Saturday, July 26, 2014

Dying to Self

Jordan came across this poem last year and liked it so much she copied it down with multicolor pens. She rediscovered it a few weeks ago as she was cleaning up her room and showed it to me. Remember this? And as I was reading over it, I was struck by just how much this poem epitomizes Jordan’s life this past year. When I wrote To Go Beyond and our desire for our children to surpass us, I was thinking about how I feel humbly blessed to be learning more from my daughter, who just turned 16 this week, than I feel she could be learning from me. How thankful I am for her example and for the gift of her life.

Dying to Self
Author unknown

When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you do not sting and hurt at the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence, that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any impunctuality, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility and endure it as Jesus endured it, that is dying to self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self.

When you receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that is dying to self.

Jordan in Yun nan province on her birthday, serving as a Big Sister for a group of Chinese students

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

To Go Beyond

Some friends gave us The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes by Kenneth Taylor for CJ before he was born 19 years ago. It’s the storybook Daniel was looking at on Sunday when he said, “God is in the Fire.” This book was one of our favorites when our three older kids were younger and it has become a favorite again for David and Daniel.

I love what our friends wrote in the front of the book:

To Baby Pine (I’m sorry we don’t know your name yet, dear—)
May your faith be even deeper and stronger than that of your parents and may your light shine to all the world.

This has been Charly’s and my desire for each of our children—that they go beyond us.

A year ago I wrote “Letting Go” as I watched CJ and Joshua run off in the rain to catch the bus, and I was grieving that life would never be the same when CJ left for college. But it was time for him to move on. And this past year, we have seen his faith grow deeper and stronger at Notre Dame and we know that God’s light is shining through him there. He has gone beyond us.

This past year, we have seen Joshua and Jordan’s faith grow deeper and stronger too as they have adjusted to major changes in our family, becoming a great big brother and sister to their two new brothers. God’s light is shining through them—where we can still see it. And we believe that when we launch Joshua on to what God has for him a year from now, he will be ready to move beyond us.

This spring I watched Jordan multiple times run off and leave me with what she calls her “blitz” at the end of our runs together. We run for awhile together and then she moves on, like in life. And there is peace (even though I wish I could keep up with her at the end!) because I want her to reach beyond me. Because she is becoming all who God made her to be, and she is not limited by me.

And for David and Daniel, who are at a very different stage of life, we have more time with them at home. And we are trusting God to continue to work in both of their hearts so that they will go beyond us too one day and that their light may shine to all the world.


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