The NEW Adam Restores

  

You do not desire a sacrifice or I would offer one.

You do not want a burnt offering.

The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

                                                              --Psalm 51:16 & 17

At the breakfast table, Tay has realized she enjoys scrambled eggs more than eggs with yolk, while V is ritualistic with her two eggs with yolk.  I sit with my triple shot Americano, splash of HWC and eggs.  I open up the yellow book.  We know it as the Jesus Storybook Bible. 

We finished reading from the beginning to the end in the Fall, and I recently picked it back up.  Just days before Ash Wednesday, we read of Eve believing the serpent's lies and falling prey to facade of glory he would offer her.  The girls asking questions about the fruit, the snake, why they would have to leave the garden, and the sadness in God's heart.  

I picture paradise torn in half that day as God's tears turned from weeping into sobbing.  I liken it to the day I would lose our third baby, hoping that this hope hadn't turned into a nightmare.  Yet, God's sobs weren't just on his beautiful children leaving him, but knowing full well of what would happen to his Son.  

Thursday following Ash Wednesday, we skipped forward to Jesus being tempted in the desert.  

The girls would find that sneaky, deceptive snake like days before.  Although, they would find a NEW Adam, who wouldn't believe the lie.  A NEW Adam who would obey God & trust his infinite love.  A NEW Adam who would squash that deceiver & bring about salvation.  

 

Lenten bringing new birth is happening in the corners, trinkets & springs of my home.  A soft, warm embrace from one little sister to her big sister, because she endured eye drops at the ophthalmologist.  Marriage romancing through serving & conversing, nothing fanciful.  But more than anything, the Spirit breathing new life, new conviction, new love towards a Savior who is truly the NEW Adam.  

 

I've been captured.  I'm falling in love again & again with a Redeemer who has rescued his beautiful bride.  I believe in the beauty of his bride, even if it appears hopeless at times.  I'm encouraged by friends like Suzannah who sees this beauty as well.  Seeing the beauty together makes living out Isaiah 58 more desirable & even easier, because it's driven by love & not duty.  

 

 

Lent Allows for God Sized Dreams: What are yours?

What would you think of me if I told you that I haven't given anything up for Lent?  I'm still eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and even had a dessert.  I'm giving up alcohol, but I blame that entirely upon being pregnant really.  

But if I haven't given anything up, what really am I sacrificing, in order to connect more with my Savior through his final days leading to the cross?  

It's taken me a week to come back to this place.  I've scribbled down thoughts, written a draft or two, but the words didn't seem right.  They felt contrived.  I don't desire that for myself, or for this sacred place.  Yes, this place Redeeming the Table, it's sacred.  Just like my little nook within my kitchen among strewn vegetables on the cutting board...it's sacred.  

Reading the words of Isaiah 58.  What does this look like?  What does it mean to put on righteousness and loosen the yolks of injustice?  To clothe the poor, feed the hungry, speak well of all, and care for ill & family.  To bring glory to Zion--what does this mean as I am comfortable under the warm blankets?

Then the Psalmist said, 

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; 
You are not pleased with burnt offering. 
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; 
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

I'm sorry I cannot offer you a clear indication of what Isaiah 58 looks like, or what it should look like...other than, it's different for each individual.  

 

Well, what "is" calling forth inside of me this past week of Lent?

That the honorable work of injustice is something I want to be apart of in theory, but not reality.

That the work of wiping messy bottoms, fixing meals for thankless hearts, covering love over the ill, needy, abandoned is not holy work in the eyes of man or woman.  And yet, it's hard work, and it's called worship.

That this work of doing love is not easy and it makes me realize that Jesus is the selfless servant, in which I am greatly humbled & weakened by my selfish heart.

That just because some have been given a voice to speak for those who are disabled, others are to bring justice for the prisoner, and so forth.  And, who am I to bring justice for? 

That maybe as we give by the sweat of our brow, the toiled earth, calloused hands & sickened stomachs, that we find more of ourselves & more of Jesus in the everyday--in the ordinary.  Maybe we realize that this life is sacred in the toilet training to the chopping of vegetables to the giving a meal.  

And maybe, it's not through Lenten sacrifice that we find Jesus; rather, it's through the giving of self I have found him--I've found me?

 

Here is what I have found

Through all of this, we find the spark of the Holy Spirit like Jesus walking through that desert as he prepared for his ministry.  Because it wasn't all toil for him.  There was celebration too as he saw people redeemed.  As the Holy Spirit works in us through the hard worship of doing love, we find that we have found more of ourselves & like the prophet Joel began,

Declare a holy fast; 
   call a sacred assembly. 
Summon the elders 
   and all who live in the land 
to the house of the LORD your God, 
   and cry out to the LORD. 

&

Rend your heart 
   and not your garments. 
Return to the LORD your God, 
   for he is gracious and compassionate, 
slow to anger and abounding in love, 
   and he relents from sending calamity.

