Join me over at Passionate Homemaking for some fun and frugal stocking stuffer ideas.
1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
3 and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.
4 Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
5 hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
6 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
7 He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
8 Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
(C) 2005, Sisters of the Mississippi Abbey
Yesterday passed quietly and uneventfully as the due date of our second child slipped by with no signs of labor. I should know better than to expect an early or “on-time” baby, but it still felt a little like a certain someone missed their own birthday. Irrational? Maybe. But my “40-weeks-pregnant” hormones entitle me to emotional and irrational thoughts.
This past Sunday, the above picture graced the church bulletins as a powerful image celebrating the sanctity of life. As a woman preparing for the pain of labor and the joy of new life, I found this image inspiring and thought-provoking.
On the left we see Eve ashamed after she ate of the fruit with the serpent wrapped around her leg. It powerfully represents her entanglement with sin and slavery. On the right we see Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus, comforting Eve and crushing the head of the serpent. Even in the womb, our savior represented our redemption from our sins.
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Genesis 3:15 – 16
Just as Christ’s pain on the cross brought about new life for those who believe in Him, so God in His mercy has allowed us to bring new life out of the pain in childbirth. How beautiful that God would bring our redemption in Jesus through a woman and through our own deserved curse of pain in childbearing.
To read more thoughts about this image, check out my hubby’s article.
Suburbia. How I hate thee. Your uniform houses. Your chain stores. Your sprawling limits. To the north I go and find Walmart, Target, and Starbucks. To the south they are there also. East and West, it doesn’t matter which way I go.
Suburbia, you are my Truman Show. You beckon me to accept that this is all I could want, or at least this is all there is. You offer me a cup of convenience from an unending pitcher of static materialism. Curse these eyes that never cease in seeing perfectly square buildings.
I don’t want to eat the same carrots, from the same store, from the same mega farm. I don’t want to buy a couch that thousands of others lounge upon. I don’t want to look just like every other middle-class mother of two on my street or in my town. Suburbia, I am an individual with creative and unique ideas. Despite what you tell me each day, I do not need to conform to your standard of living to be happy. You can take your mass-produced lifestyle and stick it in your over-used garbage system. I will not forget my roots, though your sidewalks strive to cover them.
When I see leaves scattering through the road on a dry, fall day, I can’t help but think that they are happy to be free from the trees. They almost seem giddy and mischievous as they fly here and there without a plan.
I can hear them now saying, “I’ve been serving this tree since spring, I’m outta here!” Or maybe they’re just leaves falling as they always do, year after year.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus
I am not a good singer. Never have been. It’s been an area of my life that I’ve always wanted to be simply marvelous in and always seem to miss the mark. It’s not that my voice is especially horrible, or that I can’t stay in tune, it’s just not that pretty.
As a kid, if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would have matter of factly said one of two things: A professional singer or an Astronaut. I’m not either one of those, but we’re here to talk about singing, not space, so let’s get back to it. I was in choir. I joined the worship team, I took voice lessons, and of course I tried out for every. single. solo. The same reason I never got those solos, was the same reason I was so frustrated: I just didn’t have a good voice.
I remember in college being so (insert strong language of your choice) jealous of this one girl in my hall. She could play the guitar better than me, she had a striking voice to boot and to kill me with her talents, she wrote songs. Ugh, I really didn’t like her. Wait, why didn’t I like her? Because she had something I wanted.
Since then, I’ve come to accept that my voice won’t take me to broadway, or even get me a crappy church solo, but I’m okay with that. You know what I am good at? Public speaking. Baking oatmeal raisin cookies. Thinking creatively. Making my daughter smile. Growing this baby inside of me. Those things come naturally to me.
We all have talents and gifts that come naturally to us. They look different for each person. If I waste time whining over and coveting something that doesn’t come naturally to me, I’m neglecting the gifts our great Potter has shaped into my being.
There’s a lot of other things that don’t come naturally to me: Organization. Staying connected with friends. Cooking. Just because they don’t come naturally doesn’t mean I should just quit doing them. Some things in life we just need to do and as we practice we get better. But let’s stop comparing ourselves to one another. We are unique. You have your natural talents, and I have mine. I’m okay with that.
Despite my lack of vocal serendipity, I marvel at how God still uses MY voice to calm my babies. Celine, eat your heart out, even you can’t compete with me when I sing “Ba Ba Black Sheep” to my little girl. Both our strengths and weaknesses can be used for good when done for His glory and not our own.