Identity lessons from “Angelina Ballerina”

I happen to be quite well-versed at kids’ cartoons these days.

I’m not generally a huge TV fan myself, but when it comes to needing 30 minutes to _________ [name sanity-restoring task here: clean, prep a meal, shower, take a phone call from your BFF/etc.], I am not above putting on some kids’ TV which almost perfectly guarantees freedom from interruptions. Today the girls were watching one of their favorites, “Angelina Ballerina.” I love this show. The characters talk in British accents, families are portrayed in a favorable light and the kids actually seem fairly respectful and kind to one another. Plus there’s ballet dancing, and becoming a professional ballerina is a secret dream of mine (that I’ll never realize since I get dizzy when attempting to pirouette). 

I overheard an episode today that connected with this morning’s discussion of the book of Colossians. One friend summarized the main message of this book as: “Who you are in Christ, and how to live according to who you are.” In a word, identity. A favorite topic of mine as one who can easily forget who God’s created me to be, and/or doubts the identity that’s already been given to me and so tries to prove myself through 1000 exhausting enterprises. (“Like blogging daily?” you, my kind reader, suggest. “Well, yes, now that you mention it.” But enough about me – on to Angelina …)

Enter Angelina. It’s her first day at an elite dancing school, and she’s becoming insecure about dancing ballet when she observes her friends doing Irish dancing, jazz, and other modern dance. In a last minute practice, she asks her friend to accompany her by playing any music other than classical. This practice session ends with Angelina in tears, and her accompanist frustrated as he shifts from one musical style to the next to try to keep up with her dancing. Angelina is the next one up after lunch, and the audience feels her despair as she cries.

Enter mom to the rescue. Her mom shows up unexpectedly, asks Angelina why she’s been crying, and reassures her of who she is: a great ballet dancer. She encourages Angelina to be who she is, not try to become someone different to impress her new friends. She’s a ballerina, and she dances best to classical music. This also in fact makes her unique. Being different isn’t any cause for alarm or change, but it’s reason to celebrate her distinct identity. 

We then see Angelina move confidently to the stage and request “a classical piece, please,” to her relieved accompanist. She dances beautifully as she stays true to who she was created to be. A pleasant result is that the other dancers also admire her style, and Angelina walks off the stage smiling.

A few observations about identity come to mind:

1. We get confused when we compare ourselves to others, becoming either prideful if we seem to be “better than” and despairing if we feel we are “less than.”

2. We need others to remind us of who we and that who we are is beautiful and unique.  Do you have friends, family, co-workers, neighbors like this? And when’s the last time you reminded someone else of his or her God-given identity? Do you as a Christian remember who you are? Spend some time soaking up the first few chapters of Ephesians or Colossians for a crash course in your identity in Christ.

3. Being who we are will bring joy and confidence. Living according to who we are means we say “yes” to some things and “no” to others; that we live out of who God’s made us and not who we think we should be. As a mom, the book Desperate has been amazingly helpful to remind me of this in terms of living as who I am as a mom v. “the ideal mom” I have in my head.


Lenten fast and reading “7”

cropped-img_0363.jpgThere is a beauty to winter’s barren branches rising against the crisp blue sky. A beauty quite different from that of the branches clothed in spring’s fresh buds and blooms of life or when radiant in fall’s glorious colors. It is not unlike what’s gained from a fast. It is in what’s not there that we can see and appreciate what is, and even anticipate what will be again. Reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker has been good to remind me of the beauty of what is not. The beauty of less rather than more, of giving away things rather than gaining more possessions, of turning off media instead of plugging in, of growing in appreciation instead of discontentment, and of making God’s Kingdom priorities bigger than that of my own “American kingdom” of self. I don’t want to make  a new Christian law to follow, which I could so easily try to do – something that focuses on me trying harder and doing more. Yet I see its value in the way that what she does is so counter-cultural that I can’t help but begin thinking more about the eternal treasures we are to be storing up instead of earthly goods to acquire. Now if only that thinking would translate into doing … 

Enter the Lenten fast. The introduction from our church’s Lent devotional guide sets the scene:

Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate Good Friday and Easter,
inviting us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ passion and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.

