Friday, August 31, 2012

CS Lewis on Forgiveness

We say a great many things in church (and out of church too) without thinking of what we are saying. For instance, we say in the Creed " I believe in the forgiveness of sins." I had been saying it for several years before I asked myself why it was in the Creed. At first sight it seems hardly worth putting in. "If one is a Christian," I thought " of course one believes in the forgiveness of sins. It goes without saying." But the people who compiled the Creed apparently thought that this was a part of our belief which we needed to be reminded of every time we went to church. And I have begun to see that, as far as I am concerned, they were right. To believe in the forgiveness of sins is not so easy as I thought. Real belief in it is the sort of thing that easily slips away if we don't keep on polishing it up.
We believe that God forgives us our sins; but also that He will not do so unless we forgive other people their sins against us. There is no doubt about the second part of this statement. It is in the Lord's Prayer, it was emphatically stated by our Lord. If you don't forgive you will not be forgiven. No exceptions to it. He doesn't say that we are to forgive other people's sins, provided they are not too frightful, or provided there are extenuating circumstances, or anything of that sort. We are to forgive them all, however spiteful, however mean, however often they are repeated. If we don't we shall be forgiven none of our own.

Now it seems to me that we often make a mistake both about God's forgiveness of our sins and about the forgiveness we are told to offer to other people's sins. Take it first about God's forgiveness, I find that when I think I am asking God to forgive me I am often in reality (unless I watch myself very carefully) asking Him to do something quite different. I am asking him not to forgive me but to excuse me. But there is all the difference in the world between forgiving and excusing. Forgiveness says, "Yes, you have done this thing, but I accept your apology; I will never hold it against you and everything between us two will be exactly as it was before." If one was not really to blame then there is nothing to forgive. In that sense forgiveness and excusing are almost opposites. Of course, in dozens of cases, either between God and man, or between one man and another, there may be a mixture of the two. Part of what at first seemed to be the sins turns out to be really nobody's fault and is excused; the bit that is left over is forgiven. If you had a perfect excuse, you would not need forgiveness; if the whole of your actions needs forgiveness, then there was no excuse for it. But the trouble is that what we call "asking God's forgiveness" very often really consists in asking God to accept our excuses. What leads us into this mistake is the fact that there usually is some amount of excuse, some "extenuating circumstances." We are so very anxious to point these things out to God (and to ourselves) that we are apt to forget the very important thing; that is, the bit left over, the bit which excuses don't cover, the bit which is inexcusable but not, thank God, unforgivable. And if we forget this, we shall go away imagining that we have repented and been forgiven when all that has really happened is that we have satisfied ourselves without own excuses. They may be very bad excuses; we are all too easily satisfied about ourselves.

There are two remedies for this danger. One is to remember that God knows all the real excuses very much better than we do. If there are real "extenuating circumstances" there is no fear that He will overlook them. Often He must know many excuses that we have never even thought of, and therefore humble souls will, after death, have the delightful surprise of discovering that on certain occasions they sinned much less than they thought. All the real excusing He will do. What we have got to take to Him is the inexcusable bit, the sin. We are only wasting our time talking about all the parts which can (we think) be excused. When you go to a Dr. you show him the bit of you that is wrong - say, a broken arm. It would be a mere waste of time to keep on explaining that your legs and throat and eyes are all right. You may be mistaken in thinking so, and anyway, if they are really right, the doctor will know that.

The second remedy is really and truly to believe in the forgiveness of sins. A great deal of our anxiety to make excuses comes from not really believing in it, from thinking that God will not take us to Himself again unless He is satisfied that some sort of case can be made out in our favor. But that is not forgiveness at all. Real forgiveness means looking steadily at the sin, the sin that is left over without any excuse, after all allowances have been made, and seeing it in all its horror, dirt, meanness, and malice, and nevertheless being wholly reconciled to the man who has done it.

