She grew up in a beautiful home, she said. To illustrate, she told this story: Once, I went over to my Auntie's house. She and my Uncle were arguing. I was shocked. "Adults fight, too, Auntie?' I asked. "I thought fighting was only for kids ." You see, Dr. Elizabeth? My parents gave us a beautiful childhood. I was about nine years old when I learned that adults could [be selfish], too. As she told the story, I felt myself unable to breathe at the perfection of it all. What kind of love and selflessness must have permeated that home? What a legacy. Exactly the legacy that by God's grace I want to leave my children.
Even while he was sick, Papa regularly went to the grocery store to buy me non-perishable food items. He especially liked to buy things that were quick and easy for me to cook. "Make it easy on yourself, Liz," he would say. He meant, "don't get so wrapped up in complex, gourmet living that you forget the simple pleasures of the good life God has given you." Papa always got his point across in fewer words. Tonight, we are eating the last of the pasta he purchased before he died. He would have loved to meet his great grandson, who is currently eyeing up the bubbling pasta pot. Soon enough, little one. I will buy and cook you pasta in memory of your great-papa. You will find that pasta is one of the quickest, cheapest pleasures in life. And some night, if you are ever standing in front of your pantry wondering what to cook for dinner, you may remember the sage advice of a man I wish you would have known. In regards to daily life, don't get too fancy
How badly do we want God compared to all the other things we crave? This the difference between living a mediocre, anemic Christian life and one that is powerful for the Kingdom. Taking a step away from Facebook for the past few days, I see how my judgment has become influenced by this world. Am I aiming to live a life about which God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Or one that chases the wind of my own goals, timelines, and image? Am I willing to step away from things that eat into my time with Him... even good things like being an excellent wife/mother/friend/employee? Or have I not allowed any time in my schedule for God to take me in directions other than the ones I have planned? In a generation and culture of weak Christianity, I find myself wondering what sort of faith drove the apostles to their deaths singing. It must be the same faith our brothers and sisters in the persecuted church live out, every day, around the world. A faith that is scarily absent in
Mom, why is my hair doing this? The other kids at school are going to think I'm trying to be cool. Which is so not cool. Sorry, bub. With your Dad's hair genes and your Mom's refusal to ever style her hair, we could have predicted this crisis.
Ethan recently challenged me about the motivation behind wearing makeup, as a woman and as a Christian. Honestly, I can't find a Biblical argument in support of it. This certainly doesn't make the practice wrong, but it very likely means it is not best. Interestingly, my makeup bag is in my car, which has been in the shop all week; the entire situation is very timely. I find myself asking these questions in the time I previously would have been applying makeup: Why do I think makeup makes me more attractive? More importantly, why do I want to be more attractive? This has little to do with the gentle and quiet spirit Peter exhorts women to possess, and much more to do with the adornments he warns against. Adornments are most certainly a heart issue. I guess my question is: what isn't a heart issue? There isn't anything inherently wrong with looking nice, but seeking approval from others with our looks ("selfies", borderline risque clothing, etc) smacks
"To the spiritual man, all things are spiritual." I am starting to realize that there is no issue too small to pray through, because there is no issue too small to distract and derail us spiritually. This Christian life is a continual determination to bring our eyes off of our circumstances (new motherhood, employment, pleasure) and towards the cross. If we do not, we will forever be slaves to minutia.
Dear Little Boy, I love the way you smile as you're falling asleep, especially if someone is rubbing your head. I love how you sit in your little man chair and string sounds together into conversation, complete with inflection and facial expression. I love the way your eyes brighten as you wake to find me close to your face, ready to kiss your nose. I love how you intently study any new object until you give yourself hiccups. I love the way you considerately give two punctuated cries of discontent when you are wet or otherwise unhappy, prior to breaking into an all-out wail. I love how you throw a fist pump in the air when you're done eating, how your arms and legs move in all directions like a caffeinated techno dancer when you're excited, and how you stick out your tongue when you're most happy. I love pretty much everything about you, in all the moments God has given us together these past two months. I don't want to miss any of your moments. I know you
I've always been skeptical of modern day miracles. To me, Christian "healing" conjured up images of television evangelists wearing too much hair product and soliciting unsuspecting victims to "plant a seed of faith for only $1,000" to somehow coerce God into supernatural intervention. I used to listen to testimonies in church with what I considered well-placed medical skepticism. Certainly there were therapeutic interventions and diagnostic errors that accounted for most purported cases of healing, But one week ago, I had a first hand encounter with a real life, modern miracle. Today, I am holding him as I type. His name is Josiah, which means "Jehovah has healed". We initially chose Josiah as our "boy" name after (arguably) the most godly Biblical king; Josiah was appointed at age 8, sought God seriously at age 16, and conducted a nationwide religious reform at age 20. The name also reflected the healing surrounding our child's c
Completely in awe that this gift of new life has come to us. Along with the miracle of God's healing, it is almost too much to put into words... though I will attempt soon. Our hope remains in Christ Jesus, through whom we have received every good gift. We pray that Josiah's life will forever make much of our great God.