It is traditional to choose something to fast from for 40 days beginning on Ash Wednesday (with Sundays as “feast days”). In combination with some of what I was challenged by in the fasts, I decided to choose a few things nearest and dearest to my heart: (1) Target, naturally (2) non-essential phone apps (3) sweets/desserts and (4) tv for Seth and me

And I am here to tell you that I have kept this fast perfectly and will never be turning back again. Ahem. Not quite. I’ve been surprised by how difficult it has felt at moments, at how naturally I want to distract myself with Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, email; at how much I have longed to just escape into a good tv show at night; at the way I crave something sweet in a hard mom moment; and at how I’ve longed to run to Target with my daughters in tow just to buy something shiny. I think that without even thinking, I was using apps, reaching for sweets, and making a Target list in the first few days of Lent. Yikes! Am I really that addicted? Apparently so.

But there has also been something sweet that has crept in amidst the new “barrenness” of my life in these areas. Less budget drain and more time spent playing with my kids because of no Target; more focus on the present because of no phone apps; more rest and conversation with my husband because of no tv; more reminders to turn to Jesus in prayer instead of reaching for the nearest sweet escape (not to mention, more energy!). Every day has not been like this. I have fought these self-imposed restrictions and wiggled my way out of them occasionally. I have been angry more quickly some days because my false refuges have been taken away. What’s come to the surface of my heart is not always beautiful. But then again, with more to repent of, I am brought back to Jesus more often.

One of the Lenten passages this week was Matthew 6:1-21. I was struck by the phrase, “your Father who sees in secret.” In the context of this passage, it’s talking about doing these things in secret: giving to the needy, fasting, and praying. What do I do in secret, that only my Father sees? And how does what I do in secret reveal where my heart’s true treasure is located? Too often what’s revealed is that I am unloving towards my family, resentful of what I give, that I’m self-indulgent and prayerless. When performance for others is stripped away, what is left? Here is a place of repentance, as I seek the identity of being clothed in the righteousness of the One who perfectly obeyed – even in secret – and where I am reminded that Christ’s life in me – in the very core of who I am when all else is stripped away – is my only hope of glory. But what a very sure and certain hope it is! So fasting leads to repentance which then leads to celebration. And this is the Easter worship of a Life crucified then resurrected and now waiting for me in heaven.

Taco Tuesdays and Romans 1:1

One of my new year’s resolutions has been to memorize Romans along with Ann Voskamp’s “Romans project.” I would like all of you to know that I am two weeks behind. And, in fact, that I have “failed” at all of my New Year’s resolutions that I felt so excited about a month ago. (was it only a month?)

  • Potty training – after two weeks of trials, I made an executive decision that WE were not ready for potty training. When the one twin who seemed to “get it” began screaming “NO!” during every attempt to take her to the potty, I figured that this was a clear message to give it up for now.
  • Focusing on my kids more/technology less – I still find myself in the hard moments inevitably drawn to check Facebook or Instagram or our budget on or the weather or …
  • Doing the “Joy Dare” to focus on gratitude v. complaint. Why don’t you ask my husband how well I’m doing at that? Sigh.
  • “State of the union” with Seth – some progress. Some failure. Like the evening when my version of state of the union turned into a very unfair rant and rave where somehow in my twisted logic he was the one to blame for all of the stress I was experiencing in other areas of life.
  • Scripture memory – see above … or below.
  • Reading 40 meaningful books – progress! I desperately devoured several on potty-training, so that helped give me a head start on this one. But now I’m reading Pillars of the Earth which is a good read but realllly long. 900+ pages, so that’s slowing me down a bit. 

What I’m realizing is that I can’t. I can’t do any of this on my own. I need a living Savior to do what I cannot do and never have been able to do: achieve a state of being right with God. And I need a Savior to offer forgiveness, mercy, hope, grace – and above all this, unshakeable LOVE – for all of the MANY moments I fail not just to meet my own standards, but in sinful rebellion turn away from God towards my idea of what I think will help me in the moment. (Yelling? Complaint? Chocolate?)

Yet this is not a reason not to keep striving towards less sinful patterns, towards more of the Spirit reigning in my heart. This simply changes my motivation and the how-to for doing so. It’s not to bolster my pride and sense of self-sufficiency and make me feel better, but I do so because I am loved by one whose love changes me and I do so only in the strength found in admitting and confessing I have no strength of my own.

