Dear Mama, you are enough.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm sitting cross legged in the small upstairs hallway, back against an old wood banister.  I hear his little tiptoes behind me and I half-smirk.  I'm burried in a book, but I look up.  He's the cutest four-year-old on the planet, I'm sure, crouched in his PJs, wide eyes and rosy cheeks.

"Yes, Alex?"
He gazes at me but says nothing.
I look at his hair and giggle aloud.
"Alex - you have a Cheerio stuck to your head..."  I pick it out of his bangs.  He explodes into giddy, uncontrollable laughter and I fall into him.  Fall into this moment, this blip that I'll never get back.

"Mama," he whispers close.
"I gotta tell you somethin'"
"Yes, Alex?"
"I wanna kiss you."
I melt and lean in to this sweet boy I get to call mine.

He leans in too and licks me full out.  A big spit puddle right on my cheek.  Then he laughs a great big belly laugh and scurries away and back to bed.  I shake me head.  Boys.

Earlier in the day I read about another Mama getting her book deal and another Mama with a huge ministry and yet another Mama with an enormous purpose-filled organization behind her name.  These Mamas, now they're really doing something.

And sometimes, I squeak out the 'when me?' from deep within.  Some part of me feels I'm missing out. After all, most of the time, I'm just Mama.

Just a simple Mama in this simple little house doing simple, quiet things.



It's amazing though, when you welcome Him in, how quickly the Lord can speak truth where a lie wants to haunt.  I hear the Spirit almost immediately when I question my calling.  Quietly He whispers: "Hush, child.  You are in the midst of my highest call for your life..."

I gaze around the room.  Scattered toys, art supplies, Math books open, peeled veggies on the counter, three little ones.  I bend low and wrap my daughter in Mama arms.

"I love you," I whisper it into her crazy curls. "I'm so glad, so blessed to be your Mama."
She gazes up at me; safe, sleepy.
"Mama," her voice is so little, so sweet.  "When I grow up, can I still come to your house?"
I well up as I smile.
"Oh baby, of course.  Any time you want.  Always.  We're best friends - remember?"
She melts into me, satisfied.

This is Tuesday 'schooling'.  It's the education of this Mama and God's the Master teacher - showing me what I have been called to.  Right here.  Right in these arms.

Book deals?  Bah.  I'm not really a writer.

Big projects?  Maybe.  If God wills it and in His timing.

Big missions?  Yes.  Right here in this kitchen.

Yes, they are wide-eyed and open-eared and looking to me for life's direction and purpose.  To me?  Faith.  Eternity's message.  Little, precious souls, in my hands.

And I seek a higher calling?
(Forgive me, Father.)


Oh, Mama.  
I whisper these words to you and to my own spirit, broken and imperfect.  This is my love note to every Mama who sits with little ones and pours into them on days like today:

Go out into all the world?  Yes, of course, but start in your own living room.  Especially there.  Shake off the lies that what you do as a Mama isn't enough.  That you're missing something, or that you've been slighted in some way.

Lies are poison.  Truth will free you.

Mama - you have been set apart.  Appointed for such a 'time as this' for your very children.  Hand-picked one for the other for God's glory and in His love.  What Amazing Grace!  Yes, you were chosen as the life-giver and mercy pourer and the crazy agape lover of your child's soul.  To show tenderness and authenticity so they can grow to trust and know that you're for real.  And so is this Jesus you serve.

So they'll see truth and long to serve Him too.

So they'll be willing to lose life to find it.  So they will know Mama did everything she could to nurture and grow with them in divine purpose.  So they will grow up and know you did everything you were called to and all in God's grace and by His strength.

"Mama" is not little or insignificant, friends.

"Mama" is enough.

Bow low in reverence for the calling over your life.  Don't rush it, resent it, or try to act like it doesn't matter.  Mama, you are called to a Holy and deeply valuable mission.

Stop.  Look around you.  Crouch and hold that child who plays quietly.  Count gifts.  Every day, count those gifts.  Seek the beauty and grab hold of it.  This brings joy - trust me, I know.  I've lived the grumble and I've lived the crazy, wildly happy.

