Deeper Than a Mother’s Love (DG)

He is still months away from being born, and already I love him with a fierce mother-love, which would defy the world to defend my boy.

His merits, thus far, are small: He rendered me quite ill for three or four months running, he already disrupts my sleep, he has destroyed my waistline, and he necessitates a move from our cozy newly-wed nest. In the future, he will no doubt exhaust, try, defy me, and wring my heart with a million hard emotions of which, childless, I was free. And yet I love him.

God made parent-love and designed it on purpose so that when he tells us he has compassion on us the way a father has compassion on his children, when he tells us he gives good gifts to us the way a father gives good gifts to his children, we can have just a glimmering notion of God’s character. Made in God’s image, in some way I love in his image — though my loving is just as inadequate and broken an image of God’s love as I am of his glory. Marveling at the love I already have for my baby boy, I am blown away to think of how God loves me. . . .

Guest blogging again at Desiring God today. Click here to read the whole post.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: expect

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We’ve been “expecting” for six months now, a euphemism which I find doesn’t quite catch the truth of it.

Early in the pregnancy, if I’m honest, my expectations were different — my husband and I both acknowledge, now, that we didn’t expect to make it this far; we expected — for a myriad of reasons — to lose the baby.

A lot could happen in the next three months, and I cannot presume to know, but now I expect that in late August I’ll be holding a wiggling, crying little boy.

Even so, to say we’re “expecting a baby” is a misnomer. We don’t expect him. We have him — something like two pounds of him, every inch a baby right now. A baby whose kicks and tumbles we treasure. A baby to whom we already talk and sing. He isn’t born yet, but he’s not merely expected. He exists.

It’s easy to expect what looks like the worst from God — to expect that He’ll give the harder thing, say “no” to the dream, make us walk through pain. And often He does.

But we have His promise — the promise of the God who cannot lie — that He is doing the best things, even through the hard.

His promises are not just for some abstract future. We have them now. We who are in Christ do not just expect to receive eternal life one day, in Christ we already have it, as surely as I already have a son. Not fully enjoyed yet, but fully, completely ours.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday — and taking longer than five minutes, there was a phone call in the middle — today to write on her prompt “expect.” The pink button above takes you to her site.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

 

Singleness and Sanctification (DG)

Last month I had the privilege of being published on Desiring God‘s blog, and I wanted to share that with my long-time readers here. So below is a peek at that post; you can click the link in the last paragraph to read the rest of the article on the Desiring God website.

“You must be learning so much! All my newlywed friends say that they learn so much about the Lord through marriage!”

The girl looked earnestly at me, her face alight with congratulations. Having been a single girl until my late twenties — when now, yes, I am a newlywed — I could read the wistfulness behind the congratulations, the little ache behind her sincere joy for us.

I know those things that you hear from your married friends: that there is nothing like marriage to show you your own sinfulness, or the depth of God’s love, or any number of other lessons. That there is nothing like marriage to sanctify you and make you more Christ-like.

And, yes, I have been learning things in my scant months of being a wife. So I could smile and say “yes” to the girl’s implied question. But I didn’t stop at yes. There was more that needed saying. . . . 

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

 

Five Minute Friday: miss

It’s easy to grieve for them: all the things we miss because we aren’t looking or aren’t looking the right direction, the roads we don’t go down, the friends who might have been ours.

But look the other way at the serendipitous missings which might be discoveries. A few minutes of rest missed to run an errand, a turn missed because of distraction, and a “For Sale” sign that might have been missed if it hadn’t been for the unexpected errand and wrong turn . . . . that might have been missed if I’d not driven into the neighborhood asking.

We don’t know the end of this particular story yet, but we know that “those who seek the Lord lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10). In other words: we’re not going to miss out on goodness, seeking him.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung for her Five Minute Friday free-write on her prompt, miss. The pink “miss” button takes you to her site.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): pass

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I looked it up on the computer dictionary: pass. Not because I don’t know what it means, but because it means so many things. All the definitions share this in common: they involve some sort of motion, from point A to point B or beyond.

I could take it a million different ways, but today overcast, and we’re caught up in a million different here-and-now concerns — baby registries and house-hunting and final exams, to name a few — and here’s where I am:
“And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).

The world is passing away along with its desires. All these things that seem so urgent, the wants of right now . . . passing away. These are for now, but they aren’t for always. In light of today, we have to do and decide for now, but in light of eternity, the color of baby’s bedding, or the numbers of windows on our house, or a graduate GPA will matter not at all.

Last night we joined in David Platt’s Secret Church via simulcast. As he discussed world religions, I remembered an honor’s seminar on world religions from my college days. Particularly, I remembered an essay in which I meditated on Buddhist ideas of impermanence and suffering. Buddhist ideology identifies desire as the root of suffering, and further suggests that desire hurts us because nothing is permanent: we can’t keep the things we want to keep.

So far as it goes, it’s true. The world is passing away along with its desires.

But the Buddha said that cessation of desire was the path to end suffering, while, as Platt pointed out last night, Christianity promises satisfaction of desires — not in this world, but out-of-this-world satisfaction. This world is passing away, along with its desires, but fix your heart and your longings elsewhere.

He makes known to us the path of life. In His presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand are pleasures forever. Pleasures that do not pass away. They abide forever.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung to write on her prompt, pass. The “pass” button above will take you to her site.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

Five Minute Friday: unite

My husband and I pray to have united hearts on God’s leading for us. I’m committed to follow where my man goes, but he wants me to want to go, as well.

Talking about it with him last night, I finally put words to it: I’m afraid to ask for that wanting-to, because I know that God can give it to me. And some part of me doesn’t want to want to. It’s scary.

“Unite my heart to fear thy name,” the Psalmist prays (Psalm 86:11).

All outside ourselves are divisions: within families, churches, communities, nations. We pray for unity on so many levels, pursue it in so many ways.

But fissures aren’t simply an external problem. Sin runs as a fault line through our very hearts: flesh warring against Spirit, the old man against the new creation.

The new creation wins.

Which is why we can pray “I believe; help thou my unbelief,” and we know that He will help. Which is why I can ask Him to unite my heart, and I know that He will do it. Even to ask so much as that is only possible because Christ already has the victory.

He who can heal the fault in my heart can heal all the external fissures, as well. I look forward to the day when He will have done it, finally and forever.

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Linking up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, unite. The button above will take you her site.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

Five Minute Friday: easy

All night long it was the sound of the rain from the eaves, and still this morning it falls, steady and deliberate, on the million leaves that have supplanted the pollen of two weeks ago, on the birds feeding out back, onto puddles where it bubbles and disappears.

And this is easy, to sit and watch the rain, and it falls soothingly on my soul that had felt grimed and heavy with hurts and worries not mine, that I can’t help carry, but that I wear in spite of that.

On the bank beside the driveway, the roots of trees which had been clinging there past all probability gave way under rain earlier this week, and I think of that: how tree roots need to go deep, to be well-buried, how their roots penetrate concrete and disrupt plumbing, and how the rooting process must not be easy. But the deep-rooted trees don’t fall down.

Their roots go deepest when the season is dry and the surface-roots grow parched and things are not easy. And I watch hurting ones around me digging down deep through their dry seasons, and I rejoice to see them bearing fruit.

And I rejoice that the Father who sends this rain can also heal all these wounds. For Him, that is easy.

easyToday I link up with Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, easy. The “easy” button above will take you to her site to learn more about it and read others’ posts.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch