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Archive for June, 2013


With General Assembly over, I could have a relaxing morning getting packed up. Check out time was 11 am so I enjoyed a cup of tea and did some reading. One of the other pastors asked me if the Paul Tripp book I was reading was new. Indeed! With some time to spare I called old friend Dr. Chris Probst to see how life in St. Louis was going. And I refrained from abusing him since the Red Sox are in first place.

Leaving Flat Rock took longer than anticipated for CavWife. You know how goodbyes can go. So they showed up a little late at the hotel. It was nearly time for lunch after I squeezed the burdened bags (all the free stuff and my notebook for GA were heavy), so it was off to Chick-fil-a for some lunch. Sadly, there was no play area at this C-F-A. But I enjoyed a reasonably healthy salad after all those not very healthy meals during the week.

We then made our way to the home of a childhood friend of CavWife’s. We enjoyed their hospitality, including crashing on the hammock in the backyard. My friend Eddie and his family joined us for a rather large dinner. We eventually put the kids to sleep in the room we were staying in. Yes, all 6 of us were in the same room- on a bed, on a futon and on the floor. After more conversation, and a phone call to an elder back in AZ I was ready to go to bed later than expected. We had an early morning coming.

Thanks to the white noise we used to help the kids sleep, a rain storm, I kept waking up having to go to the bathroom. It was a restless night and 6 am came way too soon. By 6:30 we were dressed, packed up and ready to head back to Atlanta for our flight up to NJ. This time it was a largely uneventful ride into Atlanta … until the airport. I found the signage inadequate again. But we figured it all out and returned the van. We had to re-arrange some things and rebuild the boxes for the booster seats. It took awhile with 4 kids continually finding a way to be in the way.

There were a number of differences between the rental Town & Country and our Town & Country. I enjoyed the improved fuel economy (5-6 mpg more than ours!) and the video when you are in reverse. I was not wild about the new placement for power supplies and shifter. But it served us well. And so did the car seats we left behind. Yes, they were set to expire so I didn’t have to lug them around anymore. My knuckles were thankful. New seats awaited us in NJ.

Now we had to make the trek to the tram, then ticketing, then the tram and the gate. All went well, and soon we were on our way to Chicago. This time we had a good layover so there was no rushing around. I was able to make a few calls. And then we were off to Newark- the flower of New Jersey. Thankfully another uneventful trip.

Dan picked us up in Mike’s Denali. Apparently the new Denalis have less storage space and more leg room. That was not the equation I really wanted. While CavWife properly installed the car seats I played puzzle with the luggage. We all fit in for the ride to Newfoundland. After passing the infamous Hibernia Diner, we got to the Hric home in time for some dinner.

After putting the kids to sleep, Dan and I tried to watch the Bruins’ game. They have Apple TV so there was no live network TV. Soon we found the NBCSports App to download so we could watch the game on my iPad. Good game, lousy outcome.

I had a rough night’s sleep on the Tempurpedic due to the heat and humidity sans a/c. We went to worship in the church CavWife grew up in. Of course it is much bigger, and different. The worship has changed considerably since the last time we were there about 10 years ago. Gone was the organ trying to play more contemporary songs. They had a worship team, and had a low or free worship style (pick your term) and some of the songs were new to us. Good, but new to us (and easy to learn). The sermon was from a series on Galatians, so that is always good. It was not a very long service, and we also enjoyed seeing some old friends.

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Much has been said on the internet about the PCA GA, as usual. I have found misrepresentations, distortions and knee jerk reactions galore. I hope to avoid all that. I hope to be as objective as I can.

For me the General Assembly began around 5 pm on Tuesday afternoon. My friend Eddie and I attended the Ligonier Panel on Christology. The panel featured R.C. Sproul (obviously), Ligon Duncan, Robert Godfrey, Sinclair Ferguson and Richard Pratt. They each brought a different emphasis in how they viewed Christology under attack in the church and world. I was exhausted from not enough sleep the night before, so I can’t recall all that was said. Ferguson talked quite a bit about the influence of Schleiermacher on the church of Scotland. Many of the same things can be said about the church in the States. Pratt talked about issues of Christology on the mission field. People need to know who this Christ really is, and how He saves. Apart from solid Christology there really is no gospel message. It was good to see Sproul in public. He seemed sharp and on track. This was a moderated discussion. I’d recommend you watch it.

As I noted, I was exhausted. There were many good things about the opening worship service, but I thought the sermon went on too long. And there was a second, shorter sermon before the Lord’s Table. The focus for the 3 services would come from Revelation 21-22, all things new. The first message was about the new creation we will one day inhabit.

