The Life of a Theologian’s Family

“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. It will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
~Mother TeresaHave you ever wondered what it was like to live in the house of a theologian? I mean…really…
you know…beyond having Greek texts posted on the wall above the showerand rows and rows of wonderful books to read…many of which are in languages hard to understand…Well, if you can snuggle with your baby for a few minutes during breakfast, then life is pretty good, I think!Getting to lecture to a class of 250 lovely young people is a pretty great privilege too. Today’s subject was an overview of Galatians that ended with a lively, interactive discussion with the kids on what it means to “walk in the Spirit.”I’ll tell you, I felt like a celebrity when some of the students found out after class that I was the mother of the “fabulous Dr. Armstrong!” Very moving.Did you know that Linda is teaching too? A German class!Like so many theologian’s wives, Linda is extremely busy and industrious.Although Jonathan watches Amelie while Linda teaches, Linda does the lion’s share of the child care. (But, isn’t that true of most all nursing mothers?)Nevertheless Jonathan is quite in love with his little darling,and he makes sure that she saves the last dance of the evening for him!And so, I leave you with the marvelous thought inscribed on the wall of the school’s “gathering place.” Truly, the life of a theologian’s family is blessed.

School’s Out!

Stephen’s done at 7:30 pm, so I’m running over to MSU to pick him up. There’s a light rain/mist/snow falling and a forecast of patchy fog and possible snow. Not so bad as the weather was a few days ago, but I’m still not exactly relishing a dark drive to Lansing. Joel was planning to go with me, but I really don’t want him out in this weather, either! Decisions, decisions! Pray. Get wise counsel (like checking the weather advisory). Make the best decision you can, and then live with the consequences.

Alan and I just got back from the doctor…a follow up visit from his surgery. His last PSA reading was 0.01 with a positive margin near one nerve bundle. To have taken his prostate nerves might have had dire  functional ramifications, as would radiation treatment. The obvious reasonable thing to do is pass on radiation treatment now but wait and not do nothing unless the PSA level rises sharply in the next 4-12 months. Life is not sure, is it?

Jonathan is developing a message for the next time he will preach, December 27th. He is speaking on “Walking in the Spirit.” What does that mean? How do we learn to walk in the Spirit? Sunday we sat around the table and looked at various Scriptures that touch on the subject. One of the goals in my life is to learn to walk consistently “in the Spirit,” or being led by the Spirit, or in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. How? Surrender our will. Listen for His voice. Meditate on the Word. These are ways I try to learn. We are told to “walk in the light” to “walk in love” and, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25), but learning how to do this is a spiritual exercise.

Am I walking in the Spirit as Alan and I make the decision not to have radiation treatment right now? to go pick up Stephen? I hope so! Does that mean all will be well and we won’t have any illness or accident? No. But, it does mean I can live with a clear conscience and experience peace with God…and that is huge to me!

Swamped but Happy

My beloved friend, Cheryl, reminded me this morning at our chapel that I haven’t been posting lately. ‘Tis true! Kathy’s wedding is just three weeks from yesterday, and I’m spending every spare minute either working on wedding plans or trying desperately to finish the Armstrong Archives…a third of a century’s-worth of letters I wrote home to my mom about our family. I’d hoped to have it out for Christmas presents for the kids, but when that fell through, I thought maybe…just maybe…I could have it done by Kathy’s wedding. I’ve got almost 500,000 words transcribed from about 2,000+ letters and tucked neatly onto almost 1,000 single-spaced pages. As a young, aspiring writer, I heard somewhere that you should throw away your first 500,000 words. Well, I’ve now written them!

When Kathy isn’t otherwise occupied, we’ve also been working on wedding plans, and that has been entirely fun too. Kathy wants a very small wedding with basically just family and a very few, very long-time friends, with a “tea party” reception. It should be lots of fun. She bought her dress years ago but can still fit into it, so that’s great! We also went out shopping last week and found a lovely white dress with a satin sash for her to wear as a “getaway” dress. Her truck died on her way to spend the weekend with two of her bridesmaids and Carl, so we may need to be looking for another vehicle on top of everything else. At any rate, if you don’t hear much from me, please keep us in your prayers! I’m sure to re-emerge sometime after February 7 and all the festivities have subsided!

What am I learning? More than ever, I want to learn to walk in the Spirit, depending on His wisdom for everything…even in such simple matters as what I eat, and for sure in the daily round of “what next?” I want to walk in the light, as He is in the light, and to find my true pleasure in Him. Did I mention John Piper’s book, The Dangerous Duty of Delight? That’s my first book for this year. It’s wonderful. The most striking thing to me is the reminder that God calls us to delight in Him, and that—in fact—there is no conflict of interests in doing so. What brings the greatest glory to God is exactly what brings the deepest satisfaction and joy to us. It’s a win/win situation!

Learning to Walk in the Spirit

My Sunday school teacher and spiritual mother, Linda Rudd, taught me many things, and she often sent me little encouragements week by week, many of which I cut out of her letters and used as book marks in my Bible. One that I’ve cherished for probably close to forty years concerns learning how to walk in the Spirit:

rainy-road “As you leave the whole burden of your sin, and rest upon the finished work of Christ, so leave the whole burden of your life and service, and rest upon the present in-working of the Holy Spirit. Give yourself up, morning by morning, to be led by the Holy Spirit and go forward praising and at rest, leaving Him to manage you and your day. Cultivate the habit, all through the day, of joyfully depending upon and obeying Him, expecting Him to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in and with you what He wills. Count upon His working as a fact, altogether apart from sight or feeling. Only let us believe in and obey the Holy Spirit as the Ruler of our lives and cease from the burden of trying to manage ourselves; then shall the fruit of the Spirit appear in us, as He wills, to the glory of God.” —Author Unknown