After six months, I still can't believe the color of my granddaughter's eyes.
Our creator is quite the artist! I thank Him every day for His wonderful gift of a granchild!
"You want to be successful? If you live comfortably, share what you have. If you have a spouse, serve him or her sacrificially. If your home is filled with the clamor and clutter of children, savor the monumental challenge of raising them. If others follow you, point them to Christ. If you are given accolades, receive them humbly. Love and serve people around you. Walk well through the inevitable sufferings of life. Live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. This is true success. And really, what more could we possibly want?" (pg. 89)On the evening of the holiday that inevitably ends up being about stuff no matter how hard we try to "remember the reason for the season," I find these words refreshing.
|Mark (17) and Jaynie (19), adopted from Russia in September 2001 along with their biological sister Cassandra|
|The gardens of Clivden estate, Buckinghamshire, England--2008|
|At the orphanage -- September 2012|
Our little girl is the one in the middle!
|A restaurant in which my husband and daughter, Lissie, ate a couple of weeks ago in a Central Asian capitol.|
Like this beautiful ceiling, I want my love for others to be lavish and rich
"Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving."For me, this definition comes at my soul with pricks and pokes. This isn't really how I want love to work. I want love to be about me. I want attention to be focused on my needs and my wants. In fact, I want to be the center of attention.
Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect??, Crossway; pg 188--hardback
"Love is willing self-sacrifice. There's no such thing as love without sacrifice. Love calls you beyond the borders of your own wants, needs, and feelings. Love calls you to be willing to invest time, energy, money, resources, personal ability and gifts for the good of another. Love calls you to serve, to wait, to give, to suffer, to forgive, and to do all these things again and again." (pg.188)I mentioned in my last post that Tripp's book is on the subject of marriage. As things so often are in God's economy, the choices I must make to have a strong, healthy, delight-filled marriage are the very same choices that will enable me to be the parent which I long to be.
|A restaurant in Central Asia--May my love be large and expansive like this beautiful place!|
Tripp says:"Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the other person being loved is deserving."
Paul Tripp, Crossway, pg. 188 (hardback)
"Love is willing. Jesus said, 'No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.' (John 10:18 ESV). The decisions, words, and actions of love always grow in the soil of a willing heart. You cannot force a person to love. If you are forcing someone to love, by the very nature of the act you are demonstrating that this person doesn't in fact love." (pg. 188)What if my heart is, when I'm really honest, unwilling? As many commandments as there are to love in the Bible (Please, if you're not familiar with them, get out your Bible and go on a hunt!), it's time to fall to my knees, confess my sin, and ask God to make me willing. And then ask again, and again, and... Just like the nagging widow (Luke 18:1-8). We know this is a prayer He will answer because we are praying for His will to be done. And, what He commands, He enables!
"My reader, are your circumstances trying? Are your resources depleted?Are clouds gathering? Do you find yourself tempted to to succumb to despondency and despair? There is hope for you in God! All other sources and gleams of hope may have expired, but God is the God of hope, and in His power and love, in His word and faithfulness, you may hope even against hope. Take heart, then, and look up. Never yield to despair while there is hope in God. If things look discouraging, and prospects are gloomy, there is one Being to whose providence you may always turn with the full assurance of hope; in His divine love and infinite resources, you will find compassion, support and help."
Our God, Reformation Heritage Books, pg. 22
"I can see two pilgrims treading the highway of life together, hand in hand, heart linked to heart. True they had mountains to climb, but their Guide was ever watchful. Mostly they went on their way singing."*My husband, Jim, and I find ourselves singing as we relish the God-given gift of our first grandchild!
|One of the family paparazzi took this picture at the airport just as Grandpa and Brielle met. |
(Lissie is in the background while her twin, John, gingingerly reaches for the first touch of his new neice's tiny hand.)
I am overwhelmed by God's tender mercies!
|Photo Credit -- Jaynie? Cassandra? Daria?|
|Aaron in his new role as father|
"You, dear Lord, chose me in Christ to be Your child. You have become my most loving Father. Your love and Your Fatherly providence exceeds the love of any earthly father in loving, caring, providing, nurturing, and helping me in all my needs. I should not waver or doubt that that you are my dear Father and I your child forever through Jesus Christ (1 John 4:10). I can cast my whole care upon you, trust and call upon you, with comfort and certain hope for all things that I need. In Your good will, You adopted me, and nothing can be finally lacking for my good. Your power is almighty and Your will so bountiful. How little I love, fear, and call upon You! I should behave as Your child, rejoicing, praising, trusting, fearing, serving, loving, and calling upon You. Be merciful to me, forgive me, good Father, for Your own sake, and grant me the Holy Spirit to reveal Yourself to me, that I may truly know, love, and faithfully hang upon You for all my needs...I come as Your child and desire it unto Your glory!"
|My first grandchild, Brielle, at 3 days|
"In our sufferings, we need to be more concerned about our duty than our deliverance. We should seriously consider what it is that God desires in our present dispensation. There is no condition or trial in the world but we have the opportunity to exercise some special grace or duty. To desire deliverance alone is self-love and quite natural to man. In affliction man seeks to be delivered and released from his burden. Men make more haste to get their afflictions removed than to be sanctified in them...Let us search and try our ways, Let us consider that the present condition is best for us, and learn in whatever state we are, to be content (Phil. 4:11). Let us rejoice in tribulation (Rom. 5:3) Let us lift up Jesus Christ and make Him glorious by our afflictions. Paul studied more how to adorn the cross than how to avoid it. If he must suffer for Christ, O that Christ might not suffer by him! May Christ be exalted, and let us entrust our souls to a faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19)." Thomas Chase, Select Works, A Treatise of Afflictions, pp. 65-67I have fallen into the trap of wanting nothing more than to be set free from my pain. Author Thomas Chase calls that "self-love." Ouch! And yet when I look back over my thirty plus years of following Christ, one truth stands out. God is good and what He does is good, even when it feels hard. In some way that I cannot see yet, this health problem is for my good. In the midst of the daily misery, I need to look not just for rescue, but I also must be on the alert for my Kingdom work. Right now. Today. In the middle of pain strong enough that I find myself holding my breath to fight it. I don't need to wait until I get to the other side of the pain to serve God and glorify Him. I can do that now. And, whatever today's Kingdom assignment is for me, I know that my beloved King will enable me. He is good and what He does is good, even when His plan includes affliction!