Sunday, April 29, 2012

John & Journaling

Over the years, so many authors and mentors have suggested that I keep a journal - whether that be a prayer journal or just a journal of thoughts.  I always sorta rolled my eyes and thought, "Yeah - who has time for that?!?"

Well, Brian read the above John Adams biography recently and highly recommended it to me.  The author bases an incredible amount of his knowledge of John Adams on John's journal entries and letters to his wife, Abigail.  Now, not that I want people reading about me in a biography in 400 years but, as I read this biography, I have seen the importance of organizing your thoughts and being able to "get out" things that you would/should never say to another human being.  For example, we learn about how lazy Benjamin Franklin was!  John never would have said that aloud, but in his journal we find out just what he thought of Ben Franklin.

I share everything with my sweet, patient and wise husband.  But, as I've been reading various pastor's wives' blogs, I'm realizing that it's important to be an encourager to our husbands in their role as pastor.  Much to my dismay, lately, I have been a discourager.  I grow frustrated with church members, the tinyness of the town, etc., so instead of telling those to Brian, I have started an Iowa Journal in Microsoft Word.  It's been amazing how freeing it feels to "tell someone" - but I'm not having to speak poorly of anyone/anything!  I can get it off my chest, organize my thoughts, and find Scripture to encourage and/or put me in my place (bring me to repentance - which has been MOST helpful). 

Journaling has become a good thing for me.  If you've rolled your eyes at the suggestion of it, I'd encourage you to consider it.  I'd also encourage you to consider picking up this thick John Adams book at your local library; it won't disappoint.  There are many, many things that I am excited to blog about from his biography - what an amazingly brilliant man!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Random Saturday Thoughts

Brian had to leave town for 24 hours.  Unfortunately, I was left with a very, very sick puppy.  I was up most of the night with Leo and rushed him to the vet early yesterday morning.  Dr. Jim took excellent care of him, and today Leo is much better.  My husband arrived home last night with this beautiful bouquet of flowers.  What a fun treat!

I truly can't believe how the month of April has unfolded.  All 4 of us now (who would think the dog would get so sick!?) have been sick.  Today Brian went to the doctor; the doc thinks it's just allergies.  I sure hope he gets his energy back because tomorrow is a big day for him at church.  I pray May brings sunshine and good health to the Lund household.

Yesterday I listened to the T4G's Ministry Wives Panel Discussion here.  It was so wonderful to hear these women speak truth into my home and heart - even if it was just through the speakers of my computer.  I often wonder how pastors and pastor's wives survived long ago before telephones, Internet, conferences, etc.  We have much to be thankful for in this era.  The LORD knew I needed to be born in the 21st century - I need epidurals & C-sections to have children, and I need long-distance seminary friends and Reformed resources found online to encourage my heart and keep me going.  Yes, I am a true wuss.  But I'm ok with that.  In fact, Lauren Chandler spoke on the panel a little bit about how she needed biblical counseling when they first moved to pastor their church in TX.  Sometimes reading your bible and praying isn't enough to get you through difficult times.  Having people speak/preach truth "at" you is so beneficial.

Brian recently modified his 5 year plan for our church using many of the concepts in Tim Lane & Paul Tripp's book How People Change.  After sharing his thoughts with me, I knew I had to read it.  Today I read about "The Gospel Gap" that exists in the hearts of so many Christians - even those who are super involved in church, always carrying a bible in hand, at every Pro-Life protest, etc.  It impressed the need upon me to inspect my own heart - have I replaced Christ with "Christian Externalism"?  Tripp writes, "My externalistic Christianity needed to be infused with the present power of the gospel.  It is not enough to embrace Christ's promise of life after death.  We must also embrace his promise of life before death, which is only possible because of Christ's grace at work in our hearts today," (pg 14-15).  This is what the book is about - Christ's work in our lives NOW - today - when it's rainy, cold, and windy for the umpteenth day in a row.  (Can you tell weather gets to my emotions!?)  Tripp and Lane's goal for this book is to bridge the gospel gap - to bridge the gap between what we say we believe the gospel is (our theology) and the world we struggle in every day.
They center the book on 5 gospel perspectives:
1. The extent and gravity of our sin
2. The centrality of the heart
3. The present benefits of Christ
4. God's call to growth and change
5. A lifestyle of repentance and faith

I pray that today my heart is centered on Christ, living in obedience to Him.  It's time to joyfully throw a few loads of laundry in and pick up the house as I preach the gospel to my rebellious heart.  
Happy Saturday!

