Chronicles of Sadie

The Newness of Smooth Tummies

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Day six of “Operation Sadie” found me in an interesting position: leaving the house and reentering the pre-existent “normal” part of my life. Upon awakening, I got ready for church and left the house where my still-very-sore wife and my new princess somewhat asleep. It was about 6:45 a.m. and I had to swing by Kroger to get the supplies to stock our café at church for the day.

Then I entered my familiar domain: the church. As a pastor, I obviously work at the church everyday. Furthermore, it is often the place I go to meet people who are coming into town. If I happen to get to go golfing, I almost always meet my golf partner at church. For that matter, I built the church. For almost two years, those twenty-seven acres and that three-story building were the setting for almost every waking moment of my life.

Construction. Youth group in a tent. Parties. Service. Music practices. Basketball. You name it, I do it at church. Church is where so much of my life occurs.

But walking into the sanctuary at 7:15 a.m. to meet the worship team this morning, I had a realization: church is no longer the same. I was more tired. My voice was weaker. My fingers refused to move as quickly as they normally do across the keys of the piano, rendering my hands mere wooden paddles.

Each person I encounteredthe same people I encounter every week, had one singular focus in their dialogue: Sadie. How’s Sadie? how’s Laura? When can I see pictures? When is she coming to church? She is the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen! Are you tired? Do you feel different, Daddy?

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This focus on the new little one with my last name did not annoy me at all. In fact, it filled my heart with joy and pridethe right kind of pride. Of course we are going to talk about Sadie! She is the most miraculous thing that has ever happened to me! Talk away!

Sadie is new in every way. She is like a clean slate; a newborn canvas with a kaleidoscope of colors and shades still begging to be painted. Her very existence is teeming with hope because her future is truly fathomless. She can be anything. Do anything. She is a perfect expression of life. New life.

My first Sunday as a daddy taught me that Sadie’s entrance into our world has brought this new life to our life. Our old life was not at all bad, but our new life is way better. By better, I do not mean easierI mean richer! Sure I am tired, but have you seen her?

After coming home from church to greet my little princess, I became aware of another huge event that had occurred in her short life: her umbilical cord had fallen off while I was away. To be honest, up to this point the only challenge to my diaper changing skills besides the perpetual wild kicking of little legs is that pesky plastic clip attached to the last remaining few centimeters of her umbilical cord. And although Laura has assured me over and over again that she cannot feel it, I always worry that I am going to hurt her little tummy.

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To the outsider looking in, it is really a gross process. The little cord simply shrivels up over the course of several days and then just falls off. It turns black andwell, unappealing. But today, it is gone forever.

The benefits? Well, besides not having a decrepit, rotting clump of dead tissue hanging out of her belly button, we now get to give her a real bath. Before, she could only have sponge baths, but now she can dive right into the tub. Or sink. Or large kitchen pot. Well, you know what I mean.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! II Corinthians 5: 17 (NLT) In many ways, II Corinthians 5:17 is a beautiful “chronicle” of our Father rejoicing over the newness of our life in him and the decay of our old lifestyle. There is a reason, you know, that the Bible refers to the beginning of our relationship with Jesus as a “new birth.” But as you know, being born is not the same thing as being mature. Sometimes remnants of our old lives stay clipped to us. Following us around. Creating an eye-sore out of perfect little spiritual tummies.

The problem is not that we are not his or that we were not actually born. It is simply that we are still growing. Maturing. Even though we may be new in Christ, we must keep working to ensure our old existence continues to shrivel up. Eventually, the stubborn pieces of who we used to be will fall right off and then, we will have the ability to joyfully jump into a new, warm bath and submerge ourselves deeper and deeper in the wonder of all the new things our Father has prepared for us. New cleansing occurs and old things are truly gone forever.

Out of all the keepsakes we have kept so far of Sadie’s first few glorious days in the outside world, that nasty umbilical cord was not one of them. Why would I keep what is no longer needed when so much beautiful new life is right here in my arms?

Why would you do the same?

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