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.