Christmas Had Come Full Circle

Sometimes death whispers down fluorescent lit hallways that smell like antiseptic and medicine. At other times it arrives unexpectedly, ripping through a young life that held such promise. Some hear a diagnosis and walk hand and hand together with death, for years that follow, or sometimes it is the quietly closing of eyes that never open again. I hate death. I hate everything about it. I hate the acts of dying, whether it lasts a second or lingers for longer. It is hard and unfair…..and it hurts. It hurts not just the one that is dying, but to all those who love that individual. Death comes, when it chooses. None of us know when that moment might be. It could be today, or next month, or 50 years from now. We try not to think about it. No one wants to live in the shadow of the cold. The gray. The unknown.

I’ve faced the loss that death incurs, in my own life…on more than one occasion. My husband and I facilitate a GriefShare class, to help others that are on this journey. We have met people who have lost parents, children, spouses and siblings. I’ve looked into the faces of these individuals and cried with them. Like I said, I hate death.

Over two thousand years ago, a baby was born into humble surroundings. His newborn cries were mingled with the sounds of animals in the stable. His parents knew who He was, but probably did not, could not, fully comprehend what His birth meant. This tiny infant that Mary had delivered, was born to die. God in human flesh, came from the glories of heaven, to this broken world. He walked this earth, before He walked to the cross. He brought the dead back to life with just the sound of His voice, but chose to give Himself up for us all and stay on that cross until it was finished.

 

102_3858

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas had come full circle. The wonder of Jesus birth is forever intertwined with the sacrifice of His death and glory of His resurrection.

Death…. none of us will escape it, but because of Christ, we don’t have to fear it.

…Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”… John 11: 24-26

…Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection… Romans 6:3-5 

“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

 

102_4811

Take Off The Mask

“The world has enough women who live a masked insecurity. It needs more women who live a brave vulnerability.”

–Ann Voskamp

The woman who looks in the mirror and believes the lies of who she is, by the reflection she sees. The face staring back at her is beautiful but she only sees imperfection.

The woman who says nothing because she feels like she has nothing valuable to say.

The girl who doesn’t fit in, instead choosing rebellion, because she believes no one really cares.

The woman who pours everything into her career, hoping to prove she has what it takes…only to find out the career has taken all that really matters.

The woman who fears that she has celebrated many birthdays, but has never really lived.

Perfect mother. Perfect wife. Perfect friend. Perfect employee. Perfect appearance. Perfect intellect. Perfection…perfection…perfection.

The masks are real, and so many of us have them.

We wear them because we know them, they cover our insecurities. They become comfortable.

Stepping out of the comfort zone, removing the masks is scary. It makes us vulnerable.

It makes us approachable.

It makes us real.

Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Lost In The Wonder

It is late……but, it is still Friday. I can still make my Five Minute Friday post, over at LisaJo’s blog. Today’s writing prompt is LOST.

Five Minute Friday

 

 

Sometimes I find myself lost in the wonder of it all. I’ve been a Jesus follower for 35 years. Three and a half decades. Wow. That thought makes me so incredibly happy! Even though I’ve loved Jesus for many years, I still get lost in the magnificent awe that He loves me too! And He loved me first. I didn’t have to earn His love, there was never anything I did to deserve His love. He just loves me, with an everlasting love. The Creator of the universe LOVES ME. Incredible. It never gets old….not even after all these years.

 

IMG_0162

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Know Her

I didn’t know her.

I had never spoken to her before yesterday afternoon.IMG_1347

As a matter of fact, I hadn’t even known she existed.

But, in that moment…the internet brought us together.

Her words cried out to me from the computer screen.

As a child she had been taught more about fearing God than following Him.

She was told that she would probably go to Hell.

Her young heart was wounded by words that cut deep.

As an adult she has questions.

Is this true? Should I only fear God?

Or…is it possible that He loves me?

And my heart broke wide open.

Broken for all those that have lived lives wondering…because of careless, callous words that ripped through their childhoods.

Although, I was only able to speak to this woman through words typed on a screen, I pray she heard my heart.

More than that, I pray that she allows God to see her heart.

For her to know that Jesus loves her. He loves her so much that He took her place, filled the gap between her and God.

Jesus found her worthy. Worthy enough to die for.

That He wants her to know Him. Lovingly, intimately, fearlessly…

I don’t even know where she lives…..but, God does……and He wants her to finally come home.

Whitespace Community Linkup @ faithbarista.com

 

 

God Is So Good And I Am So Loved…

The journal is setting on the kitchen counter.

It is a simple, blue spiral notebook…the kind one sees at back to school sales at Wal-mart.

Iced tea poured

In itself, is nothing special, and  yet, it full of the most special.

Each word and phrase penned from a thankful heart.

Every word a reminder, of gifts so freely given to me.

Simple things, ordinary things, daily things…

How often, before the journal, did I gloss over the everyday moments,

not really see them for what they are?

God is so good…and I am so loved.

He shows me this a million times over.

He Is Ready

IMG_1160

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The journal was started when I was just five months pregnant.

Words written in ink, a permanent reminder of this time in life. Time with life. Time full of life.

Before he was named, he was knew. Before I felt him, I loved him.

The journey of motherhood changes with the years, and it changed me.

I was no longer that twenty something mommy, fresh with anticipation.

