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.