How Dare You!!!

Men: take 6 minutes and watch this clip.

Mark Driscoll goes after the men at his church who have attended for years and yet still abuse, neglect, and dishonor the woman in their life. Mark has had enough of this. You can visit to download the entire sermon: Marriage and Men from the Trial Series.

To Elora Liann, On Your First Birthday

Dear Elora Liann,

Today we celebrate your first birthday. What a joy! It’s funny to realize that all the cliches apply, but that it has no effect at all on how amazingly joyful I feel because of it. I could start by saying that I still 3075316262_0c72721e082remember the evening of your birth like it was yesterday, but I can actually still remember as well when your mom said that you were in her belly. Wow! Tears came to my eyes realizing that I would become a daddy. Your daddy! I can still remember when your grandma Sawyer said to me, even before you were born: ‘Marc, you are a father already, and now it’s your task to become a daddy. ‘ Profound words indeed, because being a daddy is so much more than just being a father. I will always be your father, but I have to work always to become and stay your daddy. A lifelong task I eagerly accept with much joy and anticipation.

But let’s get back to the evening you were born. It was a rainy evening, and I just got back from a quick visit to some friends who ensured me that the chances were high that you would not be born yet that night. But, I didn’t even have time to take off my coat when you let me and your mom know that it definitely time. With much eagerness, speed, and force did you make your grand entrance into this world. Into our world. Into our home, at home. In a single second you made us into a family. In a single second everything changed forever. A girl. My girl. I choked. I was speechless. Beyond words. The nurse asked us for your name, and your mom and I said in unison: “Elora Liann.” A name we derived from the Hebrew name Eleora, which means “God is my light,” for we sure pray that you will see God as your light, and Liann, which could mean “God has answered” or “to bind darkness,” but is actually a combination of the names of both your grandmas, Linda and Anna.

And then, I held you for the first time. Something I will never forget for the rest of my life. To hold your delicate, fragile, lively body, smaller than my lower arm, was amazing. You sometimes opened your eyes, you sighed, you yawned. Cute as can be. I fell in love with you instantly, and every day since I love you more. To be the daddy of a girl is already a blessing, but to be your daddy is such an amazing honor and blessing that I can do nothing else than thank God each day for you.

3075325936_1d160bca731Yet now, here we are, one year later to the day. And what a beautiful girl you are. I have cherished every single moment of your growing up so far. Your first smile, your first giggle, how you manage to fall asleep in your bed in these crazy funny positions, how your face looks when tasting something unfamiliar, how you start laughing when I toss you on the bed, your crawling that would make any Navy Seal jealous, and so many more. You are such a joy to have around. Your smile makes me all warm inside. And I love your character. You are friendly, warm-hearted, a people person, relaxed, eager, determined, and curious. I love you, Elora. You are my girl! And this is only the beginning. Year two has officially started. And I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see you stand on your own. I can’t wait to see you wiggle around the house. I can’t wait hearing you say your first words. I can’t wait to see you eating your own food by yourself. I am ready for it. Are you?

Elora, I love you so much, and I am proud and blessed to be your daddy.
Happy birthday, my sweet girl!

A State of Happiness

Monday afternoon we came back from a long weekend away in a cottage from Centerparcs’ De Huttenheugte in the south-east of the Netherlands. Reason for the short vacation was to just get a weekend away, and to celebrate our two year anniversary. It was great. We hired this sweet 2-person cottage, with a jacuzzi, and spent time together as a family by sleeping in, reading, talking, taking walks, going swimming, and have nice meals together. All-in-all it was a great weekend.

I do think it’s funny though that they call each park “A State of Happiness.” A nice pun of course in the sense that it will give you a feeling of happiness, but also that a park as such is considered a small autonomous country in and of itself where you can find everything you need and everything leads to happiness. In a way I was following Solomon’s command who said: “Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works” (Ecclesiastes 9:7). I went, I ate my bread in happiness, I drank my wine with a cheerful heart.

But to say that anything that the park provided brought me happiness would be an overstatement. I mean, yes, the park has beautiful nature, but that is God’s, and it provided a means to be with my wife and daughter in a relaxing and fun environment, but even that comes from God. True happiness cannot be found in material things. We are blessed when we fear the LORD, when we find wisdom and when we gain understanding. For it says: “How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you” (Psalm 128:1-2). And it says: “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast” (Proverbs 3:13-18)

Nonetheless, I had a great weekend, and was in a state of happiness.