Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Because He lives.

Rain is spilling from the sky outside. It's peaceful and soft. It smells like wet garden dirt. The goats are milked and now I'm inside my little room. I have a mug of hot chamomile tea, my books are stacked all around, and my finished moon painting is now hanging on the wall.

Christ has made my heart thankful. In the deep, abiding way that only He can.

This last week we've read through the Gospel accounts of Christ’s death on the cross. It’s a miracle that can never be told or read too many times over. Jesus, fully God and fully man. He had all power to carry out His own will, but He didn't. Instead, Jesus was completely surrendered to the perfect will of His Father. And yet Jesus was still fully human. The Creator of the Universe clothed in frail flesh.

After He was delivered to be crucified, He was scourged till the blood ran. Jesus’ body was weak and bowed with pain, in the midst of the jeering crowd.  He stumbled beneath the weight of the cross. The Roman soldiers impatient to be finished, grabbed a man from the crowd to carry the cross.

His human body felt every lash. Every thorn. Every nail. And yet He controlled the moment His spirit was yielded in death. No one took His life. Christ gave it in perfect obedience. He gave it because He loved us, the sinful, jeering ones, with perfect love. The Sinless One was slaughtered for the sinful. His Holy blood was spilled to cover our foul stains of sin so that we could approach the Holy God.

Easter was a blessed day, remembering this miracle of Christ's perfect love. It began with a pale blue sky and His glory in gold sunlight. Hymns sung all together in our little white Church. Eating sticky cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Me, dropping a whole cup of hot coffee. The scalding liquid splashing all over the floor, my leather shoes, and Mary's Church clothes. {unfortunate for her, she was standing right next to me when I dropped the cup} Mom thought I dropped the coffee because I was too excited about getting to eat food again. 

She's probably right. I was pretty excited. Sticky, leaven-laden rolls, cream in my coffee. It was all lovely. I'm thankful I chose to give-up for Lent. And I'm thankful to be on this side of it. I now know it's possible to live without things like butter, bread, and cupcakes. It's hard. But possible. 

It makes me think of how many times I look at something hard and I say it's not possible. But what if it actually is possible? When I see the impossibility of something it's because of my perspective. I think, I'm not strong enough for that. And that's very true. But I don't need to walk this way alone. I don't need to be strong enough. 

Because Christ lives. 

Three days after His death, Jesus rose from the dead. His work on earth was done. The debt was paid once, for all! The debt you and I owed, but could never pay, Jesus paid it for us. He made the way for us to live a new life; an abundant life in Him. 

And the Abundant life begins in a thankful heart He creates.

Because HE lives, we can live too.  

Friday, April 11, 2014

Reckless Surrender.

For me, surrender only comes after the storm. It doesn't come before, and it certainly doesn't come in the middle when the fight is hardest.

Yet again, I'm faced with the ugliness in me. The ugliness that rails against the Creator of the Universe, throwing my fear and doubt in His face. I crash around hurting those near me with my selfish, stubborn heart. And I'm all-consumed with making myself heard. All-consumed with asking why? 

I talk myself into feeling like it's all too much. I tell myself, it's just too much. As if my Savior made a mistake in what He's sent my way. As if He could put me in the wrong place at the wrong time. I sit on my bedroom floor pleading with Him; sobbing my doubt out loud.

His voice, though not audible, comes like something tangible. It's a breath of air I can feel. It's like the glowing orb of moon in the dark sky outside my window. He asks me, "do you love me Grace?"

Through the sobs I nod, "yes, of course I love you."

"Do you love me Grace?"

I answer hurried, like Peter did. "Yes Lord, you know that I love you."

And Truth starts to take form.

If I really love Christ, then I would follow HIM. 

If I really love Christ, then I would surrender ALL to HIM. 

But I always fight surrender, because I hang on tight and I don't want to let go. It's frightening, no it's terrifying, to release my hold on my will; my plans. Because this world we live in, makes you feel that you're reckless and careless if you don't make plans. And so I make plans, and all too soon I realize that I'm thinking I control my future, but I don't. I realize that I'm thinking of this life as mine. But it's not.

He paid dearly for my unholy soul. He spilled His blood to wash the crimson stains of sin away from my robes. And He died and rose that I might have life abundantly. 

"The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it abundantly." John 10:10

Abundant life comes when I bend and yield to His will. It comes when I open my hands, releasing my strangling grip on all that I want; all that I think I need.

I can live abundantly when I'm willing to be changed and transformed by His Spirit. When I'm willing to be still before Him, or when I'm willing to step forward without seeing the next step.

When I'm willing. 

The Lord is so patient; so gentle. Though I am so unwilling, He draws me into the peace of surrender. 
He quiets my reasoning, my questions, and my fears. He softens my hardness to hear His voice.

He "upholds me with a willing spirit," {psalm 51:12} so that I might abandon myself in a reckless surrender to His will.