About Dayenu: Sufficient

Welcome to Dayenu! At the beginning of any project, I think it’s important to set out goals and expectations, and so that is the purpose of this post. Also, if you’re wondering about the name of the blog, I’ll explain that, too.

<< The Whys and Goals of Dayenu: Sufficient >>

>> Why 1: I like to write. A lot. And, I think I have a few good things – maybe even worthwhile things –  to say every once in awhile.

Since I’ve finished my Master’s degree, I haven’t had to write and so, I haven’t written. I’d like to write again – especially now that I can write for fun, and not for an assignment (although I did have some fun writing assignments).

Writing makes me pay more attention to my life and approach it with more intentionality. Writing helps me see and remember where I’ve been and how God’s moved and is moving in my life. There’s also part of me that thinks that maybe other people (who knows, maybe even you) would want to read what I have to say (it wouldn’t be a blog if there wasn’t an element of narcissism, right?).

Goal 1: I aim write more frequently and not just write, but write in such a way that brings glory to God and points people toward Christ.

>> Why 2: We’re having a baby any day! Don’t you want to see adorable photos of her and videos of her doing super-cute stuff? Of course you do. Who wouldn’t?

Seriously though, my sweet husband, Jeffrey, and I have family and friends scattered far and wide whom we love and care about and who we know already love and care about our precious little girl. We want to help them watch our little “Baby Rave,” as we’ve affectionately called her for the last more-than-nine months, grow and change.

“Isn’t that what Facebook’s for?” you may ask. Well, we don’t really think so. See, we’re not such fans of Facebook. We’re both on Facebook and I am even what I would classify as an “active” Facebook user (Jeffrey, not so much). I like to be able to (at least sort of) keep in touch with people from my past who I don’t get to see much (or ever). I like to have the opportunity to (hopefully) offer a positive status that points to Christ. There are good things about Facebook.

But, we really don’t like the culture of stalking that Facebook has created. No offense if this describes you (no offense, but maybe a wake-up call?!) but if you’re someone with whom I had one class in college or a high school classmate to whom I really wasn’t that close in high school and haven’t talked to since we graduated eight years ago, I really don’t think that you need to be able to keep up with intimate details of my life. I especially don’t think that you need to be able to stalk my profile and see a million pictures of my baby. I want my close friends and family who want to be able to watch her grow via pictures to be able to do so. If you fall into the stalker category and want to watch my daughter grow, too bad. Get your own.

(I know what you’re thinking: why don’t I just unfriend people that I would be weirded out to learn are stalking my profile? Well, I’m lazy. Facebook no longer has an option to bulk delete people by checking a bunch of people and pressing “unfriend.” I don’t have the time and patience to seek out individuals’ profiles to unfriend them one at a time. Maybe someday I will, but it is not this day.)

On another note, I don’t really think Facebook is the appropriate venue for cataloging kids’ lives. When I log into Facebook, I don’t log in hoping to see the latest video of your toddler banging on your tupperware and I don’t assume that when you log in you’ll want to see similar posts from me. Furthermore, there are people for whom the constant barrage of pictures, status updates, and videos about their friends’ kids on Facebook can be hurtful. I know. I’ve fallen into that category. Last year, Jeffrey and I experienced a miscarriage (you can read more about that journey here) and, for a long time, Facebook was a source of painful reminders.

You see, when you’re in your mid-twenties, Facebook can sometimes feel like nothing more than a place for people to display ultrasound photos, complain about morning sickness, and show off the latest photos of their babies in quippy onesies. Until I was someone who was extremely sensitive to those posts, I never realized how insensitive those posts could be. You see, miscarriage and infertility are often struggles that people go through quietly. Often, only the closest friends of people dealing with these issues know how much they are hurting. So, you never know, really, who among your acquaintances might find your childbearing/childrearing-related posts to be isolating rather than endearing.

Like I said, I’ve never really thought that Facebook was an appropriate venue for chronicling one’s kids’ lives and, because of my experiences, I’m now hyper-aware of how it can even be an hurtful venue for such material. For my part, I want my Facebook friends who may be hurting on their journey to/through parenthood to be able to log in and see updates from me without feeling isolated from me or being reminded of their hurts. Jeffrey and I have tried to be very intentional about keeping the mentions of pregnancy to a bare minimum on our Facebook accounts. Our ultrasound pictures aren’t there; our maternity pictures (save two) aren’t there. We want to share these things with those we love who want to see them, who choose to see them. That’s what this blog is for.

Goal 2: Jeffrey and I aim to share updates about our family with our close family and friends.

<< What does the name of this blog mean? >>

This year, Jeffrey and I, along with three other couples, had the awesome opportunity to attend and participate in a traditional Messianic Jewish Passover Feast at the home of a wonderful couple in our church family. It was an incredible experience and celebration of God’s Great Story and overarching trajectory of delivering us as His people. We were blown away by connections in the Exodus to Christ’s journey on this earth and left that wonderful and joyful feast with a new appreciation for the breadth and depth of God’s wisdom and mercy. It would be well worth your time to research Passover in general, and especially the traditions in a Messianic Jewish Passover (that is, the Passover traditions of the religious movement that blends Christian Evangelical teachings with Jewish teachings). If you’re interested, I’d highly recommend spending the $5 to pick up a copy of this Messianic Jewish Haggadah (a guide to the Passover seder).

So what does that have to do with this blog? In the traditional Passover seder, there is a movement (that’s what I call it anyway – I feel like the seder is structured like its own symphony) called “Dayenu.” Dayenu is a Hebrew word that means, essentially, “it would have been sufficient.” The whole point of this movement is that God blessed the Israelites – and has blessed us – beyond what we need, beyond that which would have been sufficient. Check out the text from this movement below (it can be found on page 26 of the Haggadah that I mentioned above).

How great is God’s goodness to us! For each of His acts of mercy and kindness we declare dayenu – it would have been sufficient

    If the Lord had merely rescued us,

        but had not judged the Egyptians, Dayenu!

    If he had only destroyed their gods,

        but had not parted the Red Sea, Dayenu!

If he had only drowned our enemies,

        but had not fed us with manna, Dayenu!

If he had only led us through the desert,

        but had not given us the Sabbath, Dayenu!

If he had only given us the Torah,

       but not the land of Israel, Dayenu!

But the Holy One, blessed be he, provided all of these blessings for our ancestors. And not only these, but so many more.

Blessed are you, O God, for you have, in mercy, supplied all our needs. You have given us Messiah, forgiveness for sin, life abundant and life everlasting. Hallelujah!

Take a moment and think about what it would mean to have an attitude and perspective of dayenu in your everyday life. It’s life-altering, isn’t it?! To approach each day – and, more importantly, each difficulty – with an attitude of “If God had only done _________ and not also ______________, it would have been sufficient.”

If God had only blessed me with a health and not also my family, dayenu.

If God had only blessed me with necessities and not also luxuries and conveniences, dayenu.

With an attitude of dayenu, suddenly I see much more of my life in the extraordinary light of God’s blessings than I did before. Things that I used to take for granted as “mine,” I now can’t help but see as extravagant and undeserved blessings from the Holy One.

I named this blog Dayenu: Sufficient to help remind myself of how inordinately blessed I am by God in His mercy and how, although I could never repay even a portion of His goodness, I owe Him my thoughts, my heart, my life, my everything. I want to be a willing and eager captive of Christ, but I’m not so great at being that on a regular basis. It is my hope and prayer that this blog can be a tool to help me grow in an attitude of dayenu and a life of praise and sacrifice to God.

Grace and peace to you,

Rachel

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