How Is Easter Real To You?

I found this post that I previously wrote about Easter. It is just as true today, as the day that I first wrote it. I needed to read it again…..maybe you will too?

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“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live.”    John 11:25

How many of us have stood over a casket, looking down at one we loved?

Tears leaking down our cheeks…already missing the one that is gone.

The body so still. The breath has ceased. The lids now closed.

Burial. In the ground. Dirt covered.

And we weep.

And yet…

Jesus‘ words ring out in the darkness. The darkness of hopelessness. The darkness of fear. The darkness of death.

I am the resurrection and the life.  Alive again. Living. Breathing. In glory.

Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  John 14:6

He who believes in me, though he dies,

yet shall he live. Shall live. With Him. Forever. Real. Oh, so real.

No more heart hurt, no more rampant cancer, no more diseased body, no more accidents, no more shallow breathing, no more depression, no more pain, no more poor vision, no more sickness…

No more.

Believe in Me, Jesus whispers to our souls.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall have everlasting life. John 3:16

Jesus says,

I have conquered death. I have taken your place.

It is finished. 

Words that echo through the ages.

How is Easter real to you? Not only on a Sunday in Spring…but, all year long?

Challenge #12, Might-Have-Been

 

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I often get asked, why in the world did you move here? The people who ask, are alluding to the fact I moved from Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is a city nestled in a valley surrounded by the foothills of The Great Smoky Mountains. It is a place that many Ohioans go on vacation. Yet, here I am. My family and I moved to a rural area of Ohio, outside a tiny village whose population doesn’t even make it to “town” status. It is not unusual to see Amish families on the roads in their buggies.I admit, it is not a happening place. I miss restaurants, and all the shopping. I could be to most places in five minutes. With that said, when I lived in the city I didn’t wake to the sound of geese flying overhead, or the rooster crowing. I didn’t have the opportunity to witness open sky and wide, uncrowded spaces. These places to breathe and think and not feel so rushed. In the city, buildings crowded out my view of the sun rising, and city lights detracted from the brilliance of the night sky. My house was on a large double lot in the city, but there is no comparison to the twelve acres in the country. There is room for the family and dogs, cats, chickens, and horse.

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When I am going about my business of feeding animals and other chores, I often stop and soak it all in. I am a country girl at heart. This life I’m living, bring me so much joy. If you had asked me a half dozen years ago, where I’d be, or what I’d be doing, I could have never imagined this. A new marriage and family, in a new house in a new state, in the country. It might never have been……but, I’m so glad it is!

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Challenge #8, All Good Things Come To An End

“All good things come to an end”. I don’t know if I want to write about this today. I suppose I will, but only because it is part of the challenge. Sigh.

We’ve all heard this quote, saying, whatever, sometime in our lives. It is kind of depressing to me. Depressing because it is true, and I don’t want to think about the fact that it is true. We live in a world with a lot of endings. Sometimes endings are great, and freeing, and exciting, but most of the time endings hurt. They aren’t fun. It is not something that most of us look forward to. They happen anyway. It is the nature of things. Unfortunately.

People lose their jobs, or get fired. Or they quit. Then they wonder what in the world are they going to do next?!

Friends that you thought were going to be your besties for forever, fade. Life has a way of pulling people apart. Oh, it is not necessarily intentional it just happens. You know what I mean.

You get to a certain age, and it is no longer appropriate to wear the super cute clothes….because your body has revolted against you, and you no longer look super cute in those super cute clothes.

People you love get sick and they die, and against your will you are forced to say good-bye. Sometimes a loved one is in an accident or a sudden medical emergency and they are gone. Just. Like. That.

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Memories fade like a swirling mist. One day you think the good times, the happy times will last longer, should last longer, but much like that early morning mist, they dissipate.

With careers. With friends. With age. With love. With a million other things.

Life goes on though. There are more good times, and more memories to be made. It is the natural ebb and flow of life.

Understanding this makes one more aware of the precious moments when they happen.

 

 

Challenge #5, Before And After…

Yesterday’s challenge was my take on “Before and After”……

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Before I became a follower of Christ, I thought I was “good enough”. After, I understood I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I found love and I found redemption. I realized that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. My life changed…for all eternity.

Before I was married, I thought I understood what it meant to share, to compromise, to trust, to love. After, I knew what it was to create a life together, to put aside my pride and say “I’m sorry”, to show forgiveness, and to remain committed through both good and bad times…..because life has a fair share of both.

Before I was a mom, I thought I knew how to be a good parent. After, I understood love in a way I never understood it before. I laughed, I cried, my heart changed, and I happily gave my time, day in and day out, for this little one. Each year brings surprises, and each stage is a new adventure.

Before I was a teacher, I thought I knew what it was to run a classroom and be an excellent instructor. I would be planning assignments, and checking papers. After, I found out that teaching is more than students in a classroom, but young lives that looked to me for some answers in an otherwise confusing world. I learn as much from my students as they do from me. That is just the truth.

