Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a Funny Boy You Are

Dear Emeth,

I just want to write this letter to you so we can all remember what a funny boy you are at 20-months.

When we are preparing to go out, you like to choose which pair of shoes I should wear. I am glad you always choose my favorite winter boots.

When we come home, you would insist upon taking my shoes off for me. You probably do this because you see Daddy doing this and we always help you with your shoes.

You have four favorite stuff animals right now. They have earned their way into your arms when you sleep: a BIG white teddy bear, two smaller ones, and a dalmatian. You like to hold all four of them--at the same time.

You love dogs. When we were visiting our aunt, you chased her little dog down, grabbed it by its face, and kissed it. You did this twice. The dog was a little surprised.

You were recently at a stage where you said no to everything, even when you meant yes.
Dad: Would you like some of my pizza?
Emeth: No *opens his mouth*

Me: Do you know that mommy loves you?
Emeth: No *snuggles*
You like to pretend that you are a conductor. Whenever we are listening music involving a full orchestra, you are sure to be waving your little fingers at the computer screen at the beginning and again at the grand finale.

You like to eat, a lot. There is rarely a meal or a snack when you have not asked for a second helping.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

On the Sweetness of Repentance

Hans and I listened to a sermon on Charles Simeon as we made our way to church this morning. It reminded us of the refuge that is God's gift of repentance.
Repentance is in every view so desirable, so necessary, so suited to honor God, that I seek that above all. The tender heart, the broken and contrite spirit, are to me far above all the joys that I could ever hope for in this vale of tears. I long to be in my proper place, my hand on my mouth, and my mouth in the dust... I feel this to be safe ground. Here I cannot err... I am sure that whatever God may despise... He will not despise the broken and contrite heart. -Charles Simeon

Friday, December 11, 2009

Seas of People: A Christmas Memory

In the spirit of my friend Serene's recent post, here is a reflection on a favorite childhood memory: Christmases without snow.

In a predominantly Muslim and Buddhist culture, Christmas was the "Christian holiday." Around the church compound, the trees twinkled with lights for all to admire. It was indeed a moment to be proud that I belong to this church. That it was Christmas. That Christians were celebrating.

For the church, it was the most festive day of the year. The buildings were swarmed with people dressed in their best attires on Christmas Eve. By swarmed, I mean there were three or four services right up to midnight and each service was packed and overflowed with seas of people.

Those who did not usually go to church came on Christmas Eve. Services were more evangelistic in nature, and the Gospel was presented. There were candles and dancing, plays and choirs. There seemed to be hundreds of children, each rejoicing over the bag of gift they received. Each contained an apple, some sweets, and other junk foods. I remember dancing with the tambourine alongside my friends, singing O Holy Night. I do still love that song.

On the first Christmas Eve my family spent together in the States, we arrived at church half an hour before the service, for fear that there would be no where to park. We were so puzzled when we found the parking lot empty. The sanctuary was empty. People slowly trickled in and when the service started, the building was barely half-filled.

I now understand that here in the States, people travel on Christmas and most of the celebration is done prior to Christmas day. But Oh, how I missed the festivities, the crowds, and the faces, not at the mall or the airport, but at church.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For as long as we both shall live

I became a Christian in my teens. The burning questions at the time always had to do with what my friends and I called BGR (boy-girl-relationship). If you want to get us excited about a speaker or a sermon at youth group, this is the go-to topic.

How do we know when we have found "the one"? Is there such a person as "the one"? In carpools and sleepovers, I am sure my girlfriends and I have exhausted these questions. I was always the romantic. I wanted to believe there is one person out there just for me. I still do. Thankfully, he is no longer "out there," he is in fact in the next room.

Between giggles, we were asking a profound theological question, namely: how do we know the will of God?

If I was given an answer during those years, I wasn't listening, because I don't remember receiving a satisfactory answer. Adults often referred to the "do not be unequally yoked passage." Marry a Christian, that was all we were told. The rest of the story was often filled with stuff from church-culture and pop-culture. Biblical principles were rarely mentioned.

As I am taking a class on Proverbs this semester, it struck me as incredibly odd why I hadn't realize its relevance for godly relationships?True, it addresses not only relationships with the opposite gender, but still, it has much counsel to give about how to find your marriage partner, and how you would know when you have found him or her.

As a motivation for you singles out there to run to your Bible and flip to Proverbs this instance, here is a paraphrase (with my own elaboration) of what my professor said today:

God does not want you to marry a Christian, he wants you to marry a wise person. A wise person, of course, presupposes that he or she is a Christian. However, a Christian may turn out to be a fool.