On one of my (multiple) trips to the bathroom last night, I knelt by the baby's crib to pray. I asked God to bless our child with a deep knowledge of the Holy. I prayed that this unborn life would be used to preach the Gospel to many. I asked God to make Himself real to this child, every day of his or her life. And I realized: really, nothing matters about how we raise our children, if at the end of they day they do not know and love the Lord. No career, no spouse, no achievement will satisfy our children. Asking for anything besides God's presence in this child's life, at this point, seems silly and counterproductive. If He does not go with us, I pray He does not send us out of this season of need and dependence. If He is not leading, we would be wise not to take another step. These past few weeks, I have felt God answer the majority of my prayers with the same two words: I AM. God, please heal this child. I AM. God, teach me to trust You more. Increase my faith.
Last week's ultrasound of the baby's brain looked, to my overly Google-trained eye, significantly different than the previous five (abnormal) studies. By our sixth ultrasound, we had seen four different specialists; each of whom with varying degrees of confidence told us that our baby is most likely missing part of his or her brain. Until the last one. She concluded that in some views, it seemed very likely the marker for the organ in question was actually present. However, she also stated that the previous specialist (who had told us she was 95% sure this portion of the baby's brain was missing) had done studies that were "far more advanced" than those a typical perinatologist would do. The final physician's official "read" on the ultrasound was that no new information could be ascertained, and direct imaging of the baby's brain would be necessary after birth. Yet. The timing rules against coincidence. Typically, the structure in question
Exhausted from carrying thirty extra pounds and an unmentionable number of grocery bags through the Rochester tundra, I sank to the floor in the kitchen to sort them. This song was playing, on repeat, from my nearby computer: I hadn't heard it before Sunday, but since then I have strongly considered adopting it as a manifesto for this season. This is a time when my strength is insufficient. No amount of planning, effort, or chutzpah on my part will change the outcome of this pregnancy or our child's brain. And while God cannot be coerced, in Scripture He is often willing to intercede to meet a humble request. Before I stood up, I reflected on these lines: No power can stand against You No curse assault Your throne No one can steal Your glory For it is Yours alone I stand to sing Your praises I stand to testify For I was dead in my sin but now I rise I will rise, As Christ was raised to life. And I realized: when we come to Christ, begging for the crumbs that fall from t
I am 29 years old, and have never given up anything for Lent. In the past, I figured expending spiritual energy to "do" something for God made more sense than to "not do" something. It took me nearly three decades to realize that we are always "doing" something. The glass is never half full. It is always, always, totally full -- of something. If there is half a cup of water, the other half is air. Whatever we "add" to our schedules results in the removal of something else, either knowingly or unknowingly. Whatever we "add" to our thoughts results in the crowding out of something else. This principle holds spiritually, as well. If I face a day carrying half a cup of worry, I have less capacity for faith. Recently, I have found myself intellectualizing our baby's condition. Intellectualization is a "mature" psychological coping mechanism, which supposedly reduces anxiety by accruing knowledge with which to combat
How a year changes everything. Last year at this time, Ethan and I were scrambling to finish up medical school and residency (respectively), while planning a wedding, moving him from Arkansas to New York, and wrapping up our transatlantic relationship (after he spent three months in India, and a month in Lesotho). We planned to adopt. Someday. Ethan had been tested post-chemotherapy, and told he would never be able to have children. Naturally, at least. But we have a supernatural God, who thought it best to make us parents during our second month of marriage (and Ethan's first month of residency). His ways are not our ways. This past month, we have found ourselves immersed in the prayers of believers (and unbelievers!) around the world after several prenatal ultrasounds found our miracle baby's brain "abnormal". We are both physicians, and we know these abnormal findings are not "soft markers" (i.e. not easily misinterpreted). So we find ourselves p