Treat every, "Mama?" as an opportunity to love and lead.  To create a tender memory.  Don't hold back the "I love you like CRAZY cakes", and the "I'm so proud of you".  Watch as miracles unfold and multiply right in your sun room.  In our home, boys who would never hug are now gushing with "Love you Mama," and long, tender gazes.  (This is grace too...)

When you bow lower and listen and obey, Motherhood can be Holy.  Fold laundry to the glory of God.  Walk in nature and rejoice and point out the beauty, bask in it.

Snuggle close and whisper sweet nothings and read that book one more time.

Reject the lie that you need a 'status'.

When the "Oh, so, what do you do?" question makes you cringe, shake it off.  Stand tall.  What you 'do' is sacred work, Mama.

Gaze around at those precious sticky faces, the messes everywhere, the books, the piles, the craziness of life and give thanks.  It is all God's grace.  And in the midst of the everyday ordinary the Creator of the Universe is writing you love notes and whispering, "This, this is for you."

Breathe it in.  Drink it up.  Gaze wide-eyed before it fades.  Embrace the season you are in and stand firm and secure that when you are hand in hand with your children, you are right where you should be.

Mama, you are blessed.

And Mama?

You are enough.

Big hugs to you right where you are, friend...

How Screen Time affects the love of Reading (especially in boys...)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I had the privilege of working as an educational consultant with a large publisher of children’s books for two years.   A huge part of my job was meeting with teachers and parents to help in the process of choosing books for kids.  I thoroughly enjoyed the job because I genuinely love books and love kids.  I’m passionate about childhood literacy not only for our own children, but for other children in the community.

The more I worked in schools and homes though, the more I realized an unsettling problem: 

The vast majority of boys are labeled ‘reluctant’ readers.

The vast majority of boys labeled 'reluctant' readers also spend way too much time in front of the screen.






Monday, April 22, 2013

I watch them at the park.  A couple of new parents, completely mesmerized by their baby girl.  It's her first time on the slide and it's as if she's climbing Everest.

"OH!  She loves it!  She's smiling..."  the Mom beams as she hollers to her husband from the bottom of the plastic swirl.

Daddy's at the top, gently guiding a blond haired, rosy cheeked little girl to sit at the top of the slide and shuffle her diapered bum until she starts to slowly glide.  She barely moves as she bum-shuffles her way down, but Daddy won't let go of her hand until Mama takes over half-way down.

I smile.  Tears form.  (Why do I cry about EVERYTHING?)

I whisper to my kids as we munch PBJs at a picnic table nearby:

"Do you think that Mommy and Daddy love their baby, or what?"

My son chuckles and rolls his eyes the way 8-year-old boys do, then says: "Yea, just a little."

Audrey beams, eyes sparkling.  "Yes... a lot."

They see it.  Everyone can see it.  Love is bubbling right out of those parents and all over the wood chips in that sunny park.  They can't contain their celebration of this child that is theirs.

They aren't young parents.  Maybe in their forties.  And for some reason I think they've waited long and hard for this girl child.

"Ok hun, I think we need to switch so I can see her face while she comes down,"  the Daddy is completely serious about his need as he leans over the slide and shouts to his wife.

"Oh, yes!"  Mama shuffles towards the slide and in the process baby hits her head.  Both Parents drop down and coo and shush and kiss and hug.  I wonder how this babe got so lucky and how so many others have never even felt an embrace let alone THIS kind of affection.

Daddy finally makes his way to the bottom and his whole being ignites when he sees his daughter giggle and smile as she slides.  He claps and woos  and completely and utterly revels at her achievement. 

"You're doing it!  You're sliding down!"  They are a happy, wonderous sight, the three of them.  I'm a mushy puddle as I look on.  Our children are still staring.  I think they can honestly feel the affection bouncing towards them and they smile softly as we feel the breeze.

I thought about that family for a long time after they left.  I wondered what it was that made them stand out so much.  What made me feel like breaking down in happy tears right on that splintered park bench?

It came to me later - yes... Celebrated.  That baby girl was celebrated.  She was the light of the show and she was a precious, cherished gift.  Everything she did was miraculous. And it was beautiful.  And she deserved it. 

