke up the next morning she was a big sister, and immediately on coming home she began to give baby "Tito" kisses. She still hasn't stopped.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Baby Evans #2 on His/Her Way!

We are so happy to announce that God has blessed us with the anticipation of a second child! Baby Evans #2 will be born, Lord willing, here in Calgary at the end of November. We were praying for the timing of this second child, as we are still planning to move to Texas, and know that God's hand is in this timing. We are blessed and grateful, and happy that Karis will have a little sibling and playmate soon.

P.S. We are not finding out the gender until the baby is born! Should be fun, and will keep me from shopping :)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I never understood a mother's love until I became one. My heart feels like it will explode from so much love for that child some days. I can only imagine what it must be like to love us three for more than half of your lifetime. And when we get on those planes and fly far away, we know your heart hurts. You are so brave. Your patience and perseverance I think of often and they give my heart strength. I hope to be that way too. Thank you Mom. You are a vessel of God's grace in my life. May you continue to enjoy the rewards of motherhood.

1000 Moms Project