We then began business with the election of the Moderator. Two men were presented to us as nominees. Most of us knew neither of them. This is one of my great frustrations with General Assembly- being asked to vote for people I do not know. The choice of a Moderator is very important. A good moderator keeps the business flowing. A not so good one gets the assembly bogged down in procedural matters which actually interfere with the business. Let’s just say we didn’t choose wisely. I am sure he is a great guy, but this is an honor but not honorary. It is a great responsibility. Perhaps we need to do a better job preparing nominees for the task of leading General Assembly.

The next morning I went to 2 seminars. Okay, 1 and 1/2. I was a bit late for the seminar on repentance. Ed Eubanks was helping us think through how the Bible uses repentance in distinction to how we use the term. There was a fair amount of give and take in a constructive manner as some of his thoughts were challenged. I think the bottom line is that we need to have a fuller understanding of the various ways in which Scripture urges us to respond when we as Christians sin. Sometimes our theological and homoletical shorthand is neither sufficient nor clear.

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Last year CavWife set the wheels in motion. She was envious that I got to spend time with some of our best friends from Florida. With Greenville the site for this year’s GA, she believed she and the kids should travel with me and spend time with some of our friends.

We tried various permutations. But like Jerry to Babu, it was looking like the wheels were just spinning, not going anywhere. I was not excited about the prospect of driving across the country for General Assembly, heading north for vacation and then driving back to the AZ. Not restful at all, and I had a bad back experience in April. Thankfully we found a flight deal that was only slightly more expensive than if we just flew to the Northeast for vacation.

We would fly into Atlanta, rent a van to drive to Greenville and then return to Atlanta to fly into Newark and begin our vacation. Sounds great, right?

The kids couldn’t wait. They wanted to pack about a week ahead of time. We had to keep putting them off. That is always fun.

But the magic day arrived. I had much to do to prepare for that day: liturgy for the entirety of my time away, most of my sermon prep for the week I got back … and so on.

We had an afternoon flight out of town, so we had a good lunch at home before being driven to the airport by a friend. We had a short layover in Denver that concerned me. We had 30 minutes to get from one flight to another with 2 car seats and 4 kids. I was losing sleep over this.

And then our flight out was delayed. And delayed again. This wasn’t good. But we were assured that our flight would be held since it was the last flight out of Denver for Atlanta and 17 of us were making the connection. Okay.

Though we left late, the flight was essentially uneventful. Thankfully our departure gate was not far from our arrival gate in Denver. We even had time to go to the bathroom since that flight was delayed. Soon we were in the air for the relatively short flight to Atlanta.

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Our world is insane about many things. Sin will do that, produce a form of insanity. But when it comes to Sex & Money, our world is really crazy. Paul Tripp’s newest book is about these “pleasures that leave you empty and the grace that satisfies.”

He confesses that this was a very difficult book for him to write, precisely because of what it revealed about his own heart. Really, that is what most of this book is about: the heart. The manifestations of a heart gone astray he’s focused on are sex and money. This is not an easy book to read for the very same reasons- the waywardness of your own heart will be revealed.

“I am sad to think that when it comes to sex and money, we still buy into the legalism that says if we can organize people’s lives, give them the right set of rules, and attach them to efficient systems of accountability, we can deliver people from their sex-and-money insanity. … Few areas of the human struggle reveal more powerfully the sad sinfulness of sin than the sex-and-money evils that are done thousands of times every day.”

He begins the book with a series of scenarios that illustrate our insanity when it comes to sex and money.

  • A fifteen year-old self-appointed expert on oral sex.
  • An 8 year-old boy who is addicted to internet pornography.
  • A married man who masturbates daily.
  • Teachers having sex with under age students (nearly nightly on the news these days).
  • Unemployed high school students bombarded with offers for credit cards.
  • The average amount of consumer debt people carry creating an “anxiety-producing dance debt.”
  • Governments worldwide are deep in debt, near bankruptcy. And their citizens are rioting because they don’t get enough benefits.

And we could go on. You could go on. I know of pastors arrested in “massage parlors”. I know people arrested in the sting operations designed to get men trying to have sex with minors. And these are only what comes out in public. What of the sex and money sins that are still hidden?

“Both offer you an inner sense of well-being while having no capacity whatsoever to satisfy your heart.”