I started remembering when ours were little and had their 'firsts'.  First steps, first swing, first meal, first word.  We celebrated. We video taped it.  We did happy dances and bragged.  We were the gushy, over the top weirdos. 

But, then it hit me -  do I still celebrate our children?

I mean, every day?  That kind of beaming elation that yes, they are alive and I get to share life with these presents from God!

Sure, I encourage them.  I love them to pieces.  We're together all the time.  We discover life together.  I hug them and tell them I love them.

But do I revel in them?

Do I just look on them with wonder?

Do I move towards them and position myself in front of them, just so I can see them smile?

Do I beg to be part of their amazing achievements?

Do I do things just to watch them giggle?

Do I make them feel the way that little baby must have felt in that park today?

Because they deserve to be celebrated when they are 8, 6, and 4 just as much as when they were newborn or 5 months, or 1.  They are still just as precious and just as much a miracle...

I'm praying and thinking about these things tonight.

Parents - tomorrow is a brand new day to celebrate the gift of these amazing kids God gave us.  Because they are little human presents, the best God ever wrapped up - and I want to choose to celebrate.  Let's grab hold of that opportunity and let love bubble over as we embrace our wonderfully amazing children.  In every season - they are indeed cause for celebration. 

Hugs to you...

Linked In:

"Christian" Opinions vs. Love

Thursday, April 18, 2013

For years, I thought I knew a whole lot about a whole lot.  I had an opinion for everything, many of which made it to the pages of this blog.  I've had so many people email me and message me requesting past articles and commentaries that I've since deleted.  Sometimes, people completely understand why I've deleted certain things.  Sometimes, people actually get pretty upset.

But when you're broken and convinced you know nothing - there's a lot of room for God to move.  And when God moves, I try to listen.  And when He whispers to me to remove posts and realize I'm judgmental, I'm brought to my knees.  Be open to God's correction, and He will speak. 

The truth is, life - it's a journey.  If we aren't journeying, we aren't living.  And for the Christ-follower that means seeking constantly how we can become less like us and more like Jesus.  So, sometimes, that means deleting a post or two and wishing you could delete a few chapters or at least sentences of your past life.  Things you've said.  Things you've done.

Over the past several years, I've had the insane privilege of meeting people of all races, religions, ages, walks of life - and I've realized something:

I know nothing. 

I've experienced very little.  My life has been shamefully easy.  I rarely do hard things.  I have no right to place my opinions or judgments on anyone.  I am insanely under-qualified to offer commentary to people's lives.  Because unless I've walked their exact walk, who am I to say anything about their choices?

See, a lot of Christians like to judge.  And that's why so many non-Christians think we're a big pile of hypocritical, two-faced punks.  Because, often, we are.

You'd think I would remember how I felt when I was so harshly judged for 'getting pregnant' when I was 20.  I was the 'fornicator'.  Sinner!  Sex before marriage, how 'disappointing'.  But, did anyone who judged me ever really see the soul of the girl?  The soul of the boy who wanted to marry her?  No.  The judges saw the perceived 'sin', not the people behind it.  And it cut deep.  So deep, we're still healing from some of the words that were spoken to us.  We didn't need judgment, we needed love and support.  And thank goodness for those that loved us unconditionally and embraced us in a hard time.  Because look how God redeems and look at our marriage and these three beautiful gifts God has given.  And oh boy, look at the lessons we've learned and the story that's been written on the pages of our crazy life.

Over and over I read posts and comments and quotes about how terrible abortion is and how the world is condemned and how we ought to fight, fight, fight for what is 'right'.  People post things on Facebook that make me choke. I sit in tears and wonder where in all this is love?

We preach love, but we speak words of judgment.  We show pictures of aborted babies with no thought of the mother who sits in a corner, gripping her stomach when she is reminded of the pain she went through.  We reject the homosexual and tell him he's a sinner - but we fail to look at our own lives and ask what reeks of sin around our house.  We want to have opinions, opinions, opinions.  Because opinions are so much easier than actually getting off our butts and extending loveLet's just judge the gay, the prostitute, the liar, the cheat... let's spend so much time judging them that we never have a chance to look within our own selves.

I've heard people say, "Love the sinner, hate the sin!".  I have a better idea.  How about, we love the sinner (as in, we love EVERY ONE), and we hate our OWN sin. 

