I'm not sure our families were prepared for how Ben and Lauren might change once our responsibility for Grandma Lila was fulfilled.
There were a number of things we concluded over the past few years but weren't really able to put into practice, such as doing everything together. We've been doing this again lately and we're getting some questions about it, especially Ben and I going to work together and taking the girls with us. I think people had kind of forgotten that we used to go everywhere together or maybe they thought it was just a dating thing and we'd settle into normalcy once we were married and had children.
Nope. We still go to the office together and now we're streamlining things so this can be normal instead of a novelty. We have a very unique office situation and the man in charge is very understanding, so there is a good chance we can keep doing this until we have a business that allows us to work better from home.
That's just one example. There are some others that are beginning to crop up as we transition into being our own family.
I say "transition" because we're still having to readjust our thinking about what we can and can't do. We read a story recently about how circus elephants are trained so they can be trusted in the ring being led around with just a little cord around their neck. When the elephant is a baby, it's staked to a strong post with a sturdy chain. The baby tries it's hardest to break free but eventually accepts that it can't. Afterward the chain is replaced with a rope and the baby still accepts that when the rope is around it's neck, it can't get free. Eventually the now-full-grown elephant can be walked into a ring with a thin cord around it's neck and it believes it's still unable to escape even though there really is nothing preventing it from going where it pleases. The belief holds it tighter than any physical restriction.
We're sort of like that elephant. When we were newly married, we were held tightly to home and even though there is nothing holding us now, we still often don't think to do things like go to the park for lunch on a nice day or go visit people we'd like to see.
Hence, it is a very big deal that we are actually going to go camping for the Feast of Tabernacles in a week or so.
Since we were married, we've gone from a suspicion that we maybe ought to celebrate all God's sabbaths to being convicted that God's words are all still relevant.
We follow a Savior whose title includes "God's Word Made Man". Since God never changes and all the words he's ever spoken are good and since his son came here as God's Word made into a man who saved us from the law of sin and death that bound us, it makes sense to pay attention to what those words actually say. Jesus offered us a "light yoke" in exchange for being freed from slavery to sin and death, and that yoke is obedience to him, the Living Word. Not anyone else's words - not man's additions - but God's. All God does is good, and good never becomes evil just as truth never becomes a lie. So if God gave us his Word detailing the way those who followed him should live, that good way has never become bad. It is still good.
We've gotten a little flack over this. Someone told me it was a slap in Jesus' face to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles since he died so we didn't have to do stuff like that. Ironically, all the special days are double memorials: remembering the past because it's a pattern for the future. The Feast of Tabernacles is a time to remember how God led his people through the wilderness before bringing them into the Promised Land. For Gentile Christians, not only have we been adopted into God's People (Paul calls it "being grafted into the olive tree"), but during the Feast of Tabernacles we memorialize the time Jesus came and lived with us and look forward to when he'll come again. Not only that, but because God's Kingdom hasn't come on Earth yet, we're kind of in the wilderness waiting to be led into the Promised Land. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds us that God cared for his people in the wilderness before and brought them safely through. Since he doesn't change, he'll do it again. None of this seems like a slap in Jesus' face.
One of God's commandments regarding his appointed days is to hold a special gathering of believers. For us, it's not particularly easy to find believers interested in gathering on those days. Most Christians today think one of the greatest sins God's grace and forgiveness doesn't cover is following his commandments, so the idea of keeping the Appointed Times (the Sabbath, Passover, First Fruits, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot (Pentacost), the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles) is intensely controversial. Even my family, who've been doing things like keeping the Sabbath every seven days for a long time, is not entirely convicted these other days are important to remember. So when we came to the conviction we needed to observe them we usually did it alone since any gatherings we found were usually at places and times we couldn't attend while Grandma was with us.
We'd gotten kind of used to this. So it was a strange realization that there was a gathering fairly near to us for the Feast of Tabernacles and we had complete freedom to go if we chose.
Granted, it is a week of living in a "temporary dwelling" in the equivalent of northern Michigan in October. Brr. But we're looking forward to it anyway, partly because for the first time we're beginning to be able to do the things we've always wanted to do. It's a different life to us, having freedom like this. It must be a little shadow of what others who've gone before us experienced, like the Pilgrims coming here and being physically in great distress at first but yet being so greatly relieved to worship God as they believed to be right.
It feels pretty good to us. But I think our families still think we are a little nuts and I don't know that the past few years have prepared them for just how nuts we really are. In some ways, it's similar to being newlyweds again, establishing who we are and what we hope our family will be like. We like to stay out late some nights. We like to play Bible in the house during the day. We will often just pick up and go places without really planning it out. We go to work together. We plan camping trips in October to honor the Feast of Tabernacles.
Yes, it's a different life than we were living just four months ago. I have so many thoughts on new blog posts that I've actually put off writing since I can't decide which to work on. In the meantime, I have new Susannah pictures up HERE and will be hopefully getting another facet of life back in order with regular blog posts.
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Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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