Well, we had another wonderful weekend! Friday morning began with me getting up a little extra early to blow up sixteen balloons with helium for Elizabeth's 7th birthday. Many years ago, when William was a toddler, we began a tradition of putting helium balloons over the bed of the birthday child the morning of their birthday. It has been a very easy and inexpensive way to make our birthday child feel special from the moment they first open their eyes. They know immediately that its their special day and that Mommy and Daddy have remembered. The kids really love this and have come to very much expect it.
As an extra treat for Elizabeth, we had arranged to host our Sunday School class playgroup on Friday. So, seventeen kids enjoyed playing on the deck with playdough, coloring with chalk on the driveway, playing with ride-on toys, splashing in the kiddie pool, running through the sprinkler, spraying water guns, and throwing around a football. Sandwiched in between this activity was lunch and the added treat of popcorn from a concession style popcorn machine and flavored sno cones from a professional grade sno cone maker. My parents were the ones who kindly loaned us the equipment for making the kid-friendly treats. It was pretty hot on Friday, and I think the adults enjoyed the sno cones as much as the kids!! :-)
Friday evening, we enjoyed a family pizza party. Elizabeth wore her Birthday Princess hat and we all took turns sharing a favorite memory about Elizabeth and something we really loved about her. It is so fun to go around the table and hear what every one has to say...especially the kids. Carolina, our two-and-a-half year old never fails to make me laugh. Since visiting Disney World in April, her table response almost always has to do with Disney World, regardless of the question. She will speak a little bit of gibberish, articulate "Disney World" and "Elizabeth" (or whatever the topic is) very clearly, say a little more gibberish and then smile, as if to signal that her contribution to the round table discussion is complete.
Almost every year, we pull out the child's birth video and reminisce on the day they were born. This is also something that the kids love very much. I am ever amazed when I see the video of me holding my newborn child (because it takes me right back in time to that very moment) and then I look beside me, in real time, at that same child, now, a year older. It is very sobering. My little girl is now 7 years old. How I love her!!
Saturday morning we ended up sleeping in after staying up late for Elizabeth's birthday. My parents took Elizabeth, William, Sam and Larissa (our au pair) to the 3D movie "Up" for the 10 pm showing Friday night. I stayed up doing things around the house till they got home. So, Saturday morning proved to be a great time to catch up on a little sleep. After breakfast, we loaded up the van and drove to Lake Wylie to attend the Scottish Highland Games Festival with some friends of ours. I got some great pictures of Sam dancing with the six kids in front of the bandstand where a Scottish Bagpipe Band was rocking out in kilts. It was pretty funny. Sam was throwing the kids up in the air and trying to do some sort of Irish jig with his legs. The kids then jumped to their hearts' content in a bounce house there for the event. We were able to see some folk dancing and exhibits and then sit in the bleachers to watch a demonstration of dogs herding sheep.
Following the festival, we went back to our friends' house, grilled hamburgers and hung out while the kids played. As I've mentioned before, it is truly a blessing to sit with Christian friends and share trials and triumphs of how God has worked in your lives. Reflecting on God's providence in the past renews confidence in the future that God's hand is still there...
Again, Sunday was my favorite day of the week. Pastor Munro spoke on Psalm 23. There were so many awesome truths from his message, I had difficulty writing them all down. I have heard many sermons on this psalm before, but as our Sunday School teacher, Buddy, always reminds us, God's Word is living. The Holy Spirit can speak to you in different ways about the same passage, time and time again. He can speak to you about one matter while speaking to some one else about another matter; yet, it is the same passage He is using to speak to you both. Awesome! Today, the passage that grabbed my attention most was the line, "He makes me lie down in green pastures." Dr. Munro read a quote from a master shepherd by the last name of Keller. He said, "Because of the unique disposition of sheep, it is almost impossible to make them lie down unless four requirements are met." You will rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to see sheep lying down. (I thought back to the Scottish festival the day before and the sheep we watched. When they were in their trailers, sure enough, they were standing. When they were in their pens, they were standing. When they were in the grassy field, they were standing. I never saw any of them sit once. And, I never really thought about it until Pastor Munro brought it to my attention.) Keller said that for sheep to lie down, four requirements must be met: (1)They must be free of FEAR. "Owing to their timidity, sheep are unable to lie down unless they are free of all fear." (2) They must be free of FRICTION. "Because of the social dynamic of the flock, sheep are unable to lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind." (3) They must be free of PESTS. "If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down. Only when free of these pests can sheep relax." (4) They must be free of HUNGER. "Sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food." Here, then, is the significance of the Shepherd's provision. The Lord is MY Shepherd. He leads me so that I can lie down...free from fear of harm, free from the stress of friction with others, free from the pests and parasites...the struggles of life that seek to suck the very life blood from me, free from hunger...spiritual hunger that only He can fill. When truly, "The Lord is MY Shepherd", I can rest...I can "lie down in green pastures"...secure that God will take care of all my needs, all my cares, all my fears, all my anxieties...
There was a time, not that long ago, that I was waking up at night worried about my job, worried that the kids were growing up too fast, worried about my marriage, worried about the life expectancy of my parents, worried about worry itself. I was praying. I was active at church, regularly attending Sunday services and Sunday School...but I wasn't opening God's Word every day and really seeking MY Shepherd. I thought about that this morning. I thought about how sweet my sleep has been lately and the peace I've felt when lying down and waking up.
"The Lord is MY Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures." Thank you, Lord.
Tidings of Comfort & Joy...Merry Christmas!!
4 years ago