Mar 2 2012

what I’m listening to

Music is a powerful influence.  I’ve heard it said that music is the only thing that can enter a persons soul without getting permission from the mind (or something like that, anyway.)  Regardless, music has a tremendous ability to illicit deep seated emotions and move us in profound ways.

An album that I’ve been particularly fond of and moved by lately is “The One You Need” by Shane and Shane .  Songs about Liberty, celebrating our freedom in Christ.  Songs proclaiming the sufficiency of God’s grace, even (or especially) in the midst of hard times.  The title track is a moving description of a father’s prayer over his daughter.  It’s totally worth looking up the music video.

Last night, we put in the album after our family dinner and turned it up.  After a good romp around the room to “Liberty” the upbeat opener, the second number, a melodious song entitled, “Your Love,” began to play.  The flowing tune and powerfully descriptive lyrics drew out some of the old ballerina in Carrie.  I stood holding our youngest and watched in awe as my beautiful bride graciously spun across the floor with my two older children captivated.  As the dancing continued, my heart continually grew fuller as I marveled at the goodness that the Lord has lavished on my family.  As Lillie twirled like her mom, I saw there, also in the deep parts of my heart, a yearning for my children to follow us in knowing the love of the Lord as much as they mimic our movements.

God’s love often comes in the form of rebuke, discipline, and conviction, of which I’ve had plenty.  And thankfully, His love also comes in the form of twirls, giggles, and tender moments that fill the heart.  I love my God, and I love my family.

I did manage to snag a few precious moments of the “show”, so I hope you enjoy a sliver of what I did.

Family Dance (click to view)

Aug 26 2011

Scariest Moment — Turning It Over

Caleb & Lillie

Pool Time

I’ve had plenty of intense moments in my 30+ years thus far on earth.  Some of them, I would even classify as “scary.”  Examples of varying consequence come to mind:  university dining hall mystery meats, tuition payments, jumping off cliffs into rivers, sleeping on the cold ground in Malawi with malaria-carrying mosquitoes around, money troubles, health troubles of loved ones, moving away from family and support system, and the list could go on.  And yet, yesterday provided the scariest moment of my life — as I chugged through my to-do list in the basement office, a fearful scenario that has initiated in my head many times began playing out.

The kids were upstairs asleep.  Lillie had a bit of a fever earlier in the morning, and so Carrie had gone upstairs to check on her as she napped.  Next thing I know, Carrie is frantically calling my name to come upstairs because something is wrong with Lillie.  As Carrie had checked on her, she had begun to rouse herself from her nap only to lay down and go limp.  When Carrie picked her up, she went into a febrile seizure.  By the time I hit the top of the stairs, her lips were blue, face pale, eyes rolled back, and she was shaking.  As I tried to steady my voice in order to clearly speak to the 911 operator, I realized that I was the most scared I’d ever been.

Carrie held her, rocked her, wiped cool water over her head.  We spoke to her, and we begged the Lord to help us all.  That’s when the thought first flashed through my head: “Do you trust me?

After only a couple of minutes, the colour came back to her face . . . her eyes began to look a little more focused . . . her silence turned to moans which turned to a muffled cry . . . all good signs.  I woke Caleb up from his nap as the paramedics arrived and finally had more time to think.  Again: “Do you trust me?”  A few initial tests, a few gathered neighbours, and Carrie and Lillie headed off in the ambulance — stable — but still with plenty of questions.

As Caleb and I drove to CHEO, three references played repeatedly through my head:

  1. Lyrics from a Ginny Owens song:  “When the whole world turns against me, and I’m all by myself, and I cannot hear you answer my cries for help.  I’ll remember the suffering Your love put You through, and I will go through the valley, if You want me to.”
  2. 2Corinthians 12:9a > “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
  3. Luke 22:42 > “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Thankfully, as it turns out, the seizure did not last long enough for serious concern, and while the infection causing the fever has not been identified, Lillie’s blood tests look fine.  As well, her body now seems to be responding to fever medication.  What’s more is that we learned that febrile seizures are not terribly uncommon in children under 5yrs when high fevers strike.

But while the seriousness of Lillie’s illness doesn’t warrant the level of fear that struck my heart, the thoughts and struggles in the midst of the fear are no less valuable.  As I prayed for my daughter and for my family, I was forced to face the reality: Will I trust in the valley?  Is His grace sufficient in my weakness?  Am I okay with HIS will being done?

Praise the Lord that Lillie seems to be doing just fine . . . and praise Him all the more that in this crucible moment, my heart connected with Truth and how the Lord has been faithful to me in the past, and I was able to respond in faith.

I pray that this will be an encouragement to all (including myself in days ahead) to be able to say, “All to Jesus, I surrender”  . . . and, “It is well with my soul.”