Thursday, April 26, 2007

Smitten by more than Zeke

Within a couple of days of having a new baby in the house, we picked up a stomach flu that's been making it's way through the family. It's not too bad of a strain, but we really don't want our little 7-pound person to get it. We'd appreciate being remembered in prayer.

"Happy is the case in which we can go to Christ, saying, "He whom Thou lovest is sick." (a helpful snippet from our next Sunday School book)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

Coming home!

God is good. The inter-state compact between Alabama and New Mexico is complete permitting Kristin to come home with Zeke. They fly home tomorrow.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

My personal utopia

I've been thinking some about the decline of respect for authority over the last couple of generations--a topic I'm working on for Sunday school. In class I'll talk about parental authority, but there is a general suspicion of authority across our culture. I found a good explanation for this in a recent Mars Hill Audio interview with sociologist David Martin. Some highlights:

What happened in the 1960s--when self became king--reoccurs throughout history. Self becomes the center of the universe. The individual's needs become paramount; his therapy is central, not the responsibilities owed to society. Hence, living under authority is resisted whenever it becomes an obstacle to individual happiness. Everything is ordered around individual happiness. There is room for God, for politics, etc, so long as they serve the pursuit of individual happiness. Narcissism is the core problem of our times.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

When I'm weak

I'm tired. It's only been a couple of days without Kristin here--but tonight I'm feeling pretty worn out and counting on a refreshing rest. I'm homeschooling less than she does and haven't been to the store yet--how does she do it when I'm TDY?

Over in Alabama, Kristin is probably tired, too. Last night was the first night with Zeke. When it only takes 2 ounces to fill him up, we can expect some long nights for a while.

Each time we've added a child to our family there's been a period of utter exhaustion, but after a while we find a new routine and we're okay. I hope that holds true in this case.

A large family is nothing for a parent to be proud of. A large, godly family is. I want for the strength to do this well. Leaning is the right word...for when I'm weak, He is strong.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Going from periphery to core

Paul's friends (see Romans 16 for one list) seem like regular folk with stable jobs, households, and such. Yet he commended them for "working hard for the Lord", and what little bit we know of their character is impressive. Could the same be said of garden-variety Christians today?

To naval-gaze for a moment, much of the Christian ethic remains on the periphery of my life instead of making up the core of who I am. A couple of examples will illustrate what I mean. I'll occasionally tack on a "mercy-ministry" activity to my schedule so that I can feel like I care for the less fortunate. But at the core of my character I'm not merciful. On a different front, I'll force myself to join co-workers for a lunch-outting so I can feel like I'm trying to reach the lost. But I'm not an evangelist at heart. The examples get worse from there but I'll spare you.

What's the solution to this dilemma? How does discipleship move from the periphery to the core of our lives so that it drives everything we do? It must have something to do with not thinking of discipleship in performance-based terms ("working hard for the Lord" could easily be misconstrued that way). Rather the key may be found in the phrase, "he who has been forgiven little, loves little" (Luke 7:47).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's like finding out your pregnant at the 39th week

The response to our adoption of Zeke has been interesting. First, we are still feeling joyful surprise that this is happening so fast; we were expecting to have a few more months to get ready. But this post is mostly about how others have responded.

On the one hand we've felt great support and even admiration from many; we are grateful for the warmth that we feel from plenty of our family and friends. On the other hand there are some that think we are crazy or worse.

The most common question I've gotten about a fifth child is "how will you put him through college?" This question bugs me some and I'd like to address it briefly here.

In most of the adoption situations that we have seen, the children are so poor that basic living necessities (food, shelter) are real question marks from the very start. In these situations there are greater needs than college education.

