Not because I've done a lot of shopping or decked the halls or attended a gajillion Christmas parties. I've done little or none of these.
The delight has really come from the simplicity I've been intentionally seeking after this season. Trying to free myself from coveting gifts I don't need and just focusing my gaze on Christ and the fact that God of God came to dwell among us. And not as an end in itself, like one of our elders posted here, but to live a perfect life and die in my place - to a absorb the righteous punishment from God for me. To bring peace between me and God and to make Him my greatest joy. As John Piper says, Christmas is really the beginning of the end. The end of the great redemption story. Thinking on this has been the source of a wonderful Christmas season.
And lest you think my heart never grows dull. It does. Unmoved at times by the familiarity of the story. Yet my feelings don't change the weight of this marvelous truth. I keep looking to Christ, asking for grace. Grace to understand more fully and feel the full weight of all the implications of the incarnation.
May you know and treasure this good news of great joy. Merry Christmas!
My little girl is fully into solids. She loves food and feeding herself, but I've noticed she doesn't really like bland food. Baby's bodies can't handle much salt yet, so I'm left to try to be creative in how to make her healthy, flavourful food. I'd like to share these ideas with you. My goal is to make the recipies delicious enough to eat myself.
1 C of lentils
Heat 1 T olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat
Saute lentils in 1 T of olive oil for 5 or so minutes
Blend tomatoes (cut them up for easier blending), onion and 1 C of water
Pour blend over lentils and simmer until lentils are tender
You can spread the lentils on some bread or rice cakes to make it easier for baby's to self-feed themselves. You can also stuff them in a pita. I like to do that for me and add some feta cheese.
We've seen our fair share this year of false prophets/teachers making a mockery of Christ's second coming. Completely disregarding Christ's words that "no one knows the day or hour" of his return (Matthew 24:36), they presumptuously go on in their date predictions - to their discredit, but unfortunately also to the increased general skepticism and even mockery regarding one of the most fundamental doctrines of historic Christianity, namely the second coming of Christ.
Today is the beginning of advent. A time where various Christian traditions celebrate the advent, or coming, of Christ 2000 + years ago and eagerly await his second advent. And just as God foretold many times in the Old Testament and then fulfilled the promise of Christ's first advent, so we can be sure that his promise of Christ's second advent will also be fulfilled. We can be skeptical about it, we can mock it, but the odds are greatly against us because of God's track record. It's as sure as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our hope and anticipation, therefore, like our faith, is objective. It's not just hope in hope, but is based on the historic objectivity of a God who has been keeping his promises since the creation of the world.
So when my heart wants to be unbelieving about Christ's second coming, I will think about the fulfilled promises of God that first advent, and then "[wait] for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works" (Titus 2:13-14).
Motherhood has allowed me many insights into my faith in Christ, and also many new reasons to trust Him and be dependent on Him.
The following story may seem trite, but to me it was a lesson that I will need to continue learning as long as I am a mother.
Recently Karis has started to visibily show great excitement when she sees me. She even crawls (or at least something that resembles a crawl) to me. She has, as the psychologist would say, created an attachment to me. This is a great thing in the parent-baby bonding world. And I must admit, the admiration I get from her is great (and even addictive), but also scary. Scary because I know that I although I can, by God's grace, do many things to protect, love and care for her, I am also a very imperfect human being - sin can still throw a party at this house any day. Not only this, but I am also powerless in soooo many ways to protect my baby. As every new mother will learn, there are so many things that are out of our control. Sooner or later our child will see our moral imperfections and powerlessness, and therefore I'm realizing that one of the very first things I want to teach Karis is to look to Christ for help, and not just daddy and mommy. I want to teach her that anything I can do for her is a result of God's grace toward her. I want her to turn her admiration and trust to Him ultimately. In other words, I don't want to be her God.
Today was a perfect time to start this - more for me then for her I guess, but nonetheless. We've been introducing solids to our baby for about a month now, and steadily increasing her intake. To say she loves food would be an understatement. This week, however, the solids have taken toll on her little body and she, like many babies starting solids, has become very constipated. Yesterday she began to fuss and cry while pooing. It's really hard to watch your baby suffer. I began to research online what I could take out or put into her diet to help her, and began right away with prunes. I was still dreading her next poo. Today she began to fuss again and I could tell she was trying to poo. I took her to the toilet, and she began to try to poo and cried even more than yesterday. My heart broke again. I hugged her and told her "mommy will do what she can to help you." But I knew that there wasn't anything I could do right then to help her. Her poo was so dark and hard. She fussed and cried more. It's then that I realized there will be many times when I will be powerless to help my baby, so she like I will have to turn to Christ for help. And there, on the potty we did just that. I told her that I wasn't able to help her, but Jesus could, and we prayed. She kept pooing and her poo began to come out softer and softer. It was very soft at the end, and we praised God.
I've been reading George Muller's autobiography. He prayed about everything, big and small. He knew that nothing was too unimportant for our heavenly father. Today I saw that too. What sweet, powerful mercy. As that old hymn says: "His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me."
