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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Blessings

Isaiah 9:2   
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; 
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them a light has shown.

God has said "let there be light" first in the creation of the universe, then most incomparably, compassionately, savingly, in the Incarnation.  He says it in the hearts of those He loves and calls by His name.  He will say it again, when Christ Jesus, the Light from eternity past, returns to illuminate eternity future.

As we celebrate Emmanuel, God with us, we are reminded of all those with whom we watch and wait.   It is with love and affection that we pray God blessings on you all this Christmas and in the New Year!

With smiles and serious faces, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Happenings and Such

At the ushering in of the first good snow of the season, I thought I might take advantage of the extra time indoors and write a bit. 

On the way back from North Carolina and unbeknownst to Micah or me, the babies had a meeting and unanimously decided to enter into the two's a bit early.  If I may, I would like to translate that for you.  I now have three, cute toddlers, who spend the entire day expressing their opinions in various forms, finding new things to displace all through the house, and doing everything physically possible to harm themselves and each other.  Their unique personalities come out in each of these areas.  For example, one likes to spin in circles and fall on the floor like an operatic death scene when she doesn't get what she wants.  Another little chooses head butting to dispel anger while another cries like I have just managed to break her heart forever and ever ---all over the tragic taking away of tooth brushes at the end of teeth brushing time.

Then there are all the deathtraps.  With three going after all of them simultaneously… let's just say I should be a stunt woman leaping, drop-rolling, and diving to the rescue while they constantly plot to find them all.  There aren't protective covers for everything, folks.  And you'd be amazed at the items when made projectile can take out an eye or architectural fixtures that leave a nasty scar when approached at full-speed ahead.  Some potential hazards are terrifying and others, just plain humorous.  I have a girl who recently found some glitter in a drawer and quickly, poured the container on the floor.  She cried until every single speck was removed from her hands, shirt, pants, socks, and in between her toes!  If only I could covert everything potentially hazardous into glitter...

And still there are aspects of life that bind our hearts together as a family and keep me praying for God's never ending supply of mercy, strength, and peace.  

Some of you may know that Isaac spent a few days in the hospital due to pneumonia and complications stemming from his preemie lung disease.  The night he was admitted was one of the most concerning nights I have had with him.  After three consecutive, one-hour long breathing treatments, his lungs finally began to respond to the medication and he began taking un-labored breaths.  After antibiotics other meds began, he started improving quickly and was back home in just a couple of days.  I was reminded through that whole experience again of the gift of teamwork between Micah and me.  Even when we are separated by circumstances beyond our control, we are working together.  Isaac is now doing much better.

On Thanksgiving Day, another gal slipped and bumped her head on a wall guard on the bottom hinge of our basement door and landed backward.  She was so scared and upset, she held her breath until she passed out.  That is not a feeling I want to have again~ having a little one completely collapse in my arms---  It was so scary.  She turned stark white.  After a call to the after hours nurse, it was decided a trip to the ER was in order to make certain there was no concussion.  She was seen in the same room I had been with Isaac not even a week before.  This time, I was thankful for the company of my sisters as my family was in town for the holiday.  The doctor (and Mommy) was assured of her stability fairly quickly when she insisted on jumping up and down on the bed during examination.  Following a brief observation, we now are the owners a very expensive (ER copay) sippy cup used to ensure her ability to stomach liquids.  As we exited, she raised her cup in bottoms up fashion to the staff watching, pumpkin pie in hand, at the nurses station.      

What an age.

With all of that comes the articulation of new words, spontaneous giving of affection, and contagious smiles and giggles.  Watching the evolution of interaction between babies and big boys is an education in sibling affection and makes my heart smile.  

Speaking of my growing boys, they have both taken off in stature and ability.  I recently discovered they had both outgrown, mid-season, everything I had just put into their closets- shoes included.  My eldest can almost look me right in the eyes without so much as a chin tilt.