You know what I've realized?  You know what I've heard God whisper into the deep, dark places of me?  "Don't worry about other people's issues.  Just worry about how to love them."  That's it.  We are called to love.  Not to judge, to love.  Period.  It's painfully simple, friends.

Because behind every 'sin' is a person.  A person who has been hurt and who is hurting. (Aren't we all hurting in some way?)  They need a friend.  They need an embrace.  They need someone who will calmly sit by them and whisper the 'me too'.

God has plunked the hurting and the so much better than me right in my lap and I've sat and I've wept with them and I've listened.  Listened to the story of their life.  Wept the painful tears that burn into the memory forever.  Screamed out to God the "WHY?!"  Yes, I've sat broken and contemplated everything I do not know. 

And I've realized that divorce, prostitution, abortion - these are all things not far from my own spirit.  I am the prostitute.  I am the divorcee.  I am the women who could have aborted a child if I was walking that path.  We are all one in each other and we can all bleed on one another if we allow it.  We need to stop pointing fingers and start extending a passionate embrace.  If I was in their same situation, what would I do?  Most likely, the same as these dear friends have done.  Because hopelessness cuts the spirit in two.

And hopelessness is my problem as a follower of Christ.  For every hopeless person in this world, there is a Christ-follower who is not in their proper place, standing beside the broken one.  We are to walk beside the hurting.  And so often we don't.  We're too busy having our opinions.

I've never been abandoned.  No one has ever tried to kill me.  No one has ever spit in my face, raped me, beat me.  No one has ever told me I was worthless.  But I know women who have lived this hell.  And where was I while they suffered?

I was too busy living my cake walk.

I know what the scripture means when it says, 'blessed are those who mourn'.  Because I've begun to mourn so deeply for MY OWN sin. Because that woman who sits hopeless is a product of our earthly sins and my own selfishness.  Love has not been my highest goal, friends.  And I'm broken. 

Who has time to help a stranger?  Who has time to bend low and embrace the one who is down?

For my own blindness and for the way I've judged others even in the most quiet, hidden ways- I mourn.  Because I was that person who looked at others and criticized the way they thought and the things they did.  Because I was filled with filthy pride and thought I actually knew something.

It's like when Saul had those wretched scales pulled from His eyes.  He saw again, He saw more clearly, because first he saw God.  Christ spoke to Him and straightened His path.  It's the original, 'I was blind, but now I see'.

Shouldn't that be the anthem of the Seeker's life?  Over and over we realize, "I was blind, but now, I SEE."

It's Christ.  He takes the scales of our soul away and shines light where there was darkness.   Then it's up to us to let the light overflow.

He whispers this truth:

Lord, help me be this heart...


Friday, April 5, 2013

"After the kids grow up, then, life will begin!"

"I couldn't WAIT for mine to get out!"

"Got your hands full, eh?  Must drive you nuts bringing them here!"

Take your children to the grocery store with a great big smile on your face and see how people respond.  I even had one lady suggest I must be on medication to be so happy while shopping with three kids.  But, that's the society we live in.

Kids are an inconvenience and all the real living happens AFTER they're gone.

Am I too bold to suggest there is a sort of cultural norm encouraging parents to loathe their children? To hate the commitment they require?  To selfishly state how annoying and burdensome they are to 'bring' everywhere, like children are some kind of heavy-weight package?  To want to shove them out of the way and just get this 'kid' thing over with?

After working at a grocery store for 6 months, I can confidently say, most people dislike their children.  Period.  If they don't completely dislike them, they sure make it seem like they do.  They carry this "after kids, my life will be better" mentality and they wear it loud and proud.  They believe the lie that their children are a big fat hindrance, and this attitude festers deep in the soul of the parent and bleeds all over the hurting family. 

I heard it in my co-workers and I saw it all the time in the customers who shopped with their children.  They speak to their kids like they are less than human.  They shove them around and lie to them and coerce them into obedience through less than loving means.  They tell them, 'shut up', and 'just close your face', and 'will you just leave me alone?' and 'get away from me!'  and I've seen and I've heard it all.

