Monday, May 17, 2010

Conversations With A Genius

Christopher and I have decided that Leah must remain perpetually 5. Her precociousness is mixed with just the right amount of tender wonder and innocence. The following two conversations are, verbatim, discussions I had with her just today.

Mama, what is that flag next the the American flag?

The California Flag.

Wow, are we going to go to California?

We live in California.

Hey, Mama, I got an idea. We could take a trip in our van from America to California. And we could drive there, and when we got there we could visit friends. Only, if the friends weren't home, and it was raining, then we might get wet and could die! So we would have to get some food, and then go back to South America. But we might not be able to drive there, so we would have to drive to an airport so that we could fly back, so that none of our children die. You would be so sad if that happened, because you love us.

You are right. I do love you all so much.

Yep, I know. Because I am smarter than anyone.


Mama, I am going to have a headache in about an hour.


Yep. Right now my left brain might start to hurt. So in an hour it is going to be a headache.

Do you have a headache right now?

No. Just that I am going to have one in an hour.

How do you know you are going to have a headache in an hour?

Because my left brain is going to hurt.

Oh, okay. Thanks for letting me know.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Joining The Family

Romans 10:9 says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Saved from what?

That was the question Caleb has been wrestling with for some time. Through consistent time in church, countless conversations with his father and me, and I am sure not a little amount of wonder and frustration on his own part, he simply could not understand what was so bad about him that he needed a savior. After all, he is a pretty good kid. And he knows it. Come to think of it, why do any of us need a savior?


It's a pretty small little word. And it makes me less palatable to some, perhaps you. That's okay. I am learning that God's approval means far more to me than man's. I am endeavoring to teach that lesson to my children as well - including Caleb. You see, he had a pretty common assumption about his worth; namely that because he wasn't so bad he really did deserve to be given a pardon for any wrongs he may have committed. You know, the ole hardened-criminal-turned-reformed-man-so-let-me-out-of-prison-early deal. Only it was easier for Caleb since he wasn't a hardened criminal (except to Mary). After all, what can a nearly 7 year old really do that is so offensive to a loving God that he would be committed to an eternal torment without a savior's forgiveness? I can see the logic in that question.

The problem is the measurement used for justification. We are pitifully limited, as humans, to truly understand much of anything outside of our own experiential scope. And let's face it, many times we are limited in understanding things even within our experiential scope. But one of the biggest mistakes we make in determining our worth is to lay ourselves beside one another and declare, with much pomp and circumstance, "I'm better than you are." Don't forget the 3rd grade-playground sing-songy voice. That is essentially what we say when we declare to the heavens, "I'm good enough to receive the blessings and glories of everything this life has to offer, and everything a life after death can bring because I wasn't that bad. I mean, did you get a load of that guy over there? He left his wife because he just didn't love her anymore. I stuck with my spouse even through that nasty business of bankruptcy. I'm better than he is. Oh, and check out my neighbor! She yells at her kids constantly, taking off at all hours of the night to do who knows what, while I had the patience and presence of mind to remain faithful to my own children, even when they rebelled against me. I'm better than she is. And don't even get me started on my co-workers, parents, and the vast majority of my friends. I regularly prove through my actions that I make better choices than they do. So... bring on the good stuff." Here is the problem with all that:

God is perfect.

God is the fullness of perfection, justice and love. So, when we go to Him and state our reasons for receiving a pardon they suddenly don't fly. While you might have felt pretty hot standing next to the local juvenile delinquent you can't even stand when you are in the presence of an all-mighty, most powerful and holy God. And the clincher is that no matter how hard we try from here on out, we will always have a past that keeps reminding us of how utterly unattainable perfection is for us.

Yep, we need a savior. In fact, we need not simply a little "s" savior, but a big "S" Savior.

In order to be saved from my own imperfection I can't merely have another imperfect human offer to make me perfect. The old saying, "two wrongs don't make a right" comes in handy to illustrate the simplicity of this concept. This would be akin to accepting the pledge of an already convicted criminal for the veracity of a tried criminal's character, and then the convicted criminal accepting any penalty the other fellow may deserve. Umm, yeah, that's not going to cut it. If we all thought justice could be served with this our prison systems would be empty. Nope, I need to be made perfect through the power of God. But it is God that requires me to be perfect. How does that work?

Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Yep, Jesus Christ, the bodily incarnation of the Deity (Col 2:9), willingly sacrificed himself for me so that I might be justified before a holy God. He required perfection from me, then supplied perfection for me. Caleb began to understand that through the past several months until finally, a few nights ago he came to us and confessed his need for a Savior.

Caleb realized that he could never be perfect. And he knew, as all humans do (Romans 1:2) that there is a Divine Master who is perfect. He began to desire reconciliation with his God, and trusted through faith that his God desired reconciliation with him, providing Christ as the mediator. As a result, Caleb was reborn spiritually.

On May 2, 2010 Caleb Joseph Randall became my brother in Christ.

Welcome to the family, son.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Future Reminiscence

I am know there will be numerous things I miss about teeny people. I am able to realize that I probably don't appreciate several of those things right now. Christopher and I joke, often, about the noise level in our home now, and the way quiet will sound when it is deafening. I can't imagine being done with mispronounced words, baby burbles, sweet kisses, lullabies, first steps, and a million other insignificant treasures. Someday I will move on from this season, and my heart will break just a little each time I mark the passing of another milestone - for the last time.

Yes, there will most certainly be tears.

But, I can assure you, there are some things I won't miss. For instance, I am pretty sure that cleaning other people's bodily fluids can go the way of the dodo without a single thought of whimsical nostalgia. Greasy, Costco-pizza hands wiping across my sleeve will cause nary a tear to spring to this eye when that last meal is finished. Screaming. Yep, screaming and all its variants (including the whisper-yell my children do when I am trying to take a "nap") will be joyfully ushered out my front door.


Why do I bring this up? Because birthing and raising small children is not the eternal-season-of-contentment-if only-I could-figure-that-out. Heaven will not be me, slouched over a crib in 5-day old dirty sweats barely hanging onto sanity trying to coo an exhausted yet stubborn infant to sleep. I'm pretty sure I will have clean hair more than once a week, too.

I genuinely appreciate sage counsel, and even well-meant idioms can have their place. However, I really have grown weary of hearing, "You will miss it all when they are gone." No. I promise you, I won't miss it all. I will miss parts of it. I will be surprised by some of the things I do miss.

But I will never miss poop smeared across the wall, crib, bunk bed, face and floor... for the 4th time in a week. And that's okay.