Then there is the growing of another kind.  One boy in particular has inherited my dizzying intellect and is voicing a prelude to teenage years ahead.  What he doesn't know yet is that his mother was the inventor of all the mind games he thinks he wants to play;)  Even yet, I love that he gives me insights to his thoughts and feels safe within conversation.  To have trust at this time in his life is a gift.  All I can say to that is, Thank You, Lord Jesus.  There is eternal security and hope in my vertical relationship with God that covers my failures as a mother ---however there are horizontal consequences that can shape mother-son relationships in a way that would impede important conversations.  I pray he always feels so loved that his openness continues throughout his remaining years at home.  And even though it is difficult for me to believe, with a 10th birthday coming soon, he is over halfway gone…… 

My other big boy is finding his individuality.  I am always surprised at his ability to distinguish himself from his brother while maintaining a close relationship with him.  I also surprised at his taste in music and maturing sensitivity.  He is usually the life of the party and never ceases to come up with the most funny things to say.



May the blessings of the Christmas holiday, namely the Babe sent to be our Rescuer, our Peace, our Sanity, our Priceless Treasure, and our Only Hope, be upon each of you--- where ever you are. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fall in NC

Three weeks ago, I got a well report from my doctor.  I want to say thank you to everyone who has been praying for my healing and recovery.  After a very long road, I finally am feeling the absence of a constant uncertainty about my physical well-being.  I am thanking God for days filled with lifting littles and making meals and all the things I haven't been able to do for so long.

Right after my doctor's appointment and with his blessing, we left for North Carolina.  Micah and I had a few days alone at The Cove in Asheville, NC.  It was so good for us both to have time to sit and be fed (both physically and spiritually), meet new friends, and play for a while.  And Asheville in November is a playground ~ of colors, of crisp air, and breathtaking mountain-valley views.  We even hiked a small-esh hike to see this beautiful chapel on the property.





Of course the kiddos had a blast with the grands at their respective homes.  Here are some pics from the farm and around NC:









Chasing the rooster has become quite entertaining!

I was glad to get a visit with the Great-Grands.  They are avid joyinourjourney readers:)



I hope each of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Season!  

God's Paternal Comfort

I laid down on the bed at the beginning of the day.  It was early ---really early thanks to the time change--- and I was already feeling the chaos of the night turned day without a restful break. Some mornings the right side of the bed is illusive.  I will spare you the details leading up to my abandon.  Every parent in the world knows that being a mom or dad is indescribably hard sometimes.  If you are reading this with kids, I trust you are shaking your head in understanding.  I retreated for a minute to the bedroom.  With everyone in different places in line for the super-spastic, never-fantastic emotional roller coaster that we all take a ride on most days, I retreated to my bedroom for some mommy time-out.  One child in particular was feeling close to me in body and spirit--- as we were both sharing silent and not so silent tears respectively.

I collapsed on the bed, child still clinging to my shoulder, legs tucked in and head on my chest.  I could cradle him with both arms and he seemed to just fit.  I began to rehearse the events leading up to the day, trying to see where it all fell apart.  I was eager not to repeat decisions that led to this chaos.  Then, in my incapacity to reason it out, I broke.  There wasn’t really anything I could have done differently.  Sure, I could have been more calm, more diligent, more of this or that, but in the thick of it many times,  it just is what it is.    

At the end of trying to figure it all out, I began to pray.  It was clearly a prayer of distress.  I had no idea how I would will myself out of this mess.  “Father, where...???”  No sooner had the words left my mouth, than I again felt the child at my side.  He was relaxed and his breathing had slowed.  His eyes were closed and his hand rested on my arm.  The tears he had cried had fallen leaving marks on my shirt.  He was at peace.  Immediately, I knew that just as I was holding him, I was being held.  I realized what a gift the chaos and tears, circumstances and choices had been ~ that God through the Holy Spirit would use them all to so decidedly get my attention.  It was like a whisper, reminding me through scripture:

For thus says the LORD:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,

and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,

so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. 
Isaiah 66:12-13

This is why I need to parent.  While I fail and fall miserably, in the stillness of the realizations as I nurture and love, God speaks to the way I am loved.  As those inherent traits surface in the face of difficult days and inadequate reserves, I am given a continual object lesson in the gospel.  In Exodus, the Glory of Yaweh cannot even be seen without danger to the onlooker.  Here in Isaiah, God promises Israel that they will be comforted body and soul as a mother comforts.  In the Gospels, Jesus became a baby, grew to be a child, and then matured into an adult always maintaining holistic, developmental, relational, obedient perfection in the eyes of His Father.  Because God has grafted me into His family by the death and resurrection of His Son, my relationship with God is secured.  He invites me into the throne room and places me into His presence.

