Half Full or Empty, it’s still only half

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Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Psalm 90:10-12 NIV

I was having a philosophical conversation with Skywalker on the expectations we have for our lives. Some imagine life turning out a certain way and are dragged down when they can’t seem to get a break. Some believe life/fate/higher powers that be just have it out for them, destined to forever be held down. I believe life is meant to be enjoyed but there will always be times of trial and sorrow and struggle.

From the passage above, the best of our years are but trouble and sorrow. Basically, the majority of our life isn’t going to be so dreamy….over 50% of it.  And that sets my expectations for how life will turn out. Life in this fallen and broken world will never be totally full. Whether we see the glass half full or half empty, we only get half a glass. So for me, whatever set back or tragedy or wrench thrown in will be attributed to the empty half of my glass….and I pray it will not prevent me from recognizing and enjoying or making the most of every drop of the full half of my glass. Our days are numbered…yes Lord help me live it wisely and fully.

Love, Hope and Faith

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To love means loving the unlovable.
To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable.
Faith means believing the unbelievable.
Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.

~Gilbert Keith Chesterton

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Trust God’s love. His perfect love.
Don’t fear he will discover your past. He already has.
Don’t fear disappointing him in the future. He can show you the chapter in which you will. With perfect knowledge of the past and perfect vision of the future, he loves you perfectly in spite of both.

~Max Lucado

Christ’s resurrection: What difference has it made?

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Easter week is over. We remembered Christ’s suffering through the stations of the cross. We celebrated the empty tomb. And then we were asked:

What difference does Christ’s resurrection make in your life?

A simple question. A hefty question.
And I’m still kind of mulling over the answer.

Sunday school answers scream out from the back of my head,

“Sin is paid for”
“Death is conquered”
“I have eternal life”
“I’ve been redeemed”

Yes yes….it’s true. But what DIFFERENCE does it make in MY life? How am I personally impacted by this? How am I living differently because of the risen Christ? Certainly if He didn’t rise…we wouldn’t be celebrating Easter all around the globe. We wouldn’t be praying to a man who died…and stayed dead. What power is there in that? So what is it then….what is it?

For me, two emotions float to the surface: Hope. Relief.
Hope because that power He has to overcome death is available to me. I don’t fully know how to access this power most of the time, but knowing I CAN access it gives me a standing chance to do something other than what my sinful impulses tell me to do. Those dead, wasted things in my life has a chance of new life through Christ too…like how God transformed my brokenness into something good.
And Relief because I don’t have to save myself. I can’t. The more I know myself, the more I realize I can’t save myself. So for Jesus to have paid my penalty and to rise again, I can throw my broken self at Him and be confident He can, and will, fix restore me.

But what difference does it make in how I live my life?
Still mulling on this….

How about you? What difference does Christ’s resurrection make in your life?

Soon and Very Soon

This past weekend Skywalker and I checked out First Baptist Church in downtown Vancouver to hear Darrell Johnson speak. He has the gift of bringing scripture to life. Not in the “Here’s the passage, this is what it means, and these are three applications you can take home” sense…rather somehow, the Word, the Living Word, is brought to life. From the black text on white paper to the multicolor, living, breathing Word that soaks into and feeds my being. Somehow.

The passage was Revelations 21-22 which speaks to the second coming of Christ…and this lines up nicely with the supposed “end of the world/end of an era” event that is deemed to happen Friday Dec 21 2012. I will not be able to do the sermon justice or cover it all but you can listen to it here.

To start, Jesus says that no one but the Father knows the day that He is returning (the end of the world)…so unless someone knows more than Jesus, any prediction as to what the “end” date will be can be safely concluded as being wrong. History has proven this 100% of the time. That said, Jesus did repeat three times (repetition is significant in scripture) “I am coming soon!” (22:7, 12, 20) He is continually coming and is always near, though veiled from us. He’s so near that when the day comes, He only needs to tear away the veil and be right before our eyes. And we shall SEE HIS FACE! (22:4) Like the groom looking into the face of his bride, He will remove the veil from His bride the Church, and we shall see His face.         Intimate. Glorious. Wow.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Cor 13:12)

To see the face of God….and live! And we shall see the faces of those whose journeys have impacted our faith. Abraham. King David. Mary. Paul. Brother Lawrence. C.S. Lewis. The faces of loved ones. My Grandpa.        My brother.       Oh how I want to see his face again. For the first time in five years, I am looking forward to when I’ll see my brother again instead of looking back to when I saw him last. I’m looking forward to where there will be no more tears. No more death or mourning or crying or pain. (21:3-4) What hope for those who’ve lost someone in the Lord! What joy!

As more news pours in about young lives being taken, in the States, in China, in Afghanistan, the more I desire Christ to reveal Himself. Not so that I can escape the pain of this world…but so everything can be made right in the world again. For tears to be wiped away and for the sting of death to cease.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen. (Revelations 22:20-21)

Do you look forward to Jesus’ return?

