Awestruck Wonder

"How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation." Daniel 4:3

Regarding a Certain Piece of Paper on Steve’s Desk October 26, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 20:35

It’s official. Last Sunday, October 23, 2011, Cornerstone extended a call to Steve and awaits his signature on the dotted line . . .

The letter lurks in a corner of the desk. Even if I cover it with other papers and things, it still slinks around the corners of the mind and refuses to give any rest.

Pray for us. God has been so good to us and has lead us every step of the way thus far. We know He will not fail us now. We know that He has what is best for us and for the glory of His name in store. We know that He has called us – first to Himself, but also to ministry in a special capacity. Pray for us as we consider where. Where He would have us to serve. Where He would have us minister.

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Work, Wait, Trust September 7, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 21:23

Well, congratulations if  you are still checking this blog after all this time!  As you may have guessed, blogging is not exactly at the forefront of our minds lately!  But I will tell you what is:

*  A wonderful church in our own home province: Cornerstone URC.  We have been blessed by being here this summer and ministering to this congregation.

*  Our sweet, growing family.  We are just enjoying belonging to one another so much.  🙂

*  Sermons, messages, e-mails, sermons, sermons, sermons, conversations and phone calls.

* Potty training, meals, keeping the house clean, teaching our kids new things, laundry, decorating, hospitality, wardrobe designing, diapers . . . you name it.  Lots of things on the brain. 🙂

This coming October will mark our four-year wedding anniversary.  During these years we have never had “stability” as the world would define it.  We’ve lived in so many homes I have to think about it for a while before coming up with a number.  But it is a sweet time of trusting in Jesus, and we have found a stability in Him that could never come from earthly foundations.

It is a working time, but while we work, our hearts wait and trust.  It is a good place to be!

A few lines from a poem Milton wrote On His Blindness spoke to me:

” . . . But Patience, to prevent 

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need

Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state

Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

 

The End of a Chapter May 17, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 06:59

Last week Thursday marked the end of our time here at Seminary.  It is amazing how fast three years have gone, how much we have learned.  God has been so faithful.  And Steve has some letters behind his name!  Let’s try them out:

Steven W., M.Div.! 

Wow.

In honor of his graduation, we had a little picnic pre-ceremony.

(Yes, I do believe that it’s normal for my dad, Pastor Bout & Mrs. Bout to all be talking at the same time.  They still manage to understand one another!)

Uncle John & Aunt Pam . . . apparently taking care of Sierra’s baby while she plays

And now, the proof you’ve all been waiting for . . . .

*Drum roll, please*

Men after God’s own heart, ready to be used powerfully in His kingdom! May the gospel be proclaimed and made known through these men!

 

Happiness. April 25, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 14:47

Steve & I both agree.  You know that song from ‘The Sound of Music’ where Maria and Captain Von Trapp sing about how they must have done something good to deserve the love that has come to them?  *SO* not us.  There is no way in the world we could ever have deserved the happiness we enjoy every day.

This past weekend we had a special opportunity to celebrate the work Christ finished for us on the cross – and God’s “Amen” to that finished work in raising Him from the dead.  This is the only reason we live this life that we do, I know.  The only reason we have been given so much joy.  Not our work – but His!  He paid the price for our happiness – the little we have on this earth, and the overwhelming, magnificent joy we will experience forever!!  {You should get to know Him, if you don’t already.}

Aren’t they the cutest?  I squeeze them both multiple times a day.  I am so privileged.

Sierra, reading a story to herself today, came to the part where the sheep is about to enter the “valley of the shadow of death”.  Putting on her best concerned look and “mommy voice”, she consoled the sheep: “No no, baby, don’t be scare! Jesus is with you! God will be with you!”

Later, I found her on her knees beside a mattress that was lying on the floor. Beside her, her doll was propped up on her knees as well, hands flopped together on the top of the mattress.  Things like this make me tear up.  She is learning to pray.  Teaching her baby to pray.  Learning that Jesus is with His children and loves to hear their lisping, stammering words.

At the end of the book Sierra was reading today, there was a picture of the Mommy & baby sheep touching noses.  She told the sheep, “Jesus is with you . . . Mommy is with you.”  That was the moral of the story. I thought, “You better believe it, baby.”

