Tuesday, December 28, 2010


When I was in youth group (back in the day), some of the guys held up a sign to our youth pastor that said K.I.S.S. Translated, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

I've come to a conclusion. Making the truths of the Gospel simple enough for those who wouldn't classify themselves as 'intellectuals' or even, children, and teenagers for that matter, is NOT an easy undertaking.

My hubby is SUPER intelligent... and well, me? Ummmm.... What can I say? Opposites attract?

Did you know that there are levels of of genius-ness (Yeah, I totally made that word up.) I didn't know that until I met Todd. And the only reason I know it is because he is 'sub' genius. Right under the 'genius' category. The only thing I have going for me is that I sleep next to him and maybe some of his intelligent brain waves come my way. Kidding, of course. :)

Have you ever learned about something rather HUGE and intricate and then someone asked you to explain, but you just didn't know where to start and how to simplify it? Well, that is smack dab where I am finding myself.

If you read my previous post, you know that I'm looking for some format to discuss the Gospel with Keano primarily, and I think I've found it.

We will be commencing Battle Training. (insert crazy, wild, manly, slightly tribal, battle cry)

Think WOW or paint ball or UFC training, ooooh, or better yet, that thing military people do to prepare themselves for the real battle. Yep, bring it on, baby! 'Cuz here we go!

And did I mention that this Mama knows how to have fun? LOTS of fun.

If you don't think I'm completely crazy and want to read on to the how I'm going to attempt this and why, then read on. If not, better to probably just forget this blog even exists because it's really only the beginning :)

Most Important: Why

The only way the Christian is going to be able to combat the struggle that comes his/her way (either through means of their own flesh, the enemy, or God Himself) is if they know how to apply the Gospel. If the Gospel is simply a list of 'be goods and do goods' as a means to earn God's approval or a means by which we come up to good with him, then we will end up in one of two categories.

1. Complete despair. Feeling and believing as though God is disappointed with us. In this persons mind they have failed God time and time again and simply can just not be good enough to have his approval or favor. Though they typically don't struggle with God's personal love for others, they immensely struggle with God's personal, lavishing, love for them. (This was me.) One can continue on in this for quite some time, but burn out is inevitable. It's like pouring water in your gas tank. ....eventually you're gonna stop.


2. Arrogance. Feeling and believing that God is grateful to have you on His side. In this persons mind, they are the prime example of doing all the 'be goods and do goods' of Scripture and what would God do if He didn't have them? The Kingdom just might be at stake. They struggle understanding how other Christians continue to fall into the same 'sin' over and over again and compassion is not an attribute they usually have much of.

While teaching at a womens' conference in Namibia, my Mom gave us this definition of the Gospel:

"God has rescued us and is rescuing us. He has renewed us and is renewing us.... All through the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf." 

On my best day, I could not rescue myself positionally or practically. I could not renew myself positionally nor practically. I need it to be done for me!

I love it! I love it, I love it, I love it! When I hear it preached or taught, I literally have to contain myself. (I suppose I also have to contain myself when the opposite is preached or taught as well. Once you've been freed you don't even like the sound of chains anymore.)

Back to my point.

The reason our Battle Training is important is so that when the battle comes, and it will (we'd be foolish to think not), I want Keano to know his arsenal. It's easy to think that just because he may know Scriptural facts and Biblical history that it will some how keep him from struggling. It wont. It wont, it wont, it wont. (not undermining the importance of those teachings, but if they are not in the context of the Gospel, then they are of little to no avail.)

The only way to keep him from a cycle of sin is if he knows how to apply the Gospel. Hands down.

'If I knew then, what I know now, I would....."

"Hind site is 20/20."

It's true. It's true for all of us. Christian or not, if we knew what trouble was coming our way, we would prepare for it. But, the truth is, trouble is coming. It will come for our kids. It will come for us. ....So we must teach them what to do when it comes. ...And it can't be a list of 'be goods and do goods.' There must be more. Those lists MUST be in the context of the Gospel or we are simply preparing them for failure.

Am I wrong? Tell me if I'm wrong.

The FUN part: How

This dear friends is important. ...Maybe equally as important to the 'why.'

The Gospel isn't boring. The Gospel isn't drudgery. The Gospel isn't a separate part of our lives. The Gospel is ALIVE. The Gospel is full of ENJOYMENT. And the Gospel, dear friends, includes EVERY part of our lives.

So, when teaching the Gospel to our little ones (or not so little ones) it must be THESE things. They mustn't hear one thing and see something else. Don't you remember how perceptive you were as a child/teenager? Don't you remember making those secret vows to yourself, saying "When I'm older, I'll never do....." or "I'll always....." Yeah, those would be the things I'm talking about.

I'm certainly not advocating 'law' at this moment, but before we engage in teaching our children the Gospel, we would be wise to seriously take a time out (sorry, we use that phrase a lot these days :) and ask ourselves is the Gospel alive to us? Does it bring us great joy? Has it permeated every part of our lives, or better yet, do we want it too?

