Tuesday, May 7, 2013

True Freedom

"To enjoy thee is life eternal, and to enjoy is to know. Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually." - Valley of Vision

Last year, my husband and I had some Muslim friends over for dinner. We had spent the entire semester getting to know them through a ministry that our church is involved in that helps them learn English. As eager young students in America for the first time, they loved hearing about all things USA, even our religion. Of course, that meant that we also would hear about their religion, which we happily obliged. We were intrigued as they talked about the many facets of Islam, many of which I had never heard before. But one statement really stayed with me, and still is with me today:

"At the end of your life you can only hope that you have done enough good for Allah to allow you into heaven."

That sobered me. In that moment it hit me--they have no assurance of their own salvation. They have no way of knowing whether or not they will spend eternity in heaven or hell. They are strictly at the mercy of a god who reserves the right to turn them away if he thinks they aren't good enough.

Christianity is the only religion that promises the exact opposite. Yes, it gives us the condemnation that we are utterly sinful and unable to save ourselves. But it also delivers good news. Someone else paid the penalty for us. And not just anyone, it was God himself.

Micah 7:18 tells us that God blots out our transgressions. This is true freedom, not that we can save ourselves, but that our gracious and merciful God saves us from ourselves. We are free because of Christ's atoning blood.

What our friends are blinded to is the reality that no amount of good will ever be enough. And yet, deep down I think they know that. They are constantly hoping and working to do enough good, all the while wondering if it will ever be enough. They are in bondage to their own quest for good works. God tells us that we are free because of Christ's good work. We can rest in his goodness and know that it saves and sanctifies us and will one day carry us to glory.

The different between Christianity and all other religions is that Christianity promises that you are free in Christ. Only by the Savior's precious blood can you be truly free, free at last.

Monday, May 6, 2013

What I've Been Up To: Being a Mom

It's hard to believe that the boys are already three months old. I feel like I say that every week! But yesterday they passed the three month mark and we are more in love with them today than we were yesterday.

They are rapidly growing boys, and they sure like to eat! Nearly two weeks ago, Zach weighed 9 lbs 7 oz and Luke weighed 8 lbs. Not bad for babies that were born in the 3 lb range. They are slowly getting better at napping and sleeping, though they go down at night pretty well (which is a huge blessing for mommy and daddy). They still get up twice in the middle of the night, but Daniel and I alternate those feedings, so only one of us gets up for each feedings. Survival is a key word around here these days.

I knew that I would love them deeply when I saw their sweet faces, but I had no context for how my heart would swell with love upon their arrival. And I had no idea how it would only grow with each passing day. Just when I thought I couldn't love them more, I wake up and there it is--more love in my heart for them.

I also feel like I'm slowly emerging from a three month coma. Life has continued on for everyone else and I've been in my own little world far, far away from everyone else. First it was the NICU that kept me away, then it was adjusting to life at home with two very little babies. I finally feel good about leaving the house with the both of them. And we even took our first family trip to Branson, MO!

I've managed to write a few things for other websites since they have been home, but as you can see by the crickets chirping on this blog that my writing has been sporadic at best. That doesn't mean I don't have a ton of ideas and half written posts in this frazzled brain of mine. I told a friend the other day that I'm learning that motherhood doesn't mean you check your thinking at the birthing room, but it sure does mean you have to write when you have time or deal with half written posts for a while.

And that's the crazy thing about motherhood. It gives you so many more new ideas to write about, but there is always a shortage of time to do much of anything, like basic personal hygiene. So writing has been low on the priority totem pole, at least writing on the blog. But, boy, do I have ideas. Hopefully in the coming days, weeks, and months I can get around to those ideas for my own soul, and for my readers as well.

So thanks for sticking around. I have not left for good. Just consider this silence as an extended maternity leave, one that will most likely be ending slowly in the near future.