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Calvinism and Forgetting

A beautiful, warm, sunny Saturday…after all the rain we’ve had lately, this is especially welcome!  I actually broke down this week and ordered rubber rain boots for the kids.  I’ve never, in all my years of parenting, bought those things – never saw the need for them.  But now, with parking over at the high school and walking to the elementary every day…I see where they might come in handy.

I worked a week ago Friday at the middle school, Monday I was there, and again Thursday.  Friday and Monday I was with one 7th grade boy – an anxious little guy.  But he made the comment, “I wish you could be with me  all the time.  You helped me SO much!”  And then when I arrived Thursday to work with a very articulate 6th grade girl she exclaimed, “I’ve been looking forward to having you come!”  She immediately admired my outfit, so I decided that we would be friends from then on!  I found another Christian associate there in the middle school.  Actually, after a couple days of observing this lady I had the thought of wondering if she might be saved.  She just had this very gentle “vibe” to her.  A little while later we were talking and it turns out that she lives in Indianola and goes to church with Pastor and Marcia’s son and daughter-in-law and family.  So she knew all about Pastor and Marcia and their move and his recent health issues.  She is actually a retired school teacher who is now working full time as an associate.  Does that actually make her “retired” then, I wonder?  Anyway, we’ve had some nice conversations since then.  It is really fun for me as I am getting to know more and more staff to discover which ones do know the Lord.
 David is at Prom Alternative this weekend.  Thursday afternoon I was nearing the end of my work day at school when I received a frantic text from David informing me that he had just discovered his suit coat no longer fit.  Argh!  I never thought to check that this year when getting his stuff together for prom.  I was supposed to go to a city council meeting that night but I texted the mayor telling him I had a “kid emergency” and couldn’t make it.  I probably should have phrased it better because he immediately texted back asking if there was anything he could do to help.  So I had to explain it wasn’t that kind of an emergency!  But he has a teenage stepson so he totally understood the clothing emergency aspect, too!  I was under the impression after texting with David that he and I would be going shopping that evening.  He was under the impression that we were going the next morning.  Well, that wouldn’t work for me because I had to be at the school to participate in a “mom’s morning” in Ellie’s class.  So when I got home and discovered the little booger had gone off to work I was beside myself.  I had forgotten he  had to work Thursday night!

But it all worked out.  Will and Arien come over on Thursday evenings.  Fortunately, I had already made most of supper the night before, knowing I had to work on Thursday.  So I put them to work finishing it up.  They were happy to do that and feed and watch the kids for me.   I headed to town – straight into rush hour traffic.  I had a 30% coupon for Kohls so I ended up buying 3 jackets, hoping one of them would fit David.  Then, I need to find pants for him.  I had begun to suspect earlier this year  that he is a very weird size when I was looking for some other dress pants.  I found several styles I thought would match all 3 coats so that no matter which one we ended up keeping the pants would work.  Of course I couldn’t find his size (32X34).  So I made a couple of trips over to the service counter, had them look up the pants in their system only to discover that every single pair of pants I had them look up (It was probably about 8 different pairs) did not even come in that size!  Finally, the gal at the service counter suggested I go next door to DXL, which is a big and tall men’s store.  I bought the coats and did that. 

The lady at DXL was very sympathetic but told me that their sizes don’t start until a 38 waist.  I doubt David will ever have a 38” waist!  She told me her own father-in-law is a 30X34 and has the same problem.  She then suggested I go to Dillards.  I did that and couldn’t find any black dress pants.  I finally found a clerk and he said that they rarely get 32X34s in and when they do, they go fast.  No kidding.  Finally, he found a pair for me and lo, and behold – they actually matched both jackets!  So I bought them.

For $70.

Grrr….I choked, but what was I supposed to do? 

I got home and warned David that he had better not grow before we get his senior pictures done in the fall.  He then made the comment, “I hardly ever wear suits anymore, anyway.”  I felt like pinching that kid’s head off in that moment…

Will has a certain shade of khaki he wants me to find for David and Ben’s groomsmen pants.  I haven’t even started looking yet, but I am decidedly nervous about finding David’s now.  
 A week ago the girls’ adoptive brother, James’, mom texted me to let me know that James had accepted the Lord.  He’s 9 – almost 10.  This just thrills me – even more so than when I hear of other people getting saved.  It just feels like validation, I guess.  I know at least one of their older brothers that are all in a home in a Huxley, has also accepted the Lord.  Would this have happened if the kids had remained in their birth home and not been adopted out? 

I’ve heard criticism directed at the adoption community from non-Christians.  They claim that the reasons so many Christians become adoptive parents is because they are only interested in adding converts to Christianity.  That’s just dumb.  If that was the case a whole lot more Christian families would be adopting and they wouldn’t stop at one or two adoptions like most seem to do.

I do not lean towards Calvinism so I like to think that while God has pre-knowledge of who will accept Him and who will not these kind of things are not pre-ordained.  Thus, it is possible that the events the surrounded the girls’ birth family, resulting in the removal of the kids, were allowed by God for the express purpose of bringing them to salvation.

