Tuesday, December 30, 2008

thirteen years.

thirteen years ago today i sat on my living room floor with a yellow notepad and a pen. mom and dad were seated on the loveseat and dad told me numbers to write down every time mom let out a moan of pain. i was the official "contraction time recorder."

thirteen years ago today my little brother adam was born. we had prayed (as little kids would) that it would be after christmas because dad said if mom was in the hospital when santa came, that we would have to wait to open all of our presents when she got home. right before the new year seemed like a good time.

thirteen years ago tomorrow i put on my new christmas clothes and packed some new christmas toys into my new christmas purse and road in the van with my family to the hospital where we gathered in mom's hospital room (and i snuck bites of her pudding). this was the first time i saw my baby brother adam.

today i put on my new christmas sweatshirt and wrapped myself in my new christmas scarf (given to me by adam), my wallet filled with christmas money, and headed to walmart to buy a present for adam's thirteenth birthday. i instinctively went to the toy aisle, but then realized - he's not a kid anymore. he is now a teenager. he doesn't collect hot wheels or play with coloring books. he doesn't play hi ho cheerio or play dough (though i know i sure would). we now like the same tv shows (lost and chuck) and we both stay up late to watch them. my brother is a teenager.

where does the time go? in the room where he now sleeps until past noon, i once sat on a rocking chair and fed him his bottle as i sang him to sleep. now he's only an inch shorter than me and can do mathmatical equations in the time it takes me to find my calculator. my baby brother is growing up.

today we will celebrate adam's day of birth by playing his new favorite game - heroscape. we'll finish our evening by watching the dark knight and eating ice cream cake. i am reminded of how fast time goes and how much my little brother has grown up and how much he will grow up. thank you, Lord, for blessing me with such a wonderful brother who will soon grow into a wonderful man. happy birthday, adam.

Friday, December 26, 2008


a couple of weeks ago, my aunt and uncle adopted my new cousin. this little boy has seen more in his seven years than many people see in their lifetime. it has been a long process to make his adoption final, and weeks before the end of the year, my aunt and uncle received this wonderful christmas present.

this evening, my grandpa recounted the story of the day at the courthouse. he spoke of the emotional caseworker who enthusiastically gave her approval for the adoption and of my cousin's understanding that now he had a new last name (one he's been trying to go by for some time now). at end of the process, the grandfather-like judge addresses the group saying: "as of THIS MOMENT, you have a new name. you no longer will go by your old name. you are a part of this family." he then turns to my aunt and uncle and instruct them: "this means that he is to receieved the same inheritance that you would give your own children. he is now YOUR child." grandpa continued to tell the story, but my thoughts were stuck on the judge's word choice: INHERITANCE.

"He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:5).
we have been adopted as sons of God. i knew the concept but i don't think i ever reflected on its implications. the judge was telling my aunt and uncle that my adopted cousin gets the same rights and priviledges as their biological child. and when they die, their inheritance is to be shared equally. their biological son is to get no special treatment over their adopted son. they are equal partakers.

"for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household..." (ephesians 2:18-19). paul (a man of the nation of israel) writes this to the gentiles in ephesus. a biological son to an adopted son, so to speak. he continues in 3:6: "...the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel... (3:6).

we are fellow heirs to the interitance which the Father has qualified us for (colossians 1:12), because our adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
(1 peter 1:3-5)

merry christmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

reflections on how it shouldn't be. and how it is.

"and i heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. and he who was seated on the throne said, 'behold I am making all things new.'" - revelation 21:3-5

death isn't supposed to happen. God did not create this world with the intention of death. He knew it would happen, yes. but that was not his intention. our souls were not created to experience such a separation. it isn't supposed to be this way. in john's revelation, he hears the proclaimation above. when the heavens and the earth pass away and the new heavens and new earth come, God will dwell with his people.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
neither shall there be mourning
nor crying
nor pain anymore

the former things - death, crying, pain - have passed away. this isn't how it's supposed to be.

my grandmother passed away this weekend.

my soul cries out, "this isn't how it's supposed to be!" and it makes me long ever more for that day when we will dwell in the city of our LORD and He will dwell among us, wiping every tear from our eyes, and where death shall be no more. the pain points me to His love - because it is His love that lasts forever. by the blood of Jesus Christ, we experience that LOVE. we have that HOPE.

on Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. but what does this mean to us today? it means that God came to live among us, just for a short time, so that we might KNOW Him and believe in Him, and that God Himself in human form (that is, Jesus Christ) would take the penalty for OUR SINS (for yours, for mine, for the sins of Adam and of the human race) that he could CONQUOR DEATH by raising from the dead and giving those who believe in HIM victory over death in that we might live eternally with our LORD. praise be to God.

what is more, Christ has sent to us the Holy Spirit. this is our comforter while we wait for His return.

through Him we find peace. through Him we have hope. in Him there is LIFE. and that's the way it's supposed to be.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

peppermint hot chocolate.

my favorite wintery starbucks beverage? a peppermint mocha latte. and now, chick-fil-a has a new milkshake! the peppermint chocolate milkshake.

yet i have created a cheaper and even tastier variation of my favorite flavor!

bigelow peppermint tea: 20 bags for $3.17
nestle hot chocolate: 10 packets for $1.00
the result? delicious perfection.