Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seasons

I've inhabited our third rock from the sun for nearly 40 years.

This winter has been long and ugly. With no snow, save the surprise blizzard in October, to coat the earth with a gorgeous blanket of white, the cold, brown days have made me both long for spring and wish I could start winter over again. Give me warmth and new green if I'm not going to get the chill and excitement of snow and ice! Although there's always the possibility of it, I'll probably have to wait another year for the type of snow I seek.

I've learned that life comes in seasons too. Every week I hang out and laugh with energized teenaged girls and twenty-something young women who have hopes, dreams of the way things should be and a full life ahead of them. Daily, I watch my 75 year old mother-in-love patter about the house, misplacing memories of the full life she has led; desperately missing the man she lived them with. Those in my charge keep me keenly aware of the seasons in my humanity.

I am firmly sandwiched between life and death. I remember the aspirations and joy that awaited when my hair was still chestnut brown - I see it now in my own sons who are almost grown men. With salt and pepper tresses and a forward eye on the next 20 years, I see the outline of a path that will no doubt bring great joy and bitter weeping in their seasons.

I'm sure the last 40 days of Christ's life on Earth were filled with both the warming excitement that can only come from God fulfilling his promises, and yet, the harsh reality that would be the coldness of The Cross. Despite how cold of our days may feel, we need to be reminded that we live in the warmth of The Cross.

The Afterglow.

We are daily bathed in grace that only flows from the sunshine of the throne room of God. With seasons spent in cold loneliness and those of joy filled fullness, I can still say that the resurrected Christ is real, alive and ever present. He breathes warmth into my life today the same way he smiled on me in the summer sunshine 30-odd years ago. And so it should be.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: time to be born, and a time to die... Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Saturday, December 10, 2011

1000 Gifts Winners

Our Facebook winner is: Natalie Franklin
Our Twitter winner is: @serenasweet

Congratulations to both of you!

Please comment with your address and I'll get those books to you!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Rescuing Courtship

Now that I have teenagers getting ready to fly the nest, the thought of finding godly wives for my sons can leave me feeling a little like Mrs. Bennett from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Mrs. B is a little bit meddlesome; downright obnoxious by turns; and quite a bit desperate to have her daughters marry well. Anyway you read it, it ain't pretty.

After spending many years discussing the "ideal" way to find a spouse and going round and round about the pros and cons of courtship, dating and marriage with Liz, I don't feel as naive, idealistic or overwhelmed at the prospect of singleness for my children as I might otherwise have been. If nothing else, the experience has provided us with a lot of good discussion points.

Quite by accident I stumbled on an old article by Mary Pride, of homeschool fame. Apparently she helped fan the early flames of Josh Harris' crusade for courtship. I thought her article, years later, entitled “I Kissed Marriage Goodbye” – Rescuing the Frozen People was most interesting. This quote is especially telling:
When my daughter Sarah was a student at Patrick Henry College, [Josh Harris' view of courtship] definitely was the mainstream view. In practice, it led to the female students endlessly agonizing over whether young men they liked returned their interest – as there was literally no way to know! A girl couldn’t ask a guy if he liked her without seeming forward. Relationships were either totally casual (in a brother-sister sense) or verging on total commitment, with no range in between.
If there is one thing I've learned the hard way over the years, it is this: extremes are bad. While Jesus encourages us to be either hot or cold about the Gospel, there is a huge difference between hot, scalding and "burn flesh off your body with a single drop." And there is a difference between The Gospel and matters of interpretation or personal preference.

While I still think that courtship, in principle, is one of the better ways to find a spouse, it's not the only way. Just as Jesus healed nine blind man differently, every married couple has their own "how we got together" story to tell. Not all of them courted or dated, but the uniting of each Christian couple is a testament to God working in their life. I encourage you to visit the World Magazine articles Mary Pride wrote about. I thought they were good as well.

No matter what subject we run into, we need to examine it with an eye into Scripture, love and grace. Decision and discernment come with Christian maturity and wisdom, which are sometimes handed out in painful doses.The best perspective is a well rounded one, provided by examining an issue from as many angles as possible.

Friday, November 04, 2011

31... um... 15! Days of Passion and Love

As always, for better or worse, family comes before publishing the CWP. That means my best intentions got a God detour. Again.

After an early winter illness tore through our family, including me, the first October blizzard I've ever seen wiped out power and communications over half of New England. We still have spotty internet and phone a week later. (I'm hoping this will post because it wouldn't the first time!)

But fear not, the new issue is waiting in the wings. In light of all the unexpected over the last 10 days, I'm extending our contest another couple weeks, so please share it with your family and friends!

Until I write again, may you continue to Hold on to Hope.