Messiah

I saw the film, The Passion of the Christ for the first time in college. I remember the credits rolling and the entire theater was silent. Reverent, in fact. My roommates and I drove home in silence and went to bed without saying a word. All I could see as I lay down to sleep that night were Jesus’ eyes. Bold; full of love and power.

Since then I’ve always wanted to watch The Passion again alone, devotionally. This Thursday night, after I coaxed Finn to bed and cuddled underneath my Baylor blanket, I watched in tears and with gratitude Hollywood’s depiction of my Lord’s bloody death.

Some observations:

  • The opening scene is in the Garden. Jesus is begging God in his humanness, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” He was born for this moment; he knew he had to die to accomplish his goal on earth. But he still embraces his fear and asks God to change His mind. I’ve always related to that kind of praying.
  • People like the Pharisees who pride themselves in doing good things and earning religious gold stars are Jesus’ enemies. Jesus didn’t fit into their ideal of who the Messiah should be. They expected him to be haughty, kingly, wealthy and bedazzled as they were. But he came as a servant, a carpenter born in a trough. He offered wine at a wedding, healing for the pariah and grace for the prostitute. So he must die.

Christ Jesus, who being in very nature, God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross! (Phil. 2: 6-8)

  • His death was not Sunday School clean. It doesn’t fit nicely on a VBS felt board. It was brutal, dirty, vicious slaughter.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53: 5)photo-2

  • His momma was there through it all. Mary is my hero. She endured the shame of claiming to be a pregnant virgin at the inception of Jesus’ life and endured the horror of watching him mocked and abused at its end.
  • All other gods in all other religions are dead. Jesus is alive. He is life.

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen!

(Luke 24: 5,6)

He who was dead lives. Why do we, who are alive, often live as though we’re dead?

Hope you embrace life this Easter!photo

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Turkish Beard

Joey was out of town all last week. Actually, he was way out of town, in Turkey. He grew a beard the week before Turkey to fit in with the locals. Good excuse, babe. IMG_4146

He went with his dad and FBC Tulsa to lead worship for a mission’s conference. Joey’s mom came to help for a few days. She and Finn had a blast playing all day Monday. And she came with some new yummy recipes, which I very much enjoyed.

Nana Becky and Finn

Nana Becky and Finn

I was on my own for a few days. This was tough. Jersey barked at the back door and paced the back yard every night. I’m not sure if she knew Joey was gone so she had to be the protector or what, but it was weird. And annoying at 3:00am. There were a couple nights Finn didn’t really sleep either.  Single moms are rock stars.

Finn's first finger painting

Finn’s first finger painting

My parents and brother came in yesterday to help me finish out the last leg. We’ve had great conversations, yummy gluten free food (for dad) and Finn entertained us for hours. He loves to make us laugh. What did we do before him?! I love my family. And am thankful Joey comes home tonight!

Nana Deb and Finn blowing bubbles

Nana Deb and Finn blowing bubbles

Finn opening his Easter basket (early)

Finn opening his Easter basket (early)

Momma picked these out.

Momma picked these out.

Jersey is Three

Happy 3rd Birthday to Jersey, our naughty black Labrador!

Memorable Jersey moments of the past three years:

  • Choosing you out of the litter. They said you had the most personality…and we loved your white toes.IMG_3998
  • Holding you in my lap on the way home from the breeder. At eight weeks, you were so scared.IMG_4048
  • Our first tornado…you, Joey and I in the tub.
  • You listen to my rants and don’t offer any advice.
  • You kiss our ears.
  • Your fetish with hanging your head upside down while you sleep.IMG_4379
  • When you turned into a swollen Quasimodo because we gave you raw nuts. Oops…our dog has a peanut allergy.
  • Your first trip to Annie’s Ruff House. Dirty dogs are happy dogs.IMG_0402
  • When we discovered you’re a fantastic swimmer in our neighborhood pond. Love those big webbed paws!
  • Local dog park adventures…until Skippy pinned you to the fence and we never went back. I cried in the car.
  • When you embarrassed us weekly at Puppy Star school. IMG_0117
  • When you got stuck in our tent.
  • You snore like a congested old man.IMG_4848
  • When you undug our cable line and ripped it from the house. Then the neighbors’ too…whoops.
  • You bark and pace when you think we’re in danger. You’re a protector.
  • You steal our socks and dodge under the bed.photo-153
  • The first time you met baby Finn. A natural momma.
  • Sneaking you on the couch when Joey’s out of town.photo-145
  • You are the best running partner (with a shock collar on).
  • You steal kisses from Finn when we’re not looking and you’re so gentle with him. Thank you. I can’t wait for you two to become best buds.

Spring Comes

Spring is blooming on a barren winter tree.photo

See, I am doing a new thing!

Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness

And streams in the wasteland.

This passage from Isaiah 43:19 is like honey; deliciously sweet to my soul. I get the shivers when I close my eyes and think of the power in these words. I’ve witnessed them. These truths sustained me during a wasteland in college and I’m reclaiming them in this current wilderness.

Unfortunately

…that’s never how you want the doctor to begin their sentence. It seems we’ve heard a lot of these “Unfortunately’s…” in the past couple years and I know this isn’t our last.