So with that said, back to Romans 1:1. I can’t seem to get past this verse phrase – “Paul, [1] a servant of Christ Jesus, [2] called to be an apostle …” I keep switching those two phrases around as I’m working on trying to memorize it. Meaning that I keep saying in my head, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, called to be a servant.” (And sidebar: memorization is not my strong point. I can be familiar with the general ideas and themes of various Bible verses but I am really bad at memorizing them word for word.) I think this shows me how I tend to get this mixed up in my own life. I want to put “called to be a [mom/wife/counselor/Bible teacher]” before the basic identity of “servant of Christ Jesus.” I think this changes everything. If I am FIRST a servant of Christ, and THEN called to whatever I’m called to in a particular season, I don’t complain to those people I’m called to serve or about the tasks I have to do nor do I take it personally if I receive criticism or feel like I’m failing. All of it is service to Christ Jesus. All of my service flows from the One who served me all the way to death because he was motivated by his love for me. This is not a guilt-laden, “Let me try to pay him back.” [I tried that for many years – didn’t work because it’s impossible!] But in the way that I feel about doing a favor for a friend who I know cares about me and who has done many things to show me that. It’s not a burden but a delight. And similar to the friend who strengthens me because she watched my kids for a morning, Christ’s service strengthens me to serve him by serving others out of and with the love he’s poured into my heart by the Spirit. Also, this identity is unshakeable. I am a servant of Christ Jesus most fundamentally. I will never fail at that because God guaranteed that with Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Callings will come and go, but I’ll always be a servant of Christ Jesus. And I’m promised love, acceptance and eternal approval; in fact, I already have it. So no pressure or stress in that! I’m called to live out of who I already am.

Part of this is trying to find joy in what can feel like a pretty mundane stage of life. I decided that naming our days will help me to know what’s coming and will help our daughters to have something to associate with each day of the week. In trying to incorporate many major household tasks, a friend also suggested “Wash Wednesdays.” Unfortunately, our Wednesdays are too busy to do laundry but I liked the alliteration … so here’s what I’ve got:

Market Mondays – we head to the grocery store[s] to stock up for the week. I wish it were as awesome as a local farm market … maybe one day!

Taco Tuesdays – since our small group meets this night, we always need something really easy to cook for dinner. Hence, tacos. And, yes, this means when we host our small group, our house will likely smell like El Paso.

Women’s Bible Study Wednesdays – self-explanatory; highlight of my week. I love studying God’s word with these women. Right now we’re going through 1 & 2 Kings as we look at Elijah and Elisha’s life

Trash-truck Thursdays – because, well, Thursdays are when the trash trucks come through our neighborhood which is the highlight of my 2-year-olds’ week

French toast Fridays – Seth’s day off (since Sunday is a work day for him as a minister) and he loves making French toast for all of us at breakfast

Sleep-in Saturdays – well, one can have wishful thinking … one day, Seth and I will get to both sleep in on a Saturday. For now, we take turns.

Sabbath Sundays – I really do want to make Sundays a day that’s somewhat different from the rest of my week. So I’m experimenting with different ways to do that. At its simplest, it often means that Seth and I both crash for a long nap when the girls nap in the afternoon. Other times, I’ll try to blog or read an enjoyable book I’ve had on my shelf. After having kids, I had to get creative because I can’t really “take off” from the work I do the other 6 days of the week – diapers still must be changed, meals have to be prepared, tantrums must be dealt with – but I did decide that I wouldn’t do laundry on Sundays. I mean, you’ve got to draw the line somewhere. And so that’s my line … and I’m sticking to it.

Remembering Christmas: 2007

I’m going to do a bit of a “through the years” this December and re-post previous Christmas meditations. I’ll start with my very first Christmas post, the one a few months after I began blogging for the first time.

Life situation: Seth and I had been married for a year, and I was in my first year post-graduation of working as a counselor and pastoral care assistant for two different churches

Here it is –

‘Tis the Season – December 10, 2007longwood gardens Christmas

How would you complete that phrase? “Tis the season … ” To fight crowds in hopes of finding the perfect gifts for that relative who has everything? To make sure you get your Christmas cards out in time? To fill your schedule with holiday parties? To forget what all of this is about: celebrating, giving and receiving gifts, singing carols, decorating your home, attending parties, going to special services and events?

