Thursday, September 25, 2014

Changing Clothes

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me

I often sing those words without a second thought, but when you really stop to think about his grace, it really IS amazing. After reading through the IF:Equip devotional (if you're not following this, start today!) going through Genesis today I was reminded by Kelly Minter how God clothed Adam & Eve in the garden and how he clothes us still today with his righteousness and grace through Jesus. I so often choose to clothe myself with my own sin, guilt, and shame, and I forget to put on the righteousness of Christ.

It reminds me of my closet. I have about a billion things in really is much too big and full. I need to simplify. To my credit, it's big enough to keep all seasons' clothing out without having to put winter clothes into storage during the summer, and vice versa. However, it just means that there are more options than an indecisive girl like me needs in the morning to get ready. I tear through my closet some mornings, putting on options and throwing them off and onto my bed or the ottoman in my bedroom. Rather than putting things back where they belong, I throw them around and cause myself more trouble later having to clean them up.

It creates more of a mess when I constantly put things on and take them off.

I realize this analogy is a big of a stretch, but it finds its basis in Galatians 3:27, which says: "All who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes." (NLT)

You know how when you get brand new clothes you want to wear them right away? I do, at least. But then eventually they get worn out and I get tired of wearing them, and I constantly want something new...thus the closet full of clothes. And my daily indecision. And the mess I get to clean up.

It's the same way when we put on Christ. Sometimes the longer we wear Christ we get weary of how exhausting it seems to follow Him daily (which isn't true, because Jesus tells us "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" in Matthew 11:30). What I think exhausts us more than anything is the constant trying and putting on and off of Christ himself. When we try to switch between our flesh and life in the spirit, of course it's going to be exhausting! But when we remain clothed in the righteousness of Christ, there is FREEDOM and it is light! We can run and dance and sing, and you know that the clothes you can do that in are the very best kind!

So why do we constantly clothe ourselves in so much else? It is already promised in Romans 3:
We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
We're all even here. God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous! How amazing is that grace?! We do not deserve it, but it is a daily gift - like a brand new outfit - that we get to put on every single day!

I'm all about new clothes, so I'm grateful for the fact that every day I get to put on brand new grace through Jesus.

Oh praise to the One who has ransomed my soul
Calvary COVERS it all!

Friday, April 18, 2014

3 days

I've waited for a lot of things in my life. My iced caramel macchiato at Starbucks. In line for the women's restroom at a Justin Timberlake concert. Test results from the doctor. Test results from a family member or friend's doctor. For trips to the beach. In the airport security line for trips to the beach. And I'm still waiting for a husband.

But I cannot fathom the waiting that the disciples endured from Jesus' death on the cross to the moment he walked among them again. 

3 days. Waiting. Wondering. Questioning. Doubting.

Was it really all true? Was he really going to come back like he said he would? What was life going to look like after this? 

We all ask questions in the waiting. Like an ellipsis leaves us waiting for what's next, Jesus dying left so many, in addition to the disciples, waiting to find out what was going to happen next. In some ways I can relate with the waiting concept, but it's hard to grasp what must have gone through their minds that weekend. 

The disciples had spent so much time with Jesus. They basically gave every day to follow him around, learn his teachings, learn the way he did life, and then they watched him die. He had given them clues. He told them it was coming. But just as they fought over who would sit closest to Jesus at the dinner table, their minds were not always mature enough to understand the weight of his words. 

Maybe then, sitting at the Last Supper, they believed him. But if I were in their shoes watching him be handed over to the soldiers who would torture him and nail him to the cross, I'd be questioning things. And when he breathed his last, I'd surely wonder to myself "Why didn't he stop this?"

The 3 days after that had to be awful. Filled with the darkness of depression, covered with a cloud of doubt, heavy with the weight of grief. I also imagine that they replayed every miracle, every conversation over and over in their minds...trying to remember what Jesus had said, wishing they'd paid more attention along the way. If I were one of the disciples, I'd be wavering between depression and curiosity. 

He promised them he was coming back. But we know in human terms, promises don't always carry a lot of weight. Sometimes they're thrown around with little meaning, so did they really truly believe the promises Jesus made? I'd like to think so, but they had to have their moments of doubt. 

I know this: in those 3 days those disciples probably dealt with their grief in very different ways, just as we all grieve in very different ways. Some with anger, some trying to repress it and pretend everything is ok, some still hopeful for some kind of turnaround, some in disbelief, some just wanting to be alone, and some just wanting to be in community with each other. After all, they were used to being together, but did Jesus' physical absence mean their so-called "group" was breaking up? What did all of this mean?

Did the disciples just sit in the upper room and pray together as they waited? Did they sit there and talk about their sadness? Did they cry together? Were they fearful? 

While those 3 days are yet a mystery to us, we know how the story turned out. The disciples may or may not have even realized at the time what they were waiting for, that it was going to change the world. That it was going to change their eternity. I don't know what they thought, realistically, in the 3 days of waiting. Maybe they didn't even know they were waiting. They may have thought, "this is the end." 

I pray that in our waiting, no matter how long or how hard it may seem, we recognize that this certainly is not the end. Whether it's 3 days or 3 years or 3 decades, the story ends in victory, because we know our Savior came back once. And while we wait for him to come again once more, we wait with eager expectation. 


Monday, March 24, 2014


It has been quite some time since I've written here...for reasons unknown and for these reasons:

One reason is this: I've been lazy. Spiritually speaking, for some seasons, but emotionally, mentally, and physically as well. I believe God has made me with a "writer's brain", in some aspects, but not all of it is meant for public sight. Yet I've hidden that gift, not only from you--also from myself. In the last two years I've hardly spent time writing, which in turn means that I've spent little time practicing and professing and processing by expression what God is teaching me. I have in other ways, but writing is one of the ways I express best, and so I've failed to use the gift of words He has given me.

Another reason: what other people think. I care too much about it. WAY too much. And it's time that I stop. I know people who don't get the whole "blogging" thing. They think it's weird and dumb and narcissistic and pointless. And I know people who do love it, but they write because they want affirmation from other people. And I have been in both of these camps until I realized this: Writers don't write for the readers. They write because they have to. They can't not write. And by nature, I'm a writer. My thoughts are in streams of words tied together, and so many of them come so quickly that I fail to verbalize them and they disappear. I have to write. And so I will. You won't see all of it. There will be posts I don't publish. And there will be some that I will and probably shouldn't. And there will be posts that people think are dumb, but I don't care. (I probably will for a second, but then I'll try not to.) When you write publicly, you become vulnerable. And that's a little bit scary. A lot scary. 

One last reason: ME. Sometimes I don't think people want to hear what I have to say. Or sometimes I think everyone should hear what I have to say. And there are days when I don't get the balance right between those two. While this is certainly not a platform for my opinions, it's a good place for me to work out and process the truth of who God is and who He made me to be and what my purpose is. My purpose is not just to write, but to tell my story, which is part of the greater story of who God is. And sometimes that means getting over ME. It's not about me. So I'll do my best, through words I'll piece together carefully (and sometimes probably not carefully enough) to say what I need to say to point to Jesus.

So here I go again...I may be the only person reading my own words, but I'm writing because I finally believe it's essential to who I am, but it is not about me.