5. Number

At the atomic level, it’s numbers that make the difference: protons, neutrons, electrons, assembled in various numbers so that this assembly is hydrogen, that one is oxygen, and another is carbon.

It’s numbers again combining them. One oxygen and two hydrogen combine to make water (H2O), which we drink, and bathe in, and play in; but add another oxygen atom, and you have hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which in high concentrations can corrode human skin among other unpleasantries.

It’s numbers all the way up, building from here to mountains and oceans and immense balls of burning gases in outer space.

And if God made all these things, He knows all these numbers. He knows the number of grains of sand on the shore, but He also knows each of the 43 quintillion atoms in each grain — He must know how many atoms are in the sum total of earth’s sand and in each of the stars which He has named.

There are other numbers our God knows: the sins of many, the obedience of One; the death of One, righteousness for many. And the days of life that One’s resurrection secures for us? Beyond counting.

©️Stacy Crouch 2020

4. Make

Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man,

Make me a cake as fast as you can …

The New Oxford English Dictionary on my phone gives no fewer than ten definitions of make as a verb — several with sub-definitions — along with two noun definitions and numerous phrases (make do, have it made, make away …). And yet here I struggle to make a coherent post about it.

My days are made of making, in various ways: I make meals and beds, make plans and lessons, make lists and decisions, make small people obey, make paper airplanes and pillow forts and Playdoh stars, make messes and mistakes and mountains of molehills.

I have been made: descendant of a dust-formed man, womb-woven according to a plan that included me before even the dust was first made. And I am being remade: sin-scarred soul being shaped so that self bears more and more the image of my Savior.

I haven’t seen the end of this making, but I know that I shall see Him and be like Him. In this promise He has made me hope: He makes warriors of weaklings, beauty of brokenness, life of death. His word one day will make all fears fly, all darkness disappear.

That day will be a good day.

©️Stacy Crouch 2020

3. Joy

Japanese magnolias and daffodils splash my neighborhood in shades of pink and lavender, yellow and white — especially lovely in a wet, grey week.

Indoors, my sons want to know why they should not drive their recently-acquired Paw Patrol race cars through the cut daffodils in a blue glass vase on the table.

“Because it will tear them up.”

“Why will it?”

Why is it too cold to play in the sprinkler?”

Why can’t we go buy granola bars at six am when we want to eat them and don’t have any in the house?

Why can’t we go to the park when it’s forty degrees and raining outside?

The answers seem obvious to me, and the whys are wearing. But do I not present my Maker with a similarly exasperating parade of whys?

I am sometimes wrong. My Maker never is.

I am not omniscient. My Maker is.

My patience runs out quickly. My Maker is slow to anger, abundant in loving kindness.

I don’t deserve daffodils on my table, but He’s given — immeasurable riches lavished on us in Christ, righteousness for my shame, a guarantee of future glory eternally with Him … and also daffodils on a rainy Thursday.

He gives good gifts.

©️Stacy Crouch 2020

2. Intent

Long ago, my brother used a grinder in my daddy’s shop to turn a blunt putty knife into a pointed blade. Afterwards, he apologized: “I’m sorry I accidentally ruined this.”

I’ve always been amused by that: how he could call that deliberate grinding an accident. But he had been focused on making a blade; the destruction of the putty spreader had never entered his calculations.

In his essay “The Fantastic Imagination,” George MacDonald remarks that “One difference between God’s work and man’s is, that, while God’s work cannot mean more than he meant, man’s must mean more than he meant.”

No matter how much forethought we may exert, how much we may plan and purpose, we can never foresee all consequences of our actions (or inactions). We may “accidentally ruin” a myriad of things with the best of intentions.

But our God, who has an exact count of our hairs, of each grain of sand on every beach (and also those scattered from the sandbox in my yard), who named every star, knows — and intends — every consequence of what He does.

He says that He causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him, and we know He can do that because He causes all things. No molecule has escaped His sovereignty since He created molecules.

And since He says His will is “good, acceptable, and perfect,” we need not fear His intentions toward us.