Every year it seems that I fight the same thing — missing Christmas for the hustle and bustle surrounding it. Yet this year has been slightly different. Yes, it’s busy. Yes, I have braved the crowded shops and malls to purchase gifts (and still have a few remaining to buy). We haven’t done Christmas cards — but I want to and plan on at least doing an email Christmas update. So what is different?

A bit more time to reflect. Just a bit. No final exams for the first time in three years has allowed for more time to enjoy this season. To slow down, to remember, to reflect.

At one of the parties of the past week, I was talking to someone about her dinner group that she’s a part of. She made the offhand comment, “It’s so great to meet monthly because that way I don’t have to try to keep up with each person individually.” And for a second, I absolutely agreed with her. It makes sense to my mind that seems programmed to seek efficiency. But is that really love? Or is that viewing people as one more task, obligation, duty?

And imagine if God had decided on the efficient route of salvation. I don’t think it would have involved God becoming a human baby, born in a dingy stable amidst animals. I don’t think it would have meant that Jesus was poor. He could have suddenly appeared in all His glory to be the King of the world, abolishing poverty, sickness and sorrow in an instant and calling all people to follow His reign. Because He’s God, He could have also made all people’s hearts turn toward Him instantaneously.

But He chose instead a path of “inefficiency” as we might label it today. He was born to the poor; His birth announcement came not to the highest officials of the land but to shepherds on the nightwatch. He had to be fully human (while remaining fully God) so He could offer full salvation. The promise of redemption and hope to “a people dwelling in darkness” (from a prophecy in Isaiah 9). And this path ended in excruciating suffering at the cross. Suffering never fits with my definition of efficient.

My challenge as I pause to reflect at moments this year is to remember Christ’s birth — to reflect on this great salvation, this amazing miracle, that came to the humblest and the poorest. To take a break from my efficient goals and actually love the people around me by taking time to enter into their lives wherever they are. This is the mystery of the incarnation.

grief, glory, and hope

Having recently returned from our annual vacation at the beach with my family, I am basking in its beauty. One of my favorite memories from this week is the surprising delight of watching monarch butterflies migrate over the beach heading South for the winter. They flew constantly, in groups of 10-12 at a time, in a constant parade through the dunes.  I am feeling restored and refreshed from time with family with whom we can both laugh freely and converse deeply. And just in time, as only days after our return, a beloved sister in Christ from our church passed away to glory after a long battle with cancer. Seth and I both had the privilege of walking alongside her during this journey towards Home, and it has changed us. Reminds us of how very close we each are to eternity, and of how full of suffering this side of heaven can be. Her memorial service will be the second I’ll attend in a month, the first being that of my sister-in-law’s father who also passed away after a battle with cancer. It is sobering and causes one to reflect on life, its endings and beginnings. Death even when “expected” is always a shock. It feels so wrong, because it is. It is not part of the original plan for Glory.

Death tarnishes humanity, casts its long shadow of fear over life. But we have a God who conquers it, in whom we can rejoice even in grief. How do you walk alongside someone who is literally in the valley of the shadow of death? (Psalm 23) Or with those whose lives now are shadowed by the grief of a loved one’s death? You walk with them. You listen; you learn; realizing that there is much to be found in these times of mourning. Ecclesiastes points to that:

It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

And you hold out hope with them in the midst of grief. Not in a shallow Pollyanna-rose-colored-glasses-this-isn’t-that-bad kind of way, but in a deep way rooted in the hope of the One who also hates death. The One who hated it so much that He sacrificed His own Son to destroy it – through His own death and then victory through His resurrection. We have hope that all who believe in Christ by faith will live again in the place where there are no tears, no pain, no brokenness. We have hope that we will see the One face-to-face we have only known by faith on this side of heaven. We have hope that in the midst of deep grief and mourning, there is One who meets us there – one who uses these very places to open up our own souls to more of His love, to know more of His comfort.

For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:5)

The hope doesn’t take away the tears, nor should it. It doesn’t answer the questions; it’s not meant to. But it gives peace and courage amidst the pain and the questions. I have seen that in my sister-in-law and her family. We are already experiencing that in our church family here too. I want to learn more of that. This is the Glory hidden here now: it weaves through life, mixing joy and sorrow, grief and hope.

