Thursday, April 9, 2015

week end

So. End of another week. Actually a really great week. I had spring break last week and it was kind of really refreshing even though I still had school to do. 
I went on  a walk in perfect weather everyday down our road. I played outside with the cousins: barefoot zombie tag in the backyard, excursions over the river and through the woods and across a field and more, football games on the trampoline, and failed attempts at starting a campfire. Duke won the NCAA championship. I finished a really good, really suspenseful, little bit scary, but still really deep book (for free reading!!!!!!!!) for the first time in a long time. And I'm almost done with another book that I picked up from the library yesterday. Words are so good for me. I washed my sheets, braided my hair, bought a twix bar just because, got in bed on time, exercised a bit,  and generally felt productive and happy. I reorganized my closet, found a place to store my art utensils and "art work" other than a three year old papa john's delivery box, and switched out my winter clothes for the summer ones. YAY. In addition to all this beauty, it was Easter weekend, and communion Sunday, and I officially became a member of the church. WOW God is way too good.

basically my backyard

This is already getting a little (lot) more long winded than I wanted but I still have stuff to say. And it's kind of embarrassing. Especially after what I just said. Because guess what I was doing Easter Sunday after this wonderful week and one of the best evangelical sermons I've ever heard? I was sitting in the church bathroom stall frustrated, angry, self-pitying, and ungrateful, trying not to cry. It makes me ashamed to think about it (much less share it), but let's face it- that's who I am. God showers down his grace and blessing and I turn around and say no. I'll take your blessings but I don't want you. I get to make the decisions, and I want myself and my sin that leaves me helpless, angry, insecure and dead. literally dead. Yeah, sure I'll take the good weather, and books, and health, but that doesn't mean I'm gonna turn around and thank you for them. 
It's just so ridiculous and so embarrassing and so shameful that I feel like crying now. And that's how I felt in that little bathroom stall at church. 
I was convicted just like that. I'm just like the prodigal son, leaving with all the riches of his father, only to waste them, come back apologetic and sorrowful, his father welcoming him back with grace and love, only I turn around again the next week and do the same thing. Oh man it's so terrible. But that's my cycle all the time. And the amazing thing is, that my Father welcomes me back with all the same love and forgiveness every single time. 
That just kind of broke me, and I prayed really hard that God would kick the Devil out of my heart then, because he was definitely attacking me. My heart was heavy- I literally felt sunken down, but that's nothing for God. And so I cried a little bit, and prayed that I would really believe all Jesus' words and promises and that he died on the cross taking my sins, and that He really, really is alive. He's alive. Jesus Christ, a man who really lived in the history of our world and died in his early thirties, rose from the dead and he is alive and reigning right now. And he knows and hears and cares about every single thought I have, word I say, things I do, and he loves me despite every bad thought, word, or action. He loves me enough that he sweat drops of blood, merely in anticipation of the pain he was about to suffer to save me. 

But he still did it. He could have stopped it- he didn't. He let them beat him, mock him, kiss him in betrayal, spit in his face, whip his back to shreds, taunt him by pressing a crown of inch-long thorns into his head with a sign that read "Hail, King of the Jews!" Guess what the King of the Universe did then? Nothing. He didn't say a word. "When he was reviled he didn't revile in return (retaliate)". Think about what kind of patience that took. Just think about it. They gave him a reed as a scepter, literally kneeling before him in mockery, only to turn around and strip him of his clothes, leading him as the lamb to the slaughter. Then they dug nails in his hands and through his feet, hanging him up on a cross of wood, to die the death of a murderer. 
Then, you know what he said to those people that he created, whose hearts he kept beating, who just spat in his face? He said "forgive them". Forgive them. He asked God to forgive them, for they do not know what they do. Wow. He said forgive them. Now, think about how you forgive. In a situation when you're struggling with forgiveness, don't give yourself an out. Read over this text and ask yourself: what would Jesus really do?
Well, anyway, wow. Way off track, but that's okay. I didn't come out of that women's bathroom feeling light as a feather and as cheery as the next blue bird. But I felt better. And on the way home I simply kept my mouth shut (it's a wonder what that will do) and in an hour I really was feeling happy and content and thankful and, guys, that's what Jesus does. He gives you that. No matter how screwed up you are- it's not about you. It's about Jesus and what he can (and does and always will) do for you.
Jesus really is all you've ever needed.

books are good too, though, so here's a picture of one


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