I had hoped to run the tale of the beginnings of our most recent adoption sequentially corresponding to the date on which the events happened last year, but a trip to the wedding of dear friends brought an end to that idea. At seven weeks into our adoption, we're not very practiced at the "troop movement" required to travel with 14 of us!
I'll return to the retelling of the wonder of what God did in our lives a year ago as soon as it's feasible. In the meantime, I want to share a quote from a challenging and encouraging book by Joshua Harris called Dug Down Deep that I read to Mr. Beaver as he drove to the city in which the wedding was to be held.
"God's attributes are not merely a list of facts and features. They are truths that inform belief and inspire faith. God reveals truth about himself in his Word, not for the sake of knowledge, but for the sake of relationship with us. He tells us about himself so we will put our faith in him, so we will treasure and worship him and not waste ourselves on man-made idols. He wants our souls to soar in worship and communion with him--not rot in the pursuit of sin or waste away in worry and fear." (pgs. 44-45)I mentioned that the two of us have found what we've read of Harris' book thus far encouraging. I sense hope in what he writes that I've lacked recently. As the new mother of twelve, I find that my days start well after I wake and spend some time reading God's word. But, then, as the day goes on, I fizzle. I grow tired and listless and, often times, irritable. I get overwhelmed by all that I should be accomplishing, but I can't seem to get myself to fight the lethargy that sets in. Thus, I get virtually nothing accomplished as the day closes, and the cycle only deepens. I have flirted with depression. None of this is good for my family. None of this points my children to Christ.
What I hear Joshua Harris saying in Dug Down Deep is that my hope is in knowing God and His attributes better. It is in my seeking Him that my energy will be renewed, not in a longer mid-afternoon nap. As I read to Mr. Beaver, he enthusiastically endorsed what he heard. Mr. Beaver has been working his way through Wayne Grudem's tome Systematic Theology (a book repeatedly and heartily endorsed by Harris) bit-by-bit in recent months. Mr. Beaver shared with me that he has found the study of who God is and how He differs from us in crucial ways to be faith-building, just as Harris promises. As I've watched Mr. Beaver deal with the pressures of his career, our large family and the inherent challenges in adopting three older children, I've seen him exhibit a stability and peace I want. I've watched him demonstrate a joy and endurance I lack. If this is what studying God's attributes does, I need to begin--NOW.
Tomorrow when we return home, I'm ordering my own copy of Systematic Theology. I'm going to pull out some of the books we've purchased by the Puritans, who were such masters at shining light on God's attributes. I'm going to read my Bible more. I'm going to dig down deep in my study of my God. When my afternoon dip descends, I'm going to allow myself a few minutes to sit and seek Him. My hope isn't in more sleep. My hope isn't in the best brownie or chocolate-chip cookie in the house. My hope is in seeking to really know my God. The morning's manna isn't enough. I need living water throughout the day or I run dry.
As the mother of twelve who is in the midst of wedding planning, I don't have big blocks of time, but I can take a few minutes here and there to know God better. What I've been missing is that my search to know Him needs to go on all day, bit-by-bit. I need manna and living water not once each day but repeatedly to stay focused and refreshed. Knowing God better promises the renewal I have been craving and the protection my family needs from a wife and mom who grows utterly depleted as the afternoon shadows lengthen. I'm ready to study. I'm ready to search and seek. I'm ready to dig down deep.