Changing and Unchanging Voices

My 5-year old daughter just got her tonsils out. (Well, she got her adenoids out, too. Am I betraying too much of my ignorance to tell you I don’t actually know what adenoids are much less what they do? I should probably look that up.) She’s the first of my 5 kids to ever have any kind of surgery, and I will say it’s a bit nerve-wracking from a parent’s perspective to have your child be put under for surgery.

I’ve had experience with my wife having surgery before, and it was nice for my wife and I to talk about the surgery with my daughter and also pray together that God would be with her. I’m thankful, of course, that God decided to keep her safe and have the surgery be a success.

One striking thing after the surgery, though, has been to notice a difference in my daughter’s voice. Given the fact that her tonsil’s were enormous and left her just a small space to breathe through, I suppose it’s not surprising that her voice would come out sounding differently. I just wasn’t prepared for how different it is. Continue reading

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God’s Promises Never Fail

I love how excited my kids get over rainbows. Whenever they see one, it's like they've just one a prize. They're instantly in awe, instantly making sure everyone else sees it, too. So when my four-year old spotted one outside our window last Friday night, needless to say she was thrilled.

We all were. So my wife and I both stepped out into the misting-rain to snap a picture (that's mine in this post, with a little word-art added). Then the kids continued to marvel at the colors and scope of the full rainbow outside. My wife and I also took the chance to teach a little bit about what a rainbow meant. God had given the first one to Noah after the Flood to promise that God would never again destroy the entire world by a flood (Gen. 9:12-16). Because of that, every rainbow can be a reminder for us that God keeps his promises. When God says he's going to be with us, he will. When he says he hears our prayers, he does. When he says Jesus paid for all our sins, he did.

Continue reading

Wait in Hope

We wait in hope for the Lord ; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord , even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:20-22 NIV)

As I write this, my wife is in surgery. It’s ankle surgery, an ankle on which she needed work fifteen years ago, too. She’s had more serious surgeries in her life, but you always feel a little anxious at every one.

But passages like the one above give me comfort. Even as I wait for the results of her surgery, I wait in hope. I have hope that God is going to do what’s best. It’s not hope that’s unsure, but it’s hope that’s solid. I know he’s with her and watching over her. I know he has given skill to the surgeon and the other doctors and nurses. I know he will work out all things for the best. I know this because he’s promised these things (and because I’ve seen the skill of the doctors and nurses in person.)

I also know God will be with her as she recovers. So, I’m not worried. Concerned for my wife, sure. But I’m confident in God’s promises. This isn’t an arrogant confidence, but a quiet and thankful confidence in God’s love.

May that confidence go with you in whatever trials you face!

+++ UPDATE +++

My wife’s surgery is done, and everything went well and according to plan! Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Now, the recovery begins.

As For Me and My House

As For Me and My House by pastorwalters
As For Me and My House, a photo by pastorwalters on Flickr.

This is my favorite wall in our home. It’s a cast iron cross that my parents had given us as a gift a few years ago.

I guess it’s especially meaningful to me tonight as I think about Christmas coming up and the sermon that I just preached.

Oh, the words are some sort of wall sticker-thing that my wife found somewhere, I think at Hobby Lobby.

Because He Cares for You

My wife is having surgery this morning. And while there are always nerves and questions about these things, overall I mostly feel peace.

My two oldest daughters have just been reciting their latest memory verse: 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. What a beautiful verse, and what beautiful confidence to have!

The Lord cares for me. He proved it in a manger in Bethlehem, on a cross on Calvary, and in an empty tomb. So I can give my concerns to him. He’ll bring me, my wife, and my family through everything and will work it all for our good. That’s his promise! And by faith, that’s my confidence.

UPDATE

My wife’s surgery went well and she is resting in recovery!

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalm 116:1-2)

 

On My Shelf

I think it’s some sort of law that pastors have to like books. Or something like that.

Well, law or no, I like books. And on my shelf in my office are some books that are special, interesting, or just mean something to me for different reasons.

This book is one of them. It’s an English Language Lutheran hymnal, the Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book, published by Concordia Publishing House in 1927. It’s neat just as a hymnal. There are no written musical staffs; the book only contains the lyrics of the hymns, liturgies, psalms, etc. Some of the hymns are interesting for the English translation that is used for them, which sound strange to our “modern” ears.

But the best part of this hymnal for me is the fact that it was my grandmother’s. Imprinted in faded letters on the front cover is the name: Lillie R. A. Steffenhagen. My grandmother (Grandma Walters as I used to call her) was given this hymnal as a gift on her confirmation. The reason I know this is a lengthy inscription written by her sponsors on one of the opening pages of the book. It’s beautiful, and I’ll reproduce it here:

Dear Lillie: —

This Hymnal is presented to you in remembrance of your confirmation from your sponsors for diligent use.

“You have professed a good profession before many witnesses.” and, now, dear Lillie, “hold that fast which thous hast that no man take thy crown.” Yes, “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life,” says the Lord, Rev.2,10.

Your Sponsors,

Mr. Emil Burfeind

+

Mrs. Henry Ahrens

West Florence, Minn.

July 30, 1933.

My grandmother received her crown of life nearly thirty years ago, and it is always moving to me to see this hymnal that was given to her. What a blessing to have the faith passed down to the next generation, who in turn is entrusted to teach the next. I’m thankful for my grandmother, and though I knew her only a short time, God used her to bless me now and forever.

 

Soleil Victoria

On this date 3 years ago, my life was changed forever. Soleil Victoria Walters was born, and she has been one of God’s greatest gifts in my life!

Here she is having hot chocolate after playing in the snow.

Here she is about a week ago after she got into her mom’s lipstick.

And finally, here’s one of my favorite pictures of her, when she fell asleep getting her haircut a few months ago.

Happy birthday, Soleil! Your daddy loves you!

 

 

Sunday Afternoons

If I can help it, Sunday afternoons are famiy time. Today included Pink Panther cartoons, Wii bowling, and a 1-year old on Care Bears scooter. Good times!

T Rider

Hopefully I’ll get around to posting today’s sermon in the next few days.

A “Day Off”

As a pastor and a dad, sometimes your day off doesn’t quite work out to be as restful as you’d like. Today, for instance, I had a funeral that I did the service and preached for. This is a task that is a great privilege for me to do, but it’s definitely exhausting.

After the funeral lunch, I met with a fellow pastor for a while. He’s my circuit pastor (sort of like a supervisor for a group of pastors), so it was good to be able to talk with him.

By the time all that was done, I had just a few minutes to take two of my daughters (ages 4 and 2) to the doctor. The appointment went well, but sure enough! They both had strep throat.

Most of this post is being written as I wait to pick up their antibiotics. I’ll then bring those home so they can take them, then it’ll be bed time for all 4 kids. Oh yeah, I’ve just received a text rom my wife telling me that one of our non-sick kids just vomited. Not exactly a restful day off!

Not that I’m complaining. I love being a dad and a pastor, and today included a lot of what I love about both. But still, maybe I can take a little extra time to rest tomorrow.

Or maybe not.

On Our Way Home

Today is a travel day. It’s time to leave Minnesota to return once again to New York. Let’s hope the kids travel well! (They usually do.)

Plus, it’s probably a good sign that my one-year old is even taking part in the travel process. Here’s a picture of her trying to book us some tickets online.

Never Too Young