Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: Vacation

Back from Vacation… And Thankful

Looking at this portrait makes me think Attlee wasn’t the only one with something to be modest about…

It is said that Winston Churchill once quipped of Clement Attlee, ‘He is a modest man, but then, he has so much to be modest about.’ I can’t help but chuckle when I read that. But when I reflect on it, I think that perhaps, this isn’t a bad thing. If indeed you have much to be modest about (and who doesn’t?) why wouldn’t you want to be known as a modest man?

Returning from vacation, I’m a very thankful man. To adapt the Churchill quote, ‘I’m a thankful man, with so much to be thankful about.’

I am thankful for so many things that God has given me and my family. Here are a few that come to mind at the end of my first day back on the job.

I’m thankful for…
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Letting My Love Serve Me

This week I’m taking something of a ‘working vacation’ at the family cottage. Last night as I was doing the dishes I was thinking back over the day that was. I got thinking about each of my children and how much I love them. Each of them owns my heart in a very unique way. Each of them has a smile, a laugh, a facial expression, some moment of pure joy on their face that is forever etched on my memory.

There is simply no love quite like a father for his children. There is nothing that makes me feel better than knowing my children are safe, protected, and provided for. And there is nothing that strikes terror into the core of my being like the thought of my children suffering. The thought of any one of my precious girls in pain or sadness makes me instantly recoil emotionally. I get a sick feeling in my gut and I’m instantly overcome with the awareness that I would do anything—anything—to end their suffering and to make them happy again.

I thought about that and I was overwhelmed by awareness of this love that owns me and moves me without me even being consciously aware of it most days.

And then I thought about the heavenly Father and his love. Filled with infinitely more love for his Son—a perfect love for a perfect Son—he willingly chose to ‘give’ him for a world of sinners. He gave him, knowing that he would be mocked, belittled, shamed, abused, scorned, rejected, beaten, stripped naked, and killed: publicly displayed as one bearing the curse of God. That’s a love I know nothing of.

But the love is greater still. Ponder these words, of the Son to the Father:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.” (Mark 14.36)

My love for my children, being nothing like the heavenly Father’s love, would have been moved to give in, to compromise. But the Father of Jesus has bigger, greater love; his love for Jesus’s glory and for my good is too great to be moved. He was willing to deny his True Son’s request for the good of his soon-to-be adopted sons & daughters. The love of the Father was planned and determined.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief…. (Isaiah 53.10)

“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me,” declares the Lord of hosts. [I will] strike the shepherd….” (Zechariah 13.7; [cf. Mark 14.27])

His love is not just a love that would allow his Son to be sacrificed; his love is a love that would willingly crush his Son. He gave his Son, knowing that he himself would have to give full vent to his holy wrath against his Son on the cross. The Father who loves the Son, crushed the son… for me.

No matter how overwhelming my love for my children may be, it doesn’t hold a candle to my heavenly Father’s love, in scope, in purpose, in depth, in power, or in steadfastness.

I want to make it my prayer that whenever I think of my love for my children, I would let that love serve me by pointing me to the true love of the true Father who, in the gospel, has loved and who continues to love with a greater love than eternity will allow me to explore. Human love serves its best and noblest purpose when it doesn’t end with us, but points us to the one who is love, and who has shown us love in his Son, Jesus.

… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5.8)

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3.1)

The Myth of Rest

This morning I woke up tired. Yesterday I woke up tired. The day before that… well, you get the idea.

But it didn’t used to be like this. I remember the day. It was sometime near the beginning of my second year of seminary. We had been through a move, renovations, pregnancy, having our first daughter, and me starting a new job at the church, all within the past year. I was taking a full course-load at TBS (including languages) and working near full-time at the church with a newborn at home. The year before I had taken about 1.5 times the full course-load because I wanted to get a running start. It was a good thing I did.

I woke up that morning and I was tired, frustrated, and angry. The world seemed at that moment, dark (because it was… it was before 6am in a basement apartment in the winter in Canada) and hopeless. I was drained. While my spirits weren’t necessarily broken, my body was, and my mind was too. I wanted to give up. There just simply wasn’t enough time to get everything done. I knew there was no stopping, and there would be no catching up any time soon. What I didn’t realize then was that there would be no catching up from that point on… probably for good.

There’s never enough time for sleep. Never enough time to finish all my jobs. Never enough time to stop and rest.

Vacations have come and gone and seasons have been busier than others, but overall I’m still tired. One daughter has turned into three, our basement apartment turned into one house (with lots of renovations) and then another house, part-time pastoring turned into full-time pastoring and church-planting, and I’ve gotten older. Life has not slowed down. I don’t think it will.

