Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Middle Name

Rachel has graciously agreed to letting me give Molly the middle name, Hope. I find it particularly fitting given her previous post. Creed's first name is Simeon because we, like Simeon in Luke 2, are waiting for the consolation. Hope carries with it the sense, not of wishful thinking, but of confident conviction that such consolation will indeed come in all its fullness. We have this hope because all the promises of God are 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Jesus. So, I leave you with some verses about hope.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ - Titus 2:11-13

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God - Romans 5:2

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My story is His story

This is one of those posts I have been mulling around for a few weeks while I try to make all my normally jumbled up thoughts clear, but I am not sure that is every going to happen. I want to talk about a couple of pictures. This is the first one:

I wish I could make it larger but I can't. The night of Knox's acciden,t I had a black and white copy of this picture on my mantel. My friends, Hannah and Marian who were there were telling me how much they liked it. It is kind of a crazy picture because Knox had been really sick with a fever and he was crying almost the whole time they were taking pictures. Every time they would start acting silly to make everyone smile, he'd stop crying while they took the picture but he never did smile. Jack was extremely uncooperative and wouldn't smile either. He went home, took a nap and woke up with a 104 fever. Despite the fact that neither of them were smiling, it turned out to be a very sweet picture and one I'll always treasure.
I told Hannah and Marian how I wanted to move it above my piano and on either side I wanted framed the words to Whate'er my God Ordains is Right and Beneath the Blood-Stained Lintel. I chose the first because as I have grown in my faith and come to cherish reformed doctrine, I found such comfort in the sovereignty of God, and wanted my kids to grow up to rest in the understanding that God is in control, He is good, and what He does is right. I chose the second as a song that was sung at Jack's baptism and a beautiful reminder to us of God's promises to His covenant people, and that He doesn't forsake us. I don't think I actually explained all that but was telling them my plans for the picture. What I didn't know what that I'd be clinging to those truths an hour later while pleading for Knox's life.
Sometime later another friend Bonnie, wrote out the hymns in calligraphy for me and I kept putting off framing them. I was having second thoughts about hanging them above my piano. I still wanted to do this because none of my original reasons had changed. I still held those promises and truths close to my heart and in reality more so than ever, but I didn't know if I wanted to have to explain the pictures to people, and I worry that people will feel bothered or uncomfortable not knowing what to say when I tell them about Knox. Yet another friend, Martie, has really helped me to be comfortable telling my story. "Your story is His story" is what she has told me numerous times. It may not be anyone else's story but it is mine and it is His. All of this has passed through His hands. He has ordained it. It is right. His promises to us have not disappeared. People may not understand it, but I can tell it because it is my story and His story. In times when it seems like friends, family, and ourselves are suffering greatly, perhaps it will be a source of comfort for more than just us so the pictures now all hang together over my piano and I love having them there.

Then there is the picture in my sidebar which is this one:

I am not sure how long after Knox's death this was taken but it wasn't more than a couple of weeks afterwards. I am not sure how I can explain how it is related to the above...when I look at it, I can see the grief and tiredness behind our eyes, but I think that if you didn't know what had just happened you would think that we were a happy couple with a good life. Marian told me not too long ago that she hesitated taking this picture because she felt like she was intruding. I am so glad she did because it was priceless for me to see our smiling faces in the midst of our sorrow. Now when people go through tough times especially ones that are life-changing, I always suggest they keep taking pictures and capture the moments; they are a tangible reminder that there is joy in sorrow and to keep living. I keep this picture on my sidebar because it is a reminder that God is Good and faithful; that He goes before us and He makes all things right. It reminds me to hope for the future and cling to His promises and not to quit living when the grief sneaks up from behind or a new sorrow hits.