Sunday, December 20, 2009

At the Grover's

We're having a good time on our break. A little bit of relaxing and a little bit of time with family. Hopefully we're being refreshed. It's often a tension for both Melissa and I. If we're not being productive we often just feel uneasy, as though we've wasted our day, or our Holiday break.

Part of the problem I think is that we're not very good at rest. See, to my understanding, biblical rest is time in the care and attention of the Father. It's supposed to be time we take our hearts, hurts, concerns, joys and everything else and just be with God. Believe me, this is what our hearts desire. But we always seem to find time for other stuff, be they movies or trips or books or games or whatever. We tend to view rest much in the same way we did before we became believers, before Jesus became the supreme desire and draw of our hearts.

Do you struggle with this? Have you found anything to work?

God, take control of our break. Let it be dedicated and about you. Let our hearts be molded such that you are the apple of our eye, that our hearts leap at the thought of our communion.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our newest addition...

Nope, we're not getting a dog. Although, that would probably be a good investment with Noah deciding that half of his food belongs on the floor. Oh, well.

Yup, we're going to have another little one! On July 12th, or there abouts, we'll be adding another child to our family. The ultrasound confirmed that there's only one in there, which is a relief. We would probably have to move for sure out of our apartment if we had twins! We're super excited! Noah will enjoy having someone else to show books to and throw balls at. We'll maybe have to watch that though. :) Noah was pretty cute at the doctor's appointment too. He was looking at the screen of the baby and saying "ball." Yup, sure. Something like that, I guess. Life will definitely change this summer.

The nice thing is that we'll probably be placed in Columbus this summer to coach interns and stinters who are raising support. We were originally supposed to go to Venezuela for the summer but we had no intentions of having a baby in Valencia, Venezuela! It will be pretty fun to coach people because we've been through what they're going through and we'll know a lot of them. There are quite a few graduating seniors at OSU who are applying for stint or an intern position so it will be a blast to stay connected with them while they're trucking through the support raising process. The other nice thing is that having a baby in July shouldn't really interfere with the beginning of school.

So we're slowly getting used to the idea of added chaos. Luckily we already have the stuff for a baby and lots of clothes to go along with it. Hopefully we'll be a little more prepared this time. :) Please pray with us for a healthy baby and healthy mom and that we would be able to take the next 6 months to prepare well for this new transition in our lives. We really appreciate it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Parenting thoughts

I'm currently reading "Sacred Parenting" by Gary Thomas. It's been a great read thus far, I'm only two chapters in. It's quite similar to his book "Sacred Marriage." The latter essentially says that the reason we get married, as believers, is for our holiness more than our happiness. This is totally true, and the reason that Dr Phil's philosophy will ultimately fail us.

Dr Phil, and our culture, would subtlely have us believe that if we could just figure out a healthy and mutually beneficial compromise in our marriage and family, then we will be ultimately happy. Just figure out a system in which you're both giving 50% and both taking 50% and you will gain marital bliss. I find this system quite wanting. For starters, people's felt needs differ greatly. Melissa, for example, has virtually no need to be affirmed. I could tell her she is great all day long and it does virtually nothing for her. But if she tells me how awesome I am, I will climb mountains and slay dragons for her.

So, let's assume that Dr. Phil's philosophy grants that each marriage partner has different needs and 50/50 won't always work (and it may, I really don't know all that much about what he thinks). Then, if I'm a single man, my goal is to find the most unneedy person I can; someone who has no emotional or physical needs at all is ideal because then I get what I want all the more frequently! If I only have to serve 20% of the time, then I get served 80% and that sounds better than the alternative!

Here's my main problem though, with our current culture's view of marriage. The entire premise is that marriage is about our happiness. Let's figure out a way to maximize our happiness so that we will be fulfilled. We seem addicted to happiness but I would suggest we seek it in the wrong places. What if, instead of using marriage as a drug to make us happy, we saw it as an avenue to grow our character and make us holy? What is parenting and marriage were more about refining us as people in the image of God than they are about us feeling happy?

Don't get me wrong, I think as we pursue holiness and character growth in marriage and parenting we will be happier, but the end goal will be our holiness, not our happiness. What if rather than helping Noah avoid uncomfortable and scary situations, I encouraged him to perservere through them, growing him as an individual? What if, rather than using Melissa to make me happier, I deny my happiness, and seek only hers?

I guess the main point is that believers and unbelievers have different ultimate goals. For unbelievers, and our current culture falls here, this life is all we have; thus, we should just try to maximize our enjoyments in the small time frame we have. They have no hope, no ultimate goal for which to strive. After death we return to dust, so let's eat drink and be merry! The believer, on the contrary, has a purpose in becoming more like Christ in this life and the next. Our lives are not about how to maximize our enjoyment in our stay here, but rather how to become more like God for eternity. Our scope is longer, do you see? Marriage and parenting are not for this temporary earth, but are relationships to help equip us for the joys to come.

See, Christianity is about joy and happiness also. But for the Christian his joy is found in Jesus. His joy is in growing in Jesus' character, in experiencing Jesus' pain, in loving the way Jesus loved. The Christian's joy is found in enjoying God. The alternative is to enjoy the creation of God rather than the creator. The unbeliever enjoys the pot while neglecting the potter.

I fear that was perhaps all over the place but there you are!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Update on family life

We're on break now, which is much needed. Fall quarter essentially consists of running yourself into the ground physically, emotionally, spiritually and any other "ly" you could think of! We're off till around the 27th when we head to Indianapolis for Christmas conference.

Our Christmas present to each other was a family zoo pass. We get to take all three of us and two guests whenever we so desire for the next two years. It's already been put to great use. Noah is playing in the play area above; He really seems to like the tunnels :) Really, he is more interested in the other kids than he is the animals, but we'll take it!

We're heading to Waynesfield for about a week before heading to Canton for a few days, then back to Waynesfield, and then off to Indy. The traveling is one thing we could do without over the holidays, but it seems it's unavoidable. It's great to see family and let Noah play with the grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins though.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Our own manna

We've had an enormous amount of food given to us for free lately. On Monday we ordered an XL pizza and a L pizza from Papa John's (We like leftovers and had a free L pizza code). When I got there it turns out they messed up the XL and made a pepperoni and cheese pizza instead. We got to keep it. I walked out with two XL pizzas and a large. Needless to say, we've been eating pizza all week.

Yesterday we decided to get one of those family pasta deals from Bob Evans and they made the wrong pasta. We got to keep that extra as well! We walked out of there with two family pasta's (feed 4!) and half a dozen dinner rolls. I can only guess we'll be eating these leftovers for the foreseeable future.

I was thinking about these events and the God we serve. See, we don't really live in a culture, nor do we have needs in which God needs to provide water from a rock or manna from Heaven, but God does still provide. Many would see these events as happenstance or luck or coincidence. I believe that God cares for the needs of His people and will provide. God can use messed up orders to provide for the material needs of His children. He cares and provides for the sparrow, how much more for us?

PS Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I'm planning on 9 or 10 more entries in December.