These Newborn Days

It gets better.

I keep coming to that promise with desperation and doubt. “What if it doesn’t get better? What if this is the permanent state of my being? What if my baby will never sleep through the night?”
As much as I know logically that my fears are ridiculous, they still abound, and I feel bound to those fears. I feel trapped in this limbo… between freedom and imprisonment. Even as I write my ears perk up to hear if she is crying, prematurely awaking from her nap. My heart flutters and stomach drops. I can’t sleep because of the anvil grip that trepidation has over my heart. I close my eyes and rest, willing myself to sleep, but I can’t.
Loneliness colors every part of the apartment. It touches every movement I make, even as I drag myself out of wakeful resting to get my crying daughter so I can feed her. Nursing her and playing with her is the one bright moment of the day. But this moment, when I am not clinging on to the fragile web of her sleep, is disfigured by my anxiety as I anticipate her nap time with dread. As the sun goes down early these winter days, my loneliness stretches itself out even further in this empty apartment.


Who knew it would be filled with so much fear, doubt, anxiety?

Enjoy it.

How? How do I enjoy these days when my heart is so anxious? When all I can do is will for these baby days to end quickly so my heart can go back to its normal pattern? This is not enjoyable…

My love is so small. My trust in God so weak.

As I look on my daughter’s sleeping face, or listen to her holler with frustration and fear in my heart, I wonder if I even love her. The beginning days were filled with love. The joy of this gift from God overwhelmed any difficulties and challenges. As the days stretched into anxious weeks, that love gave way to drudgery and a desire for this all to just go by quickly.
Oh Lord, forgive me for my small love, my weak love. Teach me Calvary love. Agape toward my daughter. Help me to demonstrate the gospel through selfless, sacrificial love toward my daughter. Help me endure her crying. Strengthen my heart that I may love her like you love me. That though I cannot share Christ’s love with her, teaching her what He did for her on the cross, that I exemplify it with humility and JOY.
Grant me wisdom to care for her, raise her, teach and train her well.

Baby days are filled with problem solving. Even now, her nap is interrupted by her cute hiccuping. And as I scour the internet, text my mom friends, call my mom friends, stretch out to every resource I know for help, I turn around to look at the trail and see so little prayer.
Father, even as I grasp out my hand for help, forgive me for not turning to you and grounding my hope in YOU. Thank you Lord, that with each promise of improvement, you bring new challenges… Thank you that you teach me to keep turning to you, even when I forget to. Thank you that you keep showing me that all good gifts come from you.


There has been nothing more sanctifying. And so I offer my praise and thanksgiving with this trembling heart.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7



glory to glory

Finishing up my paper on the Holy Spirit and came across this quote by Philip Hughes in his commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:18:

“The glory is ‘the glory of the Lord’, and we behold it ‘as in a mirror’. to gaze by faith into the gospel is to behold Christ, who in this same passage is described as ‘the image of God’ (4:4) and elsewhere as ‘the image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1:15) and ‘the effulgence of the Father’s glory and the impress of His substance’ Heb. 1:3) To see Him is to see the Father, and to behold His glory is to behold the glory as of the only begotten from the Father (Jn. 14:9; 1:14). And to contemplate Him who is the Father’s image is progressively to be transformed into that image. The effect of continuous beholding is that we are continuously being transformed ‘into the same image’, that is, into the likeness of Christ–and increasingly so: ‘from glory to glory’.” (pp. 117-118)

To set anything else as a goal is settling for something infinitely less. This is not a goal we reach by our own strength but by the work of the Spirit who works this transformation in us. So we are not left hopeless and defeated but victorious and exceedingly hopeful.

At nine years old, he always kept a piece of string in the pocket of his well-worn, too short pants. You never know when you will come upon an unlucky frog to tie up at your side. When he turned eight, he abandoned his string for coins, mini flashlights, sharpies, lead pencils, erasers, each of them getting replaced by the other due to unfortunate discovery by his hawk-eyed teacher. He needed something to pass the time as well-intentioned words buzzed overhead and around his ear. With his entrance into the no-man’s land that is the teenage years, he did away with childish things and padded his pocket with his father’s old wallet. Inside he kept his credit card (expired last year) seven one dollar bills, and arcade coins that clinked with a hollowness that you don’t hear from quarters.

