Just Look...

Just Look...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Through His Life... A Holy Week Reflection

This week is probably one of my top three favorite weeks of the year. And believe it or not, I am not saying that because it's Spring Break week...

Holy Week is, and always has been, a highlight of my year. In fact, when I was little, I loved Easter even more than Christmas. I think my affection for the holiday was a mix of the beautiful spring weather and the Passion Play at church. That play, though I know it is so much work for so many people, is something I desperately miss every year. I have heard criticism of those type plays, the blood, the focus on the Crucifixion instead of the Resurrection. 

But you know... I cherish the reminder of the blood, the violence, the beating, the mocking, the nails, the crown, the cross... the death. Because way too many times, I am so caught up in my little life that I forget the suffering that made my life possible. Sometimes I bemoan the need for time spent in the Word, Sunday School classes, and dedication to various ministries. I need to stop and really SEE... SEE the wounds on His back, SEE the blood drip from His head, SEE the pain on His face mix with the sweet compassion for the man hanging to His side--and for me... I need the reminder of His sacrifice. 

I also need the reminder of that Saturday, the day that is so often skipped completely in the telling of the story. Even the Bible skims Saturday, with only a brief mention of them resting on that day in Luke. I think a lot about Saturday. I imagine Saturday might have hurt even more than Friday, in some ways. Friday was so raw, so vile, so heartbreaking... But Saturday was that "day after" feeling. If you have lost a loved one, you know the feeling I am referring to. You wake up somewhat disoriented, feeling heavy but typically not remembering immediately why until the weight of the world comes crashing down with the memory that life will never be the same again. And this day after... oh how much worse it had to have been. This was not just the loss of a loved one, this was the loss of what they had thought was going to be their Savior. And who saves from a tomb? No one.

I can imagine their confusion-- maybe we misinterpreted what He said? maybe we missed it all along? -- their embarrassment-- we have to face the world and admit that He wasn't who we thought, who He preached --
 their heaviness-- it wasn't supposed to be this way, to end this way--
their fear-- it's only a matter of time until they find us and we meet the same end as He--
and probably a little bit of their hope-- maybe, just maybe ... maybe somehow it can still be so.

I've had those Saturdays. Those are the days when, even though I have been so sure I was right in the middle of His plan, I just can't see Him. And by not seeing Him, I can't see myself. I just feel lost and aimless, hopeless and desperate, heavy. 

But then... As much as I need the reminder of Friday and Saturday, oh how I need to feel Sunday! That moment when the tomb shakes and He steps out, clothed in glory, leaving those earthly grave clothes behind... what a feeling! What a promise and a hope! Then the faces of the women and the disciples when they first see, with their own eyes, the empty tomb... when that flicker of hope that had nearly faded in the storm of Friday and the darkness of Saturday is ignited by the light of Sunday morning! The Resurrection is such a beautiful promise that the work He started, both on that cross and in me on the day of my salvation, will not end in a borrowed tomb. It lives and moves and walks and talks. 

But each piece of the Story is integral to the Story. Friday's pain has to yield to Saturday's fear in order to allow for Sunday's hope. This is the journey that He is taking us on through this life... a journey that He traveled first. And a journey that I am tangibly reminded of during Holy Week every single year. For it is only through His life that my own is made possible.

Monday, March 18, 2013

These Somethings Good...

I'm chalking it up to an inability to say "no".

Here is my list of confessions for February/early-mid March:

I pretty much went to the gym or walked three times. Total. This is not three times PER WEEK, as I had planned, but three times FOR THE MONTH. I stink. Self-control is not my middle name.

Not only did I not stick to a good Bible study OR do well with my devotions with the girls, I actually was not even 100% on my own Jesus Calling every morning.

My house, my car, my desk, my classroom, my closet... all of these areas are complete disasters. I am ridiculously out of control right now in regard to order and purpose. And I can feel that chaos seeping into my mental state. And it feels terrible.

Be there? Value the people? HA. I found myself answering the girls last week with "I don't know", not because I actually didn't know the answer to whatever they were saying, but because I didn't take the time to even hear the question.

So yeah. I blew this one big-time.

I did have a turning point, though. It happened when I let my mind spin away with me Sunday morning. As I sat in the pew with my cheeks tingling and my lips numb, seconds away from an impending panic attack, I remembered something Kelsey said to me last week about going to camp at Signal Mountain last summer. She is looking forward to this summer and was rehashing details from last summer when she told me how dark it was in their cabin.

"I wasn't scared. I just thought about something good."

I think there is a lot of value in that statement. The fact that she felt a need to say that she wasn't scared illustrates that clearly there WAS fear or she wouldn't have felt a need to say it. But the fear, you see, isn't the point.

She wouldn't have been afraid at home in her room where it's comfortable and safe. She wouldn't have NEEDED to think about something good. But that fear was totally worthwhile to her in order to get the camp experience.  Fear sometimes comes from DOING.

I have taken on what is probably too much in this season from February to April, 2013. And I will be honest-- I am SCARED. I have no fear any bigger than the fear of failure. I was the kid who never ran for student government even though I would have LOVED it (and all of my friends did it) because I was TERRIFIED of not being elected. I don't do things unless I am sure I will succeed. And that is such a coward's way out. As I've gotten older, I've tried to push myself to do the things I feel led to do, even if that fear of failure is lurking alongside.

So what I am going to do, for the next month, is "think about something good".

I'm going to think about the work that our Run for Cover 5K money is going to do in Cambodia.

I'm going to think about families who get to live in sufficient homes, some possibly for the first time.

I'm going to think about children and the elderly receiving care in a fully equipped medical clinic.

I'm going to think about something we take for granted on a daily basis, clean water, being available to people halfway around the world.

I'm going to think about 18 year old CHS students who are going to see that education doesn't stop at the doors of Cleveland High, but that an elective class can be a starting point for a lifetime of service.

I'm going to think about those little faces pressed up against those bus windows as it comes down that dusty drive in Mentone, Alabama.

I'm going to think about an eight year old boy who gets a birthday present for the very first time.

I'm going to think about an eleven year old girl who gains an understanding of a Heavenly Father's unconditional love through a counselor who has given up a week of vacation to show her.

I'm going to think about a church family that supports a ministry to the orphans by giving, walking in a 5K, attending a movie, and becoming a prayer partner.

I'm going to think about the twelve kids who got to come to camp last year for a week, paid for entirely by the work that went into the RF5KC.

And I might still worry some, but that fear won't take over my mind the way it did on Sunday, because I will be too busy thinking about these somethings good. :)

Run for Cover online registration

RF5KC online registration

CAMP movie website and trailers

Showing at Premiere Friday, 3/22-Thursday, 3/28. Our local camp gets 40% of ticket proceeds from the Cleveland showing. Please go see it! I saw it two weeks ago and it just blew me away.