Love is …

For this Valentine’s post, I thought it would be celebratory to meditate on LOVE (what else on this day of hearts?). Here goes –

L O V E  is …

  • A spontaneous hug around the legs from an adoring daughter
  • A wet and sloppy kiss from her twin sister
  • Bright smiles to greet you in the morning (even when you quite frankly don’t feel so bright and cheery)
  • A bouquet of yellow roses blooming into orange
  • A friend’s understanding words and listening ear on a hard day
  • The unexpected beauty of a sunset over the river as the day fades, sea gulls’ silhouettes flying into the light
  • A heartfelt note from my husband
  • Dinner shared with friends and family, rich with feasting and conversation
  • A date at Luna Maya while friends watched the girls as part of a baby swap
  • Uninterrupted conversation
  • Conversation interrupted by little hands tugging for your attention
  • Heart-shaped sugar cookies to savor
  • Lavender hot chocolate at my new favorite coffee shop, Stella’s Cafe
  • Timeless words written by God to assure his people of his undying, steadfast, never-giving-up love for them
  • A cross on a hill in Jerusalem where the innocent died for the guilty
  • THE story of love  from where all other love derives its meaning and truest expression
  • My husband’s offer to feed the girls dinner so that I could have a break from a long day that felt rather loveless, not because of him or my daughters but just because it was an extraordinarily hard “ordinary” day of tantrums, fussing, and short naps.
  • Choosing not to write more so that I help him in this “witching hour” before bedtime …

Christmas Begins with Confession

What a strange juxtaposition – Christmas and confession? Really, Heather? Are you sure that’s not just mommy brain talking? Well, no, I’m not sure, says the one who is very thankful for a hidden key, who was locked into my office by my twins one afternoon, who knocked over our Christmas tree (pictured here “before”), who currently has red wine splattered all over my kitchen ceiling due to a sauteing attempt gone wrong … ok, you get the point. At some point, I’ll publish a book of funny incidences that have happened since having children.

But for this afternoon, I want to share what I’ve been thinking about this Advent season – that, in fact, Christmas begins with confession. As I have been meditating on Psalm 51 after studying it for a talk I gave at our weekly women’s Bible study, confession seems to be something that I have a hard time grasping. It’s because I want to be right all the time. It’s because I want to be self-sufficient, not dependent on a God who became as weak as a little baby so that He could become my moment-to-moment strength. It’s because I find myself so wrapped up in the culture’s definition of what makes me valuable and worthy that I forget both (a) how unworthy I am of this God’s love and salvation grace and (b) how valuable I am because this God-come-near left heaven for earth to rescue me from the cultural standards I’ll never reach and the sin that makes me grasp at them.

As I have been seeking to count “1000 gifts” Ann Voskamp-style, my eyes have been more open to how ungrateful I can be. In fact, I often view life with hidden bitterness and smoldering resentment. Why is this? Instead of accepting God’s graces as a gift, I am prideful and think that I deserve them – in fact, that I’m so good that I’m entitled to them.

And so in order to celebrate Christmas truly, I must start with confession. Confessing that I am unworthy of the best gift that could possibly be given to me, and even worse, that I am often blind to my need for this gift. Confessing that I need the gift disguised in a baby born to a poor family in a cave in an obscure part of a no-name Israelite town (Bethlehem didn’t have any songs praising it for being little before Christ’s birth there). Confessing that I need others to open their hearts to me in confession so that I will remember how much I need it and how I, too, struggle with sin’s insidious influence. Confessing that you and I are much more similar than we are different because of the rescuing grace of God sent forth in a little baby. It’s a beautiful message that resonates with the deepest part of every person – so much so that we are immersed in a season that celebrates it in every holiday song, each house lit with twinkling lights, every tree adorned with ornaments and laden with gifts. And, no, not every person realizes this or in their Christmas celebration gives glory to the God who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14)- but one day, they will. So I invite you to start now by confessing with me all the ways you, too, need this humble Savior.

Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given!
Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing!
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Oh, come, let us adore him,
Christ the Lord.


