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Thursday, April 21, 2011

He is Risen!

Just like winter means Christmas (i.e. Santa, presents, shopping, & stress) to many, spring means Easter (oh, I mean "spring break") full of colorful eggs, bunnies, baskets overflowing with yummy treats, and new pretty dresses. And just like I find myself falling into the stress-filled trap each Christmas, I find myself doing it at Easter too. Last year, I went crazy shopping for the perfect dress for Leah, while this year it was all about the shoes! Yes, this mother-of-the-year took her feverish princess on an afternoon of shopping to get just the right pair white shoes. Well, with our mission accomplished, I was able to spend some time this afternoon doing my Easter tradition: watching The Passion of the Christ.

Each year since its release I dust off the DVD and watch this amazing movie by myself. It's my time to not only reflect, but to get lost in the depths of pain, anguish, suffering & sadness that Jesus took on for me. From the opening scene in the garden, the gut-wrenching torture is evident, first with his soul as he wrestles with God about what it to come; and then with the physical as he is beaten and scourged. It is this scene, where he is taken, stripped, whipped and then scourged with a cat-of-nine-tails that I break down every time. Watching Jesus, innocent of any sin, beaten beyond recognition, quietly asking Abba Father to forgive them (forgive me) for what they (for what I) was doing to him. I make this a very personal thing each time (which is why I choose to watch it alone). Every time he is beaten, every time he is mocked, every time he is whipped I see one of my sins doing that to him; knowing that while he was enduring this unmeasurable pain, I was on his mind, and so were you. He loves me (and you) that much; that if this was God's plan to ensure that the bonds of sins were broken, that a way was made available for us to spend eternity with Him, then Jesus was willing to carry a cross on his broken, bleeding body up a hill, be nailed to that cross, have his Father turn his back on him, and die. That's how much he loves us! That's how much he loves me! And the best part...Jesus didn't stay in the grave! He rose, just as it was written, conquering sin & death. Now the only thing that can separate us from the love of God and an eternity with Him, is our own unwillingness to accept what He did for us. There is nothing we could ever do to earn it. It's free, already paid for with the precious blood of Jesus.

May you see this Easter for the love story that it truly is. He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not just any card

I think it goes without saying that a mom wears a multitude of hats throughout her day. She is the morning drill sargent, taxi driver, errand runner, maid, taxi driver (again), chef, homework helper, kitchen cleaner, argument settler, bath giver, story reader, kisses and hugs giver. But some days require an extra hat or two, like referee, nurse, or therapist. Well Monday was one such day. I got a phone call from my very sad 9 yr old. He had stayed at Grandma's house the night before and she was taking him to school. "What's wrong?" I asked. "I don't want to go to school." was the reply (which I already knew was coming). This has gotten to be a common part of our morning routine-convincing Logan that he is going to school. Now I know that most kids don't want to go to school and look for ways of getting out of it from time to time. But Logan has always loved school. He looks forward to being with his friends and yes, he even enjoys learning. But this year is different. This is one of those years that stays with you. Remember? Remember the year you had the teacher you couldn't stand or the worst class ever? I do...mine was in 3rd grade; and Logan's is too. He is in an undisciplined class that is out of control, led by a teacher who gave up trying months ago. At this point, she has begun taking her frustrations out on the good kids, while those who don't listen are allowed to continue being rude and disrespectful. It's so sad to watch your child go from an excited kid who loves school, to being defeated and frustrated. So after doing my best to encourage him, he went off to school and I headed out to do some shopping. Although I was enjoying my alone time at Target, I couldn't get my mind off my baby boy-wishing (like a mom) that I could just snap my fingers and make it all better for him. So I decided to get him a card. Now I know this sounds like a strange thing to get for your 9 year old son. But seriously, cards mean more to him than just about anything. He is very sensitive and loves them. He keeps them in his room and can tell you who gave them to him and for what reason. As I look through the encouragement cards, I quickly see they don't have anything for kids. So I go for a blank one. And there in front of me is this perfect card with smiley faces all over the front. Before I went to pick him up, I sat down and wrote a little note in his card; nothing profound, just how much we love him, how proud we are of him, and that I understand it's been a tough year, but keep your chin up. I left it on the counter next to a Hersey bar so I was sure he would see it. Sure enough, he walked through the door and saw the candy bar immediately. I told him to look at his card. He read it and began to cry. He came over and gave me the tightest hug. "Thanks, Mom! I love you so much!" All I wanted to do was make his day a little brighter, but I didn't expect this reaction. Through my own tears, I held my son. In that brief moment, all the exhaustion, frustration, heartache of the past several weeks melted into what I can only describe as "a moment" . I was so thankful that I had listened to that still-small voice that said "get him a card" and that I understood his "love language". Sometime I fear that we, as Christians, spend so much time at church and trying to minister to others, that we fail to see the ministry opportunities God gives us everyday to our own family. Too often, the ones we love the most only get our leftovers. It is my prayer that my eyes stay open and alert not only to the needs of others, but to the needs of my husband and children. Because I wouldn't want to miss a moment like this one. ♥

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