But there is a deeper theological orientation that Tripp wants us to consider: both creation and redemption. He made us sexual beings. He placed us in a world where sex and money issues are unavoidable and significant part of our ordinary experience. You should get the feeling that you are living in your own version of Deuteronomy 8: test, humbled and too often found wanting. Yet…

“The gospel graces us with everything we need to celebrate and participate in both areas of life in a way that honors God and fully enjoys the good things he’s given us to enjoy.”

Tripp moves into the dangerous dichotomy, expanding on the fact that God is Creator. One of the teachings that has done us much harm is that some of life is sacred and some is secular. The fact of creation shows, as Paul says in Colossians 1, that everything was made by God and for God. It is all intended to bring Him glory, and us good. it is all under His rule. A gospel-centered approach starts here because sex and money aren’t the real problem. We are.

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Let’s face it, men and women just don’t “get” each other. CavWife claims she keeps trying to understand how I think. I’ve told her to give up.

But to add to the mystery, there are times when we are really in synch. At other times it is like we are speaking different languages.

“Guys think of a woman as a swamp. You can’t see where you’re stepping and sooner or later you just know you’re going to get stuck in quicksand.”

Many books have been written to help one sex understand the other sex. Of course, if men and women were the same this wouldn’t be so difficult. Guys generally understand guys. And women generally understand women. I think.

In some ways For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn is one half of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. But they did quantifiable research first (they include a section about their methodology). They also used focus groups. You get the idea that Shaunti did the heavy lifting and Jeff wrote this version of the book. He tries hard to be funny. Sometimes he succeeds. And sometimes …. maybe it was because I typically read this book before going to bed. But they try to keep it light even as they talk about some serious material.

They are trying to remove the mystery enough to help people improve their relationships with their spouse. They offer 7 revelations they have uncovered through their research. They are Christians, but there is very little here that has to do with Christianity. That is unfortunate. The book could have been far more than a communication book. Because it treats these issues as communication issues, you can get the impression that if you just do the right thing life will be so much better. Who needs Jesus for that? But if we bring Jesus into the relationship, we bring the gospel into contact with these deep seated needs instead of acting like one another’s functional savior.

And that is part of the point they make. Women are generally insecure when it comes to this significant relationship. As much as men are thinking about sex, women seem to be thinking about “the relationship.” I think Jesus might have something to say about that just as much as he does with men’s obsession with sex.

“If she doesn’t feel loved, it’s the same for her as if she isn’t loved.”

The first revelation is essentially counter-productive. When she feel insecure in the relationship, she will tend to do things that are confusing or upsetting until you (amazingly) reassure her. Did you catch that? Instead of directly saying “I feel insecure” she’ll push you away or otherwise clamor for attention until you reassure her. But since you probably just figured she’s mad or crazy, the last thing you think of doing is actually reassuring her. Yeah, counter-productive.

The second revelation is that women multi-task relationally. In other words, they are pretty much always contemplating a relationship even though they might be making dinner, doing laundry AND helping the kids with homework. It is almost like anti-virus software that is always at work while you are running 4 other programs with 15 tabs or windows open.

I think you get the idea, and I don’t want to give too much away. In addition to giving you the results of surveys, they also provide comments made during their focus groups, and stories of people they know that illustrate the point they are trying to make.

The book is interesting and easy to read. The question is … is it helpful? Some men may find it helpful. For the reasons I mentioned above, I did not find it incredibly helpful. And the fact that CavWife is an outlier. Or at least she claims to be.

[I received a complimentary copy of this book for the purposes of review.]

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As I previously mentioned, I would be going through John Frame’s The Doctrine of the Christian Life in accordance with the sections of the book. The second section of the book is an examination of Non-Christian Ethics. This section of the book is extremely helpful for understanding politics, not just ethics, since politics is often a large scale expression of ethics.

As one should expect, Frame utilizes both his understanding of Lordship attributes and triperspectivalism to analyze the numerous ways that non-Christians have done ethics. He starts with the biblical tension between transcendence and immanence. The biblical concept of transcendence includes God’s control and authority. Immanence focuses on God’s presence. Since God is Lord, he is present, in control and has full authority.

Non-Christians (and some poor theologians), obviously, in rejecting the testimony of Scripture separate them and emphasize one over the other. Or completely ignore one. Deism, for instance, rejects the immanence of God. He is not present in creation but set it in motion. Rabbi Kushner embraces God’s presence but rejects his control and authority. Shirley McClaine is even more radical in stressing God’s immanence by thinking she is part of God.

Politically, an unbiblical transcendence makes the State god who determines right and wrong as well as dispensing rights (as well as taking them away according to who is in power). An unbiblical immanence places all the power in the self and gives rise to forms of libertarianism that reject external authority, like Ayn Rand.

