Saturday, November 9, 2013

Life!




Saturday afternoon and it’s football the whole day through. The kiddos were at a friend’s place overnight for a birthday party sleepover, and I picked them up just after eight this morning for a full day of sports. I’m guessing they’ll sleep very soundly tonight.

Jon is tag-teaming with me this afternoon. He brought lunch to the field and then sent me off for the afternoon on my own. I’d love to be watching Michael and Olivia play, but an opportunity to sit out on the patio of a coffee shop by myself is a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of opportunity. I suppose I could do it a little more often than I do, but it’s so hard for me to justify when there’s always so much to do, or so many moments I don’t want to miss out on. It’s sweet of Jon to make sure I have time away, especially on a Saturday when he is typically immersed in his studies and prep for Sunday. It's also funny that I mention time to myself again, when in actuality it represents such a small slice of my time.

But this is nice, you know, when I get sent away to relax. I won’t argue. So here I sit in the golden sunshine of a California afternoon in November, and I marvel at the blessings that fill my life. I’m on the upper level of a really neat coffee shop, looking out over the rooftops of quaint and colorful houses that lie between me and the sea. The sun is shining through brightly colored bougainvillea, palm trees, and flowering shrubs, while little sparrows swoop in and out to steal a few crumbs beneath the tables.

Jon and I spent the evening out together last night. We intended on grabbing a early dinner, then head back home to work; instead we meandered from place to place, through one beach town to the next. We started the evening by sharing tapas at a Peruvian restaurant, sitting side-by-side beneath a heat lamp out on the patio. Then in the next town, we casually walked through little shops and eventually spent a store credit I’ve had in my wallet for over three and a half years: With the holidays in mind I got something fancy and something casual, and Jon found a nice sweater. Even though it was money spent long ago, it kind of felt like we walked out with those items and spent less than $5.00. After our big splurge, we enjoyed a little chocolate truffle and late evening coffee. Driving back home along the Pacific Coast Highway through thick marine fog, we commented how our “seasons” are quite enjoyable. I don’t think I care anymore that we don’t have the typical four seasons of the north.

There is no wifi here as I had hoped, but I can write anyway and post later...

:>>:<<:








I wonder sometimes if what I write here makes any sense to anyone reading. I wonder if people scratch their heads with a little embarrassment for me because my words are hard to follow. Perhaps some are tired of hearing me talk about God.

It's probably true that I don't make sense because I do typically write in bits and pieces and because certain facts are sometimes hidden to protect privacy. I guess I can't do much about that. And writing about God and about how He is revealing more of Himself to me? It's like I can't help it anymore. It's at the forefront of my mind. What God is doing for me and in me changes the way I live, so journaling about God's goodness as I learn about it is also keeping a record of the path of my life. He leads and I follow.

Sometimes I come across a verse and it sticks with me for days. I am struck by the simple truth, almost like it was the first time learning it; then I think of it from different angles and how deeply that truth applies. It's in understanding who God is that deepens my faith, causing me to pray with more certainty, and live with greater confidence and joy. I’ve been going through Romans bit by bit, sometimes moving forward and sometimes going back to understand more. Several days ago, on Halloween actually, I read Romans 4:17 that says, “God... who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” Although it turned out to be a great verse to think about on the day when death, destruction, and decay is portrayed everywhere, this single verse has stuck with me every day since then.

God gives LIFE to the dead. Life!

I think I struggle to understand what it means that I was dead. I was dead in my sin, yes, I know this. Although I feel the sting of death here on earth, the struggle of disease and decay, the power of sin in a fallen world, I don’t think I know anything of the full horror of the death from which I am saved. Ultimately, the death I am saved from is an eternal death without hope and without God. And the life I enjoy as a Christian now is something marvelous to be sure, but it is nothing compared with the life that is yet to come. Life and death as I understand here today is nothing compared with the life and death that God promises.

But God knows death because Jesus died. And He knows life because He is the author and giver of life; Jesus has the power and the victory over sin and death because He rose victorious.

Paul continues, “It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification” (Rom. 4: 24-25). Then later, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom. 5: 10).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

And He calls into existence the things that are not. He calls into existence faith when faith was not, and delivers from death to life!

That is so much more than we deserve, more than we can dare to expect. But God is that good, that kind, that merciful. So it is amazing to me that he keeps giving, He keeps calling us to Himself and keeps blessing us. He even desires us to ask for more and wants to keep giving more of Himself.

