We are prompted by our own ills to contemplate the good things of God.
— John Calvin

We moved in with bright eyes, excited to unpack, and make a new place into our home. Although day one was filled with a hilarious bat incident, we have been hit with wave upon wave of unexpected grief. There have been a few days of respite in between, but not enough to even catch our breath before the next trial rears its face. We are very tired, caught in the tension of not wanting to be ungrateful, but staring at reality’s bloodshot eyes.


And in our own ills, I have seen my quick reaction to retreat into myself, to distrust what lay in my hands as a snake instead of bread to eat for the day, to demand that blessing look how I want it to look. My prayers have been, “help me to trust you,” and opportunity has given itself to do so as I hiss and claw at the provision.

In God’s good things by breaking me down from my ways of coping, from attempting to look for solace in other things that do not satisfy, I am again thankful. The chance to learn again what the good news is never gets old.

For a while in preparation to see my husband’s side of the family from South Korea, we were learning the language, throwing in a quick thirty minute lesson anytime we could in hopes of being able to carry a conversation when we were all together in Hawaii. Now that Hawaii has come and gone, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t sense the immediacy of needing to practice Korean. The regular rhythm undone has also made it so that words I once knew, I question the meaning of, forgetting its tandem and distrusting what I have learned.

As Vanderstelt has pitched in his book, “Gospel Fluency,” remembering and keeping what should be central as such takes some work, needs to be a habit. My natural language is not a tongue that speaks the power of Christ to free me from sin and shame, but one that refuses the upside-down Kingdom. It takes more than my thirty minutes here and there of study and prayer to reteach my mind this new language. It is easier in the moment to lean into my self-sufficiency, my self-deprecation, myself—but ultimately it’s deficiency reveals itself in the very pronouns it uses to define.

You will keep the mind that is dependent on you
in perfect peace,
for it is trusting in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
because in the Lord, the Lord himself, is an everlasting rock!
— Isaiah 26:3-4

We are weak. It would be foolishness to say these things and then to ask someone to pick themselves up by their bootstraps. We need others to encourage us as well with this beautifully offensive reality: the self does not save. The breakdown is necessary.

God only undoes us that he might remake us
— Jen Wilkin

The anticipation in our seeming ruin to see what might come from this space has us in the right place, humbled, waiting. You are good. You can be trusted. You are worthy.