A very happy 5th anniversary to Ryan and sweet Kgal!   They are celebrating at beautiful Coronado Island and Balboa Park today.  Their marriage is a true picture of Christ and His bride, the church.  We love you, Gallies!  Congrats.
(YES, I am a stalker and I totally stole this picture from your FB profile, Kgal.  But besties can do that.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Kids & Theology

I met this nice young mom of 3 at the park this afternoon.  As we chatted, I found out she's new to the area and is church hopping.  They've tried a Lutheran, Evangelical Free, and a few others after attending a Reformed church where they lived previously.
Hmmm....Reformed, Lutheran, E. Free?
Most families today church hop to find the most engaging preacher, hippest music, lots of programs, etc.  They are not looking at doctrine.  They have no clue what their theology is (what they believe about God).

When I got home I opened the latest issue of Mod Ref and read the article by Simonetta Carr titled Theology for Children.  I'm convinced that families today church hop and look for all the wrong things in a church simply because they don't know their theology.  And why don't they know their theology?  Because their parents failed to teach them.   This failure has been happening for generations.

What is theology?  It's the study of God.  We learn about God from His Word (Col. 1:10, II Peter 3:18).  It's essential to teach our children about the Lord Jesus Christ because if we don't, the world will teach him other "theologies". 

Where do we start?  I agree with Simonetta: the Heidelberg Catechism, one of the historical Reformed catechisms.  The Heidelberg is all inclusive; it includes all the categories we need to teach our children about God: law, gospel, and our response to the gospel.  Once your child can talk, it's time to start catechizing!  When Aidan wakes up from his nap, I'm going to ask him, "Aidan, who made you?"  And he'll respond with, "GOD!"  

Rote memorization?!  Contrary to popular opinion, children LOVE to memorize.  They are sponges and love to learn.  Fill them with catechism, the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, and some verses.  Simonetta writes it best, "...rote memorization is only dogmatic if it aims at teaching a system of belief without pointing to the underlying factual reality, or if it does so without welcoming critical thinking.  Christian doctrine is based on historical facts and has particularly grown in understanding and clarity when challenged.  In our children's education, dogmatism is avoided by moving from the parroting stage of mimicking information by rote (to follow Dorothy Sayers' definitions) to the pert stage (i.e. the logic-chopping and sometimes sassy stage evidenced by such questions as, "But why?"), and finally the poet stage, where a mature youth knows what he believes, why he believes it, and is able to communicate as much to others," (Mod Ref, Vol. 21, pg. 18).  That's classical education at its finest.  And, oh how I pray that Aidan will be classically educated so that he may be this "mature believer" not only in his faith, but in his academics.

Isn't theology too abstract for children?  Have you ever seen a child's frustrations over his continual wrongdoings?  He/she may be ready to embrace the answer from the Heidelberg: "I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor."  This is a perfect opportunity for parents to then present the gospel and encourage their frustrated child to trust Christ for help through repentance and faith.  That's what the sweet gospel is - daily repenting of our sin and turning to the perfect, sinless Christ who fulfilled our due punishment on the cross.

Theology for parents?  Yes, theology essential for parents too.  I know this post is getting lengthy, but I want to share what Simonetta says in her article.  "One of my children was always a great visual illustration of the power of sin in our lives.  He seemed to be hopelessly drawn to anything that was forbidden, sometimes literally crawling to his desired object...Of course, my son was punished, but I was surprised to notice the reaction his repeated failures were causing in my heart.  I am not sure how I would have reacted earlier, but being in a Reformed church, I was now fully aware of my sinful condition.  Instead of rage or despair, I felt compassion.  I talked to my son often, about his sin and mine.  We read Romans 7 together.  I told him how he was struggling with disobedience and how I, at that moment, was dealing with sinful anger...a healthy view of sin also prevents some of the typical anxieties that afflict many parents," (pg 19).  In God's eyes, we are all his children - we all sin, we all cause disappointment, and we all fail.  As Simonetta writes, we are all fellow pilgrims in this valley of tears.

So I beg you to teach your children theology and, if you don't know it yourself, learn together.  Grab a copy of the Heidelberg Catechism and read the Bible.  Rest in knowing that we serve a God who works through covenants to build His church despite our many, many failures as parents to teach our children theology.

1. Aidan had a blast at the park this afternoon.  He LOVES the tallest, twistiest slide.
2. Bop-Bop rode his motorcycle and surprised us with a visit!  It was so so wonderful to have him here for a short 24 hours.  Aidan went down for his nap saying, "Bop-Bop ride, Bop-Bop ride."  I think it will be a few days before he stops obsessing about Bop-Bop.  Thanks, Dad!  Love you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Suffering Matters

Suffering:  having what you don't want and wanting what you don't have.
I love Joni Eareckson Tada's definition of suffering from her book When God Weeps: Why our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty.