Knowing this brings freedom, because the decision on whom we should marry is not arbitrary or merely based on subjective experience. God has set a standard for Wisdom. He has revealed it to us, and we are commanded to seek it.

Thinking about this brings great joy and an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I had little knowledge of this when I said yes to Hans' proposal of marriage. Looking back, the Lord was so gracious to us (he still is). We dare not think we are wise, but at least we know we are fools. We are blessed to have a lifetime to be fools together, seeking Wisdom.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


As I was cleaning my kitchen floor on my hands and knees, a strange memory came to me.

Hans visited me in New Haven, CT a few years ago. He commented that my kitchen floor was sticky. I replied, "I know! It's hopeless!"

He proceeded to search for a mop. Together, we discovered that my floor was actually white, not some grayish-yellow.

He then proceeded to ask me to marry him a couple days later. He must have known I needed him then, and I still do.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Some Heart-Applications)

After our first two Sunday School lessons, the girls' faces wrinkled with worry:
So, what does all this MEAN?
Is it ok to wear a tight shirt?
Doesn't context dictate what is ok and not ok to wear?

The reason we begin the class by looking at Genesis is so we can get at heart-question first: where is our heart when it comes to what we wear? What is our love and who are we trying to please? And understanding the purpose of clothing in light of God's Word helps us to focus on our hearts before the Lord.

For the sake of giving a practical example, here is one more glimpse to the goriness of my wedding dress adventure.

As I was planning our wedding, I had my heart set on two things:

1. Cheap, preferably a great deal.
Lofty reason: I refuse to fall into the pitfalls of wedding obsession and consumerism that permeate the American culture.

2. A mandarin collar, or something like the perfect dress of my imaginings.
Reason: I don't want to bare more flesh than I would normally, e.g. I would not normally wear something strapless. I did feel very strongly about finding something that is elegant and that appropriately covers.
Real reason: I can be quite picky with some things. The image of my perfect dress was stuck in my head and it wouldn't go away.

It is all a fad anyway, so unnecessary.
It is just a silly dress that I am going to be in for a few hours.
I couldn't careless what I wear.

I lied.

My pride and emotions were so wrapped up in finding the dress that it consumed me. Even if I had the "right" reasons, my heart was definitely in the wrong place. It was that night in the train, defeated after a fruitless day in NYC, that I finally saw my foolishness.

So, I dropped my search and focused on other things. I eventually found a dress, quite unlike the dress, but I was grateful for the search to be over.

The whole point of this tale is to illustrate two things:

1. When it comes to the way we dress, as Christians, we must live in the tension of it being both an important and unimportant matter. It matters in that the Bible speaks of it in various places, so our affection must be in a disposition of obedience. Our hearts, however, must not be so bound to our external ornamentation, that we neglect necessary things such as good works and serving others.

2. The heart, my heart, is a crooked thing. Clothing ourselves with modesty requires both rightness of heart and action. On one hand, a person who covers their body appropriately does not prove their heart is right with the Lord. On the other hand, a person who is ostentatious or who neglects propriety cannot claim that they had "good intentions."

We need much grace and wisdom.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 5)


When I was little and even thereafter, the goal of my prayer before a meal (when eating alone) was to be as fast as possible: "Thank you Lord for this food. InJesusnameIpray Amen." Not that prayers before meals need to be prolonged, but there wasn't much thought other than to consume the food that was before me.

These days, admittedly with much deliberation and discipline, I try to think about Christ.

He is our manna, the bread from heaven (John 6:32-33). He is our True Bread, True Drink (John 6:52-58). I shall not live by bread alone, but I am alive because of every word that come from the mouth of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3).

This is why fasting is good for us once in a while, our hunger without food reminds us of the infinitely greater hunger of our souls without God. In other words, the nourishment and enjoyment of food points us to Christ.

In like manner, we must think about our clothes.

There in the garden, blood was shed. God slaughtered animals to cover Adam and Eve with garments of skins (Genesis 3:21). In this context, the mercy of God points to the day when Christ will crush the serpent once and for all (Genesis 3:15) and perfectly cover the sin committed in Eden and thereafter.

Christ is our True Covering. I am no longer ashamed, no longer naked. As I stand in the presence of God, God sees Christ and his righteousness, and forgives me of my betrayal, my iniquities. My righteousness is like rags, like leaves (Isaiah 64:6-7). His is perfect.

