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Posts from the ‘memories’ Category

Unexpected providence.

A few weeks ago, I saw an old friend at a first birthday party.  We attended high school and college together but hadn’t really seen each other since college graduation.  She mentioned that she read my article for Desiring God, where I wrote a little about my grandpa’s journey through Alzheimer’s and to salvation.

Then she lowered her voice a little, “I never told you this, but I had rotations at your grandpa’s skilled nursing facility during my nursing program.”  She and another friend from our high school both worked a few months at the facility where my grandpa stayed, but because of privacy laws, she wasn’t sure if she could share that information with me at the time.

“I didn’t realize he was your grandpa until I saw your photo by his bed.”  And she shared with me how agitated he was back then, how she tried to help translate for the other nurses since his English was limited, and how she prayed for him.

By then, we both had tears streaming down our cheeks.

She didn’t know until she read my article that he had come to know Christ about a year after she had cared for him.  And I never realized God had provided for my grandpa in such an incredible way — a nurse who, unbeknownst to my family or me, joined us in petitioning God for his soul.

In how many more unseen ways did God work in my grandpa’s life back then?  Stories I don’t even know about?

And in how many more unseen ways is He working now in the lives of those for whom I am praying but not seeing fruit for yet?

His ways are higher.  Unsearchable.  Perfect.

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Muffin tops.

Over four years ago, I was asked to describe my relationship with JE as if describing it to our children, and I summed it up with this story:

We ate dinner at Sweet Tomatoes one evening in 2011.  A transcript of our conversation would have read like playful children dined together, as well as two very serious adults.  At one point, we talked about how the muffin top was the best part of the muffin.

Later, your appa picked up a blueberry muffin for us to share.  I thought he would use his knife to cut the muffin in half, but with one swift motion he popped off the entire muffin top and handed it to me.

I didn’t know what to do, so I took it, a little stunned.  Thoughts like, Oh, shouldn’t we share this?  Do you want half of this?  Didn’t you just say this was your favorite part, too? came to mind.  But I just watched as he quietly and happily ate the bottom part of the muffin.

What is our relationship like?

Your dad giving me the muffin top.  Me, melting.

Which is why this next recent story is especially dear to me.

Last Saturday, JE was gone for men’s retreat, so the kids and I had a special morning at Starbucks.  We split a blueberry muffin three ways, and in his haste and excitement, Pup took a bite and then dropped the rest on the floor.

His face crinkled into a cry.

Then Cub popped off the top of his muffin — the best part with all the blueberries and sugar crystals — and handed it to Pup.  The piece he gave Pup was almost his entire portion, and he happily started eating the little he had left without a word.

I think I almost cried myself.  As if I didn’t already think he was so much like his dad, he repeated history in almost the same, unassuming way.

Obay.

Just wanted to record the sweetest rebuke I ever received — from my firstborn a couple weeks ago.

Pup had been wetting his pants again and again for a few weeks, making for some really inconvenient clean-up situations.  I lost my patience with him, and I yelled at him for an accident.  And as he cowered under my shouting, Cub quietly left the room and then returned shortly after with a little note in his hand.  He shyly handed it to me:

YOU MUST OBAY THE LORD.

Kapow.  God’s grace.

Little apple of my eye.

This morning, Pup came to snuggle with me and fell asleep as I patted his head. When he woke up, I stroked his cheek and looked at his little face for a long time. He looked straight back at me. Then he said, “Umma, I can see my face in your eyes.”

3.

Pup turned 3 a little over a week ago, and I’ve been savoring all the snuggles and kisses and “hold me”s I can.  He’s been crawling into my lap and just asking me to hold him lately.  Savoring it while I can — along with his chubby wrists and dimpled knuckles — while he’s still the baby of the family.

Focus.

It’d been a rough week with Cub, and I felt like I had been talking to him all week about foolish decisions, the way of fools, everything fool related.

So this morning, I pulled him onto my lap and began to tell him also of the beautiful things I saw in his life.  Wise decisions he had made, kindness, thoughtfulness, his love for music and beauty.

And looking into my eyes, he smiled, and said,

“I want to touch your eyeballs.”

#fourgoingonfive

Passionate Pup.

I’m learning Pup is a kid of passions.  He’s fire and grit and kisses and snuggles.  He feels things deeply and I love that, but I pray for his passions to be guided, directed, and confined by the Word of God.  By the Spirit of God.  He still runs at those he loves and grabs them in an I-LOVE-YOU-BOOM! kind of hug. (Maybe my kid after all?)

Yesterday, during our church’s evening service, he gave so many kisses to a friend’s dog.  And he was so delighted when she gave him a lick back on the forehead.  So gentle, so affectionate with dogs.  And so gentle and affectionate with babies.  (Next to trucks, puppies and babies are his favorite.)

Yet with those who bully him or those who have something he wants, he can be pretty pugnacious.  Last night, as I was falling asleep, I heard him screaming, “No! NO!” in his room, the same way he would if he were being bullied or fighting with someone.  I went in and he tossed and turned, but his eyes were still closed.  He was dreaming.

Baby of mine who loves snuggles yet throws punches, did I give you the middle name James only to find that you’re a boy much like the son of thunder I named you for?

Yet that son of thunder was transformed by the gospel of the grace of God.  And his ruling passion became Jesus, no longer his own tempestuous, self-seeking heart.  And according to tradition, he became the first apostle to be martyred for Jesus’ sake.

May God do the same work in your heart, little boy.

Love protects.

Cub and I were walking to the store today on a busy street, cars zipping by.  And I put him on the inner half of the sidewalk so I’d be closer to the cars.  In the past, I had explained to him that umma and appa walk on the outside closer to the cars to protect him because we love him.

As I did that, he said to me, “Umma, when I become a man, I’m going to walk on the outside and you’re going to walk on the inside.”

“Aww, you’re going to protect umma?”

“Yes.” And he pulled his shoulders back and walked a little straighter. “See, I’m almost a man.”

Pooh-isms.

While making pizza together for dinner tonight —

JE, sternly: Cub, are you eating the flour?

Cub, quoting Pooh: You never know with me.

JE and my mama.

Part of a note my mama sent to JE today (the original was in Korean):

You aren’t just like a son.  Although I didn’t birth you from my womb, you’re a son birthed from my heart.  I love you so much!

That mama of mine.  And that husband of mine.

My heart is bursting with gratitude.