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Barbie Princesses

God has a sense of humor. How do I know? First: He made you and me. Second: He made children. He also gave us the process whereby children are made. Ahem. I wonder if the angels look down upon us so engaged, and laugh? “This they call ‘love?'”

My wife and I have two of those miraculous entities known as “offspring.” And we also know a little (a very little) of the derision large families often receive: “You have how many?” Only for us the question is “They’re how far apart? What were you thinking?” We weren’t (did you not see the previous paragraph?).

Only that’s not quite true. Certainly passion played a part, but the truth is we were told we wouldn’t be having any children. And then eight years into our marriage, we had a son. A precious boy.

And then the Lord shutteth up my wife’s womb tighter than a water-proof drum.

We had our son, our miracle child, and thought we were done.

Eight years later, after years of questioning looks (“When are you having another one?”), unplanned, unexpected, unlooked (but not unhoped) for, the unthinkable:

In the sixteenth year of our marriage, my wife was pregnant again! “Didn’t plan that very well, did you?” people would ask. “We didn’t plan it at all,” we would invariably answer.

Folks didn’t quite know what to do with that, but it was marvelous in our eyes. We–my wife and I–were often rendered quite speechless at what the Lord had done…

Which brings me to right now, tonight, six years after our daughter entered our lives. As I was putting her to bed, she asked me to read her the story of Princess Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty) wedding preparations. She has a pillow book deatailing the account of how the princess came to find just the right wedding gown.

My daughter is in every sense a little girl, and my princess. In fact, today is her birthday. Happy birthday, Bella! image

Her brother is no longer little, but is nevertheless very much all boy, and wants to be the hero. So it was, after reading Sleeping Beauty with my daughter, I found myself slaying orcs with my son. (And in the midst of this–two kids wanting my time and attention–my wife was down with a migraine. She hasn’t had one in years. Please pray for Lisa).

And I would like to think that God looks down with pleasure on my little family.

Both children were unlooked for, but both are entirely blessings. Having them in such different phases of life can be exhausting.

But neither my wife, nor I, would trade them in for anything.

When’s the last time the Lord brought something unexpected into your life? How did you respond?

I’ve been wondering lately about the nature of life. You could say I’ve been grappling with it my whole life. Here’s what I keep coming back to: no one gets out alive.

At least not in the bodies we were born into. And who would want to? Mine has:

A bit too much padding around the middle.

Sleep apnea.

And came with only one kidney.

In a way, it was born worn out, already dying. At least that’s what the medical professionals tell us.

And so do the Scriptures. We are “born in sin, and shapen in iniquity.” Our parents, at the pinnacle of their earthly ecstasies, were breeding sinners.

We come out of the birth canal doubly dead: our cells have begun their divisive march towards eventual death, and we, long before our first cogent thoughts, have inherited our parents’ natures.

It is a sad situation.

But for Jesus–who said “you must be born again.” There is of course no crawling back into the womb again–no, this is a spiritual birth.

Even so, we will all still die: because life as we know it was not meant to be “survived.” The fact is: we either die to ourselves, or just finally, completely, utterly die.

Never again to rise.

We must be born again.

Are you born again?


Today I have the great privilege to guest post for Jon Stolpe, of the eponymous Jon Stolpe Stretched. He’s been a reader here for sometime, was there for me when I went through a rough patch last fall, and subsequently asked me for a guest spot on how God has been stretching me.

What follows is an excerpt from what I call “The Status Quo is a No-Go:”

In many ways, I’m a great fan of the status quo. I’m happiest when things are copacetically homogenous. Or something like.

Yet over and against this is the old saw that “change is the only constant.” This is undoubtedly true. And for the Christian doubly so, because–as others have so eloquently said–“there’s no standing still in Christ.”

Yet, as a generally introverted person, a man of a certain age, with a wife, two children, and a demanding career, it’s nice when things stay the same for a season (or two, or three). However, over and against this attitude is a God who, through Jesus his son, loves me enough to not leave me as I am.

To read the rest, please click here to head over to Jon’s blog. While you’re there, I know he’d love it if you looked around, read some of his other posts, left a comment or two.

You can connect with Jon on his blog, or via Twitter @jonstolpe