The years between then and now have taught me and challenged me.

I’ve laughed more than I cried, hugged more than I hurt, learned and realized more than I ever thought I would.

And shouldn’t it be that way for us all?

From infant to young adult, the years have melted away.

My son is now a man. Intelligent, strong and tall……

Graduation, university……this one crazy and special life, full of possibilities.

I am trying to be ready.

My grip has loosened over the years. Preparing for this very moment.

The moment is fast approaching when I will watch him go.

He is ready.

*********************************************************************************************************************

Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday, to all the mothers, in whatever stage you are now in……

Psalm 139:13 for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

It Wouldn’t Be Easy

This Thursday’s 4/3/14 writing prompt:
Carrying Your Cross

********************************************

What does it mean to carry your cross?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23  NIV

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  Matthew 16:24  NIV

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves.

Jesus knew that wouldn’t be easy.

He knew that choosing to follow Him would cost.

That taking up one’s cross would be difficult. Somedays more difficult than others.

Called to be different than the world around us.

Called to be His.

102_2991

 

 

Wounded

*Today’s Thursday’s 3/27/14 Writing prompt : 
Wounded
This prompt is inspired by themes of Lent. Week #3 of {The Journey Series}, the journey to Easter.

 

************************************************************************************************************

Wounded. A difficult word to write about. To be honest, I don’t enjoy writing about topics that come from the word, wounded.

Wounds aren’t like scratches. Wounds aren’t fixed by a Band-aid. They are deep and often times painful. In most cases it takes a long time, if ever, for a wound to heal….and scars can still show as reminders of what happened.

There are a multitude of the walking wounded wandering through this life. It doesn’t take much to notice them, if one walks with their eyes wide open.

Jesus understood the wounded. The downcast. The hurting. He met them where they were at. He gave them hope where there seemed to be none. He gave them love when they felt unlovable. He healed the brokenhearted.

As Christians our goal should be to be more like Jesus, reaching out to a wounded world…

Showing them the love of The Great Physician who binds hurts and heals even the deepest of wounds.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NIV

102_4811

We Need To Get Over Ourselves

I read something recently that left me feeling uneasy. The article contained some controversial material, but what really bothered me was the way Christians were fighting with each other. It grieved my heart. There is a world watching us, and when we fight amongst ourselves, tear each other down, what does that tell the greater population? Now, I’m not saying believers should ever water down the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am not saying to compromise core values and beliefs. What I am saying is that, as Christ followers, in many circumstances we need to get over ourselves. We are not, nor have we ever been, perfect. Sinners…..each of us, deserving of Hell.

I am a sinner…saved only by the unmerited grace of a living and loving God. I never deserved Christ’s forgiveness and I sure couldn’t earn it. In fact scripture reminds me that, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6  NIV   In other words, none of us are perfect and even when we try to do “the right thing”, we can never meet the standards of a Holy and Just God. That is the whole reason Christ came to this broken, sin cursed world. He came to save us. We needed Him to stand in the gap between us and God. When God looks at me, He no longer sees Dawn covered in her sin, but He instead looks at me in the shadow of His perfect and righteous Son. Jesus has me covered.

Instead of arguing and condemning, maybe we need not be so scared to extend grace to others. The more we, as individuals, realize how lost we were before Christ found us, the more likely we will be to give a hand to others who are desperately in need of Him.

 

102_2159

He Stayed

*Today’s Thursday’s 3/20/14 Writing prompt : Stay

This prompt is inspired by themes of Lent. Week #3 of {The Journey Series}, the journey to Easter.

 

**************************************************************************************************************

I’ve had people wander in and out of my life. Friendships that I thought would last forever, but didn’t. Romances that ended. Distance and time swallowing up what once was…..and I am left wondering why they didn’t stay? All of us crave relationship. We weren’t created to “go it alone”.  We long for someone to hold our hand and heal our heart. People to tell us that we are not really all that weird, and things will be okay. My husband tells me often that he is not going anywhere. He is staying.  It feels safe to know that he is willing to stay in my corner with me, through it all.

Even those of us that grew up feeling loved and wanted, and have strong families and good marriages, still have to face hard and difficult things in this life. Rarely is the face that others are allowed to see, the same one that reflects back to us in the mirror. You know what I mean. We hide the ugly parts. The broken dreams, the hurt, the desire for something different. The feelings of inferiority, indecision, and ignorance.

We can’t hide anything from Jesus…..and we don’t have to. He already knows. He sees the broken and picks up the pieces. He hears the whispered dreams and He reveals that He has plans for you. The feelings of inferiority are replaced with the word, valuable. Jesus promised to stay. He promised to never leave nor forsake.

He didn’t have to stay.

He chose to.

He left the joys of Heaven to come to this earth. God walked among people. He did not come to condemn (we do that already!) but, to seek and to save. We needed Him, we were desperate for a Savior…..even if we didn’t know it at the time. He could have left at any time, but He didn’t. Let that sink in for a minute. He loved you enough to stay. He willingly placed Himself on the course toward Calvary. He was beaten, taunted, scourged, spit on, and jeered at. He was brutally nailed to a cross, a torturous Roman execution. He was God and could have called the multitudes of Heaven to His rescue. Instead, He stayed…until it was finished.

He built the bridge between God and man on that day.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46 

102_2364