Inexpressible Joy

The small book, A Gospel Primer has blessed me time and time again.  Recently, this portion on thankfulness was incredibly encouraging to me.

Thankfulness Enriched by Relief
The more absorbed I am in the gospel, the more grateful I become in the midst of my circumstances, whatever they may be.
Viewing life’s blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly, the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this.
The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath. This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserve each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelievable kindness of God toward me.
That God, in fact, has given me a cup that is full of “every spiritual blessing in Christ,” and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.
When I look at any circumstance that God apportions me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (the empty part of the cup never looked so good!).
Secondly, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life’s blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind, and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin.
M. Vincent – A Gospel Primer


>Quote of the Day

>”True contentment is not the same as getting whatever we want; it is submitting to the Lord’s will and learning to desire what He does.”
Sinclair Ferguson

>Leadership and Family Vacations

>Over on the Sovereign Grace Blog C.J. Mahaney has written a series of articles called Leadership and Family Vacations. It is a three-part series designed to encourage husbands and fathers to begin preparing their schedules—and their hearts—to lead their families in a “God-glorifying, grace-filled, relationship-building, memory-making time together.” Brian found this series to be very helpful, so I thought I’d encourage all of you wives who read this blog to get these articles into your husbands hands (or inboxes!). And if you’re a husband or father who reads this blog, well then you can just click on the link!

An excerpt from C.J. …
“Here’s what I’ve learned. The difference between forgettable vacations and unforgettable vacations is not the location or attractions. Nope. The difference between forgettable and unforgettable vacations is the father’s attitude and leadership. This makes all the difference.”

>Quotes … and a little update

>I’ve been reading Relationships: A Mess Worth Making by Tim Lane and Paul Tripp recently and have really enjoyed it and found it to be a helpful reminder as to what kind of relationships God desires me to have.

Here’s a great quote by C.S. Lewis from the book …
When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.

Lane and Tripp on that quote …
In his life, death and resurrection, Jesus brought reconciliation in two fundamental ways. Jesus reconciled us to God, which then becomes the foundation for the way he reconciles us to one another. As Lewis said, Christ restores first things so that second things are not suppressed but increased! When God reigns in our hearts, peace reigns in our relationships.

As for baby news … my sickness seems to be rapidly decreasing which we are very grateful for. Evenings are when I still feel it the most, but I’m thankful that during the day I am feeling more like myself. My energy level also seems to be a bit better which has been encouraging. I had a baby appt. today and all is well with the little one. Heartrate was 150. At this point baby Herr measures about 3 1/2 inches and weighs about 1 1/2 ounces … which makes he/she about the size of a lemon! Oh, and in case anyone cares … the baby can now go tinkles too.

The kiddos are all doing well … loving the outdoors these days, even though it got a little cooler this week. Last week I took Hailey to her first ballet with a group of homeschoolers. We took the train to Philly and then headed to the Merriam Theatre where we saw Coppelia. For anyone familiar with this ballet, Hailey’s favorite was Act III – The Festival of the Bells.

Justin has been phasing out of napping, which has actually served me well as he and Hailey entertain each other for hours in the basement or outside. He still has book time on his bed for about an hour most days, but rarely actually sleeps. Every once in awhile he’ll say to me, “Mommy, I don’t want to look at books; I want to rest” … and then he’s out cold for 2-3 hours.

Sydney keeps me on my toes as she has a new obsession with washing her hands and will often be in the bathroom washing her hands … and her arms, face, the mirror, the sink, etc. … we’ve gone through way more soap than normal recently! She does seem to have some interest in the potty these days and now tells us not only when she is stinky, but often when she is wet. I’m in no hurry (just hoping it happens before October!), but I think we’ll give it a try in the near future (maybe after a week of vacation and Brian traveling for a week later this month).

And in our spare time, Brian and I have been outside doing yard work and getting our garden ready. And Brian also enjoys getting his evening updates on the computer to see what the Phillies, Flyers and 76ers are up to. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I enjoy french fries … from Burger King. The last time (prior to this pregnancy) that I had french fries from BK was probably when I was pregnant with Sydney. Funny how the thought of fast food makes me sick when I’m not pregnant and yet somehow is very enjoyable when I am pregnant … go figure.

I think that pretty much wraps up this update! I’ll try to start taking some pics so that there are some pics to go along with my updates!

>Quote of the Day

>I have been reading Jerry Bridges book Respectable Sins. In his chapter on Impatience and Irritability I came across this quote which explains the cause of our impatience …

The actual cause of our impatience lies within our own hearts, in our own attitude of insisting that others around us conform to our expectations.

How very true in my own life … I can too often make excuses for my sin in dealing with my impatience because of how I am being treated. When I think of moments when I am most tempted towards impatience, it is just that … times when those around me (often my kiddos) are not meeting my expectations. How thankful I am that God does not deal with me how I deserve, but rather in love by extending grace and mercy. I pray that I would be slow to speak and that when I do speak I would abound in love, patience, gentlenss and kindness!