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jesus the radical pastor | exploring the life and mission of the 1st century Jesus for our 21st century » Blog Archive » EMPTY NEST: August 18, 2006.


Julie and I have four wonderful daughters (birth order): Leah, Elisha, Lori and Shamar.

The pictures above are Shamar, our youngest. The one whom, I would wager her sisters saying, had it the best at home. The first 3 were 2 years apart and 4 years later Shamar arrived.

Today Shamar moved out into her own apartment (picture standing in apartment door).

Shamar is a Hebrew verb which means “he watches over, he guards, he protects” (read Psalm 121 for multiple uses of the verb), often referring to God’s care.

When Shamar was little, I made up “a-time-to-go-to sleep” song (sing with an Israeli tempo):

“Shamar, Shamar, our God watches over us;Shamar, Shamar, He watches day and night.Shamar, Shamar, our God watches over us,

Wwwiiiiiiitthhh His power and His might, cha, cha, cha!”

Now I am having mixed feelings as I let you know that she is an independent young lady. Julie and I sat and ate our home-grilled hamburger and cantaloupe tonight. Just the two of us at a simple meal that was transitioning us into a new phase of life.

Can you spell e-m-p-t-y n-e-s-t?

Shamar graduated in May this year from Grand Valley State University with a degree in “Hospitality Management” (blue cap and gown). In the top picture above she is in her hotel uniform, pretending like she’s an airline stewardess letting us know where the exits are on the plane… because that’s how she felt she looked in her outfit.

She’s got a great guy hanging around her a lot named Evan (see the two above). He’s a student at Cornerstone University and because we (Evan and I) like to talk theology and N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight and Jesus studies, Shamar accuses Evan of liking me more than her. Which I really doubt is the case!

Each of our daughters is a delightful, gifted person. From the same parents, but each one of them is a unique young woman in her own right. We love each one of them.

God bless you, Shamar. Know that all of us—Julie and I, Leah and her family, Elisha and her family, and Lori love you very, very much.

So, when are you coming home for dinner??