Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mudslides

Since the Schultz fire around four weeks ago, Timberline, Fernwood (that's us), and other neighborhoods were warned of possible mudslides and flash floods with the onset of the monsoon rains.  Since the trees and shrubs that typically hold the mountain in place have been burned, when the rains come the mountain could just slide down into the streets and homes.

There have been several places along the road home where workers are filling up sand bags and handing out wattles (you know, those long tubes along the highways filled with straw) to help protect those homes closest to the mountain.

Helicopters have been dropping straw on the mountain to try to prevent erosion.

On Tuesday the rains came.  Not in our neighborhood, we barely got a drop.  But right on the mountain, right in the exact place that was feared could do the most damage.  

With all the preparedness, with all the preventative measures that were taken...it didn't seem to matter at all.  Timberline and Wupatki Trails have major flooding.  We heard of a story where a home owner dug a 2' deep trench on the mountain side of his house and built up sandbags and wattles 2' high - the water/mud came rushing down and knocked it right over.


The water crossed the road north of us. It started flowing down our streets and into the backyard of our neighbors across the street from us.  Thankfully it didn't cross the street to our side, not this time.


The water kept creeping around the back of our neighborhood and did what no one expected.  It went in the back way to Doney Park, miles from the burn zone of the fire.  Several neighborhoods in Doney had 12-18" of mud in their streets and one guys basement filled with 4' of mud.



That's whats happening in the "real" world... there's another kind of mudslide, a spiritual mudslide, that I'm trying to prevent. 

On and off over the past couple of months I've been reading Pete Wilson's book Plan B.  About halfway through the book he talks about how the truth, or untruth, of the statement, "God will never give you more than you can handle".  He says, "Here's the truth - and this one is thoroughly biblical: throughout your life you will face one situation after another that will be completely beyond what you can handle." pg 102 We have to choose, "...either abandon God or worship him in the midst of a Plan B".   When we find ourselves in a situation that is beyond what we can handle, we've hit "the wall" (Pete Wilson quotes from Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich pg 103).

"Whatever happens, we find ourselves at the end of our ability to handle our lives.  We probably also find ourselves questioning ourselves, God, the church.  We discover for the first time that our faith does not appear to "work."  We have more questions than answers.  We don't know where God is, what he is doing, where he is going, how he is getting us there, or when this will be over.  The very foundation of our faith feels like it is on the line." pg 104

....or, in danger of being washed away in a mudslide. 

Pete Wilson goes on to say, "If you don't remember God's past faithfulness, you're going to have a hard time trusting him when you're up against the wall." pg 106

Bring on the wattles and sandbags.  Sheer up the foundation.


"These moments are crucial because God is trying to get you to the place where you can't handle things on your own, where you are willing to surrender your plans in order to receive his.  He is trying to mature your faith." pg 108

1 Peter 1:6,7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ...



So,  here I am.  The fire has come and now rain appears on the horizon. 

I have questions.  Unanswerable questions this side of heaven.  Truly though, everybody has questions or struggles regarding their "faith".  Whether that "faith" is in nothing, in Buddha, or in Christ, there are unknowns.  None of us were there when the foundations of the earth were laid (just as an interesting side note, God answered all of Job's questioning with a question of His own in Job 38:4, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"). 

As my sweet honey gently reminded me, all we have to do is look at the evidence in the world and in our lives.

The universe, the plants, our bodies, and even down to the smallest cell have such complexity that it is impossible to think that they just magically evolved over time.  No amount of time can turn bits of rock into life.  I might be experiencing a crisis of faith, but I can't buy that.

OK.  There must be a God. 

All the other evidence regarding the Bible and Jesus, that others have written books and books about, leads me back to the truth.  As Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life..." John 14:6.

OK.  The God who laid the foundations of the earth is the God of the Bible.  He became a man, Jesus, and died on a cross for my sin.

I hesitate bringing up my next hearts' question because I don't want to create questions where there are none for those other moms who have lost babies.  But, I don't have the same peace that others seem to have about the issue of infant salvation.  I have searched the Bible.  It doesn't say, explicitly or implicitly, what I want it to say.  In fact, some verses seem to speak of the exact opposite.  I was sent a link to an article written by Randy Alcorn.  In the article he acknowledges all of my questions, all of the hard stuff that I've been struggling with.  He doesn't answer my questions.  But, the fact that he sees the problems that I have and yet, for the most part, believes that infants go to heaven when they die is comforting.