 

Love Wins March 22, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 07:25

In case you weren’t sure what to think about Rob Bell’s new (and controversial) book, “Love Wins”, here is a good answer.  I found it personally helpful to just crystallize and clarify my thoughts.  The post ends with this powerful quote by one of my all-time favorite people, C.S. Lewis:

In the long run the answer to all those who object to the doctrine of hell is itself a question: ‘What are you asking God to do?’ To wipe out their past sins and, at all costs, to give them a fresh start, smoothing every difficulty and offering every miraculous help? But he has done so, on Calvary. To forgive them? They will not be forgiven. To leave them alone? Alas, I am afraid that is what he does.(The Great Divorce)

 

Showers and Flowers March 20, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 14:59

God’s done it again!  Like every year, spring has come, beckoning the robins and migrant birds, warming the earth, summoning teeny-tiny curled-up baby leaves and wowing my two-year old with sticks and stones and dirt that manages to be both disgusting and pleasurable at the same time.  Oh spring, you are so welcome.  God, we praise you and trust your promises once again.

It is raining today.  Sierra looked at the big puffy gray clouds and said, “Mommy, snow!” I said, “No, baby, I think those clouds are going to bring rain today.”  A few minutes later, there were droplets on the window, and she stared at them as if she had never seen water before.  “All wet, Mommy,” she said.  “Raining. All wet.”  She ran to the bathroom and came back with a cloth, clearly meant to clean up the mess.  She stopped dead from a full-tilt run when she looked out the window, amazed by the sight of so much water. The cloth fell to the floor without so much as a whisper.  Who can contain the works of God?

My baby is sick – the feverish, sneezing, rattle coughing, fall-asleep-in-your-arms kind.  He threw up all over both of us yesterday, and we headed straight for the shower.  He is fascinated by the sparkling streams, addicted to the wonder.  He passed his chubby pink fingers through them again and again, sprinkling glistening droplets into the air, stopping now and then to rub the water out of his eyes. Then – back at it again.  He cannot get enough.

The rain has stopped now, the flowers watered.  And spring has come, just as God promised. Instead of tiny, six-pointed snowflakes, we will now wonder at the buds and tiny leaflets.  We will open our windows and let the cobwebs blow away and  be replaced by the scents of blossoms.  (They will make my husband sneeze, but, like winter, this too shall pass.)

To the end of time, His promises shall endure.  The earth may be thrown inches off its axis, but yet – there will be spring.  Earthquakes make make us feel like a two-year-old with only a washcloth to contain all the droplets of a springtime shower, and still yet – His mercies are new every morning.

The flowers are watered now.  Will God use this devastation in Japan to bring the seeds of His gospel – to water them?  This is what we are praying for.  Only He could use death to bring life – most specifically, the death of His Son.  What a longing we have to see many come to life, to see the earth warmed and the blossoms summoned from the ground.  To see flourishing, lushness that can only come from growing in Jesus, drinking deeply of His rain.  Only He can satisfy.  Only He can wake up a world once frozen in the dead of winter.  Only he can use the dreary rain to accomplish such life.

For now, the simple miracle of Spring is calling me to trust His promises once again.

 

 

Two February 18, 2011

Filed under: family — steveamy @ 21:32

That’s what she’ll say if you ask her how old she is.  Or she might just stare at you.  Or hide her face.  Or giggle uncontrollably.  In fact, she might do just about anything, because she is, of course, two.

Her favorite things:

1) Mommy!

2) Daddy.

3)  Little brother.

4) Her special baby. And babies in general.

(This was the day she piled about five diapers on top of each other to save time in her busy schedule as a mom. She also ditchedher pants.  When you’re two, these things make sense.)

5) Beads.  And coloring.

6) Jumping on the “jumpoline” and beds . . . and couches . . . and the floor . . . and her baby brother . . . .

(Side story: Today I laid Isaiah down and then turned my back for a moment as I went about my work.  Moments later, I heard Sierra’s giggles and smiled to myself over her contagious happiness.  Then I heard the words, “Jump on Isaiah!!”  Did I just hear . . . I turned back to see Sierra holding on to a piece of furniture, jumping with both feet on her brother’s belly.  I snatched her off as quickly as I could, then turned back to see if Isaiah was okay.  A huge smile and giggle met me as I came into his line of vision. Yup. So much fat comes in handy sometimes.  Tough little guy!)

7) Going outside

(Especially when it involves her baby and stroller and/or slides and swings.)

8 ) Boats and trains.  We went to a museum recently with friends and she LOVED seeing trains and boats in real life!

9) Dancing. And running around in circles.  Especially if she’s playing dress-up!

Oh, there are many more “favorite things” . . . such as dear relatives and friends, baths, Daddy’s guitar playing, storytime, snacks — you know, the simple things of life. Every day with her is an adventure.  Every day is a day in which we all learn something new.

Every day is a gift.