I've even had parents openly criticize their children in front of me and full line of customers.  Like a Dad who proudly announced his teenagers were 'brats' as he pointed a thumb at his three kids next to him, "After these guys grow up and get out, THEN life will begin!" 

His kids looks bewildered, unsure of how to respond to their Dad's open hatred of their existence.

There it is, folks, after the kids, then, somehow, life will be better!

Another day, I stoop low to a boy with a sad, solemn face.  His mother is indignant about something or other that seemed pointless to me at the time.  I crouched and looked up into his hurting eyes.  "Hey sweetie, do you want a sticker of a car?"  He lights up.  The mother grunts.  So many mothers who are angry and reluctant to show tenderness to their own flesh.  My heart turns inside of me.  He takes the sticker gently and whispers, "thank you".  I smile at the mom while she grimaces back.  She grabs her son's tiny hand and yanks him away.  He glances back and I feel my eyes well up.  Again.  Again and again, my eyes welled up at how parents treated their precious children.

This is the world and guess what?  If you love your children and enjoy spending time with them -  you're a freak.

This world is flip-flopped upside down friends, and no wonder we feel like fish out of water.  I actually LOVE spending every day with my kids.  I love going to the grocery store with them and I love going for ice cream with them and I love stopping in at the market or bakery with them and they are never a burden.  They are a part of me.  We are not perfect, but we are one.

Can I just say, children have an equal right to be in a public place... just as equal as every adult there.  And it really upsets me when people assume that I hate my children.  They make comments that take my breath away and suggest RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM that my children are a big fat pain in the ass.  And to that, I will proudly announce that "I LOVE being with my kids!  These guys are awesome!"  just to hush them up and assure my kids they are indeed, wanted.  Yes, so, so wanted.

We talk about how generations ago, children were to be 'seen and not heard' and how ridiculous that was!  But friends, we're living right smack in the middle it still.  Nothing has changed in the grand scheme of society.  If you're a home educator, I'm sure we get the best taste of this.  Every single time I bring my children somewhere during the day, I get the eye brow raises, the rolls of the eye, even the shaking heads.  As if our children are completely imposing by simple being present in society.  How dare they!?  Shouldn't they BE IN SCHOOL!?   And our kids, they're GOOD kids.

But they ARE kids.  And that's their fatal flaw.

Because they didn't get the memo that life, well, life happens AFTER kids.  
And WITHOUT kids.

I refuse to surrender to that destructive mentality.  I not only refuse, but it gets me pretty riled up. (Can you tell?)

We are called to be light, friends.  We can be light in this world, by treating our children the way they deserve to be treated.  With tenderness, love, kindness, understanding and respect.  Not like we're pushing to get to the 'AFTER kids' stage of our life.

And if you see a Mother who is loving every moment with her children, tell her.  Compliment her children.  Show her you appreciate seeing a parent who is actively living out acceptance and life-giving love towards her children.  We all need a little hug of encouragement.

As I often say, there may never be an 'AFTER'.  And what we do in the now hugely predicts what
 our after looks like.  I want to paint a picture of deep rooted friendship with our children and family bond that transcends all other earthly things.  With grace, I pray, we can all achieve this in our families and be a shining example of Christ's love in this crazy, crazy world.

Written for Five Minute Friday.

Galloping the Globe: Northern Canada (and The Very Last First Time - FIAR)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our children really enjoyed our study of Northern Canada and we combined our cultural study with our Five in a Row study of "The Very Last First Time", by Jan Andrews, is a story about a young Inuit girl who lives in Ungava Bay, Quebec.  She journeys out for the first time to collect mussels on the sea bed.  It's amazing because traditionally Inuit people in Ungava Bay actually wait for the tide to go out and dig through the ice, revealing a cavern below.  They enter the cavern under the ice and find a bounty of Mussels.  It was so interesting to learn about this tradition!

Some of the other titles we used for this study.

Some of the topics we covered include:

-Inuit life: clothing, homes, language, music, art, crafts, hunting, eating
-Tides and freezing in the ocean
-The Canadian provinces (listing them and identifying where they are located)
-Arctic legends and Inuit tales
-Animals of the Arctic


Aurora Borealis (The Northern Lights)

We read several books about the Northern Lights and discussed what causes them.  We enjoyed this water color art project painting Aurora Borealis on small pieces of card stock.