So, as I keep thinking about God calling us from the dead and granting us life, I think about the dead or decayed things of this life and remember that He can do the same on all levels. He restores and makes all things new. A broken relationship, or marriage? He can make it new. A broken heart? He can heal and make whole. What about abandonment? Or simple, but destructive, discontentment? God can provide, transform, make new. He gives hope, He fills up, He changes lives.

The salvation from death to life is a free gift to the one who comes by faith. And salvation into the family of God is the beginning of a transformed life, the doorway to LIFE abundant to the one who runs to Jesus.

Run to Jesus...

“Out of the depth I cry to you, O Lord!
O lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness
that You may be feared."
Ps. 130: 1-4


“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” 
James 4: 8





The pictures in this post are from a weeknight last month. We had the beach to ourselves. After the sun set we built a fire and had dinner all cozied up around the pit. It's simple fun, and hopefully makes for good and lasting memories.

It's later in the evening now. The jobs are done for the day: the car unloaded, things unpacked, dinner made, clothes laid out for Sunday, kids showered up and tucked in bed, the dish washer and washing machine put to work... and I click this post into existence.

~Katherine



10 comments:

  1. I love your words. They are not hard to follow. Time away to myself, even if short, is always a refreshment and recharge for me. Thankful for Will's care for me in this way. Always a joy to see pics of your family! I recently found an old photo of us and the N family from our Santa Barbara outing after Will's cancer. Sweet memory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melia! Thank you and, yes, sweet memories! Miss you and your family!

      Delete
  2. Oh Katherine... I literally seek out your blog for encouragement. Your words are always so encouraging and God honouring. :) I find that I meditate on things you have mentioned and how real you are. Your posts help me to regain perspective with motherhood and the important things. One of the posts that still encourages my heart is the one where you wrote about your boys in a Sunday evening service and were real about what they were doing and how you dealt with it... hehe! The Lord is so faithful to sanctify us! Jonathan is almost two and sometimes his boy'ish perspective on life just confuses me, but reading your accounts and seeing your boys play with insects and being boys helps me to remember! Miss you! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Taryn, for your kind words! Raising boys is something else-- an adventure at the very least! I knew I was in for it when Michael was about Jonathan's age and enjoyed smashing snails on the sidewalk, then smearing the guts all over his arms and hands. He'd come to me with a great big smile saying something that meant 'lotion'... He thought I'd be happy to see him moisturizing his skin! There came a point when I had to just decide to enjoy his boyhood. Heads up, though, on potty training! For some reason some of my boys thought the accidents were funny, not motivation to stay clean.

      Miss you, too! You guys must be wrapping up pretty soon in L.A.?

      Delete
    2. Hehe. Wow! The snail lotion story is so funny! Boys!

      Potty training isn't even nearly on the horizon from what I can tell- he doesn't really communicate clearly yet, so waiting til we cross that bridge for now.. Did you have a cut-off time for pacifiers- he is so attached to his (only when he sleeps) and with the new baby brother, I feel bad to take it away just yet.

      We are actually here for another 2.5 years or so... Izak finishes his Mdiv next May and then we are here til he completes his THM. :) We miss home lots but are open to going wherever the Lord would send us and this is good practice for me for if He doesn't send us back to SA!

      Delete
    3. Taryn~ I don't think you and Izak will regret staying an extra couple years or more to get the ThM. You'll look back on these years and see how foundational they were for you personally, not to mention for ministry. And two babies! You are a busy, busy lady! Things like pacifiers are for your benefit! Use them and be thankful for the help! You are the mom and you get to decide what works for you and your family-- there is no right or wrong on these issues. You will know when it's the right time to take it away, but it was my experience that it was hardly noticed by my babies after the first day. Enjoy the holidays!

      Delete
    4. Thanks Katherine. :) You are so sweet and it is reassuring to hear your advice. Hope you have a wonderful holiday too! x

      Delete
    5. Hmmm... Maybe we should consider email?!

      Delete
  3. i too love your words. and all the pictures are so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I found your blog through the E-Wife who is a dear, dear friend of mine. I so enjoy reading your blog - about the things the Lord teaches you, about your sweet family, about your life at the beach. My husband and I used to live in Belmont Shores, we now (for the past 20 years) live in WA. I miss CA and so find myself living vicariously through you.
    Thanks for sharing your heart. I always go away encouraged, uplifted, and with something to think about.

    ReplyDelete