Friday, November 22, 2013

Wild chases

I turned 32 about a month ago. I am now Jesus' age when he was walking around, healing the sick, changing the story of the world. I still can't decide how I feel about being 32 (not that I can change my age). I'm still breaking it in, so to speak, like a new pair of shoes.

Some days, I miss my 20s. Ah, the possibilities! The dreams! The thrilling chases! New jobs, new opportunities, new cities.

I miss my 20s, that is, until I remember the hungry days as a grad student juggling a few jobs. All I was chasing then was a warm and quiet place to study. It was so cold in my apartment that I could actually see my breath. And the apartment was mold-infested. And sewage flowed into my bathtub.

Yeah. That would cure anyone of any romantic delusions of my 20s.

These days, I am mostly chasing souls, boy-shaped souls that are running (and crawling) around on fast little feet. It's a very different kind of chase. For one, the stakes are much higher. As opposed to my previous dreams (that are now obsolete), these boys are eternal. They will live on forever. At the beginning of every morning and the end of every night, the question that I am to answer is this: What am I teaching my children to love?

Many ask us why we choose to homeschool our children. There are many different ways we would approach this question, but this sums it up nicely: Homeschooling is the method Hans and I have chosen to pursue our children, to win their hearts to love the right things. Like all methods, we want to hold this one loosely. We know that ultimately, we cannot move their hearts — only the Spirit can. Our job is to faithfully sing the tune, in hopes that the boys would sing along.

(In case you want to know how it is going, I am huffing and puffing from the steep climb up the learning curve. Thankfully, the boys are kind to forgive their mommy every time she apologizes for her unruly behavior.)

The boys and I are memorizing first Corinthians 13 this week.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind.
These are good words to cling to as I break into 32. A familiar passage, but this week I read the apostle's words with an ache, a longing to understand, to be. It was then I realized that I, too, am being pursued. My Father chases me still.

I write this with thoughts and prayers for those of you who are in your teens and twenties, in hot pursuit of your dream school, dream career, or perhaps you are, like I was, just planning to survive the exams and stay warm this winter. The thing is, I didn't have to wait until I am married and birthing kids to be chasing souls. Love should be our pursuit no matter how old we are.

Do not be deceived as I was and make your life about "finding yourself" and "finding your voice." Lies. You will find your life's purpose by giving yourself to others. Jesus said, "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever who loses his life for my sake will find it." Finders losers; losers keepers.

So, pour yourselves out as an offering to the Lord, into vessels that lasts forever — people, people, people.

We are teaching Emeth to pursue love. We are teaching Hanan to pursue love. And Khesed, well, he is still a baby, but his name means love. Speaking of love and wild chases, Emeth was fetching all sorts of things the baby was throwing from the high chair at dinner today. The big brother then explained to me: "We are playing Khesed's favorite game. He is human and I am his dog."

Their love for one another is God's kind mercy to me. Like a warm cup to cold hands. Like water to thirst. Their love for one another is the stuff my dreams are made of.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Take me instead

We know that God forgives sin. We talk about it often enough, how God is faithful to forgive us — all we have to do is ask.

We like to bring up David a lot, the poster child for forgiven sinners. David wanted something that did not belong to him. So, he took, he grabbed, he stole. David took Uriah's wife. He took Uriah's life. He took the lives of the men who were with Uriah to cover his own tracks. If God forgave David for murders and adultery, surely God can forgive me. We think we understand God's compassion and mercy. But do we really?

How exactly did God respond to David's rebellion?

When the prophet Nathan confronted him of his sin, Yahweh said to David: Remember all that I have given you. I gave you beyond what you could ever asked for or even begin to imagine. If this was too little for you, I would have given you much more. All David had to do was ask.

Yahweh could have said: David, why can't you be content with all the wives you already have? But he didn't. Instead, God reminded David of the One from whom all blessings flowed.

Just when we think we know where the story is going, the Lord blows us away. The Great River of God's compassion and mercy does not run straight. Its current twists and turns. Sometimes, the water breaks into a cascade, crashing onto jagged rocks.

Eve wanted something that did not belong to her. God gave her Eden. He gave her life. But this wasn't enough. She wanted more. So, she took the fruit, and she ate it. She then gave it to Adam. He took it, and he ate it.

How did God respond to their rebellion?

How does God respond to my rebellion?

Just when we think we know where the story is going, the Lord blows us away. He sends his Son, Yeshua, who took the penalty of our sin. He died in our place. With his nail-pierced hands and outstretched arms, his voice calls out to hungry souls:

Take me instead. 
Ask me.
Seek me. 
And I will be found by you. 

Daughters of the King: GRACE 2013

Hans and I are thrilled to be attending Grace Conference again this year. Hans will be teaching a series on worship, and I a series on womanhood (not during the same time-slot). I thought I would give you a summary here, in case this helps you decide which workshop to attend (as there are a few to choose from).

We will be searching through the Scripture, dwelling in a few stories together to understand womanhood, as God intended in the beginning. As for the gentlemen, you are most welcome to attend. Though this series may not apply to you directly, I hope that it may perhaps help you better serve and pray for the ladies in your lives.

I. Of Lady Eve
Eve had forgotten who she was. If she had asked God, "Lord, I desire beauty and wisdom. Please make me be like you." God would have reminded her, "You are like me; you were created in my image."

In the first workshop, we will examine what it means that Eve was created in the image of God and that she was created to be Adam's helper (Genesis 1-2). What are the implications of these truths for women today?

II. Of Lady Wisdom
I recognize Eve's hunger for beauty, knowledge, and independence all too well in my own soul. Instead of turning to my Father, who created me and gave me these desires, I gorge myself with deadly things.

In the second workshop, we will turn to the Lady who embodies Beauty and Wisdom, the first daughter of Yahweh (Proverbs 8:22-36). In following her instructions, she can help us transform into the women (and men) God has created us to be.

III. Of the King's daughters
What is your greatest, most dreadful fear? This is not a hypothetical question about bees or height. I am asking you about your day to day living. What are the fears that drive the story of your lives, the decisions that you make? Our greatest fears often correspond to our greatest desires.

In our third workshop, we will learn what it means to fear the Lord. This is the beginning of wisdom, and the mark of the King's daughters.