Monthly Archives: March 2015

Out with the old…

IMG_4269Spring cleaning is always a bit interesting around our house. I actually found THREE boxes of partially used Velveeta that were no longer remotely cheese-like. Well, as cheese-like as processed cheese can be, which last time I checked should not be green and white and rock hard.

The practice of giving something up during Lent is also a spring cleaning event, but of the spiritual kind. For some reason, denying myself something for a period of time tends to result in the uncovering of some spiritually moldy junk in my heart.

It’s never pretty, but, like rotting food,  shoving it farther back out of sight and trying to add something new and improved does not enhance the problem.

These past few weeks, I have removed something I normally enjoy each week in order to have intentional, focused times of prayer and meditation based on God’s Word.

So it isn’t too surprising that some uglies have been revealed.

One has reared up as we attended services the last couple of Sundays.

I know…how dare sin be exposed in the middle of a lovely church service….

Our church has been experiencing some overcrowding in a couple of services, so our pastors made a request one Sunday for some of us to switch to one of the less full time slots. There are some who can not make the switch, but I knew we could.

It was only our personal preference that had to be set aside. And I didn’t mind it really….although it is a stretch to get out the door on time.

But there is this T-H-I-N-G that creeps over me as I sit there in this service that isn’t my “favorite” time to attend.

I blush to tell you, but I find myself thinking how I hope the pastors or someone might notice that we are making the sacrifice.

That they “appreciate” what we are doing….that they will think well of us.

Ugh. That hurts.

It’s petty and awful and juvenile…but I like the gold star. I like the approval that I hope comes with doing the right thing. I like the plus after the A. I like the pat on the back.

And it flies in the face of everything I know about grace. About unmerited, unearned favor.

About the fact that I was redeemed, not based on what I did, but rather, on what He did.

About the fact that Jesus told a story about how a servant who has done what they were supposed to do doesn’t get his supper brought to him upon returning after a hard day’s work. No. A servant serves the Master and doing what he was supposed to do is part of the gig.

No special rewards.

We don’t “earn” anything. We are blessed to do the right thing. Blessed by the ACT of obedience. NOT blessed by some reward for obedience.

The obedience. The doing what we are supposed to do –

THAT….

IS …..

the reward.

So I drag my sorry self to the throne and confess my falling short of the mark. Again.

And again, He forgives. And again He casts away the ugly that has been revealed.

Because I certainly don’t want to run across this stinky block of cheese the next time we do a heart-cleansing!

If you have discovered some moldy leftovers of your old life during this Lenten Journey, pull them out in the open, confess them to the One who already knows about them and loves you anyway and then GET – RID – OF – THEM!!!!!!!

You are far too beautiful as the beloved of the LORD to be holding on to garbage that needs to be tossed  <3

 

 

This is how it starts…

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Palm Sunday…what is about those little kids waving their palm branches in procession down the aisle, when we know that  moments before they were lined up out in the lobby whacking each other over the heads with them?

I wouldn’t miss it for anything.

It’s something I remember so well from my own childhood.

Something about Palm Sunday.

The teacher pulling the branches out of the florist box and handing them out to us.

The feel of it waving in my hand.

The smack of it over my head from the kid behind me.

The giggle as I returned the favor to the kid ahead of me.

We didn’t have a clue what it was all about.

Something about Jesus and Easter.

A refreshing break from the routine of every other Sunday.

Marching down between the rows of people singing Hosanna.

Standing in front of all of them waving these huge green leaves.

It all seemed so fun and exciting…but we didn’t have a clue.

And that’s the point.

The events we commemorate on Palm Sunday through Easter happened the first time to a people that didn’t have a clue.

With 20-20 hindsight, I often think I get it…but I can be just like the younger me.

Blind to why He came. Blind to what His purpose was. Blind to so much.

I can be all about the celebrating, and quickly change my tune when I get to the suffering.

I like the party, but will pass on the sacrifice.

I wave the palm branch when it’s popular, but am nowhere to be found when things get ugly.

As we enter into the final week between Palm Sunday and Easter, I invite you to join me in putting  yourself in the story.

Let’s fully engage in the remembrance of the events of the final days leading up to the crucifixion and then fully celebrate the Resurrection next Sunday.

Grab your palm branch and let’s ….. journey onward <3

It all depends on your vantage point <3

First, thank you for your kind words — all, plus the hugs, have been passed along to Russ <3

We are deeply touched and appreciate your prayers. (By the way, replies to comments are under “Comments” on yesterday’s post….thank you for your responses)

I’m taking the next few days off to be fully with Russ and our family, but I wanted to share the comfort God gave me when I walked through this with my own mom a few years ago.

As her life dwindled away, I came across a passage of Scripture in my Bible that I had marked months before.

For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.   2 Corinthians 5:4

As I watched death taking my mom away from me, God spoke through His Word to me…

From my side…death was literally swallowing my mother’s life…

But….

BUT…..

From God’s side….LIFE….HIS LIFE….was swallowing up her death….

Mortality….death…dying…decay…has been swallowed up…devoured…destroyed…consumed…

by L I F E….

As I understood, I wrote in the margin….Eternal LIFE is swallowing her death!

For those who belong to Him.

For such as have received His Son as LORD and Savior…

we are not dying….we are being raised to Life <3

So from our side…what looks like the end; on His side….looks like beginning that will never end <3

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Looks good to me….

 

 

 

One Journey’s End <3

IMG_8827So part of this whole Journey Onward thing is that somehow I started sending an email that now goes to about 100 people, write a blog that is read by…I have no idea how few or many…and have increased my exposure to ….. gulp….Facebook level…

All on the premise that somehow God uses my quirky life and viewpoint to encourage some people.

Or make you laugh.

Or at the very least think better of your own self and life knowing you aren’t me….

But it also means being genuine and real in sharing this journey.

On March 17th I wrote a post about We are Family.

I said that as a community of believers we share the joys and sorrows of life.

So this week, I sent my Thursday email out a few days early because we have a sorrow, and ultimately a joy, to share that is so much a part of us right now that to not include you seems almost like deception.

Russ’s dear mom, D. Margaret Reimer, went Home on Sunday evening to be with our Lord.

Healed and whole.

Free of pain.

Those blue eyes and that sweet smile are looking on the face of the One she longed to see.

And He most assuredly is smiling back as He declares….

“Well done! Good and faithful servant!”

She was the physical embodiment of the Love Chapter….1 Corinthians 13

Mom was….patient and kind…she did not boast or envy….she loved unconditionally and kept no record of wrong….she did not delight in evil but rejoiced in the truth.

She always protected….

always trusted….

always hoped…

always persevered.

She welcomed this blonde mess of a college student into her heart as a daughter the moment she realized her youngest son had fallen in love; and she modeled to me what it is to be a godly wife and mother and grandmother.

We rejoice to know where she is and we grieve her absence among us.

Thank you for your kindness and love expressed to our family.