My Excellent Wife: Focus in the Midst of Chaos

“Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:29 (ESV)

Today was one off “Those Days” for Mrs. Pauper. I mean the kind that would leave even the most hearty among us a quivering gelatinous mass on the floor. From extended family issues to migraines and all of the details of life in between she had more than a full plate today. Which makes the scene that unfolded in our kitchen this evening even more remarkable.

I would have fully expected (and I even encouraged) her to take full advantage of my return from the office to take her leave and retire to her bed to sleep off the stress of the day and the migraine it induced. However, not only did she put the final touches on a batch of her famous (and “slap yo momma” delicious) chili but she also took time to bake cornbread while it was finishing. It was during the preparation of this added treat that I hear my wonderful bride in the kitchen teaching fractions to The Little Pauper using the measuring cups. As I hear this conversation from the other room, I could not decide what I was most thankful for or more amazed by: the fact that Mrs. Pauper is so devoted to the mission God has given her in life (raising warriors for the cross) that she refuses to let even the smallest opportunity escape to mold and shape our children OR the fact that every bit of what she did from 2pm today on was simply because she loved her family OR that she did all of it with her head splitting from pain that would make most of us turn into the worst drug-seeking crack-ho simply to stop the pain!

Did The Little Pauper walk out of the kitchen a fraction smashing genius? No, but a few more of the pieces fell into place and most importantly she walked away having participated with my wife as she modeled the attributes of a godly wife and mother. The Little Pauper once again heard and saw the importance of being a keeper at home (Titus 2:5) and watched firsthand as her Mom practiced sacrificial love.

What more could any godly husband and father ask for? I am truly most richly, undeservedly blessed beyond measure.

“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 18:22 (ESV)

A Godly Heritage

“I love you with all my heart” – simple words but they come with a lifetime of impact. I am not sure I can describe what hearing these words from my Grandfather means to me. He is the Patriarch of our family. A man who has, as best he knew how, led us as he has followed Jesus. A deep thinker with wisdom won from a less than perfect life lived in the constant awareness of the presence of Almighty God who was working even the terrible things in his life for his good and God’s glory. A man who at close to 50 uprooted his household to follow the leading of God into a 15 year ministry in one of the hardest areas of the country. Only to be abused, beat up, maligned, and slandered by those he was called to serve. All the while he loved them, served them, wept for them, prayed for them and guarded their souls. He is a man who has modeled to us Christ-like love and sacrificial servant leadership for his bride for over 50 years. He has been a father to the fatherless in our family. He has passionately loved and rejoiced in each child with which the Lord God has blessed our family. Some of my earliest memories are of Papa lifting high in the air each of the Grandchildren, smile on his face and his deep rumbling laughter rolling out of his big heart. From the “secret” good-bye rituals he taught each of us grandchildren to his attentive ear he was quick to give each of us, he has spent his life communicating to us we mattered, we were special to him and he loved us. Even when each of us have been our sinful-selves, he has loved us and prayed for us. He is a 3 John 4 kind of man.

3 John 4 ESV

4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Lord, may I be a cause for Papa’s joy and not sorrow. Please allow me to maximize the impact of the godly heritage he is leaving us daily. May you give me wisdom not to squander the opportunities to learn from and be around him. Thank you for allowing me to be loved by such a godly man. In the might name of Jesus who is the Christ, Amen. 

How is Faithfulness Measured?

Could it be measured in the exhaustion at the end of a full day when you have given all you knew how but still laid your head down on your pillow knowing you were completely inadequate? Could it be measured in the inability to pick your head up off your hands so you could attempt to rise and put your weary body into bed? Could it be measured in the sweat produced by moving from one task to another while never making it to the end of the list? Could it be measured in the fight to keep your emotions in check when your mouth really wants to snap at the person you love? Could it be measured in faithfully administering discipline out of fear of the Lord and love for your child when every bone in your body cries out for rest and peace? Could it be measured in rejoicing over the life growing within you, for which you have prayed many long years, even in the midst of being unable to keep the smallest meal down? Could it be measured in desiring the blessing of children in spite of the health issues and pain it brings? Could it be measured in helping a child wrestle with their need for a Savior and what it means to live for Him?

Lord please empower me so you could find me to be faithful!

Micah 6:8 (ESV)

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.

God Cares About Pink Plastic Phones

Got your attention didn’t it? No, I have not lost my mind nor did I receive a “new rev from hev”. However, I am convinced that God does indeed care about pink plastic phones. Lest you think I am daft let me tell you a story and then judge for yourself if the Almighty might not indeed care about a worthless plastic toy.

