Monday, March 24, 2008

A Very Scary Incident

We often refer to Isaac as our "little engineer." Since he was very young, he has always been fascinated with learning how things work. When he was a toddler, if you gave him a car or truck he didn't immediately start pushing it around and saying "Vroom, vroom." Instead, he would flip it over and check out how all the wheels worked with a very intent look on his face. When we go to a swimming pool, he is more interested in how the "bug trappers" work than he is in swimming. He loves tools and gears. Overall, he is just a very mechanically-minded child with an insatiable curiousity for figuring things out. His curiousity is usually something that we view to be very positive, but this past weekend it almost killed him.

On Saturday, Luke had spent the morning changing the oil in our vehicles and cleaning our garage. Isaac had been down there with him for quite a while, because (of course!) he had been interested in watching and helping his daddy. After Luke was done, he came in to clean up because he was getting ready to drive over to a friend's house who needed some help fixing his truck. Once Luke was cleaned up and ready to go, he went out to the garage and climbed in the Yukon. He was getting ready to leave when he remembered he had to get something from the office. So he got out, retrieved whatever he needed from the office and then yelled upstairs to me, "Honey, I'm heading out now." I responded, "Okay--is Isaac still down there with you?" He said, "I don't know--I'll find him real quick." He started calling for Isaac. All of a sudden, Isaac pops out from underneath the Yukon and says, "I was under here Daddy, trying to figure out how everything works."

Shock ran through our bodies as we realized Luke had only been seconds away from running Isaac over with our 6,000 pound SUV. Luke remained calm and was able to sit down with Isaac and tell him how dangerous that was, and that he should never, under any circumstances, climb under a vehicle. I was upstairs praying, thanking God for saving our family from such a disaster. It took me a while to get over the fear over what had almost happened. All night I kept asking Isaac, "You're never going to climb under a parked car again, right?" I think he understands now how dangerous what he did was, and I don't think he'll ever do it again.

Incidents like this are going to happen throughout life, and I think we can use them with our children to teach them two things:

1) Safety- Make sure your children know to never climb underneath vehicles!
2) The realization that death can come at any moment. Isaac was not suicidal when he climbed under the Yukon. He wasn't thinking about death, he was thinking about engines and gears. We never know when our life might end, so we have to always be ready to stand before God.

This last point was one that we discussed a lot that night during our family devotion time before bed. We talk with the boys daily about the gospel, and we used this incident to show Isaac how seriously he needs to think about his own salvation. He has been very interested in spiritual things for quite a while, so hopefully God will use this scary experience to bring him to a saving faith in Christ.

On a lighter note, the rest of our Easter weekend was great. We had a lot of fun with friends and family and a wonderful worship service with our church on Sunday morning. We're still in the waiting stage with our adoption, but Aimee (our caseworker from our adoption agency) said they have been getting most of the phone calls from the hospital. Keep praying, and we'll let everyone know when we get "the call."


Monday, March 17, 2008

Want to read a great book?

I am currently reading the book, "The Reformers and Their Stepchildren" and I must say it is fabulous. The book is rich in church history and essentially begins around 400 A.D. when Constantine was "converted." The book outlines the major negative changes that took place as a result of merging the church and state after Constantine's conversion. One of the results was the co-mingling of paganism with authentic Christianity. As you might except, the true believers objected to many of the new practices brought into the church and broke off from the newly formed Institutional church, which they called the "fallen" church.

There are essentially three groups that are compared and contrasted throughout the book.

1. The Catholic Church (Institutional Church)

2. The Reformers (later in church history, often referred to as Protestants)

3. The Stepchildren (the group of believers that left the Institutional church at the Constantinian change and met in catacombs and conventicles as inconspicuously as possible alongside of Catholics and Protestants from 400 A.D. to our time. They were horribly persecuted by both of them and killed in the millions. They were given many derogatory names over the years by their persecutors like Donatists, Wincklers, Catharer, and Anabaptists. Despite the persecution, they persevered as faithful followers of Christ.)

As a believer that is neither Catholic or Protestant, I find my roots in the free church tradition of the Stepchildren and have benefited greatly from the book. As one that has benefited from many of the Protestants writings on the doctrines of grace, I have often been troubled with understanding how they oversaw many of the atrocities carried out against the Stepchildren. This book has been very helpful in seeing why this happened. It does not let them off the hook or take lightly the persecution, but it also makes you understand how the Catholic and Protestant error of seeing the church (ekklesia) as a combination of church and state, by necessity obliged them to carry out these atrocities. It outlines the reformers struggles of wanting to embrace the free church tradition initially, but ultimately failing in finishing the reformation.

If you get a chance, read the book! It will be worth the effort.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Waiting on the Lord

Our home study is completed, so now all we have to do is wait. Waiting is something we have been learning a lot about lately. We waited for several months to see how and when God was going to lead us to adopt, and now we are waiting as we wade through the process of domestic adoption. Luke and I normally move fairly quickly when it comes to making decisions, so this has been a whole new experience for us. It has been good for us though in many ways.

I read something on a blog a few months ago that has completely changed my perspective on the purpose of waiting. I had always thought of waiting as a passive time, when our main goal is just to sit and wait patiently on God's timing for the end result that we are waiting for. This quote from Paul Tripp about Psalm 27 transformed my thinking:

"Waiting on God isn't about the suspension of meaning and purpose. It's part of the meaning and purpose that God has brought into my life. Waiting on God isn't to be viewed as an obstruction in the way of the plan. Waiting is an essential part of the plan. For the child of God, waiting isn't simply about what I'll receive at the end of my wait. No, waiting is much more purposeful, efficient, and practical than that. Waiting is fundamentally about what I'll become as I wait. God is using the wait to do in and through me exactly what He's promised. Through the wait He's changing me. By means of the wait He's altering the fabric of my thoughts and desires. Through the wait He's causing me to see and experience new things about Him and His kingdom. And all of this sharpens me, enabling me to be a more useful tool in His redemptive hands."

This was eye-opening for me. During times of waiting, we shouldn't be focusing primarily on simply the end that we are waiting for. We should realize that God is changing us as we wait, and getting us ready for what we're waiting for. It makes me sad when I think of all the times in my life I have been waiting for something (marriage, children, our house to sell, etc.) and all I could think about was the end result of getting what I wanted. I should have focused more on how God was getting me ready for what was going to happen, and what He was doing in me as I waited. Waiting shouldn't be wasted time, it should be time when we draw close to God as He prepares our hearts for what is to come.

I've thought about this a lot in regards to our adoption. We have no idea what God has planned with this adoption. We are applying to adopt a child of any race, which means it will most likely be a interracial adoption. Luke and I are very excited about this, but we realize there may be challenges ahead for us. We have no idea how smoothly the adoption process will go, or when we will get to bring our child home. There are so many questions we have as we wait, but we know God has it all in His control and He is using this time of waiting to prepare us for this amazing experience that lies ahead of us.
"Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14