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?And not one of them is forgotten before God.Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)
I’m a terribly prideful person. It takes shape in arrogance, false humility, shame, and the oh so ugly self-righteousness. Most encounters with another human-being exposes this sin - I compare, judge, criticize, envy. Oh, what a wretched woman I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:24) Pride wells up uninvited. I hate and recognize it many times immediately, but I know many times I’m too blind to even see. Christ’s perfect humility to my account is my only hope.
Motherhood has especially magnified and exposed this sin in my heart. My heart boast that I get to stay home with my baby and have to make “sacrifices” to do so (false humility, check). My heart boast that my baby is beautiful, fashionable - oh, and the hair on that baby girl (arrogance, check). My heart boast that I use cloth diapers, oh and I breastfeed (pride, check). Sounds ridiculous I know, but all these are temptations to pride for me, and I so desperately want to be freed from them. Does anyone else struggle with these things?!
Everything I have is a gift from God. What do you have that you did notreceive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did notreceive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 ). Besides my motherhood pride points, I take pride in my skills, abilities, knowledge, etc and look down on others who don’t have my same skills (even though they have other skills that I CLEARLY don’t). So again, wretched woman that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24)
May He be my ONLY boast.
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14).
As many of you know, our sweet little girl arrived on Saturday, February 26th at 11:35 pm. We love her so much already - how does that happen?!!
I'm so amazed by how perfectly she was created in my womb from a tiny egg and sperm - so intricate, so "wonder"ful, so beautiful. I'm in awe at God's creative power when I look at her.
As my friend Lauren said when writing ou her baby's birth story, while many of you many not be interested in all the details of the birth, some might, and I want to document the memory.
So my official due date per the midwives was February 19th. (we used registered midwives in lieu of doctors, and LOVED the experience. I highly recommend them). Like many first time moms, the due date came and went with no baby. In Alberta, inductions are done at 41 weeks and 3 days, so I had a ultrasound scheduled for the Monday (February 28th) before my 41 weeks and 3 days to see how babe was doing and decide if I wanted to induce. However, the Friday before (February 25th) as I was putting in a load of laundry, my water broke apparently. I say apparently because I didn't recognize it at first because it wasn't the gush that you hear people talking about when they talk about their water breaking. I thought I had just peed on myself - how embarrassing I thought to myself. Providentially, just before this happened, one of my midwives was on her way to my house to check my blood pressure. I had called her earlier to tell her I had a headache all day, so she wanted to come check my blood pressure out. I'm glad she was coming over for that because she was able to confirm that my water had indeed broken. This was very critical to know because I (like 17-30% of pregnant women) was a carrier for group B strep which if passed on to the baby can be very very harmful. When you are positive for group B strep and your water breaks the recommendation is that you are induced right away because the baby is not longer protected by the unbroken sac. Therefore, we had a decision to make: Wait a bit to see if I would go into labour naturally or go get induced. It was about 8:30 in the evening and we were in no shape to start labour, so we decided to get some rest over night and if I didn't go into labour, get induced in the morning. I didn't go into labour that night, but we did get some nice rest, so in the morning we were off to the hospital for the induction and to start pumping some antibiotics to reduce the risk of baby getting group b strep.
We arrived at the hospital close to 9 in the morning, had a walk around and got comfortable (as comfortable as could be with IV's on me and monitors around me). I wasn't feeling nervous, but mostly just ready to have the baby. As they were preparing everything, they let me know that 99% of the women that have inductions at that hospital get epidurals (apparently labour comes on faster and stronger with an induction), I guess they wanted me to have realistic expectation since they knew I wanted an unmedicated birth. I wasn't feeling very encouraged at this point.
So the contractions started slowly, but surely. I would look at the little monitor that kept track of the contractions and it was only in the 20's. They told me it would get to the 90's, and I gasped because I thought there was no way I could handle that - they were already hurting pretty good. Around 4 pm (Shawn tells me) active labour started. It was hard - it hurt lots, but by this time my sweet friend Megan had joined us and she and Shawn did a TREMENDOUS job helping me relax and handle each contraction. So grateful for them! I did at one point ask for laughing gas, but then decided against it for fear that I would get nauseated. I didn't think I could handle the pain and the nausea together. So on we go, transition starts (maybe around 8ish), so I knew we were close to the end. (By this time I think I forgot about epidurals or maybe thought it was too late). This was by far the hardest thing I've every done, but when it was time to push, I felt relief because there was actually somewhere to channel the pain. I pushed for about and hour and a half, and had my baby girl on my chest. What relief! She didn't cry at all, but just laid there content.
We then waited for my placenta, but it wouldn't come, so they decided to take me to the operating room to remove it manually to reduce the chance of me hemorrhaging. Baby and I stayed in the hospital overnight to make sure all was well with the placenta business, and the next day around noon, we were getting ready to go home with our new baby.
So now Karis is almost one month old and doing very well. She is nursing well and gaining weight. She's so adorable! We thank God for his wonderful provision of wonderful health care and loving friends and family who have supported us through the pregnancy and arrival of Karis. We love you all!