Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Lingering at The Cross

So I'm nearing the end of The Gospels and it's usually around these chapters that I push myself through The Hard Parts of Jesus' trial and beatings and crucifixion so I can get to The Empty Tomb as quickly as possible. 

It's painful to walk that path with Peter, to feel his fear and bitter anger. To watch as Judas' despair literally kills him. To listen as Jesus stands silent against his abusers and endures torture my mind can not fathom. Watching him stumble up the road to Golgotha and seeing him give John the responsibility of caring for Mary (ALL THE MOM FEELINGS) hurts me.

 I can not stand near the foot of The Cross and remain unchanged. It strips my heart and leaves me raw and exposed while I wait those long three days for sunrise. I normally work and read to get myself to The Garden Tomb as quickly as possible, but not this time. This time I'm going to allow myself to wear thin. To feel the scourging. The denial. THE PAIN. The loneliness and abandonment because I realized that by rushing through The Bad to get to The Good, I can take away The Weight of what His sacrifice really means. 

So, for today and tomorrow and the next day, I'm going to be feeling all my feelings. I'm going to be journaling and weeping and drinking an extra cup of coffee here in my chair while I allow myself to feel The Price of my sin because The Freedom that I have in Him is even more compelling when I stop and breathe and look at what it really cost. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Be A Barnabas.

I've never been good at keeping resolutions, so a few years ago, I decided to stop making them and the same holds true as I begin 2017. So while I won't be making any grandiose proclamations, I have decided to start a new and encouraging habit: letter writing. 

I love, love, LOVE to receive snail mail. Seeing a handwritten return address on an envelope addressed to me positively sends my heart fluttering. Seeing that sweet little square waiting for me to open And I know I'm not the only one! 

Life can be hard for me sometimes. There are hours and days and stretches of homeschooling and squabbling and cleaning up the same series of messes day after day that can really start to weigh me down. (All you SAHM or homeschoolers, I know you know what I mean. And even if you're not, I know you understand the feeling of insanity that creeps up every time one of your precious bundles of joy decide to fight over a two inch piece of broken crayon or the stale animal cracker someone found under a toy doll house. Or wait, does that sort of thing only happen in my house?) 

The hamster wheel of routine becomes monotonous and it's easy to slip into a valley of deflation and dejection and if I'm being totally transparent- DEPRESSION. And an idea to combat that came to me last week- I'm going to bless myself by blessing others. 

I've just gone out and purchased a cute and LARGE box of blank Hallmark cards. There are 50 of them! That'll give me just about one card to mail every week for this entire year!! That means that every week, when my three hoodlum children are acting like fools and the dog has vomited on the rug and the hamster has escaped AGAIN and two-digit subtraction has made me want to pull my hair out or shave my eyebrows off on desperation- I WON'T HAVE TO, because I'll be able to stop, sit down, drink a cup (or twelve) of coffee, turn the focus off of myself and onto someone else while I get ready to surprise that special someone with a note of encouragement. 

For 15 minutes I will stop thinking of myself and my insane house and the two day old laundry in the dryer and start thinking of others. And I have found that there's no better way to turn my attitude around than by changing my focus. Constantly thinking only of myself is not only selfish, but it's dangerous. By turning my eye to others and focusing on how to encourage and bless them, I'll be encouraging and blessing myself. It's a win/win, y'all! (Thanks in advance for helping me make sure I'm not a melancholy, self absorbed freak this year. You're awesome. ::wink::) 

So you see, y'all are going to help me be a Barnabas this year. And THAT GUY KNEW HOW TO LIFT PEOPLE UP, amIright?? (Check out the story of how he helped the church in Antioch in Acts 11:19-26. Spoiler alert: VERSE 23 IS MY FAVORITE.)  And so by being that encourager and that friend, I'll become encouraged as well. And like I said before, my house is at best a well trained circus and at worst a zoo without cages. I need all the opportunities possible to push the focus away from myself and onto blessing someone else. So I've got 50 blank cards waiting to send out this year. Can I send you one?? 

Happy 2017, y'all!!