amy courts: en route

Waiting for “Even More”

Because our pastor was meant to be filming a movie (in which he plays a hairy hobo, no less) in snowy Montreal over the weekend, our new church in Minneapolis featured a guest speaker on Sunday, Steve Wiens. I wasn’t particularly excited about it until I realized a) we’d already heard him speak when we visited Church of the Open Door (and he’s good); and b) we’d already heard this message too (it happened to be the very same he’d given back when we visited, and it’s also good). Some people might scoff and say something about “the pastor who recycles his sermons…” Those people can shut it. Because this sermon deserves to be given – and received – over and over.

Based on Matthew 1:18-25 (with a little bit of Genesis 37 sprinkled in) and titled “Considering the Even More,” it’s all about the Joseph’s: Joseph, husband to Mary, step-father to Jesus, and a guy who probably said “You have GOT to be kidding me!” when he first learned of Mary’s “immaculate conception”; and Joseph, son of Jacob, who was sold by his brothers into slavery, endured years in prison under the false accusations of Potiphar’s wife, but somehow ended up right-hand-man to Pharaoh and The Guy Who Saved The People from Death By Famine.

It’s about how each of them, in otherwise paralyzing circumstances, were able – by grace alone – to pull back and ask, “What can’t I see? What don’t I know? What might God be doing here?”

I’ve mentioned this before, but names are significant, especially in Scripture. I only came to realize the power in my own son’s name, Elijah David – which means “The LORD is my God; I am His beloved” – after he was born. Not insignificantly, the name Joseph means “Yahweh Adds” or “Even More.”

Most of you know that after Elijah was born, I nearly bled to death and the bleeding was only stopped by removing my uterus. And thus, I can’t ever have any more babies. I am, by some odd flip of the coin, the one in 110,000 women who suffers such severe post partum uterine atony as to indicate emergency hysterectomy.

I have asked too many times, “Why me, Lord? Why not one of those crack head baby mama’s from the ghetto who has nine kids and counting? Why remove the possibility altogether, leaving no room to hope?”

I don’t know the answer to that question and I’m not sure I ever will. But, after hearing this sermon twice now (and I don’t believe it’s by accident), I’m inclined to think that’s probably the wrong question.

Instead, I am reminded to consider the Even More.

…To consider Joseph son of Jacob, who could have wallowed or taken revenge but chose instead to believe that Yahweh Adds, and in so doing “saved many lives,” including those of his brothers whose jealousy drove them to do the unthinkable.

…To consider Joseph husband of Mary, who could have abandoned her to the law and seen her, his pregnant-by-someone-other-than-him betrothed, stoned, but chose instead to consider the Even More that God was up to and in so doing NAMED the Savior.

And I am compelled to consider our own situation: What if, by allowing this certain tragedy in our lives, God is somehow saving more lives? Perhaps we are meant to parent some of those nine-kids-and-counting who would otherwise be fatherless?

I can’t say it enough: I don’t know and can’t begin to imagine what plans He has conceived and intends to birth in and for us.

But I know, because of Elijah, that The LORD is my God. And I know, by the Joseph’s, my God is the God of even more; He is the God who adds, who ever gives even when He takes.

And I can therefore anxiously await Even More.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout generations.” > Ephesians 3:19-21 <

Top Ten of TwentyEleven
December 31, 2011, 11:41 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Because it’s what I do every year (or at very least, think about doing), I offer you this year’s Top Ten of 2011 year in review. It’s fun, right? So here you go.

10. We moved to Minnesota!
It’s a bit sad for me, because I do love and dearly miss Nashville. But moving made practical sense for our family, and in truth, I don’t *need* to be in Nashville for music anymore. It never really embraced me, and I’m not sure I embraced it, professionally speaking. I guess. Maybe I’m making that up. Either way, the move was BIG for all of us. No more gentle winters…except this one, of course. Because, as is perfectly predictable, THIS is the easiest winter in Minnesota’s memory. Anyway, it was still a big move. We’re now Minneapolisians, and loving it. And I’m sincerely looking forward to learning the musical terrain of the Cities and diving in, head first, to hopefully find my place here.

9. We bought a house!
Upon deciding to move to Minneapolis, and finding that rental properties were astronomically more expensive than buying, we took the plunge and bought our first house. It’s a quaint 19teen’s house with exposed beam ceilings, a built-in China hutch, its original wood floors, and as unique a floor plan as one could hope for from an early 20th century home with four bedrooms and a sun porch upstairs. It’s got a full basement AND attic just waiting to be finished and made into a media room and studio (respectively). And we got it for the bargain price of $70k from a woman who’d owned it since the 1960s and raised her whole family there. It was rife with old memories and ready for some new ones. So we pounced!

8. Um….

7. Uh….

Screw it.

8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and…

1. >>>WE HAD A BABY!!<<<
His name is Elijah David. He was born on May 6, 2011. And he, my friends, takes the cake.

Happy 2012, from my adorably perfect family (made thus by my incomprehensibly gorgeous 8 month old Elijah, and his charming 15 year old big brother Matthew, and only barely crippled by their silly parents, me and Paul) to yours. May it blow your mind.

ps: in fairness, there were a couple more exciting bits about 2011: I wrote a few handfuls of amazing songs with brilliant songwriters Bethany Dick-Olds and Eddie Christy, and Bethany and I took our show on the road – along with Elijah – for two mini house show tours, in July and in September. Turns out my sweet boy is a road dog after all!