Friday, December 31, 2010

All things new

My thoughts are still scattered... not leaving the house for two weeks and waking every 2 hours will do that to you I guess. However I wanted to post on this last day of 2010.

I have never had such a full year. I say "full" not only in a positive and satisfied sense, but in a broken and humbled sense as well.

Many people have been posting their "year of statuses in 2010" on Facebook. This typically is pretty fun, but this year I am actually scared of it. What days will pop up? What pain will surface as those days are remembered even in such a simple exercise? And then I think about the amazing days. My year in statuses would be a full spectrum of emotion.

This year started with heartbreak and grief, deep darkness and despair and led that way through much of the year. Grief has been a dominant theme as I lost a baby and a close friend.

But the darkest of the pain and despair made ways for the brightness of His glory in the midst of my brokenness. I am convinced more than ever of God's goodness, grace, and faithfulness to me. My relationship with God has deepened as I continue to learn to depend on Him for all things and trust His plan for my life. Hope and expectancy of His return are deeply rooted in me.

This new year's eve I look back and I am grateful for every day of 2010 as much as it hurts to remember. I look forward to the new year and to the day when God will make all things new.

190. Darkness used by God to show His light.
191. God's faithfulness even when our hearts fail.
192. God's greatness and glory.
193. He holds every one of our tears in a jar.
194. God's compassion and mercy that comes to us and heals.
195. Immanuel-God with us.
196. Hope of heaven, our Home, where we were made for.
197. Life that he knit together in my womb. One who is in heaven, one newborn I kiss daily, and one big brother who is generous with hugs and kisses.
198. A growing big brother with a sweet spirit and an adventurous little boy's heart.
199. God's provision through my husbands hard work.
200. Deepening relationships and a community that I can depend on.
201. Fun trips throughout the year.
202. A husband who loves me and our family and continues to grow as a leader of our home.
203. All the details of life that have been cared for as I trust Him.
204. New books
205. New art and courage to create
206. New hobbies
207. That God's Word is trustworthy and true.

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.'

And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'" Revelation 21: 1-5

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Matthew David

My thoughts and emotions are all jumbled as I sit down to write about my newborn son.  So, sorry if this doesn't all make sense together, but I thought it would be good to get things down and then maybe in a few posts or so there will be a more concise cohesive post.

What a year.  What an amazing way to finish a year and to celebrate Christ this Christmas.  January started out with heartbreak and grief as we mourned a pregnancy loss.  I now sit with a five day old son, healthy and perfect, sitting in my lap.  I have no idea how a year could start out so bleak and end up so bright and full of promises fulfilled, except that God would and does receive the glory.  He has continued to prove Himself good in my darkest nights and shines brightly in the most joyous and happy moments.

We chose to name our son Matthew David.  Matthew means "gift of God" and David means "beloved".  I know more than ever that this baby comes as a blessing and a gift from my heavenly Father.  I praise God for Him and lift every worry and concern about his precious life up to our Father who holds all things in His hands.

I think that's enough for now! Let's continue to give thanks:

180.  A healthy baby boy.
181.  A healthy and quick delivery.
182.  Family and church family that help in the transition of adding a new baby to the family.
183.  Ten tiny toes and ten tiny fingers.
184.  A baby who came as the least of these to be our Savior
185. Mary's faith and David's faithfulness.
186.  God's plan of redemption.
187.  Chocolate...yes I can have it again!
188.  The anticipation of Christmas dinner with family.
189.  Snuggling with my little gift.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Early Christmas

Christmas came a little early this year. More details later. For now, a picture speaks a thousand words!

Matthew David Tarplee, DEC 16 2010 at 11:16 a.m. 6lbs 14 oz 19 inches long.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Continual Passion

"The whole of Christ's life was a continual passion; others die martyrs but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha, where he was crucified, even in Bethlehem where he was born; for to his tenderness then the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after and the manger as uneasy at first as the cross at last.  His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas day and his Good Friday were but the morning and the evening of one and the same day.  From creche to cross is an inseparable line. Christmas only points forward to Good Friday and Easter.  It can have no meaning apart from that, where the Son of God displayed his glory by his death." John Donne

Recently I did a three piece series of paintings for a friend's birthday.  This is the third in the series.  Of all three paintings I spent the most time on this one and found myself meditating and worshiping as I painted.  I was struck throughout the series of the use of wood and straw and how even that seemed to turn against Christ even though it provided shelter and protection for the rest of creation.

"And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”  Luke 9:58

The fox has found shelter under a tree and the bird weaves together twigs and vines have her young.  God has provided for his creation with the same material that causes suffering and displays Christ's death.  Rather than shelter and comfort, a crown of thorns that ripped into his flesh and a tree upon which to die.

"The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him." John 1:9,10

From the straw and wood, basic things of creation, to the people, Christ in all his glory was rejected.

AND YET, he came, he lived, he suffered, and he conquered death. 

"He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1: 11-13

Amazing Love!  All for me and for you and for all who confess His name to be adopted as children of God.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Charles Wesley

  A great read for this advent season!  The John Donne quote at the top of this post came from this little jewel.  

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