Starting with a black marker for the horizon, then adding colors of water color and blending in various patterns to match the Northern Lights we see in the photos found on Google.


Ordinal Numbers

We played with ordinal numbers using our Playmobil horses and card-stock labels.


 Fun with Igloos

We made these igloos using marshmallows and containers.  The one on the left is a plastic olive container cut in half. The right is a Styrofoam cup with a door cut out.


Pointillist Art

The illustrations in Very Last First Time are done in a somewhat Pointillist media.  We found a great art project in 365 Things to Draw and Paint (Usborne) and enjoyed an activity using black paper, paint and Q-tips. 

Good Titles

What makes a good title?  Very Last First Time is a very interesting title.  I asked the kids if they liked it, loved it, or hated it.  (We often use those words for discussing music and art).  I'll simply point to a famous work of art and say, "Like it?  Love it?  Hate it?"  And the children and prompted to discuss.

For this activity, I put several of our favorite/Five in a Row books on the kitchen table.  I then gave each child a pile of colored numbers.  Each child numbered their favorites from 1-5, 1 being their absolutely favorite and 5 being the least favorite.  We did this activity a few times, and discussed why they liked or disliked certain titles.

Vocabulary and Drama

We used these words as a vocabulary builder and acted out the words found in the book.

 Salt Water Experiment

We discussed salt water and asked the question, "Can we remove salt from salt water?"  The kids each made a hypothesis.  Two said yes, one said no.  We filled three mason jars with hot water and mixed in a heaping Tablespoon of Sea Salt.

After about a week - there was a lot of salt residue left on the jars, but the water was nearly gone.  So yes, through evaporation, we can remove salt from salt water!


All About Inuksuks

We really enjoyed learning about different Inuksuks.  The book, Make Your Own Inuksuk, was a great resource.  We decided to take a winter walk to the stream and look for great rocks to make our own Inuksuk.

After some collecting, our Inuksuk on the old familiar path... love it!

Back home again, we used tiny rocks and pebbles to create little Inuksuks with Sticky Tack.  This is a great alternative if you'd prefer not to build a large model.

Pancake Dinner

What's better than a good Canadian treat like Pancakes and Maple Syrup?  We had fun making and enjoying pancakes and sausages together.

Thanks for joining us! 

When your soul needs resurrecting...

Monday, April 1, 2013

I write this because brokenness is my middle name.  You know, when the emotions are so raw that you can't even seem to get up and out of the deep down dark places?  It's in those places words usually find me.

Yesterday was resurrection Sunday and Christ rises again and who among us doesn't need a little 'bringing to life'? 

Have you ever felt like you just go through the motions?  Like every day is the same and even though God has given you ordained work to do, you feel aimless and pointless and weak and even sometimes useless?  We give ourselves the label - FAILURE, and we wonder why we run dry.  Maybe you can't figure out WHAT it is that God would have you do?

You say you'll focus on what matters.  You say you want direction.  Oh YES!  God, let me live my life well. 

I know, I pray it and I write and I mean it.  But:

Just let me aimlessly browse Facebook for an hour first.

Let me dwell on these thoughts I know I shouldn't even let pass through.

Let me ignore everything I know is right because it's uncomfortable.

Let me just dye these eggs and not worry too much about the Mom who, if she had eggs, who save them for a week's worth of protein for her dying baby boy. 

Ignorance?  Yes, please.  A big heaping dish.

A family needs dinner and I go to sleep full but I'm empty, really. We're all empty vessels is we don't have love. And it's the love that does the resurrecting.  And we're all waiting for the filling.  Even if we don't know it or want to admit it.

That's why I can say I'm a Christian and still be so messed up.  Praise GOD!  That's the whole crazy idea.  That a bunch of messed up people can cling to something bigger and through that clinging, become something different.  Redeemed.  Not perfect, but redeemed.

I hear the music humming in our kitchen.  It's a quiet morning and the kids are doing Math. "Jesus reigns.... for Jesus reigns... over all He reigns...."  it fills this messy place and my eyes are taps.  "...High above the heavens... we exalt Your name.... all of creation sings praise..."

