Monday, July 25, 2011

The 4th Weekend of July

Hi friends, I thought I would check in and share a few recent highlights from the Escalante tribe.

One of my favorite moments from this weekend happened while I was trying on jeans at a shop in Emeryville.  The dressing room happened to be right in the middle of the lingerie department and I had my whole clan with me--my husband and two kids.  As you must know, going jean shopping requires moral support and that person happens to be my husband; kids come along with that as a package deal sometimes, you know?  Anyway, right in front of the dressing room door is a whole rack of black bras with little orange bows on them.  "Look," my husband says, cheekily, "its a Giant's [baseball] bra!" I laughed and went into the torture chamber dressing room to do my thing.  When I came back, Dave told me the best story ever and now I am going to tell you. 

Apparently, after I left, my son, Elliott, said very loudly, "Is that really a Giant boob holder??"

"No, its not," Dave said, "I was just kidding."

"Oh," said Elliott, "so its just a regular boob holder, then."

And that totally made my weekend.  You're welcome.

On Sunday, we took the kids to this really cool spot in Berkeley called Indian Rock Park.  It is a group of very big rocks that can be used for climbing practice and is located in the hills of Berkeley.  It boasts a spectacular view of the the city and the San Francisco bay.  Just gorgeous.  We recently showed Elliott some indoor rock climbing videos so he was pretty stoked to try it out.  We even bumped in to a couple of guys doing some free climbing who let us borrow their falling pad.  I'm so proud of Elliott, because he is encountering a lot of situations, lately, that involve facing fears and he is looking his fear in the face and in his words, he is "punching [his] fear in the eye!"  Here are a few shots from my iPhone of Indian Rock Park.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Beauty of Redemption

Today I had an epic conversation with my six year. It is one I would like to remember forever. Somehow we got to talking about redemption while driving home from the Bay Area Discovery Museum. His sister had fallen asleep in her car seat as he shot off his questions in rapid fire succession.

A conversation with Elliott usually goes something like this: You begin a topic and start conversing. Elliott stops you to ask what a word means. You explain it in a whole paragraph. There is one word in that paragraph that he doesn't understand. You explain that word, etc. Before you know it, you are 5 miles downstream around the bend and down a giant waterfall before you even know what hit you.

Today was just another such day conversing with (what seems to be) the most intense six year old on the planet; And he didn't disappoint.

We were talking about redemption and, of course, he didn't understand the word redemption. So we launched into discussing errors and penalties and justice. He didn't understand penalty. So we talked about robbery (fitting?). We talked about how according to the law, if you rob, you can't just give back what you took, but you must also pay a penalty, or give above what you took to "pay" for not holding up to what the law requires of you (not to steal). And how we as sinners have not lived up to what is required of us and so there is a penalty for rebelling against God.

The paying back more on top of what you took got his attention. He asked me if I would like that. "Would I like what?" I asked. He wanted know if I would want that to happen to me so I could be payed back a bunch of extra. (Which I thought was funny considering the recent events: see post about our new home) So I reigned him back in and got back on topic.

"So," I told him, "God could exact the payment that He is owed from us, but He decided to pay it Himself. Instead of making us pay Him, it was like He payed us! [He pays our debt and makes us part of His family and gives us a good inheritance!]"

Elliott responded immediately, "because He loves us so much..." He was blown away. "I want to pay Him back! He was so nice to me and I want to be nice back."

"You can't pay Him back. All you can do is just give Him your life."

"What do you mean, 'give Him my life.'?"

"That you no longer live for yourself and what you want, but instead you give Him your life, to let Him use you however He wants."

"I want to do that right now! Can you just do that right now? Like whenever you want? Like just today or tomorrow or in a couple of hours?"


"I just did it, Mom. I gave Jesus my life. I'm so excited to see what He will do. I'm so excited to get to see Him. I can't wait to see what He is like. Do you think he has hands and feet like us?"

And so the conversation continued. But I am excited, too, to see what Jesus will do with Elliott's little life that he so joyfully surrendered in response to the preciousness and awesomeness of the Gospel. I am so encouraged and blessed talking to my son about the Lord. I am sharpened and spurred on and encouraged by my son who is (amazingly enough) also my brother is Christ!

*edit: This was so impactful and beautiful because, for Elliott, it was a very heartfelt response to the Gospel. But it wasn't the first time he responded to the it, and my prayer for him is that it will not be the last. You see, the gospel is something that always requires a response from us and should be applied to every part of our lives. Dave and I try to share the gospel with the kids and to each other constantly. Elliott had already made the decision to accept salvation from the Lord at a much younger age, but this day was beautiful in that as he heard the gospel again, he was prompted to go much deeper in his understanding of what Jesus' sacrifice for us means, and much deeper in his love and appreciation for Him. His response was to let go of his own desires and plans for his life and surrender them to the Lord in gratitude. Beautiful. May we all continually be amazed by the gospel and prompted to respond to God's amazing love for us daily.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Verse of the Day

7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"  Matthew 7:7-11

How comforting to know the heart of our heavenly Father. Especially in light of the previous chapter where Jesus tells us not to be anxious:

25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?" Matthew 6:25-27

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Beginnings

Our new home!

We finally moved to Berkeley! After a year and a half of praying and waiting on the Lord, we are on the ground.

It's been a bit of a rough start, but that was expected. From everything we've heard, planting a church is usually most difficult in the first year and we've been thoroughly warned to expect to be completely discouraged. With God's help we are determined to be resilient. Knowing that God has asked us to be here is just about the only comforting thing in moving to a strange city, a strange house, and being alone and vulnerable in them. Every once in a while I look around our new little flat and think, "What in the WORLD are we doing here?? This is not my life!" But God is so faithful and keeps reminding us that indeed this is not our home--this world is not our home, but we instead are heavenly minded, looking forward to that time when we will be with Him face to face.

Indeed, some of the reminders have been very tangible as the second day of our residence in Berkeley, Dave came home from work to find our front door kicked in. Thankfully, I was at our old place cleaning all day and arrived home after Dave. As it was, he had the police come out and check things out. No one was inside, but we discovered a few things had been stolen including Dave's iPad with his sermon notes, some speakers, and our computer monitor. It wasn't until later that we discovered our (really cute) laundry bag missing as well, but even worse, two days later we realized that all of our photography equipment had been taken as well. Some of you know that photography is our livelihood, so that was a very low blow.

Overall, the move has been super discouraging and difficult, but we keep clinging to Jesus and trusting him. No matter where we go, we know that Jesus is our home(Psalm 90), as my good friend reminded me (see my earlier blog post entitled "Home").

Another hope we have is this: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew

An upside to be burglarized, though, is that amidst all the chaos of boxes and piles of stuff, we have someone to blame whenever we can't readily find something. For instance: I couldn't find the coffee scooper, "Dang burglars! Stole the coffee scooper," I say. And then we have a good laugh before finally locating it in some box somewhere.

We're learning more and more each day about the grace and love of our God and how he so wonderfully demonstrates His love for us in sending His Son, Jesus, to lay down His life for us, to bear upon himself the wrath of God in our place, so that we could be restored to Him and not only that, but to be part of His family--sons and daughters! It's so amazing. We are excited to share this hope that we have with the people who live in Berkeley. Please pray for us!

Sent from my iPhone