While his friends were busy chasing girls, scrambling to finish their blank homework pages, and anxiously wondering about their future, he was comforting his mother and caring for his brother as the image of his father took up the place of the long discarded credit card. Behind it, he scribbled down the words, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain…,” wondering at the mystery that his father would consider death a gain.

Walking now with purpose and new direction, he filled his pocket with index cards and the conviction that the words he copied down were the words of life.
Pulling out a humble ring accompanied by a nervous flutter, he bent down on one knee, preparing himself to serve, love, and lead.
He made sure to prepare his pocket with a handkerchief, to show her chivalry of course, but when the moment came, she pulled it out of his hand and wiped his tears.
Too busy to even sit down, his pockets again filled with string, gum wrapper, toy cars. He had to keep his index cards in his shirt pocket, and a yellowed, tattered Book on his desk.
The Book kept him through times of weakness, times of sin; it was his companion when he bowed his head in praise and in repentance; seasons of rejoicing, seasons of mourning, when his heart ached to see his children rebel, when his eyes closed with weariness from living in a sin-filled world, a sin-filled heart. It was his constant, his current, his guide to the Guide,

Old and feeling useless, he filled his mind with a longing for Home. But his Master is wise and left him here in His mysterious way. He filled his pocket with unfamiliar faces and unfamiliar names, and an indication that this was his daughter, this one his son, this one his nephew, this favored, dear one his wife. Though his mind betrayed him and his body shut down, his soul, through years of practice, reached heavenward in faithful words of prayer, until his eyes closed to this world and opened in the new.


I hate voicemails. When I see the ancient cassette tape icon on my droid, the first emotion that bombards my irrational mind is dread. “When did they call? How long ago did they call? Who is that? Why did they leave a message? I wish I hadn’t missed that call, at least when they’re calling I know who it is. What do they want? Do I have to do something? I don’t want to do it.” It triggers my tendency toward procrastination; sometimes I leave it unheard for days until I can’t stand the terror that assaults me every time I look at my phone. I don’t know where the fear originated, but I am aware how ridiculous it is.

This morning, I woke up early and plucked my phone from its charger. There it was. Amidst the app update icon and the “you’ve got mail” icon sat an antiquated recording tape that signalled doom to me. I put it off. Played with Atticus a bit and gathered some books that I needed to read. “I’ll listen to it later” flashed across my mind, but hidden in the folds of fear a sensible voice, “Just listen to it, stupid. It might be important.” Like ripping off a bandaid, I punched in all the buttons as fast as I could.

The recording has started, and my heart races faster. I hear an unfamiliar masculine voice, but can’t make out the words. Confusion. Then I hear a voice that is very familiar. It is a voice that reminds me of care, love, friendship, a life lived for Christ. And I know what the call is about. “Hi Jenn! It’s Tia and John E.” Pause. John E., “We’re engaged!”

My friend is engaged. Memories of her pains and sorrows make this gift of God so much sweeter. God is so good; He is so gracious.
With only my cat to witness the strange face I make and the water dripping from my eyes, I rejoice with my friend.

I love you, Tia~

Sunday, Mar 29, 33AD –
Jesus’ Triumphant Entrance into Jerusalem
Jesus weeps over Jerusalem
Bethany for the night
Mt 21:1-11; Mk 11:1-11; Lk 19:29-44; Jn 12:12-19

Monday, Mar 30 –
Curses the fig tree
2nd cleansing of the Temple
Return to Bethany
Mt 21:12-22; Mk 11:12-19; Lk 19:45,46

Tuesday, Mar 31 –
Finds withered fig tree
Commands the Temple, confounding and opposing His enemies
Olivet Discourse
Judas bargains with Sanhedrin to betray Jesus
Return to Bethany
Mt 21:20-25:46; Mk 11:20-13:37; Lk 20:1-21:36; Jn 12:20-38