An AH-MAZING Story

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We finally had a chance to meet up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. They’re both tall and beautiful…so I’ve substituted their names with Elvish names: Lessien and Fingolfin Lissësúl. (You can generate your own Elvish name here if you like.)

“The last three years have just been horrible for us”…..That was how the gutwrenching but inspiring Story started….omigoodness….

They started trying for a family three yrs ago. Their dream was to have a big family. And it was just not happening…meanwhile friends left and right of them are popping babies out. “We got pregs on our first try!” etc etc. They didn’t know what was going on…but you have to try one year before you start the testing for other issues. Meanwhile ppl kept asking “When are you starting your fam?” or “Don’t you want children?”…and it became a thorn in the side. With every menses came feelings of failure. Disappointment. Frustration.

Last year was all testing….and testing is super painful. It was a time of hell for all the emotions that come with waiting for results as well as waiting month to month. There were inconclusive tests one after another. Nothing seemed to be wrong with either of them. In one particular test, they shoot dye into your uterus at higher pressures so that it would shoot into your fallopian tubes and highlight the entire area for a scan. Painful test. Lessien remembers laying on the cold table and feeling the fluid gush right back out because it would not flow into the fallopian tubes.

Sometime in the middle of all this…she and Fingolfin remember a prayer they prayed in their small group. They had asked God to remove or keep away from them anything that would become an idol to them. They never cared about position/status/wealth/fame…but then they realized that having a child could be that idol. And God was answering their prayer by keeping that from them.

So with that revelation they started to let go of the dream of children. They had just built a big house a couple years back in preparation for growing a family….but have to now let it all go. They also recently heard a sermon about spiritual children…and they saw with new eyes the people in their small group who didn’t have Christian families/parents to mentor them and saw opportunities there. They talked about adoption. There were ideas of IVF…but not for $12,000. They had peace…they were letting go…they were moving forward.

Which was just in time…because at the end of last year one of the tests came back and the Dr revealed that Lessien could never have children. She had suffered a crazy sports accident when she was younger and the emergency surgery she had caused scar tissue to internally spread all over the place. Including her fallopian tubes and uterus. There was no way the egg would ever enter the fallopian tube to make it into the uterus because it was scarred closed. And the uterus is bent from the scar tissue. That’s why the fluids in one of the last tests kept gushing out…it was completely blocked.

It was hard to hear…but they had already let go…so by God’s grace it was easier to receive the news. Her pastor’s wife still told her to just take a few days off work so she did and spent it in quiet time with God. So…it’ll just be the two of them then. And then they sat down and started to change all their plans for the future. Ministry/work/family/etc. Just her and Fingolfin. Just him and Lessien.

They had been saving up for family but now that it wasn’t going to be a reality…they decided to go on a trip themselves to just get away. She also decided to get laser eye surgery done. Moving forward. Letting go.

During the discharge from the laser eye clinic early this year, the nurse was explaining the regiment of eye drops to her. One drop was a steroid and so she asked if Lessien had a chance of being pregnant. Knot in stomach, Lessien said no. But the nurse asked several more times…“Are you positive” “Are you sure”….

Feeling weird about it….and with faint hope of miracles…she told Fingolfin about the nurse asking….who told her to check. So she did…and the stick showed positive!!! Staring at it in amazement, they also saw the test stick was expired….so Fingolfin went and bought a few more sticks. ALL. POSITIVE.

It was a crazy crazy time……Fingolfin was bouncing off walls giddy. Lessien was bawling her face off because in the last three years of trying, they had never seen a positive. (So now she didn’t even need the harmful steroid drops because she was crying so much.)

But now there was the fear that the fertilized egg would attach outside the uterus since everything to the inside was blocked. This of course, is a huge risk to baby and mother’s lives. Through Fingolfin’s Dr contacts…they got Lessien in for an ultrasound….

And the Baby…found to be about 11 weeks old already…was placed neatly INSIDE the uterus….doing absolutely fine!

!!!What an incredible miracle!!!

It also means that when they were surrendering to God the fact that she would never be able to have children…was when she got pregnant.

(I was bawling my face off when Lessien was sharing all this.)

There’s still concerns about whether or not the uterus will stretch properly to allow the Baby to grow in it. But at this point…God has done so much in them and revealed so much to them that they are happy to have been parents for these few months at all. She was once worried about morning sickness because her sisters had it bad….but her first trimester’s already nearly over. Just amazing….! AH-MAZING!

On our drive home after that lunch…Skywalker and I were just in awe. He felt super convicted to pray a prayer like that….to ask that anything that could be idols in our lives be pulled away or prevented from us receiving it. I was floored by their faithfulness to accept and make best of where God was leading…and just try to trust/obey in all things. Either way…their Story was really really inspiring.

And I hope it has encouraged you today.

(Quick update: Baby is now 14 weeks, size of an apple and doing great!)