When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. (This doesn't mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart - every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God's forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily, in other people's we do not accept them easily enough. As regards my own sins it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are not really so good as I think; as regards other men's sins against me it is a safe bet (though not a certainty) that the excuses are better than I think. One must therefore begin by attending to everything which may show that the other man was not so much to blame as we thought. But even if he is absolutely fully to blame we still have to forgive him; and even if ninety-nine per cent of his apparent guilt can be explained away by really good excuses, the problem of forgiveness begins with the one per cent of guilt that is left over. To excuse, what can really produce good excuses is not Christian charity; it is only fairness. To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.

--C. S. lewis

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Thoughts on Hosting My Love for the Past 6 Months

It is so WEIRD to think that I've had my baby in me now for six months. Of course, I've only been conscious of the little one for the past five, but still....five months. It sounds like an eternity. In a lot of ways it has felt like an eternity, too.

Mostly however, time has flown. I still feel like I'm "barely" pregnant. I still feel like I have no idea what pregnancy even is. And the closer I come to my due date, the more unprepared I feel. Don't even get me started on putting together a baby registry. It's like someone said to me: "Make a list of what you need to build this AC unit" when I've never built an AC unit before. I get the basic concept of an air conditioner and how it works, but that doesn't make me prepared to list the parts I'd need. Part of me just wants to say, buy me whatever you think I need! But that's scary, too.

I've felt the peanut moving and rolling and kicking and stretching for the past four weeks now, and the movements are just getting stronger and more intense every day. No one told me how weird this is. The impression I always got was "its pretty cool" and "it happens every now and then", not "your baby will kick you so hard you'll lose your balance" or "your baby will move so much you'll think something is wrong." I mean seriously baby, are you trying to get out? Where are you going?

Getting up from laying down is probably a hilarious sight, and it's also extremely uncomfortable. My back hurts 24/7, and while I'm not waddling yet I'm definitely doing more of a hobble than a walk these days.

My mom has taken to talking to my, a lot. She says things, then waits, and responds, and says more things. It doesn't matter that I am standing there, or sitting there, or trying to watch TV, or on my way out the door. I must stop for this ritual and wait.

I was supposed to meet my midwife two weeks ago, but had to reschedule. I'm sincerely hoping that I get to meet her tomorrow.

My mom also purchased a dresser for extra space for baby stuff. She saw a bright yellow dresser for sale, and thankfully, she thought of me. For the first 24 hours I couldn't decide if I thought it was hideous or wonderful, but the longer it's burned the color out of my retinas, the more I've fall in love with it.

It is currently empty save two cloth diapers (thanks Vicki!), a pair of shoes my mom couldn't pass up, and a few white onesies. 

I *finally* LOOK pregnant. I can't tell you how tired I was of just looking fat. It's pretty clear now, though, although I keep getting "you don't look six months pregnant" which can be both flattering and annoying. Every pregnancy is different, or so I'm told, so it's hard to say what I should or shouldn't look like. And of course it's not that I desire to look like I'm carrying a beach ball or anything, but at least I don't feel it's necessary to squint at me anymore and wonder if I just ate a lot of pasta the night before or if I'm with child. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'm Going to Pretend That

waking up tomorrow isn't going to be incredibly difficult.

I la la love birthdays, I love celebrating mine, and I really love celebrating the birthdays of the people I love. I love making a big deal out of other people's birthdays, especially when said person doesn't want to. I don't know why, I can't help it. I think everyone should love their birthday. You were granted a whole extra year of life! What's not to celebrate?

So two years ago tomorrow, I made a big huge deal out of someone's birthday who's answer to "What do you want to do for your birthday?" is always, "Nothing." Similarly, "What do you want for your birthday?" "Don't get me anything." So Anita and I hung a giant, obnoxious sign in the corner of our kitchen that said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" and I dug around to find out his favorite kind of cake and I scoured every grocery store in a ten mile radius for the right german chocolate.

