Monday, September 24, 2007

Here come... Abigail!

At 2 years and 4 months old, Abigail is saying all sorts of funny stuff. Her vocabulary and imagination are exploding. As a doting father I wanted to share with you some of her favorite phrases:

  • Mait a mimute! ("Wait a minute!")
  • All-lll the animals. (she says this randomly, and it really cracks me up because she says it with such finality)
  • Here come... Abigail!
  • Beek-a-boo
  • Mink mamingo (pink flamingo)
  • hippopotamus
  • Here da church... here da [mumbling]... see da puh-eeple! (this is the old game played with the hands of saying, "here's the church, here's the steeple, open it up and see the people")
  • Ouch! hurt da booty (she got this from a Dr. Seuss book where someone is stung by a bee on the butt)
  • Wake up Tad, we got a big problem! (this is from a kid video)
  • ::singing:: One misty, moisty morning, when poudy was da wedder (also from a kid video)
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Sunday, September 09, 2007

10 Years Ago: A Testimony of God's Changing Power

A lot can change in 10 years. I graduated Leander High School in 1997 as Karen Suire -- the valedictorian and voted most academic (pretty nerdy, huh?). I would have told you back then that I was a Christian. I considered myself to be a good person. I even quoted Scripture in my commencement speech. But I didn't really know God or have a commitment to Him.

Having everyone think I was smart didn't make me as happy as I thought it would, so I decided to seek happiness elsewhere. My main goal my freshman year at UT was to date and have lots of fun, all the fun I thought I'd missed out on in high school. As my life spiraled down into rebellion and immorality, I felt empty and lost and lonely as ever. That year made me realize that I had a heart of darkness. I couldn't kid myself any longer -- I was a "sinner in the hands of an angry God," to quote Jonathan Edwards.

All the while, the Holy Spirit was drawing me into a Christian group on campus called Longhorn Life. A very special girl named Pei Lee befriended me and tirelessly ministered to me. (If you're reading this Pei, I want to thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone and investing in my life.) She and the others I met in Longhorn Life were unlike all the other "Christians" I knew -- they lived out their faith with high standards and they genuinely cared for others. What a stark contrast they were to myself! I remember singing "In the Secret" at a home group meeting and how the line hit me, "I want to know you. I want to see your face. I want to know you more." Because of Pei's love and encouragement, and my increasing hunger to know this God she worshipped, I agreed to go to a 10-week Christian camp that summer. It changed my life.

The summer of '98 is the first time I really understood the Gospel and responded in true repentance and faith. I asked Jesus into my heart at a young age, and I think that God had been working on me ever since then, but I don't think I was born again until that summer. My eyes were opened to my state as a lawbreaker before God who could offer nothing to save myself. Romans 6:23 says that my sins earned me death (i.e. eternal separation from God in Hell). A holy and perfect God cannot be around sinners. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8). That's the Good News, folks. Jesus Christ -- God in the flesh, the only one who lived the perfect, sinless life -- paid the penalty we deserved by dying on the cross. But not only that, He conquered death, rose again, and now offers us eternal life (see Romans 6:23 again) and we can be with Him in Heaven forevermore! Isn't that amazingly wonderful!? So, how should we respond? We need to repent (tell God we're sorry and turn from our ways to His ways) and put our faith and trust in Jesus alone to save us.

Well, that summer I learned that it's more than an intellectual assent to the facts. One of the speakers challenged us to count the cost of being a disciple (Luke 14:25-33). To follow Jesus, you must commit to let him lead. And the path will be narrow and difficult, but it is worth it for the reward. We're talking about eternity here -- our short lives are but a blip on the radar screen. "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." I'm not saying that our good works save us, but we are only saved by the kind of faith that produces good works (see James 2).

I'd like to say that after I made that commitment to follow Jesus that I never again wavered. No, I still had my struggles. But after that summer, something was different in my heart and life. When I fell into sin, He picked me up again and restored our fellowship. He has proven faithful and true, even when I haven't been. He continues to work on me, to chasten me, to sanctify me. He has poured out his goodness on me. He has satisfied me as with the richest of foods (Psalm 63 -- my favorite psalm!). He has blessed me with a wonderful husband and two precious children. After working for a Bible software company for 3 years, I have even had the opportunity to stay at home with my children while Barry attends seminary. All glory be to God!

Our Cute Kids

Here are some recent photos of our beautiful children so you can see how much they've grown. Abigail is 2 and Reuben is 3 months old.

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