Before the deaths of my grandparents, husband, and father, I thought I understood how to grieve. After, I realized that grieving is different for everyone. Grief comes in waves like the ocean, and one must face those waves and move through them. There are good days, and there are bad days, and on some days all I could do was breathe.

Life is full of before’s and after’s. The older I get the more I realize that when I am standing in “the before” I rarely understand. Oh, it is easy to think I do, but life has a way of teaching lessons in the midst of “the after”. Valuable, cherished moments. Lessons learned.

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge #4 Go Ahead, Make My Day

Quote a line from a favorite movie……. What makes it special?

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.” –Birdee Pruit (played by Sandra Bullock) in Hope Floats

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This movie came out on the big screen in 1998. I actually saw it at an afternoon matinee with my aunt who was visiting my family in Tennessee at the time. It will be eighteen years this summer since I first heard that memorable line. I had just turned thirty, I had a three year old son, two young step-daughters, and was still a year away from hearing the doctor give my husband a diagnosis of an incurable heart condition.

Looking back, it is ironic that this quote would become a favorite at that time in my life. A time when I was still at the beginning in so many ways, scary yes, but also exciting. What I didn’t know then was the “endings are usually sad” part was going to be all too real to me in a short time. Isn’t it funny how we remember the seemingly insignificant things in our lives that lead up to the big, life changing things?

I agree with “it’s what’s in the middle that counts”. You’ve heard people say, everyone has a birth date and a death date…it’s that dash in between the dates that is important.

 

 

Day #1 Of The Challenge-Tell Me A Story

I have decided to commit  to the challenge of writing something each day for the next 31 days. Each day has a writing prompt that will “give me a push” to complete that day’s challenge. Some days the posts will be short, and some days longer, depending on what kind of day I am having. So here goes.

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Tell me a story……..

The first time I laid eyes on the school, it made me feel uneasy. The older inner city school looked sad sitting in the midst of this worn down neighborhood. Had I made a mistake? I was beginning to doubt my decision to take a position here.

The days there did indeed turn out to be emotionally, and mentally difficult for me. Many days I felt helpless to make any real changes in the lives of my students. One day in particular, I found myself learning a lesson that I didn’t even know I needed to learn.

His head was laying on his desk, he was obviously too sleepy to even finish his lesson. “Why are you so tired today?”
“My mom made me sleep in the bathtub last night….and it is hard to sleep in a big ol’ tub.”                                                                                                                                                                        “The tub? Don’t you have a bed? Where was your mom? Where was she sleeping?”                 I could feel myself becoming indignant.  What kind of a mother would make her son sleep in a hard, cold tub? The idea was completely foreign to me.                                                               The next day I had opportunity to talk to my student’s mother. I told her that her son had been tired the previous day…he hadn’t slept well.  She looked at me sheepishly and replied, “I know that sounds bad, but I didn’t know what else to do. The gangs have been shooting a lot in the neighborhood the past few nights. I worry that the walls in the housing projects are so thin. When the gunfire got really bad, I put J in the tub. It is a thick, old tub. I figured he would be safe from bullets if he slept in there.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day….not to judge a person’s motives. Not to pretend I understand when I don’t know all the facts. What I thought was neglect, and maybe abuse, was in fact a mother’s selfless love for her child. She placed him in the safest place she could find.

Sometimes things are not always what they seem.

 

 

You Might Be The One To Make A Difference

 

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I read something not long ago about the church. This particular article focused on families that have children with disabilities. Being a special education teacher, and a vocal advocate for those with disabilities, these kinds of articles always catch my attention.

I have heard over and over again from parents who have children on the autism spectrum, about how they want to go to church. They want to worship with fellow believers. They love singing both praise music as well as old, familiar hymns. They want to quiet their souls so they can hear a word from God. The thing is, they don’t always feel welcomed when they cross over the threshold of the church building.

Oh, it is not always the words that say, “You’re not welcome”. Sometimes it is the stares. Sometimes it shows itself as impatience with or fear of someone who looks or acts differently. Sometimes it isn’t intentional. Sometimes people just don’t know what to do, how to act, or what to say…..so they don’t do anything.

And with that, the door slams shut on a vast mission field.

Autism. Intellectual Disability. Learning Differences. Anxiety or Depression. Emotional Issues. A different physical appearance. ADD/ADHD. Health Impaired. Chronic medical issues. Sometimes the disability is obvious, but often times it is not………..until it is.

As followers of Christ, He calls us to love our neighbors…whether they are literally next door, down the street, on the job, at school…..or at church on Sunday morning.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

This Sunday open your eyes and look around your church. See people.

You never know……you might be the one to make a difference in someone’s life.

The world is desperate for those who are willing step out of their comfort zones.