Before we could ever even attempt to put a 'how' together we need to examine why we would even want to. (not that there is only one way. What I'm about to lay out is simply what I'm excited about with Keano. I'm sure it looks ENTIRELY different for each family/child/parent etc.)

Moving on. Here is my game plan for me and Keano.

We are going to study the amazing, miraculous, glorious way in how we went from the state of being enemies of God, to being called his son and daughter. In other words, The Order of Salvation.

If I just lost you and you went 'Ugh. ....What did I just read?' Well, don't check out on me quite yet. Hang in there!

Were going to spend 1 week on each of these topics.


Calling: External and Internal

Regeneration/New Birth!

Conversion: Faith and Repentance





I'm going to be teaching these in FUN ways and SERIOUS ways. We'll be creative as to how to teach them. Think, illustrations, examples, stories, and dramas, music, comparisons, etc.

As for the specifics, check back later ;)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Totally Random

I have 4 children and because of it, I think in lists. I didn't so much before they came. :)

So, here is a completely and utterly RANDOM list of the goings on of the 'Hammer Tribe' (and me personally.)

Note: After writing this, I came back up to the top to add that this is a rather long and extremely random post. It's mostly for the purpose of being able to look back on, so REALLY, feel free to just wait (don't hold your breath) for something more thought provoking :)


Blogging Memories
A friend, who's girls are now teenagers told me that she wished she would have kept a journal of some sort so she could remember things about her girls when they were young. She said "You think you will remember these sorts of things, but really, you don't." That being said, "I NEED TO BLOG MORE!"

I'm looking into homeopathic remedies. Roll your eyes or ask me what I discover. I'm still somewhere in between those two myself.

I just made my/our own toothpaste and am quite pleased. As for why, just do a quick research on the dangers of fluoride in our water/toothpaste. It will give a better explanation that I could. (youtube videos are easier, I think.) Next on the agenda is our own shampoo/conditioner... that one is just for fun.

My brother-in-law shot a deer for us this fall and I'm busy learning how to cook it. We ate a lot of antelope in Namibia and the experience is proving well now. Tonights menu, venison steak.

I got a juicer for my birthday and I LOVE it. T loves. The kids love it. And, it is FUN. Super fun! I highly recommend it.The possibilities are endless.

I turned 30 on Wednesday and am convinced my metabolism virtually came to a halt.


Keano's back!  I should have written about this more and sooner and am now overwhelmed at where to start and where to finish. Here are just a couple random thoughts/experiences....

* I didn't realize how much I missed him. In some ways it felt as if he was never gone.

* I am ever so grateful for his salvation. The time away from us and the situations he was in would make for a very hard and crusty heart had it not been for his understanding of the Gospel in that God is sovereign over all he has and will experience and that God is good. ...and the two are inseparable. It is a beautiful gift to have such 'Gospel conversations'  with your children.

*We need play dates! Anybody have/or know a family with boys Keano's age, shoot me an email.

*We (T, myself, Keano, and Felicity) will be going back to Namibia in January (when the courts reopen) to finalize the NAM side of the adoption.

My mom told me not too long ago that one thing she wished she knew when my sister and I were children is that she wasn't responsible for making 'perfect' children. She thought that if she could just reason with us, prove to us what was right, and blah, blah, blah that we would make the 'right' decision and good choices.

...Now, she would tell you that unless the Living God rescues us, we will be nothing but sinful and there is no reasoning she or anyone could do to change our nature. (Not at all advocating here that we don't reason with our children as that is one of the primary means God uses to reach their hearts, but) My point is simply that it is impossible to raise good children unless God awakens them to their sinful hearts and need for a Savior. I know this concept might beg a lot of questions, but what I'm trying to get at is that I have realized that when Christians do 'miss the mark' it is a result of not trusting in some part of the Gospel. Anxiety, fear, outward or inward, whatever the 'sin' is, it is a result of not knowing and or trusting some part of the Gospel.

I often think that if I had understood the Gospel as I do now that it would have kept me from many mistakes, cycles, choices that I made in the past. This has gotten me thinking about parenting the Christian child.

I am not so naive to think that he will not sin. He will struggle. ...Scripture talk about how we all have a sin that 'easily entangles us,' but my job as a parent is to teach him as much as I can about the Gospel so that when those situations arrive he knows and understands the truth to apply to keep him out of the cycles of sin.

I want a formula. It's the truth. How do you do this?

"You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Deuteronomy 6:7 I understand being purposeful. ....but if it doesn't come naturally, or if you're so busy changing diapers, feeding babies and keeping a house rolling, you need a purposeful plan. I do not want to do teaching as a response to mistakes as much as I want to do preventative teaching. ....all those times - when you walk, when you lie, when you rise, they are all times of NON tension.

