April 2011

My brother is in town for the summer, working with the Pioneer Peak HotShots. I am so happy to have him around, and it’s been easy to host him, as he’s working during the day and retires early due to his physically strenuous schedule. There has been typically an hour between his arrival home and the big boys’ bedtime, and I’ve enjoyed watching the wrestling matches and reading sessions. I love to see how my brothers have progressed as uncles, getting used to being around babies, and learning the nuances of interacting with little people. Here is a photo from Uncle Brian and Braniac’s first meeting, five years ago:

And now, the much more confident Viking Uncle:

I’m just going to pretend that I haven’t been gone for four months, OK?

I am having a difficult time putting “pen to paper” with regards to the writing of this blog. I had expected to be through this season of change that I’ve found myself engulfed in; but as of yet, there is no end in sight. Thus, I trudge onward. The past year has been a time of somewhat cyclical growth that could be described as follows: learn about Christ -> understanding of my wretchedness -> wretchedness played out as sin x -> return to the cross -> learn about Christ and so on, ad nauseum. I know, I know, that’s a general portrayal of the Christian walk, but I think I must be missing some sort of regulating gene that allows the cycle to repeat largely unnoticed in the background. I’ve been incredibly… distracted by the process. Obsessed even? Though I fear institutionalization, I must even admit that this cycle is akin (in it’s perseverance) to the terrible malady of tinnitus that tenaciously effects its victim’s hearing. I am persistently chased after by the good news of Christ, and the subsequent transforming effect that it has on its hearers.

Not that this process has achieved a modicum of success, mind you. I have known that my heart was particularly granite-like. I remember during a few certain years of school sitting in the church pew, mentally building a wall of stone around my heart so that the words of the preacher could not possibly have their desired effect. I would imagine stone on top of stone, brick layed on brick, several layers of protection guarding my heart from the truth that I knew had the power to penetrate most severely. This, from the same girl who didn’t crack open a bible for the fear that some bit of life-changing knowledge would come fluttering out of the pages to convict me of my sin. Now, I thank a good and merciful God who drew me to Himself even though He could have allowed that heart of rock its wish in remaining free of an understanding of Christ. Christ can tear down heart-walls in an instant. I know that the gospel changes hearts, and behavior is sure to follow. I know that a deeper understanding of the sacrifice of Christ on my behalf will lead to changes in behavior. But I’m not there yet. My head is becoming filled with knowledge (though there’s still plenty of hot air!) but the trickle down to my heart is slow and my actions are slow to become effected. Just ask my husband. Or my children. I pray that someday they would joyfully tell others, “Praise God! Isn’t He magnificent? See what he did with my wife/mother? She was mean, but He has brought peace. She was impatient, but He has brought endurance. She was wretched, but He has brought Christ.” I am mean, I am impatient, I am wretched. However, I am encouraged that this season of processing is having an effect.

The host of a radio program I listen to said recently (when discussing a list of reasons for not seeing growth) that sometimes the growth is not measurable because it is being too closely observed. He likened it to a kettle of water put on to boil. Repeatedly checking the kettle makes it feel like the water is NEVER going to boil! But if you observe the water, then return later, the boiling commences without due stress. I hope that I have simply been watching the water too closely, and that heart-change and subsequent behavior modification is merely on the horizon. Then, I’m sure, the process will renew again. I am bound to sin again. In fact, I will sin daily, if not hourly. Thank God for Christ who died for me!