But I could be wrong.  I really, really like John McArthur and my friend Luanne was telling me the other night that she’s been studying up on election and Pastor McArthur seems to think that God does, indeed, choose who will be saved and who will not be.  If that’s the case then it doesn’t really  matter that we adopted these kids, does it?  If they were destined before time to get saved, then nothing was going to stop that.

I like my theory better.

Anyway, when I told Lizzie the news she exclaimed, “Now he’s not only my brother, but he’s my brother in Christ, too!”  I didn’t even know she knew that terminology!

Speaking of unknown terminology:

A couple of weeks ago Ellie informed me that I was a “hypocrite.”  Apparently, she saw me toss a bow into the hair basket without putting into the proper bag (I have them sorted by colors).  That’s something I’ve chided them for doing – she caught me!  Later that same day we had therapy.  At one point, Ellie very solemnly announced to Miss Cindy,

“My mom is a hypocrite.”  So then I had to explain it to the therapist.  She fought valiantly, trying not to give in to the laughter and to validate Ellie’s feelings.  But it was a losing struggle!

The other day in one of my classes, one of my classmates stated, “I need some assistants, please.”  And no, she was not looking for helpers to come alongside her. 

I should not get as upset as I do, really…

Another, more serious thing, that bothers me:

More and more, I am noticing the creeping acceptability of swearing among Christians.  When did this become ok?  I’m not talking about the use of euphemisms.  Those have been a favorite target of youth pastors for generations!  But, real, actual swear words.  They aren’t the “biggies,” but I am hearing some of the softer words cropping in conversation among Christians.  And they are true swear words, not just vulgar or crude words (which I don’t like either, but feel are a separate category from actual curse words, too).  The Bible is pretty clear on what our conversation should be like.  I know there is a certain amount of liberty to decide how far one wants to “clean up” his mouth.  I know some people who are so convicted that they won’t even say, “Oh, my goodness!”  But I just don’t see how any Christian can justify the use of any type of swearing in their conversation. 

The world is changing.

Maybe not.  Christians are the ones changing.

I got my house valuation the other day.  It went up $6000.  I was expecting the new siding to throw up the value higher than that.  So that bothers me.  If I ever decide to sell the house I may not get as much out of it as I’d like to.  On the other hand, lower values will keep my taxes down, which is helpful while I live here.

I have decided to re-do my living room and dining room ceilings.  Hopefully, before David’s graduation party in a year.  We’ll see about that!  I just did the girls’ ceiling with Styrofoam tiles and it looks really nice.  But the more I think about it, the less I want those in my main rooms.  What I would really like is a plank ceiling.  I did find a lady on pinterest who used lightweight wood flooring and glued it over her popcorn ceiling (which is in my dining room).  I’m just afraid of starting a project that I can’t finish on my own.  But the longer I think about those non-matching, ancient ceilings, the less I like them, too.
 I had a dream early in the week about Paul.  He had come back and we were showing him around.  He was commenting on the changes we’d made to the house and even the new coat I bought from Stitch Fix at Christmastime (of all things).  I’ve had dreams like this before and they were always “excited” dreams.  But this dream wasn’t exciting.  I felt apprehensive and in my dream I was wondering just how we were going to fit Paul into the new life we’d made without him.  In fact, I remember saying in my dream, “Oh, great – now I’m probably going to have start wearing skirts on Sunday nights again!”  I think it was   kind of telling.  But for the next couple of days I felt kind of sad all over again about him dying – not that I don’t ever feel sad, anyway.  But this was deeper – reminded me of some of the times in the first couple of years.  It took me about three days to realize that this all went back to my dream!  Grief and loss are such funny, non-sensical, contrary emotions. 

Last night Will and Arien were at the house again.  They decided to work on the mens’ “boutennieres” (I have that in quotation marks because there are not actually any flowers involved in what the guys will be wearing).  I have to be vague here because they’re not wanting all the wedding details to be slipped out ahead of time.  Anyway – they’re unique pieces involving something probably every guy has in his garage.  Will had grabbed one of out Paul’s work bag before going to the store so he would know how big of an item to purchase times 6.  After the two of them got done last night creating Will came to me and said, “Look at this one.”  I looked and in Paul’s handwriting I could see “Paul H” engraved on the end.  Will said,

“This is the one I’m wearing.”

Instantly, my eyes welled up.

He’ll never be forgotten.  We’re moving on.  It’s what you do.  Well, you should, anyway.  But making changes and making progress doesn’t mean the person you lost no longer matters, either.  They’re part of your past, but forever a part of who you are, too.  There comes a time to, as Danny Gokey sings, “Tell your heart to beat again.”  Or, in the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians, “Forgetting the past, I press onward…”  I don’t think he means literally “forget” but choosing not to dwell upon it.  Or, there’s Isaiah 43 that says, “Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!...”

I am starting to see the new things.  And I really, really like them!


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