God’s Grace and Baby Poop

I’ve made an astonishing discovery in recent weeks: babies require a lot of time and work. To begin with, they produce large amounts of liquid from both ends of their bodies. Or in other words, they poop and puke like fountains. And they never seem to do it at the right times. In an ideal world, a baby would poop when its diaper was securely fastened about its bottom. But not my baby. She likes to go right in the middle of changing time, when her diaper is off and the world is hers to explode upon. A person in another room listening to me change Charis would hear, “Yes you’re such a good girl, let’s get this diaper off…whoa! Hey, not yet! Jen, get me something, quick!” And so we do lots of laundry, and change lots of sheets, and go through eight hundred diapers a day. A good portion of my time is spent helping my wife take care of Charis, which has led to me another not so astonishing discovery: I’m very selfish.

The truth is, I don’t always like doing the hard work of caring for my little girl. Why? Because it takes away from my precious “me time”. In my selfishness, I want some time to do the things I like to do. I want to relax, to take it easy, to have some down time. And frankly, when I think about maintaining this routine day after day, it gets to be a bit overwhelming. I don’t have the strength to joyfully serve my wife and daughter for the next week, let alone the next month. I don’t have the strength to die to myself and graciously care for my wife and daughter day after day. So I’ve discovered that I need the sustaining, powerful grace of God each day, each hour, each moment, to live a life that pleases Him.

I’m weak, and I desperately need grace, which makes the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 very precious to me. Paul wrote:

But he [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

How good it is to know that when I’m weak, Christ’s power is strong. When I don’t have the strength to continue serving, Christ’s power is strong within me. When selfishness is raging within my heart, Christ’s power is strong within me. And so I won’t look beyond today. God will give me enough grace in each moment to live a life that pleases Him. Right now God hasn’t given me the grace for tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes I know it will be there.

Are you aware of your need for God’s sustaining, empowering, life-changing grace? Husbands, God is eager to give you the grace to serve your wife and family when you come home from a hard day at the office. Ask Him for that grace. Mom’s, God is ready to dispense abundant grace each day to enable you to care for and raise your children for the glory of God. Students, there’s grace for you too. When it seems that your life is overwhelmed by term papers and tests, there is sustaining grace available. But we must go to God every moment for this grace. We must fly to Him with our weaknesses, and He will sustain us by grace.

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Liveblogging A Baby: Burnout Time

I’ve come to the point where my brain has stopped working. After three (or is it four?) consecutive nights of little sleep, my mind no longer is functioning properly. It takes me longer to process simple thoughts, and with every decision, my mind feels like it’s wading through molasses. I just want to go home and sleep for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be getting much more sleep in the days to come.

We were planning on going home this morning until we realized that the pounding headache that has plagued Jen for the past three days was not due to a lack of caffeine, but the spinal she had before the c-section. So right now they’re treating her for the headache by pumping lots of fluids into her and giving her a heavy-duty dose of caffeine, equivalent to ten cups of coffee. Even Starbucks can’t match that. Hopefully we’ll be home by this evening.

This morning I read in Philippians 4:11-13 where Paul says:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Oh how I long to be like Paul, content in every situation. Content when I sleep, content when I don’t sleep. Content to serve Jen as she recovers from the c-section, content to take care of my baby during the late watches of the night, content to stay in the hospital as long as necessary. Content when Charis is healthy, content when she’s sick. Content at all times. But I need the strength of Christ to help me be content.

Join me today in asking Christ to help you be content in all situations. God wants you to be able to be content in all circumstances, but apart from Christ, that’s impossible. So let’s seek out Christ in every moment, asking for the grace to be content in every situation.

I’m off to the hospital again, wish me contentment!

Liveblogging A Baby: Will My Baby Keep Breathing?

Having a baby has caused me to realize how utterly helpless I am. As I lay in bed at night, dark fears slither into my mind, stealing both my peace and my sleep. Will she keep breathing? Will she eat enough? Will we know how to take care of her when we get home from the hospital? Will I hear her crying in the middle of the night? These and a thousand other black thoughts assault my mind on a regular basis.

As I’ve wrestled with these thoughts, I’ve come to realize that I’m completely helpless. I can’t sustain Charis’ life. I can’t keep her heart beating, or her lungs breathing. I am unable to sustain her life, just as I’m unable to sustain my own life. Little Charis is fragile, and I’m unable to sufficiently protect her.