I wanted to give a bit of an update after the last post. Yes, motherhood has felt particularly difficult over the past several weeks, but also YES, I have a God who is alive and who meets me in the midst of all of life’s struggles and provides even more than what I need. And my heart is refreshed and thankful today as I think about …

  • grace and mercies new every morning – and every moment – as I need them
  • the refreshment of a week with family – who reminded me what a delight Lucia & Alethia are to us
  • moments to relax on the beach without having to track down the girls (thank you, Gigi & Pops!!)
  • the infinite horizon of the ocean meeting the sky that is just a tiny picture of the infinite love of God for His people “O, the deep, deep love of Jesus … vast, unmeasured, boundless, free … rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me …” (lines from my favorite hymn)
  • a date with Seth in Charleston
  • the refreshment of God’s Word – recently decided to read through the book of James. Its practical wisdom has been just what I need in this season of life, from the book called the “Proverbs of the New Testament.”
  • a day to be with God’s people and worship and receive the bread & the wine … and rest (thanks to a longer nap from the twins)
  • friends who encourage, pray for me, remind me that I am not alone in the hard days (you know who you are – thank you!)
  • my husband who faithfully loves and cares for me and our daughters
  • our God who is always faithful and loving and merciful, unchanging though all else can seem like it has changed

comfort and utility

A few weeks ago, I was watching Lucia as she played on a blanket on the floor. Bedtime was quickly approaching, and she decided that it was time to try to put herself to sleep. She has developed quite a “lovey” obsession in the past few months and uses her soft pink-striped zebra to cozy up to as she drifts off to sleep. Sometimes I have found her with this snuggly blanket animal almost entirely covering her face. (Yes, it did scare me a bit because of SIDS paranoia … but it seems lightweight and small enough that it won’t do harm.) So, naturally, she reached out for the closest object (hoping it would be her zebra) and began snuggling up to it, rubbing it against her face. The funny thing about it was that it was her hard plastic alien teething toy. So it must have been far from soothing – in fact, quite the opposite.

And that got me thinking. The problem wasn’t that the teething toy didn’t have a good purpose – and could even be comforting when used as such – but that Lucia was trying to use it in a way different than as intended. She had confused the toy for her lovey. Of course, it didn’t have the intended effect and she became more fussy instead of less so. Sweet Lucia later drifted off to sleep happily tucked in with her zebra … and I shared a small chuckle to myself.

How like Lucia I am! Yet without the innocence of her infant mix-ups. What God has given me for a certain purpose I use in the wrong way, trying to find soul-comfort where there is none. Like food and sleep and “me time”. An organized home, uninterrupted phone conversations, babies who never cry, clothes that flatter, a post-pregnancy body that matches my pre-pregnancy one … the list goes on and on. And God must look at me, thinking, “No – that’s not the purpose! She is trying to find soul-rest and comfort in created things, not me. Gifts I give her have replaced me, the Giver. Meant to be enjoyed in their place. But she will never find the true comfort she seeks from these things.” I am to find comfort in Him and utilize His gifts for their purpose. But I reverse that, using God to try to get what I want and seeking comfort in His gifts. And because He is my compassionate Father as well as my God, He gently replaces my items of false comfort with Himself, the true Comforter. Again He issues the invitation to my heart,

“Come … all you who are weary and heavy burdened … find rest for your souls … for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)


a few stolen moments for an Advent meditation

Peace. Quiet. Calm. Rare commodities in our house full of three month old twins. Yet commodities much less rare now than in the first few months. Three months really is a good marker as far as it getting easier to parent twins (just like all my friend said it would be).

And so I take these moments for an Advent meditation. What’s struck me this season is the vulnerability Jesus subjected himself to in becoming flesh and dwelling among us. Our daughters are completely dependent on us. Without our 24/7 attention, they would be unable to grow and thrive. And Jesus, the God of the entire universe, became like us. Started off at the same place: dependence. Utter dependence on the ones HE created. Allowing himself to be weak and helpless like the babies we gently cradle in our arms – the One who is the only source of life and breath and strength. Knowing better than we know ourselves the depth of our sin and weakness, Jesus willingly took on humanity beginning in infancy and entrusted himself to one of us. Knowing how the end of the story would turn out, he stepped down into our world so that he could rewrite the story of a broken humanity. Redeem us. Give us hope. Show us the glory of the only God.

Beginning as a baby. And so perhaps there is more glory and grace to be found in the faces of our little ones than we knew. For this is where Jesus’ fullness of glory began, too – clothed in the face of a child.

“And of his fullness, we have received grace upon grace.” (from John 1)