Being tired used to scare me. It used to paralyse me. It used to make me panic and wonder, ‘when will I ever get the rest I need?!’ Now I try, on my better days, to remember that the tiredness and lack-of-rest that I feel is part of being in this fallen creation. It is a result of sin. But it won’t last forever. In the New Heavens and the New Earth I will know the rest for which I was created. I’ll sleep then.

In the mean time, I’m thankful for the gospel of Jesus which speaks to weary, performance-worn people.

Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Thankfully, though the work is hard this side of eternity, Jesus promises true rest in the life to come. And in the meantime he gives grace and provides strength. And he lets us feel our tiredness and our weakness for our good. After all, I must remember that there is only one who does not sleep or slumber. And my tiredness serves to remind me daily that I’m not that one.

————

** This is written as part of the series 30 for 30: Reflections on Life at My 30th Birthday **

Rich Man’s Vacation

Well this afternoon I’m back in the office, sorting through e-mails and trying to figure how to begin catching up after two weeks of vacation. The highlights were (among other things) a trip to DC to visit Covenant Life Church, and a trip to the cottage this past weekend.

More than just doing stuff though, this vacation was great because I got to spend time with my family. In a song called ‘Home‘, Paul Brandt says ‘Time just flies no matter what you do.’ That’s true. Especially when your kids are as young as ours are. I can’t believe how quickly they change. What a blessing to be able to have this time with them!

And then there’s my amazing wife. Stacey is so patient to put up with me and my schedule. Without a doubt one of the things in life that never ceases to amaze me is how my wife can just keep going, doing job after job (though it’s more like job-during-job, piled on top of job) around the house, and with the kids, yet she always seems to be able to do it well and do it with grace. She ministers to me in amazing ways, even though our schedule doesn’t allow me to be able to spend as much alone time with her as we’d like. So this vacation was a blessing in that regard as well.

I’ll post a few pictures from the vacation below, after the words of one of my favourite Paul Brandt songs. While our house is not ‘run down’ and our bills have yet to ‘pile up’, I can totally identify with what he’s saying.

Rich Man
I look in the mirror, don’t see much
Fashion sense a little out of touch
The house is run down as the bills pile up
But I’m a rich man

Breakfast table, morning rush
Sometimes it seems we barely have enough
But if it’s true that all you need is love
Then I’m a rich man

When she smiles or they call me Daddy
All the worries of the world just seem to fade away
I’m alive and I know what matters
If this is all I ever have
Well, that’s ok
‘Cause I’m a rich man

So every morning, and brand new day
With each and every single breath I take
I’m blessed and I’m thankful, yeah I’ve got it made
Oh, I’m so glad life turned out this way

I’ve loved, I’ve been loved,
Show me someone else with as much as me

Yeah, I’m a rich, rich man
Yeah, I’m a rich man
Oh, I’m a rich man
I’ve got it made
What matters, what matters
I know what matters
Oh, I’m alive








Vacation Pics

My wife and I recently returned from a week of vacation at my grandparents’ cottage. Alas, the sun sets on yet another summer.




‘So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.’ — Ps 90.12

Gone (Again)

As the summer winds down, my wife and I have been able to work our schedules so that we get one more week away. We’ll be up at the cottage until Thursday or so. We’re looking forward to just being somewhere quiet together for a few days. On Wednesday night we’re seeing the play version of “Anne of Green Gables.” I hope to spend a good portion of each day reading, in preparartion for the module course on persecution and discipleship I’ll be taking next week at school. Needless to say, I won’t be posting until I get back.

Back from Vacation

Well, I’m back from a bit of a ‘whirlwind’ vacation that wasn’t really at all like what we planned. Oh well. Here are a few of the highlights. Obviously, highlight number one was just being able to get away with my wife (although our ‘alone time’ was more limited than we had originally hoped). I would post a picture of the two of us, but I somehow think she would disapprove, so here are some other highlights.

Me and three friends from church (including Jason and Jim) went on a gruelling, 11 hour canoe trip across the whole of northern Ontario (or so it seemed to my shoulders, anyway…) that just about killed us. But it was good times together, good weather, and a beautiful display of God’s creation.

But I learned that you’re not supposed to drink the water, even if you’re very, very thirsty. There’s something called ‘Beaver Fever’ around that I had never heard of before…

Since Josh got to brag about his niece, I figured I have every right to do the same with my nephew, Wes (my brother Ryan‘s son). I still think this cute little man resembles his uncle at that age, no matter what everyone else says. 🙂 Here he is enjoying a watermelon for everything it’s worth.

And, of course, God was very gracious to us by blessing us with a gorgeous display in the skies our final night before our return to ‘the big smoke’ we call home. They’re never the same in pictures, but the skies truly do proclaim the glory of God.

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