But there is one thing I can do: I can trust the only One who can sustain her. I have two options. I can trust in myself and be a fearful, miserable, sleepless wreck. Or I can trust in God, the maker of all things, to sustain little Charis. This morning I read Psalm 121:3-4 which says, “He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” What comforting words! When I lay down to sleep, Charis is being kept by the One who never sleeps. God is keeping, and caring for, and watching over my sweet little girl. I must trust Him, or I’ll never sleep.

Praise God that He is the One who keeps us! Friends, apart from the sustaining grace of God, we would be destroyed in an instant. But we serve a kind God who gives us the very breath we breathe. Let us lift out hearts in humble gratitude to Him today.

Liveblogging A Baby: I’ve Never Felt Such Love

Certain truths take on an entirely new dimension when a baby enters your life. 1 John 3:2 says, ” Beloved, we are God’s children now…” Before yesterday I knew what this scripture meant, at least in my head. Now I feel the intensity of this truth like I never have before.

Every time I hold my new baby, and intense, protective, fatherly affection rises in my heart. I treasure my new little girl, delight in her, can’t wait to see her. Being woken up at 3 a.m. to help my wife feed her isn’t drudgery, it’s pure delight. I would do anything for this little girl. More than anything, I love this little girl with an intensity that is impossible to explain. She’s never done a single thing for me, and yet I love her so very deeply. I love feeling her little fingers, and looking at her little eyes, and kissing her tiny head. Why? Because she is my child.

Friends, this is how our Father in heaven feels about us. He purchased us with the precious blood of Christ, and now He loves us with a fierce, passionate love. He delights in us, rejoices in us, even sings over us. He wants us to enter His presence. But there’s one big difference between my love for Charis and God’s love for us. Charis never hated me. She never rejected me, she never went her own way. We on the other hand, hated God. We despised Him, and wanted absolutely nothing to do with Him. Yet He saved us, and now He calls us His children. Such love is simply amazing! How can we fathom such affection?

Let your heart rejoice in the love of God your Father, for today He is rejoicing over you.

Liveblogging A Baby: She’s Here!

Praise God! At 8 a.m. this morning my baby was pulled from the womb and entered the world. Never has the sound of crying been so sweet to me. She is doing beautifully.

Jen is doing well, although she is in a significant amount of pain. Please continue to pray for us as we navigate through the next couple of days.

As always, God is so good.

Liveblogging A Baby: T Minus 12

Charis is scheduled to be born at 7:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, which means that we must be at the hospital at the obscene hour of 5:00 a.m. But I know it’s going to be worth it.

I’m not sure how much sleep I’ll get tonight. I’ve got some pregame jitters, if you know what I mean, and I think that could make things rough. But there’s nothing a good cup of Starbucks can’t fix.

Lord willing, I’ll be a dad in approximately 12 hours.

On Tuesday A Miracle Will Happen

On Tuesday, September 4th, a miracle will happen: a new baby girl will enter the world. This miracle will be named ‘Charis’, which is the Greek word for ‘Grace’, and this miracle will bring much joy to her father and mother. And the sweetest news of all, is that this little miracle will be my daughter!

How do I know that Charis will be born on September 4th? Because in His kindness, God has given men the wisdom to invent a device that allows doctors to perform a sonogram and actually look at a baby before it’s born. Our most recent sonogram showed that little Charis was comfortably settled on her side, making it impossible for her to be born naturally. Oh how grateful to God I am for sonograms! Had Charis been born 100 years ago, it’s likely that both she and my wife Jen would have died during labor. But in His kindness, the Lord permitted the invention of the sonogram, and so I will be enjoy a birthday rather than a double funeral.

Because Charis is sideways, she will be removed from the womb via Cesarean Section. Oh the wisdom God has given to men! In the space of a few brief minutes, an incision will be made and Charis will be lifted from the womb, thoroughly cleaned, and then placed into my arms. I’m so grateful that God gave Mr. Cesarean (if that was his name) the wisdom to invent this baby-delivery procedure. If the C-Section had not been invented I would likely be experiencing grief instead of joy on Tuesday.

Jen and I are both nervous. We’re entering new and uncharted territory. But we serve the God who invented sonograms and C-Sections, and I’m confident that He will care for us each step of the way. I’m not sure how much I’ll be blogging this week. Maybe if I have some down time I’ll put up a post. Please pray for Jen and me. Thanks!