As we feel our skin beneath the coverings of our earthly garments, think of Christ. Think of the hope of our future glory (Philippians 3:20-21). Our wedding gown is expensive indeed. The Lamb of God was slaughtered to clothe us in his righteousness.

By grace, put on Christ. Wear the radiance of his glory.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 4)

Bridal garment.

One of the most miserable hurdles in my wedding planning adventure was the purchase of a wedding dress. It was a difficult task style-wise, financial-wise, and heart-wise. Let me spare you the gory details.

I do, however, want to share a conversation I overheard while standing in line for a fitting room in one of the bridal-gown-super-stores I unfortunately had to visit in New York City. The building was three or four stories high and it was HUGE. It was completely packed with big white things and insane women.

There I was tired and discouraged from a long fruitless day, and saddened after having just watched a few pregnant women trying on wedding dresses. Two women behind me were flipping through a bridal magazine and their conversation went something like this:
Woman A: uuu... I like this one,... very sexy!
Woman B: UGH! I would never wear that. I would look like a *virgin*!

You heard right, people. What was the ultimate symbol of purity now is expected to make women look ... well, anything but modest. My point goes beyond this one conversation, just look at the options we are presented. The styles! The price-tags!

Now, how do make my way back to the topic at hand?

So I had made the statement that we wear clothes because their presence serves as a reminder for us that we are no longer what we were created to be. They are things of comfort as they are gifts of mercy from a Father who understands the shame and fear in his children. So he covers us, pointing to a perfect covering that is to come.

Each morning, when we go about the mundane task of picking our garments for the day, let us be filled with hope. Our ordinary outfits this day point to the bridal garment that is to come (Revelation 19:6-9).

As we choose what we should put on, let us also ready ourselves: mind, body, and heart to do the good works that God has set before us this day. Let us think of people to whom we can show kindness, cups of cold water we can offer, morsels of bread we can share. May the Lord help me to be a joyful mom, a content wife, a diligent worker, a faithful friend.

Keeping in mind that we are unable to do anything without the help of our Lord. Our own attempts are futile, insufficient. Though the Bride is to ready herself, it is God who grants her the fine linen, bright and pure.

Go forth and shine, O Bride of Christ.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (A Song)

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

-Augustus M. Toplady, Rock of Ages

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weep I did not

{the story of Emeth's birth}

Let me be the first to admit that I am not one who can stand much physical discomfort. When I first expressed my desire for a natural birth, Hans was a little worried. One finds oneself willing to make exceptions, no matter how difficult, for the object of one's affections. We wanted to give our little person a good beginning, at least to the best of our knowledge and capabilities. This is why love is a powerful thing. It changes people. And it has since transformed me into a morning person. But I digress.

My feats of endurance are fine but few. Emeth's birth and my three climbs up Mount Kinabalu are among my cherished occasions of growth. However distinct the experiences were in kind, in many ways my memories of them parallel. They were endeavors of great hope, with promises of sunrises and new life. They were sweet yet marvelous, compelling in their reminders of my humanness, weak and messy, and my need for other human beings.

My water broke around midnight, on the first day of April, 2008.

Hans was my champion in shining armor, my confidant, and my doula that night. He held my hand, with the other hand putting counter-pressure on my lower back as each contraction progress. He paced me, watched the monitor, reported the lengths and strength of my contractions. I took at least three steaming hot showers; they relieved me tremendously. As the pain peaked, I was unable to stand and we had exhausted all hymns. It was Hans who asked me to recite for him a psalm in hebrew. Psalm 137 was the only one I knew by heart. Thus, in my delirious state, I sat by the waters of Babylon and chanted, though weep I did not.

Hans adds this part: A little before 9 a.m., we were starting to wonder how much longer this was going to go on, and how much worse it could get. Just as we were thinking this, the nurse came in, told us we were ready to give birth, and that the worst was over. Which it was. This period was more painful than the birth itself, which was a relief in comparison.

At 9:41 a.m., I gave one last push. Hans missed Emeth's arrival because I was holding him ever so tightly around his neck.

I've always thought people were lying when they say you will feel no pain once the baby is out. I thought this was an unrealistic, yet another romanticized hollywood myth about the noble feelings of motherhood (which I found I disturbingly lacked throughout my pregnancy). My friends, mothers-to-be, I can attest now there is at least some truth to this. And it is not because I was so "overcome with joy."

I was joyful, in many senses, but my first meeting with Emeth was a little awkward. I stared at him and said, "Hi Emeth" about a dozen times. I didn't know what else to say. Albeit I have given birth only once, I can assure you I felt no pain. In fact, I was walking and enjoyed my fourth shower that morning within two hours after the delivery. It is true that the recovery for the next few months was uncomfortable, but not awful.

