Friday, November 16, 2012

Bridal Shower

The ladies of ICSB and the surrounding community amaze me. Last night, the middle school principal and the school director's wife hosted an "Around the Clock" bridal shower for me, and 40 people came. On a school night. For two hours. They brought with them the encouragement and love of four years, as well as gifts, laughter, and prayer. It was quite a night!

Eric stopped by to load all the loot into the car and couldn't help but make lots of shower jokes. Even today at school, he's thanking everyone for all the soap. In spite of showers being oddities to men, he, too, is so grateful for the ladies' generosity and amazed at the strong turn out.

Thanks, dear Budapest friends! I'm certainly feeling more bridal.

With love and gratitude,

Monday, November 12, 2012

"You don't have to pay."

Simultaneous generosity from a new landlord and failure with a student taught me about grace that is costly and free.

First, as Eric moved into what will soon be our new home together, the landlords made the most unexpected and generous of statements. Regarding rent for the first month, "You don't have to pay." Instead, this school family wanted us to buy things that the apartment needed. "Go to IKEA. Maybe buy some curtains." Really?? A month's rent worth of curtains and fixtures and fixings? What generosity!

I was actually taken aback by the gracious offering. It seemed too good. I didn't want to misunderstand or offend our landlords, who happen to be from a culture different from my own. Surely they didn't mean a month in an apartment for free. But they did. This is the rich abundance of grace.

At the same time, back at school, I was not living in quite the same thankful euphoria. A student had asked me to help with an important task as she applied to a prestigious university. I was determined to get it right for her. Instead, my portion was drawn out and the deadline passed without it reaching completion. I failed, utterly. My reaction was disbelief, mortification, and regret. How could I let her down? This moment demonstrated the reality of my sin.

But God (don't you just love that phrase?) took care of the situation and taught me an important lesson. The student had other teachers also working on the application, and she forgave my hurtful blunder. It cost her something, though. My mistake had consequences. Her forgiving response wasn't easy. This is grace.

 God's favor is more abundant than I can really grasp, and he lavishes it on me in love through Jesus. When I actually notice grace, I'm amazed by the power of it to redeem, loose, and equip.  At the same time, such grace isn't without great cost. Christ himself  faced the utter rejection, the horrible punishment, the agony of my sin.

Grace is costly, but it is freely given to me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Time and the hour run through the roughest day"

and God is always good.

Regardless of circumstance, a right perspective is that focused on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith (Heb. 12). In the midst of countless details and difficulties, who am I to question the magnanimous magnitude of God (Job  38)?

The hours and days pass. We are but dust (Ps. 103). "Time and the hour run through the roughest day." These truths make it all the more wonderous that God shows love and kindness to such as I (Eph. 2).

Praise the Lord.