A banner of love on a foundation of friendship

It wasn’t love at first sight. His pants were hiked up and he had a foreign style mullet. It wasn’t your red neck variety. It was your other-cultural variety.

I remember riding to our associate pastor’s house. We were going to meet the family that my parents would start teaching Sunday School.

They each seemed so timid. They were very respectful. The most adventurous of them was the four-year-old who kept being put back in his “good little boy” poses.

This began several years of watching this family grow. This began several years of mutual respect and love for each other. Though it was many years before I fell in love with their oldest boy, that love had a firm foundation of friendship.

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My Ebenezer year

The Israelites stood before another body of water this one led to a fulfillment of the promise God gave them generations before they crossed the Red Sea. Now those grown children were seeing a promise they may have barely believed was real anymore.

This time their leader Joshua was instructed to have the priests carry the presence of God into the Jordan before the waters were stopped. It then dried under the feet standing in it.

After all the people had crossed dry and safe, Joshua did something different. He called 12 men from each tribe back to where the priests stood. Following God’s instruction, He told them to each gather a stone of remembrance.

They placed the stones one on top of the other and left them at Gilgal. They were to remind their children that God had stopped and dried the water for them.

Earlier in their history, God protected the Israelites from an attack from the Philistines. After God responded with their deliverance Samuel set up a stone of remembrance. It was called an Ebenezer meaning “stone of help.”

This year I will have several milestones, and I would be remiss to not pile my own stones of the faithfulness of God.

In the next year (from July 2017 to June 2018) I will set up the following stones:

A stone of covenant

In August, I will celebrate 15 years of covenant with my spouse. I cannot tell you how good God is to have given me such a man to walk alongside in this life. About the time I could really complain, God does something in him or in me that brings life back into the promise we made on the cranberry carpeted steps of our church. God has been our help.

A stone of testing

In September, I will turn 40. I’m really not stressing it since age has never been a big thing for me. (Plus I was 40 when I was five.) The number 40 has represented a time of testing in the Bible. I feel that there is a very real sense of having accomplished something by now. Some very hard tests have come in the first 40 years of my life.

Stones of generations

The number 40 also represents the coming of a new generation. This will not surprise me as I place the next stones. In December and May respectively, I will place two very similar stones. A “parenting a teenager” stone will be followed by an “I don’t have any grade schoolers” stone (don’t worry I’ll have a few years and Snickle will knock this one over for a while).

A stone of anguish

In April, I will place perhaps one of the heaviest and hardest earned stones. My mother will have been in heaven for 10 years. The number ten represents completion in scripture. And while grief never truly leaves you, nothing shows you how complete God is like the loss of one you hold dear.

As I stack them one by one, I cannot begin to tell you how much my heart resounds with Samuel’s words as he set up the Ebenezer. “Thus far the Lord has helped us.”

Thus far the Lord has helped me, friends.

I pray you’ll let him be your help, too.

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I get to keep him this time

“Squished up like a raisin” is not the description you want to hear about a lung, but that is the way the doctors described my Daddy’s condition this week.

A few weeks ago Daddy got sick with the flu that turned into a sinus and upper respiratory infection. My crazy Daddy (also stubborn as a mule) finally went to the doctor and got medication, but at the time it was supposed to work, his condition actually worsened.

Being the stick-it-out, toughen-up kind of man that he is, he failed to call anyone early enough. Pneumonia turned into Empyema. This condition causes the infection to make the walls of the lungs stick together and keep the lung from inflating. He soon found himself carted to the hospital by my baby brother with little choice in the matter.

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A celebration and a giveaway

celebration and giveaway

There are several milestones happening for me this year. One is happening this week.

If you hang around with me for any amount of time, you would know that one of my favorite responses to most anything is, “I am 100 years old.”

I have an old soul. Things always appear more childish than they should be. My view of the world was critical and caustic even when I was a small child.

Thank you, Jesus, for making me a new creature.

Needless to say, 100 is a regular part of my vocabulary.

But this week I get to say (and am kind of excited that I get to join the grade schoolers in a 100 celebration) it in a different way.

Guess what? Guess how?

Are you ready?

This is my 100th blog post.

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Letter to 2016 Christina

Dear beginning of 2016 Christina,

Here are some things you need to know…

You will beat Dustin in a “how much liquid you can fit in your mouth” contest. You beat all of them, but it’s always most important to beat Dustin.

You will do countless things one-handed with a baby in your arms.

The tea will be hot again, but again… not this year.

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