Monday, April 21, 2014

The hope of the Resurrection

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter yesterday!

On Sunday, we celebrated Jesus's Resurrection, that glorious day when we proclaim that Jesus is alive; he lives in us. But the days leading up to Resurrection Day usually leave me heavy-hearted.

Saturday, while we were driving to Mississippi to visit family, I found myself thinking back to the cross. And I put myself in Mary's shoes. On Good Friday, she could not tear her eyes away from this man, so intriguing and loving and strong, a man whom she'd devoted her life to, as he was savagely slaughtered, brutally and beyond recognition, innocent but condemned during a time in history when capital punishment was at its absolute most inhumane. (That was no accident.) He was ridiculed but remained silent, composed as the crowd hurled insults on him, attacking his character, his word, his life, his very existence. The love in his heart kept his lips sealed, except for the instance he uttered, "Forgive them, Father; they have no idea what they're doing."

I think about the pictures we see of the Crucifixion, where Jesus hangs on a cross, covered in a loin cloth, only a few scratches scattered on his body. The real story is that he was hanging naked and undignified; the only covering he could hide behind were the gaping wounds that rendered him unrecognizable: his muscles and ligaments torn and exposed, bright red blood dripping down his beaten, exhausted body.

To love him, and to witness his death, must have been too much to bear. Mary sat at the foot of the cross, and I imagine she was paralyzed by the pain. She may have tried to get up and walk away, but her legs wouldn't work. How could this happen? Why?

This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save

'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid...

Light of the world by darkness slain.

I can imagine that next day, the Sabbath, was a quiet day. Time stood still, irrelevant and pointless. His followers sat, hiding and hopeless, asking, "What now?" Where do we go from here? How do we pick up the pieces and keep living? Will we be next to die? Everything I've read in Scripture hints that they didn't understand the Resurrection that was coming; they thought this was the end. All the hope they'd placed in the idea of Jesus reigning as their King had shattered into pieces. He was gone. And he'd left a gaping hole.

And they had never felt more alone.

There have been many times in my life where it seemed time was motionless, and Jesus was gone. I felt utterly alone, not knowing what would come next. And what came next didn't even seem to matter anymore. But I couldn't see what was happening behind the scenes.

From what I understand of Scripture, Jesus wasn't lying still in the grave, covered in cloth, on that Sabbath. He was taking the keys of hell from Satan. He was securing his win over the fight against death. He was claiming his rightful place as the one true King of kings, so that we could take our place as co-heirs of the Kingdom of God. He was fighting on our behalf.

When it seems that Jesus is nowhere to be found, we can rest secure that in those quiet moments, Jesus is working on our behalf. And we can look forward with confidence to the glorious Resurrection that is coming.

Mary must have been in denial. Maybe something in her whispered that it wasn't over; it couldn't be. This just couldn't be how it all ends. Something isn't right. I could see her laying in bed with her eyes open, just watching for that moment when the sun came up, and as soon as the first gleam of sunlight broke through her window, she was out the door. I'll go find out for myself. This just can't be the end.

This wasn't the end. Not in the least. It was the beginning. Everything in creation was waiting for this game-changing moment. The love that held a righteous, blameless man to a rugged, splintered cross, in front of a hostile, unbelieving crowd, was the same love that rose him from the grave. Death could not contain him or extinguish the love in his heart. Rather:

Then bursting forth, in glorious day, up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory, sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am his, and he is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ!

Mary reached the tomb of Jesus and halted, mouth gaping open. It was empty. And there stood an angel, who confirmed her suspicions. Jesus isn't dead. He was in fact alive. I knew it! Her heart screamed, and new life welled up within her, too.

Seem too good to be true? It is. And yet that doesn't keep it from being the absolute truth. It seems like a fairy tale, but we've believed strange things before. Jesus satisfied the punishment for sin so we wouldn't have to, so that we could live and be saved. It is the most glorious sacrifice, and victory, this world has ever known.


Thursday, April 10, 2014


Another month, another blog post! Riley is 10 months old this week, which means that in only TWO MORE MONTHS we will celebrate his first birthday!

New developments in Riley's world: clapping and waving. He discovered how to do both this past week and has been getting in a lot of practice. He's also getting very close to cutting his fifth tooth (on top), and he's a bit of a grump with the whole teething thing. He enjoys using those teeth to gnaw on foods like whole wheat waffles and toast (I just hand him the whole thing), and he loves the ground venison and vegetable soup I made this week. I mean, he will eat ANYTHING. We've been applying the principles we learned from Karen Le Billon's book French Kids Eat Everything, and it's interesting to see the stark contrast between Riley's and Liam's eating habits.

Riley still doesn't have much interest in crawling, but he does LOVE to stand up. I, on the other hand, am a little torn. I mean, once he's mobile, he'll never stop moving, and I'll have two very active boys on the move. But...I can't wait to see him learn! I know it will be a glorious moment. 

Oh, and in case you were wondering, his hair still won't lay down.

New developments in Liam's world: Liam is talking more and more in complete sentences! It's amazing the information he absorbs every day. Our new exciting adventure is checking out books at the library, and we spend a lot of time reading because he will actually sit and listen to them being read. His manners have also improved; he understands the proper way to ask for something is to say, "Mommy, please can I have...?" And often he'll say "thank you" without prompting. He now understands and follows the rule that he must try at least one bite of everything on his plate, which has helped his picky eating.

We also encountered another new thing a few days ago. One night, as Kelley and I were dozing off at bedtime, we hear the sudden rush of footsteps, and our door flew open. My heart stopped, and I screamed, it startled me so bad! There stood Liam, his bear dangling from his hand and a huge grin on his face. "Hi, Mommy!" He said. It was cute at first, but this continued for several nights and mornings. The thought of Liam wandering our home when we're asleep or at least don't realize it doesn't sit well with us for safety reasons, so we've been retraining him to stay in his room until we come get him. Thankfully, he's a fast learner! I'm ready for our nights to be a little more restful.

Hope you all have a great weekend!