Our Lives Are Not Boring!

Our beautiful Rhema Skye is here! Mom and baby are doing great.

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In the days to come, Allison and I are going to write out our birth story. Wow. On a bathroom floor across the Atlantic, Allison’s labor progressed at such a rapid rate that neither the midwives nor paramedics could make it in time. It was her, me, and our three-year old. Of course, he was eating a bagel in the other room and his main concern was that I had not put honey (in addition to butter…our morning routine) on his bagel (in my defense, I was a little busy!!!).  This was definitely one of the lighthearted moments of the morning. I cannot wait to tell you the story. My wife is a hero. You wouldn’t believe the things she did. I am in awe. More details to come!

On a LESSER note, I have not posted anything yet on my blog regarding my new book: To a Land I Will Show YouIt is a collection of honest and raw journal entries arranged chronologically that tell the story of our pursuit of a dream that God placed in our hearts and the roller-coaster journey of confusion, faith, disappointment, friendship, debt, hope, and anger that ensued.

April 17 2017
(image from book) Last April, we moved out of our home in Spokane, WA and into the Lambert’s (once again lol!!!)

The digital version is available now (click on the title in the previous paragraph) and the print edition will be available on Amazon by the end of the week. I am really excited about this book because I believe it has the potential to impact hearts, inspire faith, give hope, and convey the message that obstacles, resistance, and heart-wrenching disappointment does not necessarily translate to “this must not be God’s will.” God is so faithful.

For now, I am really, really ready for “boring.” After my dad’s serious heart attack a few weeks ago and our terrifying experience Sunday morning, I am hoping for some long, slow, boring days. We shall see. I get a week off from work and do not have to return to my PhD studies for another few weeks.

Over the course of the next few days, I will post the birth story and also mention when the print edition of the book is ready.

2018: A New Year

newyear2018_24-dea0cc09d9b756a44574e87b010b6115To be honest, I am beginning this year simply grateful. On December 29th, my absolutely amazing dad had a serious heart attack. Though I will spare you the details, I sat for an hour or so waiting for a text/call from my mom (dad had been care-flighted and mom was driving that way) that might mean I never get to see his face, hear his voice, or say “I love you” again. I will never forget those 60 minutes. Due to God’s providence and an amazing collection of factors, not only is my dad alive, but even better, his heart sustained NO permanent damage. I would share more, but it is too personal and I am still processing through some difficult emotions. This year could have been so different. I am thankful. I am so thankful. I love my dad who has always been such a tender, strong, Biblically-grounded, inspiring, persevering, visionary, encouraging, hard-working, responsible, present, and trustworthy man. Yep, that about sums it up.

We we are weeks away from our little girl being born. We will then have one son and one daughter! I have no idea how I will juggle family, work, and a full-time doctorate, but there is no point trying to figure that out. Not possible. One must be thrust into a situation before they can know how to arrange the beautiful parts. For now, I am working hard to get ahead on my Ph.D. work (if there is such a thing as getting ahead). Worrying about the future is not fruitful (though I can be quite good at it). Jesus said, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6:27)

New Year’s Day has come and gone. It goes without saying that there is nothing particularly magical about a specific day. That being said, New Year’s Day represents something powerful in the Western psyche. We love the idea of a fresh start, a second chance, hope, and the idea that this year might be different than the last. For some reason, it is at the beginning of the year when we Westerners are willing to let our hearts dream a little, consider an alternative future, and relinquish at least some of our skepticism.

For this reason, this is usually the time when we all make insanely impractical resolutions. Setting goals, especially if you have someone holding you accountable, can be really helpful. It may be time to lose weight, implement a discipline in your life, enroll in school, ask for the raise, exercise, or plug into your local church in a meaningful way (instead of being a useless bump on a log). In a word, it is a time when we pledge to be more intentional in one or more areas of our lives. Sadly, most people are not very intentional.

Making resolutions is not an intrinsically bad practice, but it may not always be useful either. I think Christians should go about this cultural practice a little differently. What if the majority of your resolutions were birthed out of prayer? In other words, your resolutions are something that the Holy Spirit is already committed to realizing in your life. Granted, I don’t think every resolution has to be of this nature, but I am absolutely convinced that hearing God about the upcoming year is the best recipe for Kingdom success (not just success), personal growth in Christ, influencing neighbors and co-workers for Christ, seeing a relationship restored (God may tell you to take the first step), stepping into the freedom of Christ, forgiving someone, or taking the risk you have been scared to take.

So make the little resolutions and strive to improve. That is great. But take time as an individual and a family to pray, seek God’s face, hear his voice, and make resolutions that not only have eternal value, but are backed by God’s word and his specific vision for your life.

Happy New Year! Let’s begin the year as we ought to begin each day: seeking God. Only his will and desires truly matter.

Ezra and What I Am Learning About Compassion

eye_Markell_xc_And-A-Little-Child-Shall Lead-Them-1_smallThis morning I woke up early to do some online work before heading to New College to study. I have had a little cough for the past couple of days. Ezra has had one for the last 3-4 days. Due to this cough, he has had trouble sleeping. Thus, he was awake around 6 am this morning and had trouble going back to sleep. Around 7 am, I was working in my home office and started to cough a bit. All of the sudden, I hear him say all of the way from the bedroom, “Daddy, are you okay?” At first, I ignored his question because he was in the room with Allison and I was afraid that if I responded it would keep him from going back to sleep. However, he asked again. He then asked a third time. At that point, I knew that he wanted to know that I was okay before he could go back to sleep. I rose from my chair, poked my head in the bedroom and said, “Yes buddy, I am okay. I just have a little cough like you.”

One thing I have noticed about Ezra is that in the midst of all of the typical three-year-old craziness, he has a very tender heart and really cares about people. It is our job as parents to protect and nurture this. In one of our recent talks, Allison was talking to me about the fact that I do not always respond to her with the same grace and compassion with which she responds to me. Regrettably, she was right. I didn’t even try to argue. In the midst of trying to do a much better job, I have really started paying attention to how Ezra responds to her. He responds to her in a wonderful, tender, caring manner when she is hurt or if something is wrong. I have caught myself lately saying to myself, “I need to check on her like Ezra just did.”

I am reminded of the following verse:

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

Granted, I am taking this out of its eschatological context, but there is still a useful application here. I can honestly say that at times, Ezra is leading me. There is nothing like a child to reveal your true heart.

In my opinion, this is a timely reflection. Over the next 7-8 days, Christians all over the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. He entered the world as an infant. Even at the age of 12, he was found in the temple teaching, helping…in a word, leading.

We can learn a lot from children. They are one of several channels that the Holy Spirit can use to open our eyes, knock on the door of our heart, convict of sin, and extend an invitation of transformation.

May we have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and truly imitate our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:1).