©️Stacy Crouch 2020

1. Begin

After a clearly-demonstrated need for sleep, my three-year-old has opted out of nap-time this afternoon, preferring the ignominy of forced silence on the living room couch to the comfort of his much-pillowed upper bunk.

I’ve instructed him about the minute-hand on the clock, shown him where it must be before he may get books. Until then, he flounders and flops back and forth, a small body full of pent-up words.

Silence is a learned skill, I’m finding, sometimes more difficult than speech. And while I taught this boy to talk by simply talking, he doesn’t seem to catch quietness by example.

Quiet comes easily to me. I’ve sometimes taken pride in that: after all, “even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise” (Prov. 17:28, NASB). But quiet can also be laziness, passivity, a path of least resistance, less work.

Speech and silence, both, are gifts to be stewarded and spent. I, who want to write, have been wasting my quiet spaces far too often recently. So here’s a beginning at spending them better: belatedly joining a February challenge to write every day of the month, using prompts provided by Anitaojeda.com

Since I’ve already missed a couple days, and since there are three tiny, prone-to-skipping-naps people in my house, I make no promises. But I know today I’ll write, because I’ve done it.

Now though, it’s time to read to the little boy on the couch.

https://anitaojeda.com/welcome-to-the-write-28-days-blogging-challenge/

©️StacyCrouch 2020

Five Minute Friday: full

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The skin of my belly is taut and smooth, bearing the red lines of its stretching, and I can’t see how it could stretch more. I have to stand up slowly and calculate my motions to put least stress on a stressed hip tendon. Inside me, a little boy stretches and pushes, running out of room.

However we measure, and however long it takes, I know these are the last days of this pregnancy — I’m eager for THIS to be the last day — but there is evening and there is morning, the 278th day, and we wait.

Writing to the Galatians, Paul says that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son” (Gal. 4:4), and I think of all the long days between the promises and their fulfillment in that birth — not just Mary’s months of pregnancy, but the four hundred silent years between Malachi and Matthew, the thousands of waiting years that followed Genesis 3.

He came. He conquered. And now we wait for His return, a waiting in which Paul tells us that creation itself joins, “groaning together in the pains of childbirth” as we wait for an end of our bondage to corruption, our release into the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:20-23).

This is only my third pregnancy, but I’m pretty certain of the baby who must be born soon. I know the signs, have heard the beating heart, studied the ultrasound images and my own stretched self. Hosea prophesied that the Lord’s “going out is as sure as the dawn” (Hos. 6:3). And if you’ve lived long enough to learn to read you know that dawn always comes — more certain, more inevitable than a baby’s birth, the light returns again and again and again.

My baby will be small and weak, bound to sin, bringing me years of worry and work for his welfare. But we will celebrate his arrival with so much joy, in awe of this astounding gift of life.

Christ will return a mighty conqueror, to trample sin underfoot and usher us into joy everlasting, life eternal. How shall we celebrate THAT arrival?

So we wait, full to bursting, for the time to be full again, for Christ to burst upon our taut, aching days with glory beyond imagining.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

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This took me several times the allotted five minutes, but after weeks of writing nothing, I’m linking up with Five Minute Friday to acknowledge the prompt that finally helped me put some thoughts onto a page. The “full” button above will carry you to the FMF page to read more about it. 

©Stacy Crouch 2019

 

 

Safe

He brought his trucks to the edge of the couch and invited me to drive them with him: “Trucks? Drive?”

And so we drove them: up and down my folded legs, around my toes, into the couch cushion crevices, over terrain no sane truck driver would ever attempt.

I imagined a driver in the truck, and how terrifying it would be to careen from kneecap to shinbone, rattle over an ankle, and find oneself wedged nose-down in the ravine between two feet.

But we who held the trucks were not alarmed. We held the trucks; we guided their paths; our hands held them steady on the steepest inclines, and if they fell, we were there to rescue.

How often I forget: the way looks steep, the falls unthinkable, but good and sovereign Hands uphold me, guide me on every path. I am safe.

©️2019 by Stacy Crouch