(As a side note, I realize that this Scripture is speaking of the 'laws' of God. This is not what I mean. I am talking about the doctrines of Scripture that the Christian clings to in order to keep them from a whole host of things that could be avoided had they known the Gospel.)

Any suggestions welcome :)

I know most wives think their husband is the best man in the world (as it should be!), but I just want to brag a moment (feel free to scroll down... again, just for my own remembrance. And, if something terrible should happen, I want my kiddos to be able to read my own words about how much I love their Daddy.)

My Love, 

I love you. Christ in you is an ever flowing fountain of grace towards me. There is no other man that I would ever or could ever love as I love you. I am blessed beyond measure to call you my husband.

I pray for you. I pray that the Living God who has lavished Himself so richly on you would satisfy you to your deepest desire. I pray that He would make me a wife that is full of grace and wisdom towards you that I, through which, would cause you to love our Lord more. 

I pray that he would answer the prayers of your heart and open a way for you to pastor a church and/or speak clearly to us for the direction of our family.

This past year and a half has been one of great hardship with many tears, but through it, God has graciously held us together and drawn us closer, not only to Himself, but to each other. We were homeless, jobless, back in a new culture, loosing our son, and having a baby. Yet, God. 

Yet, God drew us and kept us and still draws us and keeps us to His good and sovereign Self. He has worked out character issues in us that we would have known we had, and yet through this all, he has enabled our marriage to grow stronger. Oh my love, what a God we know! What a God who knows us!

Blessed be His name in all the earth....

With the love of Christ, I write these things to you,

Erin Elizabeth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This past year we've learned a lot about hope. We've learned what it isn't and what it is. We've learned about things that are shakeable that we never thought would be shaken. Things that are not 'meant' to be shaken.

I don't know where to start in writing a blog. I feel as though I should write a long intro about where we've come from, what's happened, and where we are at now, but to be very honest, I don't have it in me. Every time I start, I just get overwhelmed. So, I'm starting here. Right here in the midst of it all. Smack dab in the middle of the hope and hurt.

I miss my son. Emotionally it feels like my arm has been ripped off or something even more heinous. It seems as though the 'dust should have settled' by now, but at times, I struggle with seeing clearly. It hurts really badly. Even now, especially when I'm busy with the girls, sometimes, when I mean to call for Todd, I accidentally call for Keano instead. And then I realize.. He isn't here. It's hard meeting new people and not being able to introduce Keano, but rather, have to tell a story. Oh, how I miss my son! It comes in waves. Waves upon waves...


Through out this year, we've heard many many times, that God has plan. ...and that plan is to sort all this out with a 'happily ever after.' But we don't buy it anymore. What if this is the plan? What if the plan is to suffer? How do you hope rightly or better, accurately in the midst of suffering? What do you hope for?

We saw terrible suffering in Namibia and to be honest, lived around it constantly. It wasn't hard to believe that people suffered. We saw it. We didn't have to imagine it.

But, it never happened to us. When it started, we fought. We fought with what we thought was faith. Turns out, we didn't have a clue. We never thought God would take us to this point. We thought that it was only to test us (for a short period!) and then give it all back. We didn't think he would break us like this.

When it first struck me about how much is indeed shakable. ...How much God hasn't promised us, I became scared. Terrified, actually. I realized how much I still have that He hasn't taken. I still have my girls. I still have my husband. I still have many of my extended family members. I still have food and water.

Then, hope came... and keeps coming.

When you realize how much God doesn't owe you, you hold very dear the promises he has given you in His word. Excuse the lack of references. There are many, but I see these as more foundational truths that are keeping me from cracking.

These are just a few of what I have been clinging to...

1. God is good and He is wise. We see only a snapshot of life, but God, He sees from the beginning of time until the end and He has the best means to bring about His good purposes in our lives and others.

2. God. Is. For. Me. He is for His children. I praise God, that this Momma's heart is settled in that I know he is for my son. Despite what hardship comes, I firmly believe that God is good, wise, and for Keano.

3. He is faithful. He is faithful to his promises. He will not leave us or forsake us. Though we are miles away from Keano, God is as near to him as he is to us.

4. There is nothing new under the sun. We are not the first, nor will we be the last to go through this suffering. God is not wringing his hands in anxiety wondering what on earth he is going to do now. He has had this all planned from the beginning of time. ...From beginning until the end.

5.  His sovereignty in that He gives and He takes away. Though I might think at times I'm the one to take credit for what I have, I don't. He gives. ...And, He takes. Nothing is outside of his control. And, if he is good, wise, faithful, for me, then my heart can be at rest, despite pain when He takes.

6. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

My hope is no longer in what I want. It isn't in predictability. It isn't in what I have. It isn't in stability. It isn't in any guarantee that the road ahead will be easy.

So, this is God. This is the God I hope in. I don't hope in what he gives me or doesn't. I hope in who He is. ..And there alone, my hope is secure.

"Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus...."