It was the big 21 for him and I had decided to wait a couple months earlier to get my license changed from the obnixous UNDER 21/vertical one to the over 21 so we could go to the DMV together. I introduced him to the Vegas Roll at Ra before we went to the DMV and made each other feel as awkward as possible when we got our license pictures taken. I invited a few of his friends over without telling him and surprised him with his cake. He had never had a surprise party before. And I was so happy that day. What's better than making someone's birthday? And what's better than knowing that I was totally his favorite part of his birthday? And I was even happier after the cake, when he asked me to be his girlfriend and kissed me for the first time.

So tomorrow is that sweet boy's 23rd birthday and the two year anniversary of having my heart completely and totally and for the first time for realsies stolen. And oh, I can't explain the ache of not being able to share it with him because he's over on the other side of the country, out of sight, out of reach, out of my hands. I won't even be able to call, or send a card.

But I'm choosing to take solace in that I can send a prayer. I can pray that he knows me well enough to know that if he were home, I'd do something as annoying as always, and I'd make sure he knew that I am so thankful for another year of his life.

Despite the circumstances, there is a lot to be thankful for tomorrow. Thankful that he made it to 23, thankful that he gets another birthday. Thankful that he's completely in the Lord's hands. Thankful that he's in such a great place, even if its nowhere near me.

Today I'm thankful that the Lord died for us, tore the veil, and forever lives to intercede for us. Today I'm thankful that the Spirit intercedes for us in our prayers, because I sometimes don't know what to be praying for. My prayer for tomorrow is that my thankfulness far exceeds my grief--and that if its possible, that boy I sat in the DMV with just two short years ago has a happy happy birthday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I Asked the Lord

This hymn.....whoa.

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

Sunday, August 12, 2012

As Stevie Wonder would say, What the Fuss?

   So the second I announced I was pregnant I had mommy's a-comin outta the woodwork asking me if I knew yet whether or not I was going to cloth diaper. I had no idea that this was a major parenting decision to be made, much less with the fervor with which the concept was being expressed. Usually the question of whether or not I was going to was also accompanied with the insistence that I SHOULD, along with crazy eyes. Like this:

Typically I try to avoid all things that may or may not lead someone to accuse me of being a hippie, but much like shopping at Whole Foods or choosing to go with a midwife instead of a surgeon (aka obgyn), sometimes I just break my own rules. I'll admit, I was curious about the whole 'cloth diaper' thing, as I've seen some of the rags we use in my house. Yes, they are old cloth diapers from something like 1960 (don't judge my mom!) that really are just giant cloths. And you have to use PINS to close them. I mean, what is that about?

To top it all off, there's the part where I'm a total germophobe and the concept of actually KEEPING something that someone has POOPED on blew my mind. I have never in my life looked at something that had human waste on it and thought, how can I clean that and keep it forever? In fact I normally throw things away that have been even just modestly sneezed on.

But there was this thing nagging at me: the cost of diapers. I mean, could any more parents out there bemoan and be-cry, and just generally attempt to scare the life out of expecting parents with the cost of diapers? Please? Thanks. You'd think you were buying a house with the way I've had people look at me like I'm about to die. Their faces have said things to me like, Wow congratulations! You're having a baby! Get ready to have to apply for a second mortgage to afford those diapers!

So when I was in Georgia a few weeks ago and I got to see my Laura, my favorite person ever, fellow germophobe, and woman I just in general admire and want to grow up to be, she goes and whips out the crazy eyes and tells me how much she has loved using cloth diapers. Why yes, this was the tipping point. To basically know that someone even more averse to germs and smelly things than I would use the phrase "life-changing" in reference to cloth diapers piqued my interest.

I had a million questions like,

How do you wash those nasty turds?
What do you do with the poop?
Where do you keep them after they're soiled and before they're washed?
Why would you ever use your washing machine again?
Honestly, how bad do they smell?
You let poop sit in your room?

And she had perfectly logical explanations for all of them. No, really. I know it's hard to believe. She even showed me a cloth diaper that she had in her car (duh there was one in her car, she's a mom). It was perfectly white. Snow white. This thing has been soiled over and over and over and it's clean. It didn't even smell weird (don't ask). If you want to know if I'm making this up or not, here's someone explaining the cleaning process very thoroughly.

