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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy 4th Anniversary Shawn!

Happy Anniversary to my dear husband! Marriage vows are hard to do, but His grace is sufficient for our weakness and his love and yours covers a multitude of my sin, and your such a good forgiver Shawn David Evans. Your hands work long hours to love us with provision and your words and affection, they swell our hearts big with joy, and your never ceasing to say, "let's pray," and how you read us His enduring Word, they nourish our souls. For all this and more I respect you and love you. "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness" Psalm 115:1

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Who is the Greatest? An Encouragement to Mothers and Caregivers

Our society has conditioned us to seek status. In our culture this is most often sought through a career - Professional athlete, Doctor, Professor, etc. It is no wonder mothers who have chosen to give up or put less priority on their career (at least for a time) in order to devote themselves to the care of their children are mentally demoted in status. I still find myself fumbling clumsily and shyly to explain (more like justify) that I have chosen to stay home with Karis and not return to full-time work outside the home. I'm so quick to throw in, "but I'm still working from home a few hours," as to try to elevate my status in the hearers mind. It's here again that Christ's confronts our heart attitude and shatters our worldly values for those of His kingdom.

Mark 9:33-37
33 And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” 34 But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. 35 And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them,37 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”

My ESV Study Bible commentary shed some light of these verses that I found so applicable to motherhood (I respect and acknowledge the many other applications this can be made to - teachers, nurses, social workers, etc)

"The attitude of heart Jesus is teaching does not even overlook a lowly child (at times marginalized in ancient societies) but receives, and thereby cares for, such a little one in Christ's name. In contrast to the status-seeking of the disciples in verse 34, Jesus is showing them they should be willingly take on lowly, often unnoticed tasks and care for those who have little status in the world...Humbly caring for people of lowly status out of obedience to Christ ("in [his] name|") will be rewarded by rich personal fellowship with both the Son and the Father."

So an encouragement for mothers and caretakers whose days are filled with unnoticed, meanial task of changing yet another dirty diaper, cleaning up the 20th meal of the week, hauling fussy kids and heavy pounds of groceries through the snowy/slushy grocery store parking lot, your work if done in and for Christ is not only highly valued in God's kingdom economy, but it will also be rewarded by rich personal fellowship with Him! Those who have tasted this sweet fellowship know that no amount of zeros on the end of your pay check or letters behind your name can give your soul this type of satisfaction and joy.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Precious Karis

One year ago your little 8 pound presence changed us forever, bringing our hearts and little home unspeakable joy. There you are precious and small, an extension of our love.
And although those first few months were rough - unruly hormones maybe, or unseen battles in the heavenlies - yet our God was a shield all around us, and tears and fears He turned to dancing, faithful even from your first year. So we praise Him there in the rocking chair, nursing you for what seems like the millionth time, you drinking nourishment from mamma and I drinking up the precious moments I have with you in my arms and the faithfulness and loving-kindness of our God.

And I prayed for you this first year - prayed that you will know Him, really know Him. That you will see and savor Christ and courageously and lovingly make Him known in all your world. There in your room I've plastered some of the Living Word I pray will be you - my reminders to fight with this double-edged sword for you.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37)

This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”(Isa. 66:2)

Stand firm in the faith; be [a woman] of courage; be strong.” (1 Cor.16:13)

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart,and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5)
How we love you Karis. We see the gift that you are to us, and our heart dances with joy to the gracious and wonderful Giver of all good gifts. Happy 1st Birthday precious daughter.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Lust for Clean and Order

Today I woke up once again to a few routine demands - baby wanting to breastfeed, baby wanting breakfast, kitchen that was screaming, "Clean me up!!," the 4th load of laundry from yesterday still in the dryer, a pail of dirty diaper needing to be washed, and a teething fussy baby constantly pulling at my pj's to be held. This was just a start, and before I could shake off the grogginess or pour a cup of coffee, I began to feel irritated and frustrated over all this. After Karis went down for her morning, I sat down to pray and pull myself together, I began repenting of my irritation, discontentment and ingratitude over the many blessings that brought on these demands. The unmade beds, the loads of laundry, the messy kitchen floor - all these are signs of life! People live in this house! People I love. Oh, how I am grateful for that. It is my lust for constant cleanliness and order that cause my irritation. As much as wanting and having a clean house is good, it shouldn't lead me to sin. I forgot who said something to the effect of "it often isn't our desires that are bad, but it is wanting them too much that is bad." Our hearts can make anything into an idol.

Then I think of my elderly neighbour whose house is intact. What she wouldn't give to have all these messy signs of life invade her home. She tells me how lonesome she is regularly. I repent again for my ingratitude.

So I pray for grace to see each mess and chore as an opportunity to give God thanks. Only God can do this in me. I pray that he would purge the dross of selfishness and self-pity from my heart, so that I can be a clean vessel fit to be used by Him. Help us Lord.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rivalry and Who Makes the Bed

Recently in attempt to motivate ourselves to keep our commitment to rise early, I proposed to Shawn that last one up had to make the bed. This seemed innocent enough, and maybe our motives where - I'm not too sure now. It doesn't take long though to see a divisive spirit creep into a little game like this. It soon became more about me wanting Shawn to make the bed, so I didn't have to instead of rising early to be a better steward of my time, and so honor God.

I was reading Philippians 2 today and came across that familiar, but profound and challenging verse: "Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others." (vs.3-4). I realized that I had been acting out of rivalry and looking out for my interest instead of those of my husband. I was allowing a seemingly innocent thing to subtedly bring divisiveness into my marriage, instead of working with all my might to keep a spirit of unity with Shawn as the verses preceding these call me to. All we do in marriage should be building unity, not division. I am not my husband's competition, I'm his completer. We are a team and everything we do, significant and insignificant, should be done in a spirit of unity and selflessness.