Lastly, below is a copy of our birth plan (minus a few details for confidentiality) for the purpose of giving you a rough idea some things to consider. For the most part, our birth was what we hoped for. I did have an IV with antibiotic but I was still able to move about and take showers.

We would also like to add that we did take many hours of birthing classes with an extremely dedicated and competent instructor. These hours were extremely beneficial to us and suited to the way we learn as a couple.

Secondly, we are indebted to two nurses that night. Advocates of natural birth themselves, they believed us and were confident that we were committed to our decisions. They allowed us the space to labor with minimal supervision. Though the doctors gave several suggestions of drugs, the nurses respected our birth plan and were protective of our desired birth.

For all these things and so much more, we are thankful.

A Proposed Birth Plan

To the OB/GYN and the Family Birthing Center:

We are grateful for your help and care. As we look forward to the birth of our son, we would like to share with you a few decisions we have considered with respect to our delivery and recovery. We have made our decisions to the best of our understanding in the hope of a healthy and uncomplicated delivery for mother and child through natural childbirth.

Before labor:
  • We would like to go into labor naturally, and not be induced before 42 week gestation period.
First stage of labor:
  • We are working to avoid medication and will request it as needed
  • We would like to have mobility during labor to encourage the labor process.
  • In order to have the ability to move about, we would prefer intermittent fetal monitoring and to maintain hydration by regularly sipping water, rather than with an IV.
Second stage of labor:
  • We are preparing to avoid an episiotomy and would prefer that the mother’s perineum tear naturally.
  • We would like for the cord to stop pulsing before it is cut, and dad would like to cut the cord.
Third stage of labor:
  • We ask that the mother would not be given Pitosin to deliver the placenta.
After the birth of our child:
  • We plan to breastfeed our child exclusively and prefer no bottles or pacifier.

We are grateful and trust the discretion of our care providers. We look forward to experiencing this important event with you.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 3)


Here in the beginning chapters of Scripture, we witness the perfect justice and mercy of God. For our interest, we will focus only on the covering God provided for Adam and Eve. It is important to note, however, clothing is given in the greater context of the salvation that is promised (Gen 3:15; 22-24).

Their attempt to hide from the God failed miserably. The fig leaves were neither enough nor did they cover well. Their nakedness felt too revealing. They distrust one another. They were fearful and guilty. In gaining their so-called independence, their desire to distinguish for themselves between right and wrong, they no longer felt safe.

Seeing this, Yahweh intervened.

"And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21).


Clothing is a reminder that we are not who we ought to be.

To give an image, our clothes serves as our sackcloth. A sign of our sorrow, that we have sinned against our Creator. A sign of our grief, that we are no longer the creatures we were created to be.

What we wear is our confession. Confession that we have fallen short of God's glory, God's purpose for us. Confession that we have lost our innocence. Confession that we are under judgment. It is right and good for us to cover ourselves.

The putting on of our sackcloth is a reminder of our need for repentance. A proclamation of our hope for reclaiming glory.

At this point during the Sunday school class, one of the girls exclaimed, and appropriately so, "What am I going to wear for my homecoming dance?!"

My response? "No worries, there is more." =)

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 2)

It happened on a Saturday night many years ago. I had just returned from youth group, which consisted of a small fellowship of young people, friends who cared about each other and in the process of being saved by grace. I sat at my desk and eagerly opened a letter from one of my good friends.

I quickly realized this was not a letter I was anticipating. Her gentle words confronted me of my sin. How she found out I had gossiped about her. How it hurt her. How another friend who was involved also knows about this.

Alone in that room I was overwhelmed with shame as though thousands were watching. I was caught and there was nowhere to run.

I spent the night dreading the morning. They were good friends, among my best. Weeping, I wrote two letters asking for undeserved forgiveness. I prepared my self for the worst and accepting the possibility of losing them.

Oh, how I dreaded facing them. I wished to never leave my room again. Things will never be the same. And I was right, things were never the same thereafter.


"Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked." (Genesis 3:7)
Things are now different. Their marriage is different. Their relationship to God is different.

They tried to hide. They tried to cover themselves. But there was no hiding from a God who sees all things. Fig leaves were insufficient. They could not fix it. There was no going back.


It was Easter the next morning. It was the Easter of my heart. I was forgiven by God and reconciled to friends. And they have remained faithful friends to this day.