Because April has brought so many challenges and frustrations, I pulled this book from Brian's shelf.  In it I found a Vikings game ticket from 2005 when we went for Grandpa Fretty's birthday - how fun!  Even though I've read it before, it has shed new light on the subject of suffering and encouraged me in new ways.

I very much enjoyed and learned from the first six chapters, but then I skipped ahead to chapter 11: Gaining Contentment.  When talking about the bible's famous Paul, Joni discusses how he gained contentment by doing math:  "...[he] subtracted his desires and, in doing so, increased his joy..." (pg 173).  How do we do this "math"?  We feed the mind and heart on objects that bring contentment rather than arouse desire (pg 174).   So that's what I've been trying to train my mind to do.  I focus on the millions of blessings I've been given, not letting my mind wander to those things or places that I want (or think I need!) and my contentment has increased.

Have you read the Beatitudes lately from Matthew 5?  They support this "math" idea.  We are called to subtraction. 
V. 3: You want to know contentment?  Become poor in spirit.
V. 4: You want to be comforted?  Mourn.
V. 6: You want to be satisfied?  Hunger and thirst for righteousness.
V. 10: You want the kingdom of heaven?  Endure persecution.

No, Jesus doesn't teach a health-wealth-prosperity gospel like some claim.  Prayer of Jabez.  Joel Osteen.  We are called to suffer.   But may we find contentment and joy from knowing we are where we belong and that we have Christ who strengthens us and gives us all the grace we need for each and every moment.  Trust Him!

Every day we experience something of the death of Jesus, so that we may also show the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours.
II Corinthians 4:10

I'm off to make an iced coffee and read the latest edition of Modern Reformation.  I am so so thankful for the ways in which that publication encourages those of us in the trenches of ministry and increases my knowledge of Christ!  If you aren't subscribed, you should be!  Go to the  to sign up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

mud mud mud

Leo loves the rain.  His mama isn't a fan.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I'm learning and loving Instagram!  Here are a few of my first pics:

Aidan giving Leo lovies.
Aidan loving the park and "Daddy time".

"The bun" (as Aidan says) that I rescued from Leo.  He wanted to play with it and just got it a little slobbered up.  I'm nursing the bunny back to health and then will release it to a friend's farm [where it will probably get eaten by a hawk. :( ]

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Behind a Frowning Providence...

It seems as if God's Providence for our little family as of late has been one big frown.  In a sense, the last 17 days have been as emotionally dark as the week Aidan spent in the NICU after his birth.  Unfortunately, everything in my being has fought to rebel against Providence.  
Two friends recently posted quotes to FB that immensely encouraged me and brought me to my knees in tears.  Thank you, Brian Cochran, for posting this hymn (and what's the name of it?):
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
And from Bekah McFarland who is a seminary wife:
 "That's how God works. He gets at our most fundamental idolatry and He ruthlessly crushes it in His unfathomable love and fatherly kindness and inscrutable wisdom and He goes after our greatest treasures and He leaves us with nothing but himself so that we go limping on our way for the rest of our lives having learned: 'My grace is sufficient for you for my power is perfected in weakness.' Don't underestimate God. Don't underestimate His ruthless compassionate gracious commitment to His glory or His commitment to your everlasting joy and good. He will pursue you graciously and ruthlessly and rip out the idols of your soul that would otherwise consume you. He is working for your joy and your good even when you cannot perceive it and have ceased to be able to feel anything anymore." ~Ligon Duncan, The Underestimated God, T4G 2012
Additionally, my very fatigued and sick husband preached an amazing sermon today (most definitely in the strength of Christ).  Lately, his sermons hit me like a golf ball between the eyes; I swear whatever is going on in our family, that's what the sermon addresses (even though he's just preaching through the life of Abraham in Genesis).  I am always convicted and encouraged.

Today he preached from Genesis 16.  Once Hagar is impregnated by Abram, she despises Sarai's goodness to her and uses her pregnancy as an opportunity to boast.  Then, due to Sarai's mistreatment of her, she flees into the wilderness where an angel of the LORD meets her saying,
"Return to your mistress and submit to her."
Genesis 16: 9b
Hagar is then obedient to the LORD, returns to Sarai, and bears Ishmael to Abram.
Brian encouraged his flock to be patient in our sufferings and trials because we serve a God who sees all of our hardships, promises strength to persevere through Christ, and has promised to those who put their trust in Him a reward that will far outlast any suffering.  He also showed us how the LORD most often tells His people to face the hardships.  It's not about "Your Best Life Now!" God doesn't promise an easy life; in fact, He promises that in this world we WILL have trouble.  Thankfully, we have Christ who promises to strengthen us until we are united with Him in death.

