Friday, February 24, 2012


Sin is terrible.

We have it here, in the Wilcox house. We have a lot of it.

Yesterday around lunch time, everything seemed to be going fine. I was sitting on the couch nursing Graham. The older kids sat close by, watching episodes of the Sesame Street podcast on my laptop. Then Esme decided she wanted to watch from her high chair on the other side of the room. She went and climbed in, asking me to move the high chair so she could see the computer screen. I declined to comply with her request, which she didn't appreciate.

I finished nursing Graham, burped him, set him down, then went to the kitchen and started cutting up oranges for lunch. In the other room, Matthew began to complain that Esme's whining made it impossible for him to hear Sesame Street. I heard Meg turn on Matthew, angry because Matthew was making it hard for her to hear. The next instant, I knew Meg and Matthew were fighting--I mean, on top of each other, grappling, fist and claw. I stabbed through the last pieces of orange and raced for them, but by the time I got there, Meg was sobbing in genuine pain while a still-angry Matthew looked ready to inflict more.

I yanked them apart and sat between them, alternating between pity, rage and helplessness. Rage was winning. I was too angry to comfort Meg thoroughly, too angry to do anything but berate Matthew. After a few miserable moments, I had the sense to order everyone to different corners of the house while I went to the kitchen and panted out a desperate prayer. Lord, help us. Help us!

And He did. In the next hour, I was able to ask Meg and Matthew's forgiveness for my angry response, address their hearts calmly and kindly, see them reconciled, feed everyone lunch, and put them all down for much-needed naps. Sigh.

But there was still trouble in my heart. Whispers: They are angry children because of you. It's your fault, your example that made them like this. Matthew is getting worse. This anger thing will come back to bite you again and again. They'll never change because you never change. And though I knew there was a seed of truth there--that I can't expect my kids to repent if I'm not repenting--I also knew there was a big fat lie.

It all depends on you.

Your sin is messing up your kids permanently; you are making a mess so big that nothing will be able to fix it.

And when I identified those thoughts, I knew where to run.


OK, not really. It just happened to be where I found the song that I was looking for:

There is love that came for us
Humbled to a sinner's cross
You broke my shame and sinfulness
You rose again, victorious

Faithfulness none can deny
Through the storm and through the fire
There is truth that sets me free
Jesus Christ who lives in me

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, "Christ is risen,"
Jesus, You are Lord of all

No beginning and no end
You're my hope and my defense
You came to seek and save the lost
You paid it all upon the cross

You are stronger, You are stronger
Sin is broken, You have saved me
It is written, "Christ is risen,"
Jesus, You are Lord of all

So let Your name be lifted higher
Be lifted higher, be lifted higher

-Stronger, by Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding

Yes, I have made a mess so big that nothing can fix it--at least nothing that I can do. And it's not just with my kids. If you look through the eyes of a perfectly holy God, all of my life is a gigantic sink hole of failure.

But that holy God has a Son as perfectly holy and beautiful as Himself. And what Jesus has done in his life, death, resurrection and ascension is bigger than my sin. Like, way bigger.

Thanks to Jesus, I can look my sin squarely and honestly in the eye, own that it's all mine, and still say confidently (in the words of every three year old): "You're not the boss of me!" Sin, you don't own me. You don't control me. You don't condemn me any more, because Jesus took all of my condemnation once and for all. You don't determine the outcome of my life or my children's lives. We have a God who is stronger than you.

And after I listened to the song and worshipped and felt the ground of truth under my feet again, I went and laughed at this. And this. Because they both seemed somewhat relevant at the moment. And because laughter just might be stronger than sin too.

Meg's Art Class

This semester we had the opportunity to enroll Meg in an art class with the gracious and gifted Mrs. Hartnett. We're so grateful that we were able to do it. Our girl just loves this class and considers it the highlight of her school week.

Early this week I emailed Mrs. Hartnett regarding a folder that Meg accidentally left at class. During our exchange, Meg's teacher complimented her on her "naturally whimsical style." Then on Wednesday afternoon, Meg brought home a project that I thought captured that whimsy perfectly. Here is the original portrait, a still of "Susan" from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

And here is Meg's copy.

