Friday, October 9, 2015

Future Grace

My phone is broken again, which is what happens when you buy one on clearance, and also what happens when you have 3 little boys, but then again, that is also why I tend to buy them on clearance.
Oh well.
The saddest part about the whole thing is that I kept forgetting to put my memory card back in which means that none of my pictures from the last 2 weeks were saved, except the couple that went up on Facebook. Oh, and also that I didn't get a video of Aquaman last night at the fair, riding "The Drop Zone". We let them each pick one ride, and The Dude predictably chose the tame carousel but Aquaman immediately zeroed in on the Drop Zone and climbed up without a backward glance. How I would have loved to capture the look of surprise on his face when it shot up and then shot back down. Wondering if he was actually enjoying himself, until he caught sight of JT and I and grinned. I guess I will just have to capture it in words.
The way it felt to hold JT's hands and watch only the shoes of our biggest boy who surprises me every day with his bravery, shooting up and down on a ride that is carted around on trucks and put together in one night.
The Dude loved the carousel. But he was most insistent on going shark fishing...mainly because he wanted the prize at the end....a little plastic trumpet. He and Aquaman tooted their horns as loud as they would go all the way back to the car. I am so thankful for a husband with a sense of humor.

The past 2 weeks have gone quickly, as all of 2015 has gone. The weather has cooled and then warmed again, but the wind still swirls and the clouds in the sky look so Octoberish, and when I walk Aquaman through the hallways of Ocean Breeze Elementary while I smell the salt air, I can't help but smile.

The waves were huge from hurricane Joaquin for almost a week which left all of beachside electric....and sore.

I love October.

JT had the day off yesterday. 2 days this week we walked Aquaman to school as a family, and it was really nice.
The boys have their second cold of the season. The Dude sounds like he is coughing up a lung, but he is maybe even more cheerful than usual. It hasn't seemed to make them cranky at all...except maybe Greystoke yesterday. He caught it later than everyone else, and it seems to annoy him a bit.

I feel....so full of life. Just bursting with it. The leaves aren't changing, but fall still feels so dizzy with hope.

I have been trying to get up earlier than the kids the past 2 weeks, and only very rarely succeeding. But one morning, about 10 days ago, The Dude was up and as usual crowding me...talking too much, cuddling up in his usual painful ways, demanding things. I was trying so hard to get a few minutes along with God and it wasn't working, and this is what I prayed:

"God, I just want to feel you like I used to. I haven't felt you in a while. I follow You, and I really look for You, but it feels so hollow and academic and rote."

Over and over I kept praying those same words, frustrated with the silence. I didn't have time to go outside and take a long walk like I used to. I am too surrounded by kids to have hours of alone time in prayer. This was it, this chaotic everyday, surrounded by laundry and crumbs...this was all I had to give. I needed him to meet me there.

At last, moved by the forlorn sight of The Dude sitting alone in a chair looking at me, I gave up, called him to me and wrapped him in a hug.

And then I heard God. Clearer than I have heard him in ages. And I felt God....gentler and warmer and more real than I had felt Him in ages, and He said "here I am. This is where you'll find Me in these days."

And something has brightened and come more alive in me since then. God doesn't use the same ways to speak to all of us, or even to each of us in every stage in our lives. He couldn't possibly, because we are all called to different things and different times.
But where He meets us, where we feel that intimacy? Is in doing what He has called us to do.
Yes, He speaks in a whisper, and yes He wants us to seek Him....but He can whisper above the chaos.

I heard Him.

Nothing ever feels done anymore, but this is the stage of life I am in, and I am embracing it.
I have been dropping everything to sit down with my boys at both breakfast and lunch, as well as before bed, to read to them from God's Word, to talk with them, to share my wisdom and to hear theirs....and to pray...with them and for them.
Lately when I see them sitting there at the table, with food all over their mouths and all over the floor and barely able to stay in their seats, and often forgetting to use their manners, I don't see any of those things, I see.....arrows.

Arrows of light that will shoot out into this word with accuracy and aim.

And then I don't feel so afraid of not being able to give them all the things this world thinks they should have.

Those things don't matter.

The world lately seems like it is falling apart, but I don't feel afraid. I am so filled with peace and joy and gladness, and hope.
This country is probably going down a road that it won't be redeemed from. The people have chosen. We have chosen. But that doesn't scare me, though it does sadden me. It only fans the flame and makes it brighter and stronger, because you can't force God out of any country, because you can't force God out of the hearts of Christians.
And I am convicted of apathy, of enjoying the pleasures of this world instead of focusing on the mission...the reason we as Christians, already redeemed and heading toward a most amazing eternal life- to share with others that this isn't all there is. To shine like stars.

Lately JT has been praying for us before we go to bed at night. He's been praying that God's will would be accomplished in our lives, and not our own. It is a good prayer, and it is sometimes a scary prayer, but only when I momentarily forget Grace. Grace from the past, and Grace for the future.

I've been reading my favorite book again by John Piper: "Future Grace". I love Piper because he gets me flipping in the Bible. I love the way the pages feel in my fingers. I love the way my disorganized heart stills at His words. I think of the years upon years that He has spoken to me in it. I wonder if my children will always be able to hold it in their hands here in America.

“The only life I have left to live is future life. The past is not in my hands to offer or alter. It is gone. Not even God will change the past. All the expectations of God are future expectations. All the possibilities of faith and love are future possibilities. And all the power that touches me with help to live in love is future power. As precious as the bygone blessings of God may be, if He leaves me only with the memory of those, and not with the promise of more, I will be undone. My hope for future goodness and future glory is future grace.” 
― John PiperFuture Grace

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