It is much different than my relationship to my children, where we continually sin against each other and seek each others' forgiveness.  While I will still seek my Father's forgiveness, we have a bond of peace instead of irreconcilable separation.  I love my children because they are are my children--- They cannot do anything to make me love them more and they cannot do anything to make me love them less.  It is almost too good to be true- this is the way my Father looks at me in Christ Jesus.  As I drink in the sweetness of a little one resting on me, God loves when His children rest on Him.  His Prefect Parenting gives me motivation to press on.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Resting at Home

A series I really enjoy watching is "Call the Midwife" from BBC.  The episodes are based on true events preserved in memoirs by author Jennifer Worth, a midwife in London in the 1950's.  Her stories center around the Nuns and midwives of Nonnatus House.  Many times, she speaks to the ways she learns how to love her colleges and neighbors past cultural and socioeconomic misgivings.  The plot summations are many times profound and beautiful as articulated by the narrator.  One particular epilogue on the theme of home resonated with me.  She says,

"Home is not simply a mark on a map any more than a river is just water.  It is the place at the center of the compass from which every arrow radiates and where the heart is fixed.  It is a force that forever draws us back or yearns us on.  For where the home is, there lies hope and  a future waits and everything is possible."


Hearing these words was timely for me.  They give more words to number 6 of my previous post.  When I first wrote "Words To Remind Myself", I had no idea just how much I would need reminding in light of current circumstances.

I learned two months ago that a physical ailment I thought had been effectively treated is still causing me physical problems.  This past Wednesday, I had a third surgery in one year to correct the same issue.  Normally, it wouldn't take this long or so many procedures and treatments, but for reasons beyond my or my doctors' understanding, my body has been unable to heal.  I have had several physicians in the course of this struggle tell me that I defy what is a usual response to the treatments I have received.  Honestly, I never thought it couldn't be fixed or would take so long.  I have tried many methods and have come to the end of my resources.  I am thankful for the friends, nurses and doctors who have been so diligent to help.  My last, most skilled surgeon has been adamant that he will do all he can to ensure the end of our relationship:)  My humanity as it is blessed and cursed, as I have previously written, is set before me.

There is no other personal affliction that so directly reminds me that true hope lies beyond this temporal home than illness ~ especially chronic illness.  Suffering causes the reorientation of my compass outside the confines of this reality and reminds me of where my heart is fixed.  This is not because I am so spiritually astute but because of the One Who is at the center of eternity and His faithfulness in drawing those He loves.  Even when my fears and anxieties get the best of me, He honors my confession and remains firm in His compassion toward me.

I have prayed and asked God to heal through natural or supernatural means.  I have watched for Jesus to pass so I could take hold of the hem of His robe.  Instead of healing me completely so far, He has chosen to give grace ~ not to circumvent the present but to move me through it.  The song of a better country plays in the backdrop of the harsh quiet of pain and uncertainty.  "How long, O Lord?" is often on my lips.  Prolonged neediness has been acutely disarming and has invited me to again boast in weakness as I settle into uncertainties.  I see no quick end to prayers encompassing what I desire, what I feel, what is promised, and my understanding of what the Lord wills.

On the practical side, life is tough with five kiddos, three who want mama (or mamme, as Eliana says) to hold them.  I haven't been able to lift them for weeks and I still have weeks to go.  The big boys and my sweet husband have kept everything going around here.  The juggling that kind man of mine is doing on behalf of our family is remarkable.  We all are also glad that Nana has had time she can spend here helping as well.

And while sufferings draw my heart to hope, joys do as well.  It is true ~ Glimpses of grace, mercy, babbling, laughter, and silliness all around me speak loudly of future joy as I spend days with those I love the most in this world.  The metaphor of home in my familial home is restorative and precious.  When all you can do is primarily rest, there are days full of experiencing all the small accomplishments of babies and big boys.  This is what the little people in this house have been up to lately:

Eliana dreams of pigtails...  and the ability to read good literature.

Isaac, a view from the front...

...and from the side.

When I say, "Say Cheese!", Isabella does this~

After talking Elijah into an electric scooter for his July birthday then a breakdown over not figuring out how to ride it at first, this boy can finally zoom around like a pro.  He has even survived his first accident~Whew!