Exalt His name.  How do I exalt His name in the midst of my total brokenness?  The kind of brokenness that sins willingly and forgets everything He's told me over and over?  That at her core is selfish and reluctant to completely and fully commit to this call because it might (gulp) take me somewhere I'm not sure I can go.

How do I exalt His name when I don't want to?  When it's easier to be mad at God?  I mean, I'm broken because of all this crap that's been done to me and that I've done to myself and why did God allow us to be such broken people?  Why should I praise the One?  Sometimes, I forget gratefulness and I wonder these things and let myself wallow in self pity.  Oh yes, I do.

What you need to know about Resurrection Sunday is this:  the resurrection of Christ should extend far beyond the story.  Far beyond the "Jesus died, and three days later, rose again."

For the past few days I've been asking myself this: "How can I come back to life?"  I mean, I'm here.  I'm living.  The heart is beating.  But  am I really living for all God has for me?  If Christ died so I may have life and life abundantly... am I living that abundant life?

This question should bring us to our crippled knees, friends.  It's okay to cry.  It's okay to weep and ask the hard questions.  Blessed are those who mourn.

The cross is this:  we were dead in our sin and fallen from God.  God sent a savior who shredded that veil to God clean through and we were welcomed in the Holy Temple.  We can talk to the God of all the Universe and He promises to listen.  We are called children of God.  CHILDREN of God almighty, if we trust in Him and believe in Jesus.  Not because we did something to deserve it.  Not through works, no especially not that.  Not because we're 'holy' enough.  Definitely not.  But because of the mercy and grace poured out in blood on that wooden cross.

If you are reading this and thinking how crazy I am to believe such nonsense, I want to jump through this screen and hug you tight.  I know, it sounds like nonsense!  One man, God Himself, living on earth a perfect, blameless life...  Doing miracles and pointing people to God and revealing the truth of the gospel for the three years He ministered.  Then, dying a brutal death of a criminal for all of humanity.  After death, He rises again and lives today beside God in heaven.  Not only that, He speaks to us and lives WITHIN us.

I get it.  I know it sounds surreal.  Because it is surreal.  The bible says these things will seems foolish to those who haven't experienced God's touch  Who haven't felt the Holy Spirit.  Ask Him to speak to you.  If you haven't encountered Him in a real way and you want to, He will come.  So, I pray that my friends and family who haven't experienced God, would.  The tears stream down as I pray those prayers.

I was lost, now, I'm found.  Eternal life?  Yes.  Yes, you can live forever.  Crazy, I know.  It's not just about some man going into a tomb and coming out three days later.  It's about all of eternity.  And the bridge He made for us. 

And what I wish more people could understand about this Christ Jesus-thing is that we are all broken.  We're not talking religious scholars and black suits at the front of a musty church.  I mean being a disciple of Jesus.  A real disciple.  It's so different than that.  And yes, there are a lot of humans who claim Christ and are really rejecting Him altogether in the way they live.

And following Christ is messy.  It looks a whole lot like that bleeding woman in the middle of the road.  Desperate, raw, imperfect.  Just reaching out with everything in her for a tiny touch of Christ's hem.  Knowing full out she is in DESPERATE need of a savior. 

So, if your soul needs resurrecting this week, reach out for Him.  He is the only one who can fill every empty space.  We cling to our world but the world withers.  The facebook, the house, the riches, the food... they all fall away.  He beckons us to open ourselves to His filling and watch and see that He is good.  Nothing about following Jesus requires perfection.  Actually, quite the opposite!  Christ followers are only called to be humble and open.  Period.  God takes care of all the rest.

He does, however, beckon us to take a good look within and a better look without.  Reflecting on the truth that if He has set us free, then we are free to live fully.  I mean really, really LIVE.  And that requires daily reflection.  To not be afraid to ask the tough questions.  To press on towards this goal we've been given.  To dig deeper for the love that is supposed to flow out of us.  To cling to what matters.  To reject ignorance and push towards truth.  To remember those who live without and be the one who chooses to give.  To hold our child a little longer and forgive the person who hurt us and be willing to put each day in the hands of the One who gives it.

Praise God that He is risen and He has the power to also rise within us.

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