The background to the story is that Mrs. Pauper is a true Proverbs 31 kinda gal and is constantly looking for ways to enlarge our gates by bringing in profit from home enterprise. One of her favorite ways to do this is through participating in a large consignment sale of children’s items that happens twice a year. This year it was decided that a kitchen set we had which no longer had a home in the Little Pauper’s room would be included in this sale. The only problem? This kitchen set had a pink plastic “cordless” phone that belonged to it which had suddenly gone AWOL.  Mother Pauper and the Little Pauper searched high and low, every nook, cranny, toy-box and crevice was searched thoroughly but the little plastic phone was nowhere to be seen. After a late-night cleaning session on the Little Pauper’s room by my girls and a search of the rest of the house by The Pauper the search was abandoned. Silently in the Living room I asked the Father to show us where this phone was so that Mrs. Pauper could include this item in the consignment sale. Meanwhile unbeknownst to me, Mother Pauper and The Little Pauper were assailing the throne of Grace in the bedroom as the search wound down with Mother Pauper reminding The Little Pauper that God knew exactly where the phone was and he was more than able to reveal its location. Then the search was called off on account of darkness and fatigue at which point “night time routine” (Bible time, prayer, singing, kisses, secret telling and cover tucking) commenced which eventually gave way to the sleep we all needed.  This brings us to the reason I think God cares about pink plastic phones because the next morning while in the shower I “remembered” (or maybe the Holy Spirit reminded me is more like it) where I had seen that phone last and in the quiet early morning stillness I walked right to the box in which this very naughty toy was hiding.

Now does God really “care” about a plastic toy like he cares for you and I? The obvious answer is no! However, it is precisely because he cares for you and I that at times it does matter to him where a plastic toy may be lurking. Is this because he wants all of us to be happy, play with toys and eat cake? No! It is because that pink plastic phone provided an opportunity for Mother Pauper and I to practice Deut. 6 and Psalm 78:

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 ESV

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Psalm 78:1-4 ESV
1     Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!

2     I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,

3     things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.

4     We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.

(emphasis added)

in which we could remind The Little Pauper of her prayer the night before and then point to a tangible answer to HER petition. What better way to illustrate to her that God hears our prayers and is powerful to do what we cannot. I cannot tell you how humbled and yet excited God-moments like this make me. I am baffled that the King of the Universe would entrust the spiritual upbringing of anyone to such an imperfect creature like myself but for his own glory he does and I love the opportunity to talk about our God’s great deeds. What a privilege!!!!

This week has been a GREAT week to speak of those marvelous works because not only did God reveal the location of the phone but he has brought to the fore 2 other great answers to prayers lifted up by all of our family. One of these involved Mr. H, one of my “big” bosses, bringing by a card I had written to him when I was interviewing for my current position at work in which I had written that I was praying that God would give them wisdom as they hired for the position (something all of us had prayed at the time including The Little Pauper). Mr. H told me that he was sure that God had answered that prayer and I should take the card home to show The Little Pauper the God does answer when we pray.

The second (or is that third?) answer is one that has been long in coming. You see for the last 3 years we as a family have been suffering from secondary infertility. Even The Little Pauper has been praying for almost a year for the Lord to give us more children and her brothers and sisters. Well, we found out Friday that we are PREGNANT!!!!! (more to come on that later) So see what I mean, it has been an exciting week of answered prayer and speaking of the great deeds of YHWH.

So yeah, God does care about pink plastic phones, jobs, and little white sticks with 2 pink lines because a 4 year old needs to know that God hears and acts for his own glory when we pray.

Thank you Father for hearing and answering so that I can speak your praises to my family.

One of "those" days

Have you ever had one of “those” days? You know the kind where everything is a blur and nothing seems to come without great struggle? I have had a few of those lately. Things on the work and home front seem to come in rapid fire succession with not hint of ease or rest. It’s not that I expect things to be easy (not that I would mind if it were), the difficulty is that within the whirlwind it is very difficult to focus and to think deeply. You see I am a thinker, there is never “nothing” going on behind my eyes. This is how I process life, a cerebral wrestling match to understand and organize the things in and around me through the lens of the Word of God. I struggle when I can not understand how what I see and experience is to be viewed from the perspective of YHWH as revealed in his Word. For this to happen takes time to think and meditate on the scriptures allowing their truth to wash over my experience bathing it, cleansing it from the deception of this fallen world, scrubbing it from the corrosion of self-deception that will lurk in the recesses of my being until I am free of this body of sin, allowing the light of the Spirit of God to illumine the matter until the Truth himself speaks from the pages of the Holy Writ calming the storm of the mind. Often this may be in the form of the simple need to acknowledge that He is God and I am not, His ways are higher than mine, His purpose may not be evident to me but His promise is He is actively working to cause ALL things to work for my good and His Glory. In other rare times He may benevolently choose to show me a bit of the “why”, a moment to glimpse the corner of the blueprint in the dim light of the near darkness that swallows this life seeing only a single detail of his master plan.

However, life rarely grants these moments of respite and thought without our violently waging war to gain this time alone to be about the business of our Father. Is this not why the scriptures tell us “Be still and know that I am God”? Is this not why Jesus urged his disciples to “come away” for a little while? Or why our Lord himself stole away regularly to pray?

I struggle mightily with this. I so easily forget where the real battle lies and become distracted with the cacophony of this life. I am stretched thin and am so unsuited within myself to the mighty responsibilities to which He has called me. Pride says, “if he has called me to this I must be able to do it!” Humble faith and worship says, there is nothing good in me, I am but a wretch, anything good that comes out of me is His power at work in this despicable body of sin, “Please Jesus do in me what I cannot do, nor would desire to do in and of myself! Glorify yourself by doing what only you can by working in such a horrible sinner like me!”

Lord Jesus, I am the wretch the song sings of and I cannot keep your commands by myself. Please do what I can’t. I desire to be a faithful servant please help my unbelief!