Andrew began studying Latin away from home.  Pretty soon, he is going to be teaching the rest of us!

For those of you who may be battling a chronic illness, I feel your pain today.  I hope we can all encourage each other along the way as the True Healer binds our futures as we endure.    Please pray for healing for me ~and I for you.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Words to Remind Myself


Note to readers ~ This blog is a bit of a departure from my usual writing, but pray it is timely and reaches the ears of those who would be encouraged.  This is as much for me as it is for anyone else.  
~

I was sitting, feeding my little ones recently in a public place when a lady close by asked what I was giving them to eat.  I obliged, giving her a breakdown of the ingredients.  Another gal in the background chimed in, "Well that doctor on TV says never give them _______.  You aren't giving them _______ are you?"  I smiled, answered softly, and wiped the faces of my little ones, eager for the next bite.

There is a mommy war going on.  I see it in relationships played out in real time and especially on the internet where we have the comfort of hiding behind the fortress of computer screens.  We can be so quick to defend ourselves and our choices because after all, it is our perceived ability to love our children that is at stake.  While the topics and language may differ, the feelings shared among mothers throughout history are not new.  Being a mother is a high calling and it is the most heart-wrenching position a woman can be given as our choices not only affect us but those most dear to us.

In many ways, I see this generation as one trying to reconcile the wisdom of the past with the information of the present, not neglecting our mothers, grandmothers, and our friends.  I know from experience that we desire validation for our own conclusions.  As we seek acceptance, there is a one-up-ness to our dialogue that can be discouraging.  Not everyone who offers information does so with contempt, but no matter the heart behind the words, I wonder if I am not the only one who is in a constant battle of preaching the gospel to myself as I read various opinions about breastfeeding, dietary choices, or vaccines, just to name a few.  If you find yourself in the same place as I am, this blog is for you.  You and I are the "we" and the "us".
Currently, the debate and hurt feelings seem to have a lot to do with the word "natural".


Natural isn't in and of itself a bad word.  When I think natural, I think of fields of flowers or forest canopies, ocean waves and sand between my toes.  When I go to the supermarket and I look at the shelves of items, I gravitate toward the ones that use that particular language to describe the contents of whatever I buy--- if it is in my budget.  In those circumstances, the word is used to describe something in it's ~purest available form~ without much, if anything, added.  I feel pride in making the better choice.  I congratulate myself on being a good mother.  I also have been known to buy Oreos.  There are moments I thank God for them.  They sit next to the coconut oil in my pantry.


Those of us who have plumbed the depths of natural childbirth know what that kind of natural is all about.  While it was my preferred recovery of my three birth experiences, I know why it is meant to hearken back to the fall.   It hurt bad, y'all.  I probably needed a doula.  I remember the nurse cheering me on as I mouthed "I can't do this..." with a "Honey, it is going to hurt like ---- but you are the only person in this room that can get you out of this situation."  My last laboring experience with 31-weekers who had been sick in-womb was a completely different event.  They were dependent on life-saving technologies for their survival.  I did not want natural for them.  Natural would have killed them.  I also was in appreciation to my doc for using all those cauterization tools that kept me from bleeding out during my surgery and the synthetic stitches that held-in all my innards.  I was very thankful for the doctors and nurses who knew how to handle such teenie babies.

But even in my more natural births or trips to the supermarket for natural, whole foods, dependent on who you talk to, my natural may not be natural enough.  I am not here to debate this point nor do I want anyone to feel that I am throwing anyone's opinions under the bus.  I have read the same articles as those on many sides and while I am certain everyone has an angle and agenda to perpetuate, I do not deny the sincerity, passion, and experience behind the various conclusions.  There is always more to know on top of what is known.
~


I do however want us to plant ourselves in God's word for a bit to think about what we are fighting for or at least give us a more biblical starting point.

There is a fallacy under girding the word natural. The bible doesn't define natural as good.  In the garden pre-fall, creation was good and humanity very good.  After the fall, different language is used to describe creation.  It is now cursed (Gen. 3).  Man must now toil with sweat-filled brow as thorns and thistles vie for nutrients in the soil.  Physical and emotional pain become humanity's companion as strife enters relationships, procreation, and the raising of children.  Something else enters the world--- death--- to dust you shall return.  It is the wages of our disobedience.  That is a pretty big problem for us.  God evicts the residents of the Garden to keep them from the Tree of Life because to subject them to an eternity of living in a sinful condition would be unbearable (Gen. 3:22).