Frame does the same thing with irrationalism and rationalism. We are rational beings, being made in the image of God. Yet, being finite, our knowing is not autonomous. We admit that there are things we cannot understand as a result of our finitude and our sinfulness. We see our irrationalism as a function of the Creator-Creature distinction.

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I am approximately 50% of the way through John Frame’s mammoth The Doctrine of the Christian Life as part of his Theology of Lordship series. I thought I ought to handle this book in light the larger sections John Frame creates in the book.

Thus far this is an excellent, challenging book. It is challenging intellectually, and it is challenging spiritually. It is a book I would heartily recommend because there is so much to wrestle with here beyond just “do this” and “don’t do that.”

“The Christian life is not only a matter of following rules of morality, but a dynamic experience: living in the fallen world, in fellowship with the living God.”

The first part, Introductory Considerations, is a mere 3 chapters and 40 pages. This section is mostly orienting people to how he does theology just in case they have arrived to the series mid-stream.

He begins with the question of why we should study ethics. He admits that he has been put off by many non-Christian approaches to ethics. But since the Bible deals with ethics from beginning to end, as a Christian we should think about ethics. But we have to think about them biblically.  We have to walk between the (anti-gospel) extremes of legalism and license.

“The liberal tendency to find loopholes in the moral law, to justify apparent sin, has given casuistry a bad name. The conservative tendency toward harshness and austerity has given moralism a bad name.”

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We didn’t realize how much of a miracle CavGirl was until we started trying to have another child. We had talked about adoption before we got married. When you have a thyroid disease, it only makes sense to cover all your bases. We had both thought about adoption before we met. I was now 40. We didn’t want too much time to pass before having another child, one way or another.

So we began the adoption process while trying to conceive again. We didn’t know how to choose an agency. We wanted one that shared our values. CavWife’s vacationing parents watched CavGirl as we went to an informational meeting at a popular agency’s Orlando office. There was only one other couple there. Amazingly I knew the woman. But we walked away unimpressed. I wasn’t sure what we were looking for, but I knew we hadn’t found it. This would become a theme in our process.

Nearly 4 months later we saw a poster that an adoption agency we had never heard of was having a seminar, nearby. I went alone. They didn’t begin with a presentation about babies, but a theological explanation of adoption as God’s plan A for some people. They understood where I was coming from, and spoke my language. We had found an agency. It was late spring of 2006.

We also had a country. We were leaning toward China after ruling out Korea. A couple had made a presentation about their experiences with Russia. Adopting from there at the time required you to be flexible and prepared for the unexpected. I was told that if you like a nice, orderly relatively predictable process you should go with China.

Soon they had another meeting at a local church. This was THE church in town at the time. We’d had a few people leave us to attend there. It had become the bane of my existence. I began to call it The Bane. But at that meeting one of the couple’s leading the meeting had adopted from China and lived locally. They would prove to be a big help in answering many questions that arose while we were in unfamiliar territory.

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Trust is an essential for leadership. To be effective, you have to trust people and people have to trust you. Trust is something that takes time to build.

But some leaders take the shortcut to accomplish their goals. The Mistakes Leaders Make include substituting control for trust.

“To empower people means learning how to lead people without controlling them.”

You cannot overestimate the value of trust in leadership. But you can’t overestimate the allure of control to leadership. Control offers the illusion of attaining your goals more quickly. It is a lie, obviously, but it sure gets lots of leaders to accept the lie. Control leads you to micro-manage people.

Trust doesn’t mean that you let people slide. You hold people accountable for their actions, choices and performance. Control is not letting them make choices but continually inspecting every action.

“The more freedom you give people to do their jobs, the way they’d like to do them, the more satisfaction they’ll get from their work.”

I’ve been micro-managed in the “real” world and in ministry. Hated it. You feel devalued as a person. When you control people you are saying either I don’t trust you or you are incompetent. One root of this is pride: no one can do this like I can.

Dave Kraft lists some warning signs for leaders to notice:

  • leads through control instead of collaboration;
  • always has to be right and seldom or never admits to being wrong;
  • uses anger as his primary means of getting results;
  • does most of the talking and very little of the listening;
  • always has to have all the answers and provide all the solutions;
  • always gets what he wants regardless of the price others pay;
  • feels threatened by those who are better at something than he is;
  • has to have an opinion on every subject and issue.