Yes, things are different, but my life was changed for the better.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Necessity of Clothing (Part 1)

In the Garden.

For our Sunday School class on Beauty, Modesty, and the Wardrobe, we began by laying a Biblical foundation on the topic of clothing. Namely, I wanted to address the question: What is the purpose of clothing in the first place? A strange question, but why wear clothes?

We began in the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve were naked and not ashamed. It is difficult for us as adults to think and understand this concept purely, because our minds have lost its original innocence. Instead of having paintings of naked people from the Renaissance and others such reproductions, I propose the best people to teach us about this "naked and not ashamed" business are little children.

Warning: digression ahead.

Recently, whenever we are about to give Emeth his bath, he enjoys running away from us as soon as we take off his clothes. We hear giggles and the thumping of feet as we watch a little naked boy running through the apartment, flinging his arms in the air. His happiness is very evident. The same ritual takes place afterward when we try to put on his clothes.

He is still in the Garden, Hans and I would tell each other, naked and not ashamed.

There are two things further to say:

1. God created, and he saw that the earth and all that was in it as good, good, and very good.
We are God's creation--both body and soul. God created us in his image. Every human being has dignity because we reflect the image of God. It is fitting, therefore, to see our physical bodies as beautiful.

2. Marriage and their relationship to God provides this safe haven.
The mention of their nakedness directly follows the passage on the first marriage (Genesis 2:25). I like to tell the girls, Adam's first words to Eve was a love poem. In this perfect state, their relationship was one of innocence, trust, and openness. Together, they were completely dependent on the Lord, trusting in Him to determine what is right and what is wrong.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Only Thing that Matters

I was unwise and careless and now, we are paying for the consequences. We installed a window air-conditioning unit and paid $40 per month throughout the summer to the Housing Office. The school requires that the residents removed their window air-conditioning unit by October 1. We removed it on October 2.

The Housing Office notified me today that our delay was unacceptable and that we will have to pay $40 because the unit was still in our window on October 1. I am at fault. I assumed there was a grace period. I assumed that since we we are to take it down by October, we would not be charged for this month. I assumed wrongly. And I was filled with remorse at the thought of paying $40 for my carelessness.

Then, my mind recalls yet another Policy, another set of Rules: "Yahweh is our God, Yahweh alone. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your life, with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself." The only Policy that truly matters, truly good, with a Giver who is truly powerful to punish all who do not obey. Yet, I am infinitely more careless and infinitely more presumptuous when it comes to this Policy.

Praise to our Lord and King that He is a kind and gracious ruler! He knows all my failings, all of the ways I do not obey and am not able to fulfill his requirement. Yet, in his justice, he suffered and died for the penalty that was mine.

The King died in my place. The King forgives me.
Rest, O my soul, put your hope in God.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Commands to Trust and Know

Every Wednesday afternoon, I come home to Hans and Emeth’s smiling faces, eager to tell me all the fun things they did in the three hours I was gone. My class on Proverbs fills me to the brim, my cup overflows!

On the syllabus this week is Proverb 3:1-12—you know, the “trust in the Lord with all your heart” passage. I’ve known that verse for a long time. It provided much comfort and strength during the tumult that was my adolescent years.

What a sumptuous feast it was to read it in the hebrew for the first time. Seeing it with new depths and colors, I was surprised by its nuances and their implications.

1. I had not noticed that these are the words of a father to his son. (yikes! Paying attention to context would have helped)

2. I had not noticed the emphasis on the heart, the happening of one’s innermost person. The heart that is to trust, is also the heart that is to keep the father’s commandments, is also the heart that has steadfast love and faithfulness written upon it.

3. I had not noticed what strong language the father uses. He gives these as a string of commands. In other words, all that comfort I drew from this verse as a teenager should now be nuanced with slight fear and reverence.

For the more linguistic inclined people out there, the verbs are in the jussive and imperative. The imperative is, well, very strong.