Cells of plants, animals, and humans now have a life span.  Our life--- our breath--- our world--- is tragically flawed and for good reason.  While creation is vast, beautiful, and extremely complex it does not function perfectly.  This truth does not incriminate the Creator- remember He made all good- but those who are the disobedient created.  The way in which God designed nature to function tells us much about His character but it still leads us to the conclusion that all that was made needs to be remade.

This leads me to my first thought:


1) The beginning state of anything created post-Genesis 3 is not inherently good.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it...

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly...
Romans 8:20-23

Romans says creation is subjected to futility--- or ineffectiveness or uselessness.  The things we may use or do to correct flaws in nature are equally flawed.  No matter what I do, I cannot get away from having an imperfect starting point and imperfect solutions.  The suffering makes us inwardly groan.  All ages of persons die, animals eat each other, flowers wither, the earth quakes and cracks... I could go on and on.  But those verses aren't complete.  Now the very very good news.


2)  Creation's imperfection is indeed a brilliant showing of God's plan for us.  It points us toward a Redeemer who will come save us from this body of death under the curse and renew the earth.  Herein we are given a longing for a supernatural solution.
...in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  

...as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Romans 8 cont.


3)  It is not our list of what we do or don't do, eat or don't eat, etc. that defines our identity as a believer in Jesus Christ (or as a mother, for that matter).  Our identity is given to us by faith through grace and our righteousness is in Him.

As much as we don't like being compared to one another, there is Someone we have to compare ourselves to.  In that comparison, He did and does everything better than all.  In fact, He is Perfection.  He came to fulfill the Law of loving God and loving our children as well as the law of never doing anything to harm them.  He came on the behalf of mothers.


For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—  so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.  
Galatians 3:10-14
We are either trying to fulfill the Law through what we do or we trust in the One Who fulfilled it for us.  The opportunity to be more or less natural (in the best sense of the word) is just another avenue for us to be led astray in finding our peace, hope, and rest in something other than the work of Jesus Christ.   Because of His perfection, we are free to obey God in loving our children the best we can in faith that Jesus does it all right for us.  There is a "God's way", but let's be honest:  We don't do it.  Sometimes in very complex issues, we don't even know what the right way is.  And when we think we can apart from His grace, we belittle God's plan in Emmanuel, Savior, Faithful, and True.  When we see Him working in us, there is only one place to go in gratitude.  It is beautiful and humbling when we have eyes to see how often we fail and the way we have then been loved as a Father loves His own.  Isn't it fitting that God call us to Himself in paternal fashion?



4)  For those who have put their faith in Jesus, we belong body and soul to God.  And He loves our children more than we do.  

The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  
Acts 17:24-25


He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things were created through Him and for him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:15-17


5)  While some may see things in a different position on the spectrum of bad - best, we need to give each other the space to be free to love our families as God has given us the freedom of the glory of the Children of God to do so.

Unless we are intentionally and unrepentantly making choices to harm ourselves or our children, we need to love each other as ones greatly loved and be quick to give the benefit of the doubt.  There may be solutions that best suit some of us better than others but there is no one-size-fits-all fix this side of heaven.  We have become poor listeners in our attempts to be right and even lost touch in some cases with the wisdom of generations before us.

Common grace does allow for good to come from the accursed and I praise God for His mercy on us in it.  We here at joyinourjourney have seen miracles provided by God in various ways.  The miraculous, whether in a form recognizable by physical attributes or in one that can only be explained by God's invisible hand, always calls for worship.  If you have found that you have been helped by a certain medication, then you go girl.  If you find that eliminating dairy helps your digestion, then Praise God!  For those of you who are juggling your time and energy, resources and sometimes do the quick thing just to have a few minutes of rest at the end of a hectic day, I see you.  You are welcome here.


6)  There is a future hope!  God is also preparing a place for us to live better than we could imagine.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.  
John 14:3

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. 
Rev. 21

We end up in a better land than even Adam or Eve knew when they walked where we now walk~ living with God but redeemed.  It will be a place where the Wedding Feast of the Lamb will be perfectly good for us.  Until then, we wait with eager anticipation knowing that this life will be only a moment in the shadow of eternity.  