Wednesday, Apr 1-
Silent Day, probably remained in Bethany
Probable preparation for Last Supper
Probably preparation for Judas’ betrayal

Thursday, Apr 2 –
Peter & John sent to make preparation for Passover
After Sunset, eats Passover meal with 12, washes feet, Judas departs
Lord’s Supper instituted
Agonizing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
Betray by Judas, arrest by Sanhedrin
To the house of the High Priest as Sanhedrin is convened
Peter denies Jesus
Mt 26:1-75; Mk 14:1-72; Lk 22:1-62

Friday, Apr 3 –
1st Trial: Nighttime before Annas, biding time for Sanhedrin to assemble
2nd Trial: Before Sanhedrin, Jesus is condemned
3rd Trial: At dawn (Peter denies Jesus for third time, Jesus looks at him), sent to Romans
4th Trial: Pilate
5th Trial: Herod
6th Trial: Pilate
Jesus is scourged
People cry, “Crucify Him!”
Jesus to be crucified
Jesus mocked by Roman soldiers with a crown of thorns
Judas hangs himself
Jesus carries His cross
Jesus crucified at 9am

Seven sayings on the cross:
“Father forgive them…”
“Today…with Me in paradise”
“Woman, behold thy son”
(Darkness from 12pm – 3pm)
“My God, My God…”
“I thirst”
“It is finished”
“Into Thy hands…”

Death of God-Man
About 3pm – veil of the Temple torn, rocks rent, graves opened and people rise

Jesus’ side pierced
Passover lambs slain in the temple
Jesus buried by sundown
Mt 26, 27; Mk 14:53-15:47; Lk 22:54-23:56; Jn 18:13

Saturday, Apr 4 –
Passover Sabbath (from sundown on Fri to sundown on Sat)
Jewish leaders request Pilate to post guards at the tomb
Mt 27:66

Sunday, Apr 5 –
Jesus rises from the dead at dawn
1st Appearance: to Mary Magdalene (given a message for disciples)
2nd Appearance: to other women who come to the tomb (for burial anointing)
3rd Appearance: to two disciples on Road to Emmaus
4th Appearance: to Simon Peter (alluded to in Lk 24:33-35 & 1 Cor 15:5)
5th Appearance: to the astonished disciples (Thomas absent)
Mt 28; Mk 16; Lk 24; Jn 20

In the time I haven’t updated this blog, I think I’ve built up a crust of inactivity in the brain. I haven’t been journaling much either, I confess. I am a very inconsistent creature, and it became very easy to slowly allow myself to get into the grove of living without really letting my thoughts soak through me like I used to.
Besides my laziness, part of the reason is that learning things became a drag. I learnt them, dropped them, moved on to the next lesson, picked up a new idea or thought, got revved up about that one, then got bored of it because it wasn’t changing me radically like I thought it had/should, so I would abandon that one and move on to the next thing that I think will work. Through each cycle, the burden of knowledge grew heavy on my lap. So I stopped thinking. My mental lethargy stealthily crept up on me like callusses. It started out with what I thought was good understanding… I need to take each day at a time, each problem at a time and not overwhelm myself. The problem was that it appealed to my tendency to give up and get intimidated by difficult tasks.
The belief and craving for radical changes in my character slowly diminished as I failed time after time. All the excitement and joy of learning new things in Scripture joined the dust on my bookshelf. Cynicism and hopelessness took their place. They seemed to go well with the decor of my circumstances, so I let them be. The little failures became excused and condoned, until my heart had developed a crust made up of an over familiarity of “old” knowledge…

“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you”

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has caused us to be born again to a living hope…”

sharing is caring

We sang this hymn last Sunday, and I thought I might share it with you. Praise songs and hymns have been ministering to my confused heart like the never have before… praying this hymn might minister to you as well.

May the Mind of Christ My Savior

May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing
This is victory

May I run the race before me
Strong and brave to face the foe
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win
And may they forget the channel
Seeing only Him