2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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“God is so vastly wonderful, so utterly and completely delightful that He can, without anything other than Himself, meet and overflow the deepest demands of our total nature, mysterious and deep as that nature is.” — A.W. Tozer

The Pursuit of God


The Search

There’s no getting around the fact that we’re all broken. Every last one of us. Hurting, insecure, awkward, prideful. Ruined by illness, ravaged by divorce, raging against the self and the system. It’s true: we are fallen. We are screw-ups, messy and wayward. To know thyself–or to know anyone–is to see that this is true. No one is righteous; no not one.

Christians have sometimes tried to hide from this fact–putting on fronts of perfection, perpetuating false images of churches as polished, squeaky-clean country clubs for classy, happy saints… rather than hospitals for the damaged, ailing, addicted, recovering.

Which of course, is not good. The church, and the Gospel upon which it is founded, is not about perfection, but redemption; it’s about grace for those who don’t deserve it, hope for every single screw-up among us.

And yet I’ve wondered recently if the church–in reactionary efforts to purge itself of…

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Grace says, “…

Grace says,

“I know.

And I forgive

you.”

Grace fully accepts the injury, and forgives. Grace is not cheap. It does not shrug off the offense as mere common occurrence or one being too hard on himself.

We cannot fight or have victory over sin (and death), unless God forgives us.

We have injured Christ in word, attitude, and action; our wicked wrath hung him on the cross; God’s righteous wrath, there, killed him for our sake.

All our shame is laid upon Christ and our Father says, “I know. And I forgive you.”

“But I feel like an idiot,” we say. “I’ve injured others so deeply. I drag your name through the mud. I screw up all the time.”

Yet again, he says, “I know.

And I forgive you.”

At a great cost to himself – through the shed blood of his son – our Father forgives.


8.10.11 Elizabeth “Ellie” Grace Low is Born

Originally posted at treyandmargaret.tumblr.com

{From my journal entry: 8.11.11}
Today is the day. At 2:20 this morning, Margaret woke up wondering if her water broke. She called the doctor’s office, to play it safe. Surprised to hear our doctor’s voice, rather than a nurse, she was told to come to the hospital to run some tests.

We packed our bags, said ‘bye’ to Baxter, and drove up to St. David’s North.

By 5:15am, we were in Triage.

By 6am, we were in our delivery room with confirmation: Ellie is on her way.

Because Margaret’s water broke prematurely (as in, not coupled with frequent or intense contractions), there was a concern about possible infection. The plan was to let things progress naturally for a few hours, and see if her body was able to dilate any further on its own. If not, they would administer Pitocin.

By 8am, they began Pitocin (a very mild dose, we later discovered), and the contractions began to pick up in frequency and intensity.

By 10am, Margaret had had enough of trying to go “o naturale.” So, she ordered theEpidural.

At 10:40am, the Epidural was administered and the pain of contractions quickly became a thing of the past.

Around this time, Mark and Janet arrived to Austin. At 11am, I went to the waiting room to eat, while they came in to visit with Margaret. They stayed for about 30 minutes, before leaving to grab lunch. When they left, I went back to our room and Margaret and I took naps.

Around 12:30pm, Dr. Garza woke us up from our naps and began to check to see how Margaret was dilating. Surprise: the Petocin worked! She was at 10cm. It was time to deliver Ellie.

Before I left the room to get Janet, Devin prayed over us, thanking God for His mercy in bringing the labor along so smoothly. As he and the nurses prepared for delivery, I went to get Janet.

Completely shocked that it was “go time,” she grabbed my side saying, “Are you serious??” She gave her things to (“Papa”) Mark, who jumped up with excitement yet restrained to his waiting room boundaries, wished us luck and anxiously awaited our return.

By 12:50pm, Margaret began pushing.
By 12:58pm, I texted my parents, almost to Austin from Houston, saying, “Ellie is almost here!”
At 1:08pm, Elizabeth (“Ellie”) Grace Low was born.

5lbs, 11oz.
18 inches
Completely healthy.

God is good.

