Sunday, April 30, 2006

Micah Jacob

I am going to have another little brother!!!! Again, please do not forget to read the word BROTHER. It is very important. Several people that I have told have stopped listening at, "I am going to have..." and assumed that I am pregnant. I am not. Nor is my mother for that matter. He is coming from China. He is a special needs child which means, 1) he had a cleft lip and still has a cleft palate, 2) we (or my parents, specifically) got to pick him out, and 3) the adoption process is not going to take half as long as it did with the Gracer.

All that aside, his name is going to be Micah Jacob. His Chinese name is Zhen Xian Jin. I am so excited. Adoption is such a wonderful thing for everyone involved. When Grace was adopted, people kept talking about how lucky she was to have us. But what they don't realize is that we are the fortunate ones. We are all blessed to be so enriched by her life. She is so full of joy and love and everything else, I cannot imagine life without her. And I know that things with Micah will be the same.

Through these adoptions, God has taught me much about my adoption as His child. Just like Grace and Micah were, I was helpless. My parents sought them out to be adopted, payed the full price, travelled/will travel to get them, gave them new names, and brought/will bring them home to be a son and daughter, full heirs just like Sarah and Andy and me. God sought me out, He paid the full price, came all the way to the depths of my sin for me, has given me a new identity in Christ, and will someday call me home. Before Christ, there was nothing that I could do to go to the throne of God, but He Himslef has opened the way. I, who was once without hope, am now co-heirs with Christ.

"And as He stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine, bought with the precious blood of Christ."

Friday, April 28, 2006

BYOB Baby Shower

Yep, you read it right. Our friend Robin is having a baby in July, so tonight there was a party for her at Cafe Cuba, which is amazing. There were presents, and tears, and exclamations of, "awwww," and "that's cute," and, oh, beer (but not for mama), and fake bugs and pirate coins on the tables. Honestly, it was the most fun, genuine, laid back baby shower that I have ever been to. Sadie is going to be a very loved little girl because, well, she already is and she has very loving parents.

And why drink punch when everybody really wants Mexican beer?

Friday, April 21, 2006


My brother, who is one of the greatest thinkers that I know, said something profound last night that has been in my mind all day. He said, "Everone gets depravity. All great works of literature are one chapter short, because they understand depravity but miss redemption." This struck me because I love literature and I had never thought about it this way. But I guess it's true, we all "get" depravity.

Whether we want to admit it or not.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The fear of God

I was struck Tuesday morning by the awesomeness of God as I looked at a tree. Now, before you think I've gone "all Thoreau" on you, hear me out. I am often very impressed by the works of others' hands. Art, music, fashion, even writing fascinate me all the time. But a tree is an entirely different thing. You may say to yourself, "Well, trees have always been there, they are different, " but they have not. God created the trees. He not only fashioned them by his hands, the very idea of trees was birthed in God's mind before the beginning of time.

Maybe this is not profound to you, but it hit me like a bolt of lightning. Why do I toy around with God, thinking that something I can do will change Him? He MADE me. He thought me up. He thought up hearts and kidneys and blood and bones. God invented mitochondira and atoms. He alone conceived of music, its notes, and ears to hear them with, as well as white light that is really made up of many colors and eyes that flip it around in order to see it.

I'm not here setting up the argument that God brought us into this world and He can take us out (although He can), I am attempting to put forth the pure awesomeness of that is manifested in all that we see. He is not small or insignificant to our lives and this world. He is also not a clockmaker, sitting back to watch His creation tick. He is integral. The closest that I can come to describing Him with a word is "Awesome."

"May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works - he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke."
- Psalm 104:31-32

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Self Efficacy

So, just in case you're like I was about 9 months ago, ignorant about about the world of behavioral theory, (and pretty darn happy about it for that matter) I will briefly explain self efficacy before launching into my assault of it. Brain child of Albert Bandura, it basically means one's belief in their own ability to do something. So, your self efficacy for eating jellybeans would be your belief in your ability to put them in your mouth and chew? Not can you do it? Do you believe that you can? But maybe this was a bad example.

Anyway, moving on, self efficacy is an idea that we over-kill in public health. But there is so much of a conflict in me about this idea even though I use it a lot when we have to justify what we are writing about using theory. My conflict comes because, as a Christian, a foundational premise of my faith is that I am the chief of sinners. As such, I believe that I will always fail. No matter how hard I believe that I can do something, I know that I will always fail. We will all always fail apart from Christ. So, sometimes I feel like a phony thinking about teaching people to "believe in themselves." It is a false hope. And when we fail ourselves, what have we left besides Christ? If I am teaching a health belief system without Him, do I even believe in what I am teaching?

Life has taught me that there is always someone better than me, that I am much less qualified to do what I am doing than many others. There's always someone faster, someone smarter, someone prettier, someone more popular, someone with more talent. I get really lost in despair when I am not remembering what Christ has done on my behalf. Why can't I always be confident? If I have hope at all it is in Jesus Christ alone.

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us." - 2 Corinthians 4:7

Sunday, April 09, 2006

So, I'm still here

This has been a very long, arduous semester with the addition of the assistantship back in December. I am only blogging now because I can either do this or write about a disease outbreak on a cruise ship, a topic that does very little to peak my interest. In fact, nothing that I am currently studying interests me very much this semester, which is why I have unabashedly immersed myslef into Lewis' Mere Christianity lately. It is fascinating. I hope to read some of the Reformers this summer, but I am always a little partial to my dear CSL. His writing is enchanting.

I have struggled a lot harder this semester also with what it looks like to be a Christian in the world in which I do my day-to-day living. I'm talking about what it looks like to really live by faith, to really live out faith. What I have come to is simply love. Love for the people around me despite everything. Their beliefs, lifestyles, attitudes, thoughts about me or Jesus do not matter as a deciding factor on whether or not to love them and pour myself into them.

The past year and a half has found me in a rather swift downward sprial into selfishness and materialism and, frankly, I'm sick of it. Other people's opinions of me will never satisfy. The best outfits and shoes will never satisfy. Being a great student will most certainly never satisfy, even for a moment. Having the most charming, handsome, amazing husband in the world will never satisfy. Christ and Christ alone is the ONLY satisfaction.

It was freeing to stop trying to build my resume. Not that I am not trying anymore. Admittedly, I want to work at everything that I do as if I am working for God alone. But I really could care less about building for myself a great big kingdom of accomplishments. And that I mean with all of my heart.

"If I stand, let me stand on the promise that You'll pull me through,
And if I can't let me fall on the grace that first brought me to you.
If I sing let me sing for the joy that has borne in me these songs,
And if I weep let it be as a man who is longing for his home."
-Rich Mullins