Finn had his one year MRI two weeks ago. Last week I got the call from our neurosurgeon that “unfortunately” it wasn’t good. Finn has a syrinx in his spinal cord. Basically, too much spinal fluid. There are a few causes of this:

  1. Shunt malfunction
  2. Chiari malformation issues (boring, long explanation of what this is but basically Finn’s brain is shaped differently than ours due to fluid pressure in the womb and it may not be allowing his spine to drain properly).
  3. Tethered cord (another boring explanation but this is when scar tissue from his spinal closure surgery chokes out the nerves in his spine and causes him to lose function, sometimes causing worse damage than he was born with).

Because Finn had such a recent shunt malfunction at the end of January, they are hoping the syrinx is due to excess fluid from the malfunction. It takes a while for it to recede.

We will repeat the MRI in six months. If it’s the same or worse, Finn will need surgery on one of the three options above, starting with “exploring” the shunt surgically to be sure all is working properly. Each surgery would be serious and can (as always) have major bummer side-effects.

So, we are sad. We can’t be sad for six months though, and being with Finn always makes us feel better. He’s been so happy lately, and for that we are grateful.

first swing ride

first swing ride

Please pray with us:

  • for healing of Finn’s spine. Nothing broken. Nothing missing.
  • that the fluid would recede and return to normal.
  • that the corpus collosum (part of his brain) would “reappear” in its entirety. MRI showed it is only half present.
  • that Finn’s shunt would work properly. It keeps him alive. We need it to work!
  • that we would not entertain fear or anger.
  • that the doctors/surgeons would be wise and accurate.
  • for healing of all children. Two other friends are struggling with terrible news from doctors for their little ones: one with a chest mass and one with leukemia. I’m sure you have some stories of your own. He asks the little children to come to Him in Matthew 19. Pray that when they go to Him, they are healed spiritually and physically.

    best buds

    best buds

Power Mom

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more powerful than I did three hours ago.

I decided to go for a run before the sun went down–along with the rest of Norman’s west side residents. It was gorgeous, nearly-spring weather and I was trying to catch the last remnants of light before evening fell. I quickly shoveled butternut squash into Finn’s tiny mouth and he nibbled on string cheese while I buckled the shock collar on Jersey, kicked off my boots and wiggled into my Nikes. I pulled on shorts for one of the first times this winter. Wow…my legs are white!

l took off running with one hand grasping Jersey’s leash and the other on the BOB. I’ve done this many times, but something about the perfect temperature and my superhuman pace made me feel so full of life. I was proud to be a mom in that moment. It made me run even faster–not sure why–I think because it’s tough to be a mom and stay fit.

I was reminded of a spin class I attended at a fitness conference this past summer. The instructor was singling people out and asked all the moms to get out of the saddle. As a brand new momma, I lifted off the seat and cycled with pride. The other ladies and gents cheered, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more proud in my life. I had worked really hard to get fit again and I imagined the cheering was for me and the tough year I had just endured. (Vain, I know…just being honest.)

Running buddy

My running buddy

We were at the base of the big hill on our run–the part where it gets super uncomfortable–so I repeated to myself all the motivational jargon I tell my clients. And it worked! I pushed the stroller up the steepening sidewalk and Jersey lagged at my heels.

It was only fifteen minutes shy of Finn’s bedtime and he was not as excited to be running as I was. He whimpered and grunted with fatigue. So I sang just about every baby song I could think of to keep him happy, breathing heavy between each lyric. My knee throbbed with pain.

Moms are tired, and rightly so. Moms are often under-appreciated and can easily become withdrawn, bitter and neglectful of their own health. Trust me; I’ve been tempted to eat chocolate chip cookies and fall asleep on the couch myself. But moms should feel powerful. Vigorous. Healthy. I think this makes us better moms, wives, friends, humans.

Here’s to you, power moms.

I Am

This “name of God” always confused me as a kid…and frustrated me as an English teacher. You can’t use a personal pronoun and a “to be” verb phrase as a proper name. It just doesn’t make sense.

At some point in my adult life, this short phrase/name of the Father morphed into one of my favorites. The Great I Am. It’s like He’s responding to all our self-conscious, doubting, frantic questions with a simple answer, “I Am.”

Who is the One that redeemed me from myself?

Who is making me new?

Who is it that orchestrated all the details of this adventure story called my life?

Who is in control?

Who loves me when I’m unloveable?

Who is my Father?

Who is our Healer?

Who is whispering truth into my ear?

When life is confusing and painful, who is the One I really need?

Perhaps He’s even the answer to some tough questions. I’ll let you create them for yourself. Our God is a mystery; even His name is enigmatic.

I love how this label of God is active. It’s not past or future; it’s now. Present. I believe that’s how God interacts with time. Everything is happening presently. This is probably why it seems His timetable and mine never quite coincide. I’m impatient, and if I had my way, Finn would have said “mama” yesterday, the doctor would have arrived several hours sooner, healing would have come a year ago, and my Starbucks beverage would be steaming at the drive thru just a few minutes earlier.

I’m thankful He is “I Am-ing” in my life, whether I recognize the everyday miracles or not.

Roomie Reunion this weekend. These girls are the best!

Roomie Reunion this weekend. These girls are the best!

Silly Aunt Jane came to visit all the way from Houston!

Silly Aunt Jane came to visit all the way from Houston!