Another common response when people learn that we've added a fifth child to our family is to assume it's "for religious purposes" (as a man expressed it to me last week). I didn't disagree with him. But it did quench any interest in my family since he had no interest in religious-purposed things. I think that many unbelievers that I'd like to reach do write us off for this reason and I'm at a loss for what to do about that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Can't wait for Tuesday

We're still in shock about how fast the adoption came through. Now we're counting down the minutes until Zeke is in Bailey hands, which appears to be Tuesday. He's in great care in the meantime, though. The foster family is a pediatric cardiologist and his stay at home wife. She wrote us last night with some more about Zeke

Zeke had a good day today. (So did I since he slept for a 4-hour stretch last night!) Usually, though, he eats every 2 1/2 hours or so. He is becoming more and more social, looking around and taking in his new world. He is a VERY happy baby, and very calm. When he wakes up hungry, he stops crying when I pick him up and waits patiently for his bottle! He has been taking about 1-1/2 ounces before taking a break, having a diaper change, and then finishing off the 2 ounces. He does not spit up, or drool much. Truly amazing. He will love his brothers and sisters! He already enjoys watching our grandson, Gus, and allowing Gus to love him as a two-year old might. He does not need swaddling, but sleeps peacefully, stretched out, or cradled in our arms or on the couch. A real delight.

We can't wait to meet him!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Meet Ezekiel Bailey (middle name in-work)

We just got the word that we were chosen to be Zeke's family. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow! We hope to be with him on the Lord's Day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The death of my enemy

While we wait for tomorrow's word on the adoption situation, I'd like to post once more on my appreciation for Christ's resurrection before these thoughts get lost in a blur of other emotions.

I like how Easter falls between winter and spring here. Some days hint at spring, with new buds on the trees and greening grass. But other days a bit of winter is felt, although it is dying out. Easter is about Christ bringing both, new life and death. It is death that preoccupies my thoughts this Easter and makes me love Christ more.

In my mind's eye I like to picture the resurrected Christ as Samson-like, one warrior bringing death to a multitude; jawbone not required. Around Him is a war-torn battlefield strewn with the dead, defeated by my Lord. I consider who these enemies are; they are the "old men", the old nature of every believer that is on the Lord's side.

In my limited way of understanding the work of Christ in time, the battle is not yet over, for my particular enemy still stands. My old man is at war with the Christ, he struggles and strives and cries out with great strength and might. But it is only dying pangs that make an appearance of vigor and strength; he, too, is mortally wounded and will soon join the rest of the slain at the feet of this sin-killing Christ.

Winter is fading away. Spring has come!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Resurrection Day

You strode forth from the prison house of the grave
free and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.

You, who as man of sorrows, was crowned with thorns,
are now Lord of life wreathed with glory.

Hail, Victor! Conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
All my Lord's foes lay crushed in the dust.

Fill my wayward soul with a firm faith in that provision laid up in you;
Crucified and slain is the power of sin in me, and in your victory I triumph.

Adapted from Valley of Vision

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Photo gallery

Here's a weave of photos from an interesting past week.

We adopted a cat from a friend who recently adopted it himself but then found out he is deploying. Shadow is still mostly kitten, but already has mastered the dog, who remains cornered or timid whenever she is around.

Since it snowed here today we had second thoughts about going to the base pool Easter Egg hunt, but since it's an indoor pool it wasn't bad at all. The boys had a great time, and Faith happily munched on popcorn the entire time. Grace didn't enjoy herself, but as parents we feel good getting 3 out of the 4 kids happy at the same time.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

We're having a baby...

Our homestudy was completed today. That's the major step that allows us to adopt, and means that, Lord willing, we will be having a baby.

Today we received a phone call from the agency that placed Faith with us. To make a long story short, since our homestudy is done they showed us to a birthmother with a baby boy that was just born. There's only one other family besides us being shown. She appears committed to adoption, but has until Tuesday night to decide. She liked what she heard about us so far and we'll find out on Wednesday if we are chosen.

The suspense is hard to bear! Maybe we'll fly out next week to pick up our new baby, less than one week after our homestudy is complete! But it's also very possible that this is not the one, and we may go through a wait-and-see period with a string of birthmothers for months.

Either way, you know where our trust is to be. In the good and all-knowing providence of God.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

If I could choose memories...

to imprint in my children's life, today would be a day I want them to remember. When they're older and they think back to their childhood I hope they'll remember sitting by their worshiping parents, writing letters to missionaries during Sunday school, and climbing trees in the churchyard.

I hope they'll remember smacking home runs over the backyard wall, dancing in the sprinklers, and riding bikes around Hardin Field on a warm evening.

I also finished off a good book this afternoon, but compared to being a daddy today, that seems like a small thing.