Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Calvinism over Emotionalism"

When Ethan told me this was our motto for the summer, I should have run for cover.
Since then, his grandfather died unexpectedly, we were kicked out of our house, we have been living in a camper with six children, Ethan has left for a far-off state for 12 days to candidate for a pastoring position, and someone has stolen our van.
Yes, stolen the van. The nerve. Can you imagine what dire straits you must be in to steal a MINI-VAN (puh-tuwee! How I hate that word!) with six (SIX! SIX! SIX!) carseats and a ton of junk? Not even decent junk, like cool radio parts or bank notes. Junky junk, like six weeks' worth of Sunday School papers, crusty sippy cups, thrift store mock Crocs (child sizes 6 and 12), eight pillows, and many, many other things that escape my mind now but I know will come back to irritate me later.
There are some other things that weren't junk to us but probably won't be treasures to anyone else...a special stuffed animal from Ethan's grandfather, my file of important-to-me papers, Ethan's briefcase of important-to-him theological books, Ben's bag of important-to-him library books.
The library books is what put Benjamin (6) over the edge. "Mom, don't tell the library! I don't want them to kill us!"
(At which point my younger brother chuckled and mumbled something about Conan the Librarian. Just what Ben needs -- confirmation of his worst fears.)
Miriam (3) explained it to Ethan over the phone this way: "Mama lost the car. Somebody else is driving it. And that's a bad, bad boy."
Yes. Very bad.
What throbs in my head the most is that this was MY stuff. MY hitch for the pop-up camper. MY husband's very important books. MY bag of crusty sippy cups. MY crumpled up bulletins, gum wrappers, and mushy chicken nuggets.
While I slept in a pop-up camper with six snoring children, someone took MY stuff away.
And then the teary-eyed call to Ethan, who responded (in true accordance with this summer's motto) with loving words and rock-solid truth. "It's just stuff, Rachel. We're OK. It's just stuff."
And my six-year old's voice, with his memory verse for the week:
"I lift up my eyes to the hills—
       where does my help come from?"

I answer, falteringly:


"My help comes from the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth."


The rest of the verses fade and I have to look them up:


"He will not let your foot slip—
       he who watches over you will not slumber;

 indeed, he who watches over Israel
       will neither slumber nor sleep.

 The LORD watches over you—
       the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

 the sun will not harm you by day,
       nor the moon by night.

 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
       he will watch over your life;

 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
       both now and forevermore." (Psalm 121)


Yes, He will. He is MY surety. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the One Who will not let anyone snatch me from His hand (Jn. 10:28).


The stuff? It would have faded and gone away with or without someone stealing it. It could not have healed broken hearts, opened prison doors, unstopped deaf ears, made blind eyes see.


But my God? He is sovereign. He is Creator and Sustainer. He foreknew this and rules over this.


My emotions are strong. But my God is stronger.


Calvinism over Emotionalism? Well, we've tested it this summer, and I'd say it's a worthy motto.


But I have an idea for this Fall's Motto: "Health, Wealth, Size 8 Jeans, and Smiling Children."


Well, the jeans might just be pushing it.



  1. I love your description of the stuff stolen. "crusty sippy cups," LOL.

    and your DD's "bad, bad boy."

    I hope the fall motto has something about "crime does not pay."

  2. I'll be praying as Ethan is away and as you trust in that verse that Benjamin memorized. God DOES provide all that we need (I need reminding of this truth all too often), especially His word coming from our children to remind us.

  3. What an ordeal! It's awesome that you were able to find peace through the Word of God. He is faithful and He will provide. Hang in there.

  4. I read this this morning after reading your post and thought of you. "Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us. We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land..."

  5. Motherhood For DummiesSeptember 15, 2008 at 8:18 AM

    Oh my gosh! I can't believe you have all been through that! I'm sorry. I hope that things get better and it is amazing how you seem to have such a good attitude about the whole situation. We will keep you in our prayers!

  6. IS a good motto. One I will ask the Lord to bring to my mind when I need to think of it. Which is probably quite often. :-) I am sorry for what you've had to endure. I'm thankful for your eternal perspective, knowing you can trust Him in the midst of it all. I know it doesn't take the emotions AWAY, but it certainly helps keep them in check, doesn't it?

    I pray that the Lord blesses you richly as you seek to glorify Him through it all.

    Many blessings to you all in Christ!!!

  7. for your kind words. I still grimace when I think of the stuff that was in the van, but part of this is my having to deal with materialism. How much am I willing to trust that God is sovereign and that God provides? And aren't we SO GLAD that this is not our final destination!!

    And aren't we SO GLAD that we won't be driving a mini-van to heaven!

  8. Bless your hearts. How are things now? Did you find a new home?



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