But God said to Israel (book of Joel), 

And afterward, 
   I will pour out my Spirit on all people. 
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, 
   your old men will dream dreams, 
   your young men will see visions. 
 Even on my servants, both men and women, 
   I will pour out my Spirit in those days. 

 

This week has brought the anticipation of what can be through rendering our garments (my own garments).  In this first week of Lent, I have seen the possibility of God sized dreams when allowed.  

What are your God sized dreams?  Anything?  How do you see yourself in bringing about Isaiah 58 to this world if nothing could get in the way, because it's God sized?  

 

When Your Advent is non-Pinterest Worthy

 

This is a two part story, so be sure to read it in its entirety, in order to get the full picture.  If you connect with this, please pass it along.  

 

Upon waking, we open the hand woven advent calendar as my girls eyes peer with anticipation of the coming day's event.  We sit around the table drinking fresh squeezed orange juice, buttery, crispy waffles with real maple syrup as the tree lights twinkle within view.  Cozy in pajamas, licking lips & sipping up life.  

Evening falls as we gather around the table to fill our bellies & souls with food & life together.  Dishes cleared for the burgundy creme plate lined with five candles.  The girls breathe in the story of the sojourners traveling that lonely road as a foreshadow of Good Friday, only to find that redemption is found in the most unlikely of places.  Melodious songs bellow out as though a choir in the heavenlies had greeted us that night.  

Candlelight blown out.  Advent is anticipation of the coming One, and when I witness days like this, it feels as though my heart witnesses heaven on Earth.

----------------------

The image above is what I feel like I read via Facebook status, blog posts, & Pinterest pics; however, it is not, I repeat, NOT, what we experience in our home.  It's what I call fictitious.  It appears that most people live in this magical world of complete intentionality, where homemade Christmas gifts abound, only local source food & toy items are given, and children sit patiently & beautifully around the Advent candles listening to the Christmas story.  

Wouldn't it be so wonderful to live in this world?  Where mamas had more than 24 hours in a day to sew, cook, felt, knit, & bake all of the holiday splendor (and love every minute).  Where littles wake up with glorious, "Good morning Mama! Good Morning Papa!  I can set the table."  Where Advent candle & story time always came with the insightful, "Mama, how come God sent Jesus to be born in the manger & not the palace?  Isn't he the King of kings?"  

Can I share a secret with you?  Here's what our family's actual Advent time looked like...

Complete with an unedited picture

In October, I began pinning various Advent calendars to make, along with homemade Christmas gifts to give.  In November, I decided upon partaking in an Advent of giving with my girls, which I found to exemplify the heart of the season (reflecting giving instead of receiving).  There was even this cute kid Advent craft book I purchased for my girls & I to do together.  

But you know what happened?  Thanksgiving hit & the first Sunday of Advent rolled around and I had nothing. There was no beautifully hand woven Advent calendar, nor any papers, gifts, activities to pull out for each day.  I could hear "Failure" echoing off the walls.  Where would my girls learn of giving, of the season beauty, if I wasn't giving opportunity each day in Advent?

And then, that beautiful evening candle time to share snippets of the Christmas story, singing songs, and knowing more of that babe lying in swaddling clothes.  Do you know what our Advent candle time looks like?  Nothing like the first story.  We clear our dishes, while Tay shouts out, "I wanna blow out the big candle!," and V exclaims, "I wanna sing my Christmas song!"  

Meanwhile, Ben & I assure them that each girl will have a turn, but first we will read a little of the story, sing songs, pray & then blow out the candles.  V interjects, "And I get to sing my song?"  "Yes," we tell her, "yes, then you can sing your song."  We turn down the lights and Ben lights the candles.  He pulls out the story entitled, "The Journey."

He begins, "Girls, do you remember Mary has a baby in her belly.  Who is the baby?" 

"Jesus!," they reply.

"Yes. And Mary & Joseph had to travel on a long journey from their hometown to Bethlehem.  And did you know they didn't even have any DVDs to watch when they traveled?," he continued.  

Here I am thinking how wonderful it is to share this ancient, full story with our girls and here my husband, their Papa is talking about DVDs.  I feel it's a bit sacrilegious to say the least.  They listen on just barely as they count down the seconds to hurry this Advent time along to sing their song.

Once the story is over, Tay quickly says her prayer, "Thank you Jesus for (insert mind boggling, I don't know what?)."  We sing "Away in the Manger" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," which has much to be desired from any choir director.  The candles are quickly blown out as Tay jumps off my lap running to the tree to grab a candy cane.  She proceeds to sing her song entitled, "Candy," which goes something like this, "Candy, candy, candy (pause) candy, candy, candy!" 

By the looks of it, it would seem our family Advent time & season has much to be desired.  In my romantic & idyllic mind, I create the first story as a picture of what I think should be.  But truly, the second story is what is.  It's mine.  It's not always order & intentional.  It's not what you write home about, but it's real life around our table.  

So friends, be encouraged to know that what you may think happens in others homes, most likely doesn't quite fit the bill with what we've painted.  My table is often messy & most often, not Pinterest worthy....what does yours look like this season?