## We Have Eben-Ezers For Children An Eben-Ezer is a pile of stones that followers of God would raise at locations of significance. Abraham raised one at the location where he was asked to sacrifice Isac, Gideon raised one where he met the angel, and Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. If you are in church you probably have heard the word in the famous hymn “Come, thou Fount of every blessing - Authors Robert Robinson (1758) and Martin Madan (1760)” In this song the verse goes like this. “Here I raise my Eben-Ezer hither by thy help I’ve come and I hope that by thy good pleasure safely to arrive at home. ” Juda, our first child was still born. He marked our immaturity as a couple and introduced me to exhilarating joy and the deepest sorrow I have experienced to date. This would also be the event that showed me what depression feels like. From our grief and loss in our small trailer we conceived Gideon. Gideon has taught us many things. His birth came at a time where my wife and I were in no way mentally healthy. The bed rest Nikki had to be on coupled with postpartum depression from Juda and my own immaturity was really a perfect storm. We did love him though but we struggled in our own relationship. These together along with trying to learn how to raise a child; you make mistakes. Now comes Elijah. In the wake of news that we probably could not have children anymore we escalated our plans to foster and eventually adopt. We have been fostering the same children for two years now and have sought God and his will about adopting them. They have their own significance in our lives because they have demonstrated that not only can we not trust, that the government will do for the weakest among us what is right and good but that for the most part can’t be bothered with being reminded of it. They have also taught us that we can love deeply. We are equipped as humans to love unconditionally just like Christ. Yet here we are ten years after Gideon and we are pregnant with Elijah. The incompetent cervix is not gone. The bed rest is coming. CPS still is not doing everything it is supposed to. And the company my wife has poured the last nine years of her career into has shown that upper management has something of a heartless streak in them. The flip side; what I am learning is that it does not have to be like last time. I can hold onto what is wonderful in this world despite the bomb shell that is suddenly being pregnant after morning and burring the desire to be. My grip has grown quite strong. ## A Pruning and Justice And so you prune a bush, you prune a fruit tree, and God prunes his vines. We are pruned and continue to be so. Elijah has brought so much joy and confusion. I had to call my excitement for a new life back from the grave literally receiving fertility from the dead. All the while for the first time in a long time the future is in flux, untrodden and uncertain. Remember I said that it doesn’t have to be like last time. All this uncertainty can leave anyone paralyzed. Job, money, health-care, losing children that I made real promises to all of these things are in the mix and frankly the paralysis is less fear but a simple taking it day to day. Day to day painting the walls, loving the kids, praying, seeking God, and committing to not letting my joy be stolen by some fleeting pain or letting that fleeting pain turn me into a vengeful spirit bent on destruction of some sort. I am reminded that I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength and the joy of the Lord is our strength so does it not stand to reason the more joyful I am the stronger I will be?