This leads to discontented, unfulfilled people. I worked in one place in which the CEO was quite controlling. We would walk on eggshells. I was glad when I got “laid off”. Things were not moving in a good direction and my discontent was going to get worse.

“Unfulfilled people can be just as serious a problem as inefficient methods.”

A discontent person or two does not mean leadership is the issue. But if many or most are discontent and unfulfilled … it is probably a leadership issue. I know that in this situation it was a leadership issue. Time would show there were some serious issues.

So leaders should look around periodically. Do I trust the people I lead to do their job well? Are they merely afraid of me or do they find joy in their job? It isn’t too late to return from the “dark side”. Of course, like Darth Vader it may cost you everything to do it. But controlling leaders can begin to trust others only if they ultimately trust God first and foremost.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,    and do not lean on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him,    and he will make straight your paths.7 Be not wise in your own eyes;    fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3

 

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As we’ve been noting, there are many Mistakes Leaders Make. One of the more serious mistakes, relating to discipleship, is confusing information with transformation.

Here is what Kraft means, in the context of his fictional church.

“Because quantity was a higher value than quality, people at CCC gradually made the mistake of replacing transformation (quality) with information (quantity). They were a Bible-teaching church. But they were at their core becoming a transactional (lots of activities) but not a transformational (life change) body of believers.”

The Senior Pastor put an emphasis on numbers- the growth of the church was measured quantitatively. There wasn’t really a matching focus on qualitative growth. It isn’t as if you have only one or the other. Any wise pastor wants BOTH. But I’ve seen many sacrifice the latter to pursue the former.

But even those who want to see qualitative growth can have inaccurate understanding of what it is and how it happens.

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I came home late from a meeting, tired. When I began to get ready for bed I heard it. Drip, drip, drip.

There were warning signs. Every few hours there would be a bunch of quick dribbles from the shower head. I knew this day was coming. Watching the kids turn off the shower made my cringe. You’d think they were tightening lug nuts on a car.

I was going to have a handy man who does work for us handle it. But in the morning I got the e-mail on our prayer chain. He’d fallen off a ladder and broken 2 ribs. He was not an option.

Now I had an unexpected repair project for my day off. I had done one of these repairs in our house in FL years before. It was a day I’d rather forget. Took me forever to get the valve out of there, and I never thought I’d get the new one in. I’d yet to discover plumber’s grease.

So, it was with a sense of dread that I began on Friday- late morning. I didn’t notice a brand name. But when I worked at Ace, the more experienced guys would tell a brand by looking at it, so I snapped a picture with my phone and went to (s)Lowe’s.

The guy had been talking to someone about copper pipe and seemed to know what he was talking about. He had no clue. He asked how it worked. You turned the handle counter-clockwise. “Not a Delta or a Moen.” He said I had to bring the valve stem in to us the display to find the right one. I remembered how difficult it was to get that out so many years ago.

But home I went, my first trip over.

I pulled out my Allen wrenches and tried to identify the correct one to remove the screw. I couldn’t find the right one. I had to go back to the garage and open the old metal tool box to see if I had more. Finally, one fit. But the handle was longer than the wrench. I struggled to get the proper leverage to remove it. I was finally able to get it to budge and did a series of quarter turns. The handle was loosened, but soon I could not turn it anymore.

I was stuck, and my window of opportunity was closing due to kids’ naps. I realized, finally, that I should turn off the water so I could turn the handle and actually see the screw. But it didn’t help.

My neighbor, how has better tools, came home so I asked for help. He is a mechanic, and has lots of tools. But plumbing was not an area of experience for me.

But we were able to get the handle off, but the screw was stripped and useless. And then I noticed that under the handle it said “Moen”.  The shower area could use more light, but this was mostly a problem of design. In the closed position, the handle covered the brand name. Time to turn the water back on because the kids were going for a nap.

During their naps I looked up the number I saw on the black piece I took off. Turns out that was just part of the handle assembly. But a frequently purchased item was the Posi-Temp Replacement Cartridge.

After naps I had some time before company arrived. This time I went to Ace. I had the part number for the replacement cartridge on my slip of paper (yeah, old school since my new school attempt failed last time). I also wrote down the core puller and brought the now useless screw. I knew Ace would have a screw to replace it.

Sure enough, Ace had everything I had.  Except extra time to finish the job. I had company waiting and chicken to grill. Trip #2.

