A Deceitful Wrestler

As I write this, I’m in a state of half consciousness.  My bleary eyes keep blinking trying to stave off sleep.  I know I should though.  My precious, sleeping babe is likely to awaken any minute and I don’t know how long I will have before she naps again.  Also, we have a birthday party today and I’m not sure I’ll get my usual afternoon nap I have come to enjoy, let alone need.

Anyways, lately I’ve been blaming sleep deprivation for my lack of pursing righteousness.  Last night at young adult group we conversed about righteousness vs. meaninglessness.  At church we are going through the book of Ecclesiastes.  As such, on Friday nights, the young adults discuss the sermon and what we are learning from the Scriptures.  I know that sleep deprivation is an excuse.  I gloss over my daily readings without meditating on what God could potentially be teaching me, or chastening me with.

However, a greater part of me wonders if I’m not pursuing righteousness because I’m not sure what that looks like right now.  I spend most of my time at home nursing.  I can’t move while doing so.  Each feeding can take anywhere from 10 min. – 60 min. There are roughly 8-12 feedings throughout the day.  How do I live out righteousness just sitting on my couch?  I’ve whispered prayers and read Scripture verses over my daughter Willow.  Yet, how frequently am I to do that in order for it to “qualify” as being godly.  If I watch hours of sitcom TV shows is it ungodly?  I could say sure it is; it doesn’t promote meditations on spiritual things.

I am then plagued with the question of how much prayer time and Bible reading I should be doing each day.  This feels legalistic.  God wants me to simply be.  To pray continuously throughout the day, but I don’t have to feel guilty when it is interspersed with other activities, right?  I can blame church for making me feel this way, but then I’d be sinning because I’d be blaming an institution for my sinful legalism.

I’m rambling though.

Last night I asked the question as to what pursuing righteousness looks like.  Is it obedience to the Law?  Jesus fulfilled it, he didn’t abolish it.  Why do we in the church emphasize the need to adhere to certain rules and not others?  Sure, we can sum up the Law as Jesus did in loving your God above all else and love thy neighbor as thyself.  What does that love look like though?  What does the application of loving God and neighbor look like in life?  Is it something I’m supposed to feel?  If so, it would feel more like mysticism than Christianity.  Is it something I adhere to?  That again feels like getting knotted up in logistics and doctrine rather than seeking relationship with God.

My flesh is deceitful.  The mind can get so caught up in the endless questions that it fails to pursue the man who is the answer to those questions, Jesus.  (A question like, “What does James mean by the perfect law in Ch.1 verse 25 of his book?”) Thankfully, we have a God who lets us wrestle with him and his word, even if some church goers would label us “doubters”, us “seekers”, as heretics.

We are Jacobs becoming Israels and that molds us more each day into the image of Christ.


A Helping Hand

Things go undone.

Posts are not written.  Laundry isn’t put away. Floors aren’t swept.

The diaper pail fills and the waste is disposed.  Sleepless nights are filled with feedings.

In a bleary eyed state, a request goes out and friends flood to lend assistance.

Then there is the one critic.  They feel accomplished for not asking for help when they had just given birth and insult you for your lack of endurance.  I don’t have to defend my request.  I know my limits and I knew that rest and sleep were what I needed more than a completed chore.  Others could step in and complete those tasks and so I asked. Unabashedly.

Why then do I continue to let this gnaw at my soul?  The accuser speaking through a Christ hater…speaking the refrain, “You are not enough.”

Yet in Christ, I am enough.  Christ is the all in all.

We are a community.  Life is meant to be done together.  We are meant to help one another.  We don’t have to do this alone.  One of America’s biggest problems is that we’ve believed Satan’s lie that we are meant to walk this road alone;  we are to be completely independent and asking for help is weak.  It isn’t.  In fact, the opposite can be even weaker.  This type of “mighty” independence can lead to depression, loneliness, or pride.

I can’t let the jealousy or pride of another define my identity.  Approval addiction is my greatest sin and God is trying to break me free.  He’s putting me in the thick of trust and definition.  I’m not to seclude myself and thus not be subjected to insults.  I am to thank God for those times of mocking because I know that they mocked him too and when I persevere he is glorified.  I am also meant to be in the world (not of, but in) and that comes with conflict, pain, and wrongful assumptions.

I am to lean on the support he has given me when needed and with it, stand firm in Him as I figure out who I am because of Him.

The eighth day

In Jewish culture, the eighth day is the day you circumcise your son in obedience to the Abrahamic covenant.  It is also the day you make known the name of your child in the temple.

Since we didn’t know the gender of our precious child prior to delivery, we had a Mohel lined up to perform the ceremony should we have a boy.  It isn’t cheap either, but following God isn’t about worldly efficiency or ease.  Following God’s commands are costly.  Sometimes you will lose friendships over pursuing Christ.  In some parts of the world, and even here in the US if you cross the paths with religious haters, following Christ might cost you your life.  Now circumcision is not commanded by Christ in the New Testament.  Sometimes we can be so tied to ritual as the Pharisees were that we neglect true fellowship with God.  Our decision to circumcise a boy was not out of traditional rites, but rather feeling a deep connection to God through a separation from the normal order of this world.  Liturgy and tradition can become route and stale if you let it, but it can also blossom faith as it pulls forth consciousness of active participation with God’s word and commands.

Anyways, I digressed.  We didn’t have a son.  Instead, God blessed us with the most adorable baby girl, Willow Christine Eisbacher.  (Her picture on the Midwives of NJ Facebook page received 457 likes and 25 comments, several of them commenting on her beauty (which she has inside and out, Frank and I can tell small personality quirks already and man is she funny and smart).  In fact, yesterday I was asked if I was the 4’10” girl who delivered naturally.  I said yes.  I felt like a natural birth celebrity.  I know, weird.  It was pretty neat though.)  Digressing again.  Can I blame Momma brain?  I’m going to…

The meaning behind her name for the 8th day name “ceremony”:  Frank actually picked out the name Willow.  I adored the name once he mentioned it.  My husband, Frank, is a carpenter by trade so it only seems fitting that his daughter would have a tree name.  Trees provide income for our family, our “riches”.  (Well, God provides technically, but I’m sure you get what I mean.)  Our lives are now rich with the fruit of our love.  We couldn’t be more joyful.  (Well, I guess in time we can, but right now despite sleep deprivation and hormonal swings, we are full of immense joy.)

Willow is a tree name.  Trees have roots.  Christine means Christ follower or Christian.  Our prayer, if we had a girl, was that she would be rooted in Christ all of her days, seeking the Lord and trusting him at all times.  Eight days ago, we welcomed our precious little girl into this world.  It is interesting that I had no idea whether we were having a boy or a girl.  However, sometimes when I prayed and opened the Bible, I would find verses that struck me as befitting an anointing verse to pray over our little girl.  I never found verses I thought would fit Gavriel Bede (God is my might through prayer).

So Willow, we pray you’d be strengthened in Christ.  Be a child of the light. May your foundation be rooted in gospel truth and your love for God flourish daily.  1Chron. 16:11.  (I have other verses too but my journal isn’t right in front of me.)

Well, Willow is starting to stir.  I need to use the restroom and then feed her.  (Too much detail?  I recently pushed a child from my body…discretion isn’t really my strongest suit right now…not that it was before either, but now I don’t feel the need to apologize for it.)