4. The passage ends with an exhortation to not reject and despise the Lord's discipline. How sobering.

The following is my rough, literal translation of Proverbs 3:3-7 (the imperatives are italicized, all the negations are in the jussive):

Let steadfast love and truth (emeth!) not forsake you
Bind them on your neck
Write them on the tablet of your heart

and Find grace and good regard in the eyes of God and humankind

Trust Yahweh in all of your heart
and do not depend on your understanding

in all of your ways Know him
and he, he will make straight your paths

Do not be wise in your own eyes
Fear Yahweh and Turn from evil

p/s As I am looking at my notes, the page is now embellished with crayon markings. What joy is found!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Seventeen Months

When we were pregnant with Emeth, we came across this quotation by Ann Judson, wife of missionary Adoniram Judson. They had lost their first child, still nameless, at sea while sailing to Burma. At the death of their second child, a seventeen-month-old Roger Williams, she wrote:
Our hearts were bound up with this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw it was necessary to remind us of our error, and to strip us of our only little all. O, may it not be vain that he has done it. May we so improve it that he will stay his hand and say 'It is enough.'*
I turned to Hans and said, "No, I can't. I would not be able to say this about the child in my womb." O little did I know about the preciousness that her words were describing.

Emeth is now seventeen-months old. In fact, he is turning a year and a half in two days. As we were saying good night, I watched our "little all" as the sounds of his squeals and the thumping of his fat feet filled the apartment (and probably the neighbors' too). He is our "innocent recreation," though Emeth is not our only and we are not alone in a completely heathen land.

I once heard someone compare evil to black paint. As black is in every masterful painting, evil and suffering is upon the canvas that is this fallen creation. The Lord is the artist. He is sovereign, over rebels and children alike. He is a good Creator; he is kind to his creatures. He does all things well, and makes all things beautiful. The black in our lives is no mistake; every stroke is a part of the whole.

May the Lord grant me a tiny portion of Ann's faith in his goodness and sovereignty! May our present trials not be in vain and may we so improve for his glory.

*John Piper gave a brilliant exhortation on the lives of the Judsons in one of his biographical sermons.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beauty, Modesty, and the Wardrobe

For nearly every week in the past three years, it has been my utmost privilege to teach Sunday School to a group of youth at our church. Last Sunday, we began a series on Beauty, Modesty, and the Wardrobe. A touchy topic, I know.

A girl's wardrobe represents much of how she wants others to perceive her. It takes courage for one to look at the mirror and see ourselves for who we truly are. Asking questions like, why am I wearing what I am wearing? What is my intention when I dress like this?

This topic has come up again and again in different contexts. Each time, I wished we had a firmer foundation to frame the discussion. So this will be the purpose of this class, to look closely at what the Scripture tells us about beauty, modesty, and what we should wear, and contrast this with what we learn from culture. How do we present ourselves as ladies who profess that the chief end of humanity is "to glorify God and enjoy him forever"?

Besides, what better topic is there to learn about when I have an awesome group of high school girls with me this Fall? The time is ripe for the taking.

Here are the links to the series:
Part 1: In the Garden
Part 2: Shame
Part 3: Sackcloth
Part 4: Bridal garment
Part 5: Christ
Applications: Take Two
Hunger: Modesty is not just about clothes

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In praise of him who married me

Seldom do I praise my husband and I do not thank him enough. I think it is only appropriate to commence this blog by singing the praise of him who loves me and married me.

We met at the end of my long sojourn in the desert. His arm gave me that final pull to climb out of the miry pit. Together, we had a dream of making a pilgrimage to the High Country. As a symbol of this, he proposed marriage with the hope of a trip to Jerusalem. I look forward to walk with him upon the soil of King David and breathe the air of Mount Zion.

Since our nuptial vows, he continues to uphold my steps and prevent many falls. When I fall and I do, a lot, his shoulder provides a safe place for repentance.

He is my child's father. My life overflows with laughter and silliness when these two get together, which is thankfully very often. He keeps things in their proper priority, distinguishing the essentials from the secondaries.

He is a teacher to me, an instructor of how to think, most importantly, about the Scripture. He believes firmly in our formal education, thus sacrifices much comfort and time for me to remain a student of the Word. He defines words, stays up during the burning of midnight oil, corrects grammar; he challenges, exhorts, and inspires.

He is my personal trainer. Our romance is a classic one of athlete meets non-athlete, computer-savvy-person meets non-computer-savvy-person, strategy-game-winner meets non-strategy-game-player. I am no experts in these things, but love can transform and it overcomes many fears.

I am grateful to you, my dear companion.

A New Space


This a an extension of a blog page we started shortly after Emeth's birth. We found much pleasure in keeping track of his growth and development through the assistance of Tumblon, a team of people dedicated to helping parents navigate through the joys and questions of parenthood.

After some time, however, I find myself wanting to record things more of a personal nature, thoughts from my daily life that extends beyond the categories of parenthood. No doubt Emeth will be one of the main topics here, as he remains a wonderful and complex subject, but hopefully this provides a space for me to write about random bits from here and there.

Welcome, friends, and have a seat.