So basically between all of that, and the fact that my baby and I will be a one-income family for the next year and I won't have to sell my liver to pay for disposable diapers (just everything else the baby needs), cloth diapering seems like the way to go. Plus, please check out how cute these are:

The entire investment on cloth diapers is up front. Meaning, each diaper is about $17, and it looks like the average number the experienced mama's say they need is 20. OUCH. So basically I'm going to be asking that everyone that comes to my baby shower blesses us with one cloth diaper. Specifically the bumGenius 4.0. It grows with the baby, and I think the velcro ones don't stay in the best shape for as long. Hopefully that's not an annoying request and my ladies will understand why I'm asking for that.

So anyway, I don't quite have the crazy eyes for cloth diapers yet. Maybe it's because I haven't used them yet. We'll find out soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

You've got to get better,
you said it's all in your head
We could live thru these letters
or forget it altogether
See, the months they dont matter
its the days I cant take
when the hours move to minutes
and I'm seconds away

Just ask the question,
come untie the knot.
Say you won't care.
Retrace the steps
as if we forgot
say you won't care.

Tried to avoid it
but there's not a doubt
and there's one thing
I can do nothing about.

When all that I need
is just a reaction
it's too late to ask for
when there's no attraction anymore

If chasing our dreams
is just a distraction
I want to remember
when I know that I can't go back.

Just ask the question,
come untie the knot.
I'll say I don't care.
Retrace the steps
as if we forgot
say you won't care.
Tried to avoid it
but there's not a doubt
and there's one thing
you won't do anything about.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

White Blank Page

Can you lie next to her
and give her your heart
as well as your body?
And can you lie next to her
and confess your love
as well as your folly?
And can you kneel before the King
and say
"I'm clean!"
I'm clean.

Tell me now
where was my fault
in loving you
with my whole heart.

Tell me now where was my fault
in loving you
with my whole heart?

A white blank page

when you sent me to the brink

You desired my attention
but denied my affections

So tell me now:
where was my fault
in loving you with my whole heart?

Lead me to the truth
and I
will follow you
with my whole life.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Oh, Girl, Oh, Boy!

Had my 20 week ultrasound yesterday and boy was it adorable. Well, as adorable as black&white and fuzzy 3D pictures can be. I found out that having the right ultrasound tech can make all the difference. For the last ultrasound, I had a tech who was clearly more concerned about getting it over with than anything else, but yesterday I had a God-send. This girl was probably my age, and she loves her job. She wanted me to know what every picture was, and what she was checking out and why it was so important. She spent a lot of time on the peanut's heart and other organs and was just eager to share with me how healthy we're lookin in there! She sent me home with a disk with over 120 pictures on it!

Some of the cool things the tech told us:

+ Peanut's calves & arms appear really strong
+ The heart looks great, as well as the other major organs
+ The head is currently down
+ Peanut was her second baby ever to put the back of his/her hands to his/her forehead to hide
+ We look a day of ahead of schedule as far as the due date is concerned (however that is measured?)
+ My last ultrasound put me as a low risk pregnancy but after how we're looking now, the risk will be lowered even further

Peanut's face slightly from the side

Peanut's little face

This is the hand-to-forehead move

The four chambers of peanut's tiny heart

Cutest spine ever, right?

The thumbs up that leads me to believe the peanut may not have my tiny White hands//probably has Thad's hands

Peanut's profile
 And yes, we did find out the gender yesterday. My mom was with me and we both were just tearing up all over the place. When the lady asked if I had a name yet I had to let mom tell her because I was just too choked up. However, Thad is away right now and until I can share the gender with him, I just don't feel right about announcing it. He's the daddy and I think he should know before everyone else does. So as hard as it is for me to keep saying "Peanut" instead of the baby's name, or to try not to say "she" or "he", or as much as I just want to shout it from the ain't gonna happen yet. All I will say is that I am just over. the. moon. and as my mom and I were cruising Target last night, I was such a mess in the baby clothes section.