We are working through John in our women’s bible study this year and this verse struck me a few weeks ago when I studied John 13. I taught on John 15-16 last Thursday, and it stayed with me even as I looked at those chapters to prepare to teach. Sometimes we can forget that Jesus was human. He had friends. He loved people. And he felt betrayal.
I’ve struggled for a long time with fear over death. I now realize it all started when we lost our first child to miscarriage and death felt personal. For months after the loss I never wanted Daniel to leave our house. If God can take my baby, he can surely take my husband, I thought to myself. Of course, that is true, but I know now that grief makes you think irrational thoughts. Those were irrational thoughts. Those irrational thoughts have stayed with me through every other loss and every other threatened loss.
“Your uterus is no longer a safe place for these babies,” he said to me.
And with that statement, we were quickly sent to the hospital. It was February 4, 2013. I had a round of steroids, settled in for a few day stay in ante-partum, and waited and prayed that all would be well when we delivered a few days later.
A little after midnight (on February 5) my nurse came in and said “is today your birthday?”
I’ve heard it said that behind every good man stands a good woman. I get the sentiment. Marriage is a partnership. You don’t do anything in isolation of the other person you have joined to in covenant marriage. Your decisions, your work, your interests—everything—impacts your spouse. When people make that statement, they are usually complementing both the husband and the wife. The husband is successful, but only because his wife stands by him and supports him. She is a help to him.
I pray people say that about me.
But I also think you can flip that statement and it is still equally true. Behind every good woman is a good man.
In a moment that is sure to force any parent to eat humble pie, my son (unaware of my desire to keep up parenting appearances) threw his cup on the floor and stared me in the face. “I want more juice,” he said defiantly.
“Well, you definitely aren’t having juice now,” I said.
After a conversation about the behavior, my friend looked at me with a sense of relief. “It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one whose kids act like that sometimes.”
My twin boys started kindergarten this year, which has been an adjustment for our entire family. But in the months leading up to their first day, I spent a lot of time reading and researching educational options in my city (as well as the options from a biblical/theological perspective). I was helped by thoughts from all sides in the discussion about how we educate our children. But in nearly every article I read, or message/interview I listened to, one thing was absent (or at least not talked about much).
A couple of weeks ago, I taught on John 2, where Jesus turns the water into wine at Cana and also cleanses the temple. Both of these instances are quite familiar with all who have grown up in the church, or even have a basic understanding of the Gospel accounts. As one friend, “turning water into wine is one of the easiest miracles for children to grasp. They know what wine is and they know what water is—and they know they aren’t the same.” So we learn about it early on in our time in church. The same is true for the temple cleansing. As my kids call it, this is the story about angry Jesus. He is angry. All who filled the temple with commercial endeavors were using God’s house for selfish and sinful purposes. His zeal for his Father’s house is compelling and just.
About a year ago I went for a run for the first time after hospital bed rest. After weeks of recovery from a c-section, I craved running. So I grabbed my running shoes and headed out the door. This might seem like a minor event, and it is in the grand scheme of things. People get back to running all the time after childbirth. I have before too.
Except this time, I haven’t.