Newfangled

Currently listening to: “Hills Humbled, Mountains Made Low” by So Long Forgotten
So Long Forgotten is my favourite band at the moment. You can download their incredible album “Things We Can See And Things We Cannot” for FREE from THEM at COME&LIVE. The album’s title is a nod to the so-called ‘already/not yet’ elements of Salvation. Here’s a choice line from the record: “And I pray you have remained a Carpenter, sanding down my edges ‘til I am full of grace.” Check them out, now. Thank you.

I got a “real” job.

(!!!)

It’s one of those jobs that didn’t exist three years ago… you know, those ones that nobody’s been to school for because no school has managed to monetize the field by offering it as a degree track in order to give various and sundry individuals some kind of arbitrary certification that says “I can do this stuff”. Yeah, one of those jobs where the stuff I’m doing and the devices/tech/media I’m doing it on didn’t exist five or six years back. I hear they’re all the rage or something. All I know is, though, that it’s been a dream. We’re doing our best to thank God every day for His provision. The commute is quite good considering what part of the country we’re in, I can provide for my family, the work is fun (!!!) and enjoyable, and I get to keep learning new stuff every day (as well as mastering all that old stuff).

It’s been about six weeks now, and I’ve already (essentially) forgotten what it was like to be on the job hunt. Or perhaps I’ve banished it from my mind.

I graduated from Trent a year and a half ago (May/June of 2009). It was a long year and a half of hunting. There’s a lot of story in that time, but the primary story is that God used the time to increase our dependence on Him. In the same period of time, our church went from an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Although it is now ten weeks old, being a part of the plant has been spiritually intense and stretching in the best way… again, it too has increased our dependence on Him. Also during the same period of time, our daughter, Audrey Renata, went from (pardon the expression!) an idea to a plan to a reality – by God’s grace. Again, increasing our dependence on Him.

Needless to say, it was an intense season. Since graduation, I’ve become a father, celebrated my second wedding anniversary with my wife, started seminary, watched God provide for us in incredible ways (physically and spiritually), and spent a mind-numbing amount of time on Workopolis, Monster, Craigslist, Canada job bank, and all other kinds of job sites. I’ve been at various times depressed, melancholy, happy, sad, excited, elated, grumpy, and all shades in between. I’ve watched one of my best friends’ life implode. My trust in God has been at turns both strong and completely pitiful – meanwhile He has simply continued to prove and re-prove his trustworthiness in every way. I’ve had good friends along the way to talk it all through with, to be encouraged by (and to encourage, at times). At times, I’ve followed Jesus well. At other times, I’ve dishonoured Him greatly. Sometimes I’ve been gracious and compassionate, abounding in love. Other times I’ve been little more than contentious and pretentious. I’ve been irritable at times, lonely at times, confused at times, frustrated at times. I’ve been hopeful, healthy, joyful in God. I’ve been generous and also incredibly selfish. I’ve avoided God and I’ve prayed. There’s war in here, and I pray it’s a sign of life.

Through it all, my wife has resolutely and consistently dismantled my defeatist arguments and depressive musings (her methods of dismantling are second to none). She has loved and cared for me, and for our daughter, so well. Through the highs and lows of looking for a way to provide for my family, she doggedly affirmed, encouraged, exhorted, rebuked, reproved, and loved me. Without her help, the season would have probably crushed me entirely. She’s not a perfect woman by any means, but she belongs to a perfect God, and sometimes by His grace, she looks a lot like He does. I’m so thankful for you, Stephie.

Through it all, our church has supported us in ways uncountable, being the body of Jesus Christ so tangibly and so practically. Example: We didn’t have to buy a single meal for a month after Audrey was born. People regularly prayed for us (and with us) through it all. I don’t really have words to do thanks justice. Even beyond the limits of “our church”, we’ve seen the Church on a larger scale support us as well, and we’re amazed at the beauty of Jesus’ bride at times like this. I have greater hope for the church than I think I ever have – God is powerfully at work in His people.

Through it all, His faithfulness has remained a constant rock to ground ourselves on. Unchanging, Immortal, Eternal.

I’m thankful to have a job. It’s really a better job than I could have designed for myself.

I’m even more thankful for the year and a half of hunting. God’s grace abounds in weakness and need.

Psalm 28:7 says:

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.

…my hands used to be so strong

Current Tunage: Kids in the Way – Breaking The Legs of Sheep
“Lay me down in fields of green
This heart has seen things I never should have seen
You’re breaking my legs and teaching me.”

Kind of a sobering song to start a Saturday to, but a welcome reminder:

Being cautious to take a verse out of context, I’d point you to Job 13:15, which says: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” – it’s a hard thing to come to the Lord and say: “Hey! Pull a “Job” on me if it draws me to You more! I’m a sheep of a man – break my legs so I can’t wander from You! Break my heart if that’s what it takes! Shatter my life into a million pieces and destroy it utterly if it means I come out loving You more! Rip my mind into shards if it makes me rejoice in You more! If killing me is the only way to teach me how to find my everything in You Lord, then do it!” As hard as it is to come to a point where we can (honestly) pray such things; coming to that place and recognizing in it the supreme importance of knowing and loving Christ above all other things (and at their EXPENSE – but for their ultimate BENEFIT)… in this we find real life and truth.

I think it’s safe to say Paul, directly inspired by God, felt this way:

Philippians 3:8-11 ESV (Emphasis Mine)
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith– that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

So, having this on the mind, today is basically a reading day… reading for courses, reading another chapter of Desiring God, reading a couple short books that have come my way, and such. Probably sneak some cleaning and laundry in there somewhere too.

Thus, it’s a low-key day. After a non-stop week, it’s welcome.

Anyways, with dangerous thoughts racing in my mind, here’s some words from Mr. Weiss (the key word in this chorus is “whatever“):

“Open wide my door,
(My Lord, my Lord)
Open wide my door,
(To whatever makes me love You more)
Open wide my door,
(While there’s still light to run towards)
Open wide my door…”
mewithoutYou – “C Minor”