It is such fun to watch her explore and develop her gifts!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Daddy/Esme Love

A few pictures taken on recent family days will give you some idea of the affection that flows between Dave and his youngest daughter.



Almost every day when I go into Esme's room to wake her up, her first words are, "My Daddy at work?" Given the affirmative, she responds with a sad little, "Ohhhhhhh. Why?" She would be very happy if every day was family day and Daddy was always at home to hang out with her in the kitchen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Praying Life Quote

A year after I posted this, I am still reading slowly through A Praying Life by Paul Miller. Fantastic book. I find myself going back to reread certain sections and try to digest or apply them--one of the several reasons why it is taking me over a year to complete the thing! This is one of those books that whets my appetite for God, and not just more of the book itself. It makes me want to pray more, read God's Word more, and enjoy God more in all of life. I love this section:
To see the Storyteller, we need to slow down our interior life and watch. We need to be imbedded in the Word to experience the Storyteller's mind and pick up the cadence of his voice. We need to be alert for the story, for the Storyteller's voice speaking into the details of our lives. The story God weaves is neither weird nor floaty. It always involves us bowing before his majesty with the pieces of our lives...

When confronted with suffering that won't go away or even with a minor problem, we instinctively focus on what is missing, such as the lost coats and the betrayal in Joseph's story, not on the Master's hand. Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it's just that you're in the middle of a story. If you watch the stories God is weaving in your life, you, like Joseph, will begin to see the patterns. You'll become a poet, sensitive to your Father's voice. (p.205)

Monday, February 13, 2012

If I Never Had Kids

If I never had kids, my living room would never be turned into a giant crash-landing pad.
And then I would never have Spider Man sitting on a giant crash-landing pad, reading a talking book in the middle of my living room.
And I would never even know what I was missing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Good Things Come

Yesterday Graham gave his first smiles to none other than his big brother.
Last night Graham woke up for only one feeding all night long. I think I got seven hours of sleep all told!
Today Graham is one month old.
Thank you, Lord, for soft mists of sweetness and grace to soften the path of life with a newborn.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Can Anyone Verify...

...that it's normal for milk to come out of an infant's nose on a regular basis after feedings? Graham is my first experience with this phenomenon, and every time it happens, I find myself partly amused and partly sympathetic. Doesn't seem like it can be very comfortable for my poor wee guy!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Scenes from Our House

Esme's crazy morning hair.

Actually, to be honest, her hair looks like this most of the time right now. Hair brushing has slipped down quite a bit on my priority list this month.

Math is pretty much the only subject we kept up with through January. Here are Meg and Matthew on the day we made a shoe graph.

Meg wanted to take a picture of me with Graham.

After she took four like that and I took this one of her...

I realized that the camera was on some funky setting that I don't know how to use. Back to auto focus, thank you.

Meg spends many happy hours reading Highlights magazine these days. Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa!

If their wardrobe choices are any indication, my kids have some kind of spring fever. Tank tops are all the rage. Stick-in-the-mud Mommy insists on long sleeves underneath at least through March, which demand produced the loud floral combo on Meg.

Daddy and Graham love their brief moments together each evening, though you might not know it from their expressions in this pic.

And Esme can't get enough of her dad either. Last night she wrangled him into this position during movie time... not that he put up a huge fight.

Here is our Graham-boy, four weeks old today, sitting propped up on the couch after a feeding. He's a great baby, and he continues to be the recipient of massive amounts of lovin' from all sides.

Friday, February 03, 2012

These Two


and Matthew...

are having some trouble getting along these days.

But then there are the moments when they forget to argue and fight...

...and remember that they are pretty much best friends.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Three Weeks Old Today

I meant to try and get some good pictures today, but these will have to suffice. At least my subject was adorable!

"Hi, my name is Graham. Do you like my cheeks?"

This one is blurry, but I can't resist including it.

Oh, man. Where is that kid?
Asleep? Wake him up! I need to kiss him again!