~

We don't have to spend time beating ourselves up over what kind of milk to buy.  We can simply pray for wisdom, asking God to help us experience more rest in the gospel.  There is another war that is far more important than the mommy wars in which we engage.  And it has been won.  One day we will have complete, body-and-soul wholeness.

The last thing you or I need is another voice of condemnation or another opinion that makes us feel as if someone else is doing it better.  On the other hand, Some One is doing it best, and that is good new for us all.

The next conversation we have with one another, can we start here?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wanderings of a Sinner Saint


Lead me on, lead me on
To a place where the river runs into Your keeping
Oh, Lead me on, lead me on
The awaited deliverance comforts the seeking
~Amy Grant


The first person I ever saw in concert was Amy Grant.  Her voice has always sounded like home to me.  Through years and seasons of life, my love for her song Lead Me On has only grown.  Over time, learning,  and experience, I have heard things with different ears.  Recently on a drive with my kiddos, I turned it on and turned it up.  The message had not changed since my last hearing but took a different root in my soul.  The evils of human oppression and the ways we cry out  in opposition for deliverance is a theme heard in history.  The pages of life written in present days show the same evils only with new faces and their realities are sickening.

While I have not endured the types of abuse and death as those under the bonds of slavery the song describes, I do have a heart that has been liberated from bondage and feels drawn to pray for complete deliverance.  So my heart echoes with the song~ Jesus, come quickly and right all the wrongs.  And lead me on in this in-between time and place in my own soul.

I think of the passages in the Old Testament that describe Israel wandering through the dessert after their emancipation.  They had just been freed from the multiple abuses of slavery.  They had escaped an even greater workload under more difficult circumstances than they had previously been made to submit.  They had just seen what it looks like to suffer when one is not on the side of Yaweh through the various plagues.  They had just killed lambs and experienced being passed over from the angel of death in their households.  The seas had been parted for them.  The Egyptian army was buried under water before their eyes.  God was providing springs from rocks and manna from the skies.  Freedom was their song and yet what do they say?

They grumble and say they want to go back.  Back to the suffering.  Back to slavery.  Back to the infanticide of baby boys.  At least there was food there.  I don't know all they were thinking, but as I look back at the Exodus through the eyes of a New Covenant believer, I imagine they were learning to trust Yaweh in a deeper way and His way is not only the best, but the only way to live.  

I used to say, those stupid Israelites!  What were they thinking?  But as much as I would like to write myself out of every characterization of people in the Bible that were utter failures, the Holy Spirit shows me glimpses into my heart--- my own thoughts and actions--- that resemble those I would like to elevate myself above.  While my country of origin is not Egypt and my ruler Pharaoh, the Bible does speak of the conditions I was found in before my own rescue.  

I lived in the country that my own righteousness built where I was a slave to sin.  It was a wasteland with crumbling structures made of failure and pride supported by parched earth where death reigned.  There, lived reciprocation.  Reciprocation for man's deeds apart from Christ under the law of God always results in death.  And I was dead.

But God.  Now, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I have been set free.  While my forever home is now the Kingdom of Light and there are more benefits there than I can even imagine, every day I remain here, I will have conversations between the already and the not yet.  Here I am as Martin Luther said, "Simul Justus et Peccator" or simultaneously just and sinner.    

When Paul addresses the desire to go back to law for justification in the church at Galatia, he admonishes,

For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  
(5:1)

Sometimes on this blog, I am working out what all of this means and how it relates to real life, particularly life as a wife and mother.  What I am absolutely sure of, friends, is that it is such very good news!  Like a cloud by day ~led by the Spirit~ and fire by night ~illuminating sin bringing repentance~ God continues to show me the ways I still return to the land of death.  As I desire belief in what has been and will be done, I am learning to wander in this life caught between the wasteland and the promised land.  As I am in Christ because of His grace, it is a safe place to be taught the fruits of freedom ~even the freedom to obey~ and how a slave to righteousness is a good identity purchased for me by my Great Savior (Romans 6).  I appreciate you listening and being a participant in my own wandering.  The question is, will you wander with me?


So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.  John 8:36