So while I want to run far away like Hagar did, throwing off all the hardships that so heavily weigh me down, I will be obedient and "return" to the life God has called me to.  Because "behind a frowning Providence, He hides a smiling face."  I can't wait to see what that smiling face looks like.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


So Brian will totally roll his eyes when he reads this...
But that's OK.
He loves me.

I am totally crushing on a boy band!
Oh my goodness.
Love them.
Aidan and I have been rockin' out all day.

I am such a nerd.
Ah well.

Guess what else?
This will totally prove my nerdiness.
So I finally found a hair stylist named Summer who cuts and colors my hair like Danny did.
I found her after nearly two years of trying random stylists in northern Iowa and Minneapolis.
Then I called to make another appointment with her and she was GONE.  Gone.
So I tried someone else.
No luck.
Desperation struck so I'd  Summer.
Then yesterday I hand-wrote a pathetic note professing my love for her and my desperation.
She just emailed me!
And said my note "MADE [HER] DAY!"
Actually, she made my day.
She made my life in Iowa worth living.
Ha - just kidding.
Jesus makes it worth living.
But I am SO HAPPY!
Maybe I'll have cute hair now.
And guess what else?
We're visiting SoCal in September, and I can't wait to make an appointment with Danny.
I've missed him.
And basically everything else about SoCal.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Few Favorites

I've been enjoying lately:

1. Paint! 
My living room is newly painted Silver Cliff.
Today Brian hung the white sheers.
It looks so bright and inviting.
I can't wait for the furniture to arrive.

2. Gotye!
  My new favorite song has been on repeat.

3. The Universe Next Door by James W. Sire
 I am going through the list of education books that my sweet friend, Naomi, recommended.  She is a classical, Christian educator.  This is an excellent and highly useful book of  introductions to worldviews.  The author gives clear, concise intros to theism, deism, naturalism, Marxism, nihilism, existentialism, Eastern monism, New Age philosophy, and postmodernism.  Our children are growing up in a world of ever increasing diversity, and I think it's essential to educate ourselves, as well as our children, about the variety of worldviews that they will be encountering.  May our children love Jesus and His Word, shining as educated lights in this super dark world.

4. II Corinthians 12:8-10
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

Paul asked the LORD to deliver him from his thorn in the flesh, but His answer didn't arrive in the way Paul had hoped.  Instead, God gave him the strength of Christ.  I am all too guilty of wanting the "thorn" to be gone instead of hoping for Christ's strength to endure that which God has called me to (because only HE knows BEST!).  Weakness is truly a blessing in disguise.  Why?  Because "Paul's weakened condition made room for the strength of Christ, a strength he would need for all that lay ahead, a strength that would give him a larger capacity to enjoy the blessings that God had in store for him," (Brownback, Trust, p. 108).  
Divine grace is sufficient.
I need to stop resisting and stop anxiously waiting for a way out.
Divine grace is sufficient.
If we are willing, we will find that we don't need God to remove the "thorn".
Yes, divine grace is sufficient.

I am praying that for those I love who have chronic illness and/or pain.
I am reminded, again, of  Erin Fray.  Please pray for her!

In light of those with chronic illness, me being on day #11 of some stupid head cold/sinus infection seems pretty insignificant.  But, I too, covet your prayers.  I am just not feeling well and have no energy like I normally do.  I did start an antibiotic yesterday....hoping it helps!  Praying I can get through my aerobics class tomorrow.

And lastly, #5:
My boy.
 He wanted to wear Mommy's hat.
And he wanted Mommy to wear his hat.
It didn't fit.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

He Establishes My Steps

The heart of a man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

Yes, LORD, you establish my steps.
My heart planned to to do many things last weekend (including painting the living room as mentioned in the last post), but the LORD had other plans for me.

Plans that included me being very sick and in bed for four days.
It was horrible.

It was one of Brian's biggest weekends and so my dear mom drove five hours to take care of Aidan and me!  Thanks, Mom!  I love you!

I am reminded now, more than ever, to be thankful for my health always.

Yesterday I went on my first outing in five days - to Ace Hardware!
Yes, I purchased Silver Cliff and began painting right away.
Today I hope to get the second coat completed.
That is, if the LORD establishes my steps in that direction!

P.S. Kgal asked how I have time to do this?!  I have three hours each afternoon when my little man naps.  I also have an amazing husband who loves spending time with Aidan on nights that he doesn't work.  Which means I have a few evenings free a week to work on projects if I choose.