It is a gorgeous autumn day in Colorado - so beautiful and warm that I was able to sit in the sun on the patio and finish two books I've been working on.
Then I finished The Shack. Many of you have read this book. I think of it as an allegory in the nature of Pilgrim's Progress.
I found it fascinating. These paragraphs really hit home with me, as we come up to this very crucial election. Mack, the main character of the book "spent a lot of time fretting and worrying about the future, and in his imaginations it was usually pretty gloomy and depressing . . . And Jesus was also correct in saying that in Mack's imaginations of the future, God was always absent."
Jesus then says to him, "It is your desperate attempt to get some control over something you can't. It is impossible for you to take power over the future because it isn't even real, nor will it ever be real. You try and play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try and make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear."
Mack asks Jesus why he has so much fear in his life. Jesus answers, "Because you don't believe. You don't know that we love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don't know it." (p. 142)
Papa (God) speaking: "Nobody knows what horrors I have saved the world from 'cuz people can't see what never happened. All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning . . . Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say. Now it touches everyone that I love, those who follow me and those who don't. If I take away the consequences of people's choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all." (p. 190)
If you've read the book, you know why forgiveness plays a huge part in the story. I love these quotes:
"Forgiveness is not about forgetting . . . It is about letting go of another person's throat." (p. 224)
Papa (God) talking: "Forgiveness does not establish relationship. In Jesus, I have forgiven all humans for their sins against me, but only some choose relationship. . . don't you see that forgiveness is an incredible power - a power you share with us, a power Jesus gives to all whom he indwells so that reconciliation can grow? . . . Forgiveness is first for you, the forgiver, to release you from something that will destroy your joy and your ability to love fully and openly." (p. 225)
"Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive. . . Forgiveness does not excuse anything." (p. 226)
Moving on to something far less important and cerebral - a bit of randomness just for fun. Our town does Trick or Treat at the shopping areas where all the little rugrats run around in their costumes and get a head start on sugar the Saturday before Halloween. This year Care Bear is a cheerleader and Feisty is Ariel, the Little Mermaid.
Feisty wasn't having a great time at first, but she warmed up to the idea after awhile.
The little jack-o-lanterns had their first sugary treat - probably not such a good idea, but simply adorable!
Earlier in the week, Kristen had a really tough couple of days. She needed to be by herself for awhile, so I ended up having the kids for more than 30 hours. It usually goes pretty well - the big girls sleep on couch cushions on the floor of the family room (in spite of the fact that we have two spare beds in Kristen's old room). Don't ask me why. One baby slept in the Pack and Play and the other was snuggled up on the floor of my bedroom (Grandpa does go into the spare room so that he can sleep all night and not hear all the potential commotion). The last few times they've had a sleepover, the big girls have slept through the night with no problem - and at least one of the twins did the same. Not this time!
I had the babes down by 8:00. It was around 9:00 by the time the big ones were settled in. I crashed after a very long day for just a short time before both babies, within a couple minutes of each other, woke up. I replenished their bottles and they went back to sleep. At 1:11, Feisty came charging up the steps - ending up in bed with me. At 1:17, Katie, on the floor, woke up again. I brought her into my little t.v. room so that she wouldn't wake up anyone else. She was very restless, even as I held her and snuggled her. She never did sleep soundly, and when she doesn't, I don't. Suddenly Care Bear appeared, half asleep. I told her to go ahead and crawl into my bed, too, because she didn't want to be alone downstairs. At that point, I realized there was no room for me in my bed - I could have gone into the spare room with Dwight, but instead I snuggled up in my recliner. I had slept about an hour, and it was about 4:00 by this time, when Feisty came stumbling into my room, saying that she was lonesome by herself. I thought Care Bear was with her, but learned later in the morning that she had gone and joined Grandpa in the twin bed. I had no energy to get up from my chair, so I had her snuggle with me for the next couple of hours -- Let me assure you - this did my back NO good!
Fortunately there was no school the next day, so we didn't have to rush in the morning. Care Bear was very helpful with Emma Bemma and took a bath with her.
After breakfast, I could hear all kinds of fun stuff going on in the living room. I finally figured out that Care Bear was teaching school with Feisty as her class. I would love to sit in on her real class someday, because I feel certain that her every word and action was directly from her teacher. I just got such joy out of listening and surreptitously watching.
Katie's newest trick is crossing her leg over her knee as she watches cartoons!
Shifting gears drastically - our church has been badly in need of parking space for years. We have struggled with various solutions, when finally we were able to buy both houses just west of the church. In April, the guy who bought them, did so with the agreement that he would remove them to property he had elsewhere. It is now the end of October - our pastor's blood pressure has been in danger for the past months as he has watched this guy consistently break his verbal promise - that was our first mistake - not getting it in a written contract! Here is the house that has been in process of being "moved" for six months.
This one has gone more quickly. It was supposed to be out last Thursday. You can only do the moving after midnight, and not on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. Imagine the problems this caused when everyone came to church on Sunday and found this in the parking lot:
It's supposed to have happened last night - I forgot to drive by there today - I'll believe it when I see it!
PLEASE CONTINUE PRAYING FOR FEISTY. Poor little sweetie - the infection returns about two days after she finishes her last round of meds. She is sick again tonight and has an appointment with the right doctor tomorrow afternoon. She has an appointment with a pediatric urologist in Denver on November 9. Kristen is beside herself with worry that her kidneys have been compromised with all of these infections, and that she will be immune to antibiotics by the time they figure out what is going on. THANK YOU!