OK.  I can take comfort and hope that my little Noah has a special place in God's sight and that he is safe in the arms of Jesus.

Now that I've placed all the wattles and sandbags around my foundation, will it hold? Can it really hold back the mountain if the rains come and tear it from its place?  Can I trust Him to do what is right and best for me, my family, my little Noah?  Can I trust Him enough to not have my questions answered?  Is He truly trustworthy?

Isaiah 50:7
For the Lord GOD will help Me; 
Therefore I will not be disgraced;
Therefore I have set My face like a flint,
And I know that I will not be ashamed.

Today I'm choosing to trust Him.  Again and again I need to make that choice.  He will help secure me.  No amount of water can knock my house over when I'm standing on Him and His promises.


Back in the "real" world, it's raining on the mountain.  It looks so quiet and peaceful.  But, there's a nervousness running through our neighborhood.  Will all the wattles, sandbags, and trenches hold back the water/mud when/if it comes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bubba Ben

Two years ago today our Bubba Ben was born.  Really Benjamin Robert.  Benjamin because we liked it, and Robert after my dad. 

His was the fastest and easiest labor (if you can say easy and labor in the same sentence).  Click here to read the whole story. 

He had me convinced that he was born without a sin nature.  That was until he was about 6 months old.  Then his true nature revealed itself.


He is a mama's boy. He is a stubborn boy. He loves to say, "No", especially when he means, "Yes".  He's a laughing boy.  

He loves his big sister and brother.

He is a boy with many faces.

He is a bubba boy - he loves to eat.

He is a boy boy - he loves his new monster truck.


Boy I love this boy.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Swim, Swim, Swim

Over the July 4th weekend we were down in Phoenix to visit the parentals (hello parentals) and, of course, to swim. While everybody down South heads up North to beat the heat, we rush down there so that we can swim, swim, swim.

Livvy can now jump off the diving board and swim to the other end of the pool without assistance! Sammy loves to dive for rings (he needs help going down and not sinking when he comes up) and using the noodle to pretty much get where ever he wanted to go. And Ben, after saying "No" several times to going down the slide, went down again and again and again.



Sunday night the cousins came over to Opa & Oma's to swim. They had a blast being together, swimming together and eating ice cream together.



The ride home on Monday was very, very quite.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Painted

Yup.  She's done!  Painted that is.  Every wall has been wiped down, primed and now painted.  It's amazing what some good ol' fashioned work will do for the soul; and what several nights of painting 'til midnight and 8 hours during the day of uninterupted painting will do for a house (my mom so graciouly took the kids yesterday and today so I could get some stuff done).  Next comes cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and then tile.  So excited!

Several weeks ago we let the kids pick some miss-mixed paint and then paint a couple accent walls in their rooms. They had a lot of fun "helping".

On of the great things about working at home is finding love notes from your co-worker.  Isn't he so sweet!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Burdened

Why does it seem like everywhere I turn there is another family who has lost a baby?  There are blogs upon blogs dedicated to babies who have died for various or even unknown reasons.  And how many more are out there that don't blog?  Too many.  Way too many.

A sweet family that I have never met but have been e-mailing back and forth, just lost their sweet little baby girl to Trisomy 18.  My heart is hurting so much for them.  I so wanted their story to be different from ours.  I wanted God to step in and change the doctor's diagnosis.  If not for us, why not for them?


Oh God, please...  Reveal yourself to us.  I don't understand Your ways.  Help me to see You like Job saw You (Job 42:5).  I know that you orchestrated Joseph's troubles to save all of Israel (Gen 50:20).  I know that even Jesus learned obedience through suffering (Heb 5:8,9).  Is that what I'm supposed to learn?   Jesus said that we would have troubles, but we're to be "of good cheer" (John 16:33).  How Lord?  Help me again to surrender all to You.  To trust You to work out Your good will in my life, in our lives.  Help me to praise you through these storms.  Help me to not just endure, but to thrive.


Psalm 143:5-12

I remember the days of old;
I meditate on all Your works;
I muse on the work of Your hands. 
I spread out my hands to You;
My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. 
Answer me speedily, O Lord;
My spirit fails!
Do not hide Your face from me,
Lest I be like those who go down into the pit. 
Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You. 
Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies;
In You I take shelter. 
Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Your Spirit is good.
Lead me in the land of uprightness. 
Revive me, O Lord, for Your name's sake!
For Your righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble. 
In Your mercy cut off my enemies,
And destroy all those who afflict my soul;
For I am Your servant.