Ellie came peacefully and left Margaret without any need for stitches. The doctor and nurses were laughing at how easy the delivery was, how little (to no) medical attention Margaret needed, and how incredibly small Margaret already was post-delivery. They all joked as if she hadn’t even had a baby that day. And the other pregnant or recent mothers probably would not like to see how skinny she was, so avoid them if possible.

At about 2:15pm, my mom, dad, and Annie arrived to the hospital, and (“Uncle”) Mark was just behind them, from Corpus Christi. Together, our families had an opportunity to enjoy our time with Ellie before they took her away to be bathed.

During her bath, Margaret was moved over to the post partum room. It was much smaller, and got only smaller as more family was soon to arrive.

By 3pm, Betsy, Michael, Stephen, and Buzz arrived from San Antonio with a ballon, pink Teddy bear, and bubble gum cigars in hand.

By 4:30pm, Mimi, Kathy, and Lorry arrived from Corpus Christi. All the girls cried when Mimi held Ellie for the first time…including Mimi.

At 6:15pm, we started the first feeding. Everyone left while Margaret received the breast feeding instructions that we were supposed to receive that night at the breast feeding class we were scheduled to attend. I suppose labor is an acceptable reason to miss a class.

After the feeding, everyone came in to say one final “goodbye” for the night, including late edition to the entourage, cousin Kevin who drove down from Dallas.

Once everyone left, we began texting friends with the news. Soon after the texting, Margaret posted the news on Facebook, eliciting many responses, and James Summers told Twitter. Alas, the world can rest: all major social networking platforms were employed.

From this point on, Ellie was prescribed feeding orders of every three hours. She listens very well, and eats like a champ…goodbye sleep.

As Margaret and I reflected on the day’s events, we were so thankful for God’s mercy. There are so many things that need to go right in a pregnancy and a delivery, and for His name’s sake He gave us a wonderful gift that included careful attention to all of these fine details.For His name’s sake He gave us family that loves like a hurricane. For His name’s sake He gave us a doctor that loves Jesus, to guide us and pray for us. For His name’s sake He gave us a beautiful little girl to shepherd and love and, Lord willing, lead to a life of faith and obedience in her wonderful Creator.

She is not our daughter. She belongs to her heavenly Father, and we are blessed to be able to care for her while she is here on earth. We pray constantly for her salvation and that she would be an instrument of grace in her Father’s hands – an agent of reconciliation.


God Maintains

Never forget that the world is not on auto-pilot; the water cycle does not happen on auto-pilot; air is not replenished on auto-pilot; babies are not conceived and born on auto-pilot; seeds do not fall and plants and trees born on auto-pilot; the sun does not rise on auto-pilot*; the systems we think are dependable and inevitable are really neither; we must never forget this. We must also be careful.

Let’s start at the beginning: there is one God, and many gods. God created all things. He did not then remove Himself from all things. He is not the clockmaker that wound up the world and let her go; and this makes all the difference.

In other words, He is the Creator and Maintainer of all things; He holds all things together; He sends the water from the ocean to the sky, the sky to the land, the land to the ocean, and back again; He covers the atmosphere with enough oxygen to keep almost 7 billion people breathing; He takes the sperm and plants it into fertile egg, develops the child, and commands the developed lungs to respond upon birth; He carries the seeds from their source to the appropriate soil, draws their roots into the earth, and cultivates new plants and trees; He keeps our planet in orbit and rotation, to show us the sun each day; this is not ordinary, this is supernatural.

He is holding all things together not merely because He can but because He is mercifully giving us new opportunity to draw close to Him. This perspective is what reminds us that the ordinary is not so ordinary, and that His great mercy sustains us. May we not forget this; may we be ever thankful; may we draw near to Him.

“A child kicks its legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough… It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike: it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. ”                   – G.K. Chesterton


How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

God loves by mysterious means. Often it is in His discipline, yet sometimes in a conversation, a kiss, or a lyric. And just as often, this love seems to be expressed with equally mysterious timing. Tonight, it was through these familiar lyrics that He reminded me of His costly love – a love that embraces and leaves you speechless, weeping and joyful, defeated and free, disarmed and satisfied. Indeed, how deep the Father’s love for us.

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom