Category Archives: E

The playground of Eden, the patience of God

At 21 months old, our eldest daughter E amazes us. Each day she seems to pick up something new. I’ve been sitting here at the playground and she’s climbed each of the ladders (all different sizes) on her own, and slid down the slide (she loves it by the way, especially once she’s at the bottom, where she copies me and stares up at the sky for a moment and says, “Sleep”).

She can now walk along the rickety bridge, climb up the slide with the help of her sticky shoes, and hoist herself up on the see-saw before declaring to the world, “Horse!”, followed by a small galloping motion that is better seen than described.

She now also picks up random bits of rubbish, and at my encouragement instead of eating it, motors towards the rubbish bin and drops the cigarette butt/sweet wrapper/paper bag into the bin. High fives and fist bumps all round.

And when she climbs up the ladder to get to the slide, she’s very careful. She takes small, calculated steps with her legs. She’s patient to move one leg only after the other and her hands are holding firm. And the beam on her face as she stands above the ladder victorious is priceless.

This evening I juxtaposed our playground moment with some light reading, Joel Beeke’s Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life. And at the end of chapter 4, he summarises what the Puritan Stephen Charnock says about one of God’s attributes, His patience:

The wickedness of man is an affront to God, but God nevertheless exercises patience in terms of delaying His wrath and tempering it. The question inevitably must be raised as to why God does so. The answer given above has in view the mediatorial work of Christ. This is certainly the main reason, but the patience of God toward sinners on account of Christ also shows God to be appeasable. God desires reconciliation with His creatures and so He does not destroy them at once, but gives them space for repentance.

Practically speaking, the patience of God also allows for the propagation of the human race. Mankind would be unable to increase in number if God killed all humans upon their entry (or even conception) into the world. More specifically, God’s patience allows for the continuance and growth of the church… in this light, Charnock observes, “There could not have been a saint in the earth, nor, consequently in heaven, had it not been for this perfection”…

So if God were not patient and merciful, slow to anger, these precious playground moments wouldn’t have existed. E would not have lived past one moment of conception. I would not have done so. Cheryl would not have.

Whether E or sister H end up worshipping God in Christ, the Patient One knows. But I can be thankful to God that His patience means salvation for girls and boys, men and women of every race.

A bedtime song about love and kisses

“E, it’s time for bed!”

(She climbs into bed with help of her small chair. There’s two teddy bears on her bed)

“How about a goodnight kiss?”

(She clambers over and takes the bear #1, and kisses bear #2)

“That’s right, bear loves bear. Dada loves E. E loves mama. Mama loves dada. And God loves us best through Jesus. Would you like to hear a song about love?”

(She nods)

“OK, let’s sing about love.”

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Your love accepting,
Love You, ever all my days;
Let me seek Your kingdom only
And my life be to Your praise;
You alone shall be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
You have cleansed and sanctified me,
You Yourself have set me free.

– “Here is Love“, William Rees, William Williams

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Symbolic play

Wow we have hit a milestone!  I think early too, for once.  Very simple symbolic play

Yesterday morning, E picked up the egg shaker, pretended to take a bite, and continued chewing with her mouth closed for some time.  She said ‘umum’ and signed yummy.  Then fed me, I chewed and said/signed yummy, as well as egg.  We did this again until I said it was time for sleep, to which she readily agreed and later gave back the egg with no fuss.

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Family matters: pizzas and gospel glue

Saturday

On Saturday, had a wonderful day making pizzas with a family from church. I recently helped Cheryl to buy a breadmaker via work’s staff purchasing list (FPH have some sort of deal with Panasonic where we can buy their products for below retail, contact me if you’d like to see their catalogue). The funny thing is, so far she’s made bread with it just once. The rest of the time we have enjoyed things like croissants, and several well-formed pizza bases. So we had a go had making pizzas, the Waltzes had four children who enjoyed designing their own flavour/topping combinations:

Pizzas 30-6-2013

E did have some pizza but she is getting into lots of other foods too. Here she’s got a pear in hand…

Eden 29-06-13

In between her naps, Cheryl got the chance to chat and learn from Kelli, who is doing such a good job at raising and nurturing four really well-behaved, book-loving children.

We hit the local playground afterwards. Since she turned 1, E’s developed a newfound appreciation for the playground (won’t be long till she asks me to take her there!) She likes the swing and the see-saw.

Sunday

Sunday we had a wonderful morning of gathered worship. Peter preached an encouraging message on finding true joy in difficult times, something I really needed to hear right then. I led the singing and we sang all hymns from a range of sources. The church seem to have picked up two Indelible Grace songs very well,  Psalm 130 (From the Depths of Woe) and Jesus I My Cross Have Taken. To top it all off, we then enjoyed a steamboat lunch with the young adults, what a blessing!

Eden up the staircase

In fact, right through the past week God has really blessed us. Cheryl’s pregnancy-related nausea etc. has been manageable, E has been eating and sleeping well, we had dinner with our favourite brother-in-law and sister 3(!) times (where E learned to climb their stairs), and got to enjoy time with other family and friends. Once again, I’m reminded that the gospel is such a potent glue to bind deep, meaningful friendships together.

E’s 1st Birthday

E is 20cm taller than a year ago, over twice as heavy. These days she rarely stays in one place when you hold her, and can usually be found squirming and sliding to the next interesting thing in the room.

Yet as I cradled our 1 year old daughter this morning after breakfast, she became unexpectedly still. She stared up, occasionally lifting her doll-like finger up to gently trace my lips, as God etched the moment into my memory.

It made me think back to the first time Cheryl and I saw her. That morning of hustle and intensity, of prayer and pressure, then hearing E’s almost other-worldly cry as she entered the world (2:08pm). After the checks, our midwife quickly placed Eden onto Cheryl for skin-to-skin contact.

Then, she became unexpectedly still, calm, occasionally shuffling towards the face of her mother. Soft footsteps in the corridor broke the silence once or twice, as God gently etched the moment into my memory.

We were reminded by a dear friend last night that a child’s birthday isn’t just a celebration for the child (what would she even remember now?), but also a time of rejoicing for the parents to reflect on the joys and the sorrows in the year gone by, and on God’s faithfulness and mercy towards them.

Happy birthday my dear. If blogs are still around when you’re old enough to read this, may this be a testimony to the grace of God in Jesus Christ, who has sustained and fathered you better than I ever could, every day of your life. Our prayer for you remains that you would be found clinging to Christ alone for everything on your last birthday.

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You’ll travel where my arms won’t reach
As the road will rise and lead your feet
On a journey of your own
May my mistakes to hinder you
But His grace remain and guide you through
This is my prayer for you…

A Mother’s Prayer” by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Fionan de Barra; © 2012 Gettymusic and Fionan de Barra

Eden at one

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“My job is to bring light into darkness by raising my children in the Lord” – Jamie Peterson, homemaker, when asked about her job