After I got home I realized that I forgot to get plumber’s grease. Rats, I’d have to make another trip in the morning. I considered other lubricants. No, the Vasoline would ruin the o rings. I considered a few non-petroleum lubricants and decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

The next morning Cavwife ran a few errands while I worked on breakfast. I asked for plumber’s grease and chaulk to go around the face plate. And the sinks which needed some new chaulk. I thought I had successfully avoided a trip.

Just when I was about to begin the project, Cavwife forgot I was going to turn off the water and started a load of laundry. Sigh.

So, around 10:30 I could begin. I had about 3 hours before naps. Plenty of time. Famous last words.

I  started with the retrainer clip. I used a screw driver to lift it up. And it flew up, falling into the wall. Rats… now I have no clip. But I pressed on. Thanks to the $16 I paid for that core puller, the cartridge came out easily. At least something went quickly. When I unpackaged the replacement I noticed that it had plumber’s grease on it. Alas, there was not new clip in the package. That wasn’t helpful. Moen has failed me, for the 3 time.

I called Ace to see if they carried the clip. That would be a big, fat, ‘no’. But they gave me the number for a plumbing supply store not too far away. While they carry them, they were currently out of stock. Perhaps their other store, about 25 minutes away had it. They did. She chuckled saying she hears this request often. Apparently I’m not the only unhandy man. But, they closed at noon. It was already after 11 am, and Cavwife was not home. She arrived in 5 minutes and I was gone. But first I had to put gas in the car since I had not the previous night because I was running late. I didn’t want to run out of gas on the way there. You know, it was turning into one of those days.

Nearly every light was red. I kept getting stuck behind those drivers. The ones who can’t seem to come near the speed limit.

I did arrive before they closed for the weekend. And that is the point- no clip and no water for the rest of the weekend. Let’s just say I was a bit stressed. I bought 2, just in case. Trip #3 of my progressively farther trip was a success.

It was lunchtime for the kids when I got home. After a little trouble getting the clip on, I had success. It was time to test her out. I had Cavwife by the shower while we talked on cell phones (high tech time) and I turned the water back on by the street. Lots of water. I’d done something wrong.

I realized there was an H/C on the old cartridge. Yeah, didn’t notice that and put it in upside down. Try again. Still not right.

I realized that they did not have the cartridge closed. I had to fiddle with it, and then …. finally …. pay dirt. Only took me until 1:30. An unhandy man’s odyssey. There better has to be a better way to spend your days off.

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Sorry to keep you waiting, but we weren’t done waiting. Both of us were waiting to get married. Future Cavwife had had precisely 2 boyfriends before we met. She was 33 at the time. One of them broke her heart. The other guy was someone I knew from seminary. She realized that he wasn’t a good match for her. She struggled with this hope too. Surrender comes hard. God’s timing can be hard to handle.

 

Before I left NH, I’d had 4 serious relationships. After moving to Florida, I wasn’t in a dating relationship for nearly a decade. I tell Cavwife she was really waiting on me, not just for me. I had issues that God was still sorting out in my life. Marriage to me would have been disastrous. So I waited while God kept knocking off those rough edges. About a year after starting my first pastorate, I had a short-lived relationship.  I was disappointment. But that was okay because she wanted something I was not.

 

I was 35 when I met Cavwife. The young couple that introduced her to my friend from seminary began to attend the church I served. We met in February at a Valentine’s Party and were engaged in July. She still lived in NJ and I was still in FL. We came down for Spring Break. I went up for vacation. She spent the summer in FL while we figured it out. We didn’t want to waste years of our lives on a long distance relationship. Our wait was over.

 

But not waiting. During our engagement we learned she had Graves’ disease. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. They tried to manage it with drugs, but it wasn’t cooperating. They decided to burn it out with radioactive iodine. The funny thing about radioactive substances is that they take awhile to leave the body. We would have to wait a year before even trying to get pregnant. But a messed up thyroid makes it difficult to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. The waiting had begun, again. It had not yet dawned on me that God’s people spent most of their lives waiting for God to act (note Genesis 12-50 and the infertility of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel).

 

Finally, in the Fall of 2002 we could start trying to get pregnant. Each month brought disappointment. After awhile I think I started to take it harder than she did. Sometimes tears would come to my eyes when she told me THAT time of the month had come, again.

 

At times it was humorous (that is how I tend to deal with these things). I would pray while lying next to her as she was in some awkward position to gain every advantage we apparently needed. I would speak to her abdomen, telling those little guys to swim relentlessly until they had reached their intended goal.

 

It is amazing how the time flows by imperceptibly. While there was the monthly disappointment, I didn’t realize how long that went on. And then one day in early 2004 she showed me the stick- we were pregnant!

 

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